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Denmark's best Christmas markets

Christmas markets gained a special Advent reputation throughout Germany since the Late Middle Ages in the German-speaking part of Europe and many parts of the former Holy Roman Empire - including many eastern regions of France as a popular Advent custom during the Reformation Era.

Photographs: Unsplash

Text: Mariano Anthony Davies

Since the Middle Ages, towns in the German-speaking part of Europe have held Christmas Markets in their market squares, with the famous Dresden's Strietzelmarkt first held in 1434. There are over 2,500 of these Christmas markets in Germany alone, and Dresden still has the largest Christmas market in the world, with over 250 stalls.

The first Christmas market on record was held in Munich in 1310, as well as Bautzen in 1384 and Frankfurt in 1310.

Danes love Christmas festivities and make sure that the period is appropriately celebrated from mid-November when daylight is approaching its shortest period. Around this time of the year, Christmas markets pop up in cities all over Denmark, and many Danes even decorate their gardens with Christmas lights.

Let me highlight some of the renowned Danish Christmas markets.

Egeskov Castle

Egeskov Castle is on the island of Funen. It is one of the most impressive castles in Denmark and hosts a spectacular Christmas market every year in November over two to three weekends. It is approximately an hour's drive from Odense and has been there since 1554, surrounded by lakes and blossomed gardens. Most of the exhibitions and the castle are closed during winter, so the Christmas market occurs in the Veteran Museum and the Motorcycle Museum. However, guests can stroll around the decorated gardens, take a Segway ride or even try to find their way through the castle's maze.

Tivoli Gardens

Tivoli is Copenhagen's most famous amusement park, with flower gardens and water fountains. However, it looks like it belongs in a fairy tale during Halloween and Christmas. There are Christmas trees, thousands of colourful lights, music filling the air and approximately 60 stalls filled with food and items ideal for Christmas presents. The grounds host thousands of people who know there is no better place in Copenhagen to get into the Christmas spirit.

Kongens Ny Torv

Within walking distance from the Main Station and with its own Metro Station, the Christmas market on Kongens Nytorv is in the heart of Copenhagen's City Centre – right in front of the historic Magasin Du Nord department store, Hotel D'Angleterre and the French Embassy. Wooden stalls are decorated with Christmas stockings and mistletoe, and you can smell the traditional Danish Christmas pork roast (flæskesteg) and the Danish mulled wine (gløgg) - making your walk downtown a unique experience.

"Take a trip back in time, visit the 'Old Town' museum in Aarhus and discover how Christmas was celebrated in Denmark from the 1600s to the 1970s."

Den Gamle By

Take a trip back in time, visit the 'Old Town' museum in Aarhus and discover how Christmas was celebrated in Denmark from the 1600s to the 1970s. The open-air museum consists of 75 historic houses collected from all over Denmark, and during Christmas, they are decorated based on the period they resemble and the habits of that time. There are also plenty of activities for children and a crafts market filled with goodies.


Ærø is one of the most picturesque cities in Denmark, preserving an authentic and romantic atmosphere of the past. The small island in southern Denmark celebrates Christmas in its own old-fashioned way, with handmade decorations, warm mulled wine and several Christmas markets selling knitwear and other handicrafts. The largest and most known Christmas market on Ærø is in Ærøskøbing.

Hans Christian Andersen

The small city of Odense also holds its own Christmas market to celebrate this particular time of the year. As the birth town of the globally-known and renowned fairy tale writer Hans Christian Andersen, its Christmas market encompasses Hans Christian Andersen's house and the adjacent museum stands are filled with lights, a carrousel, decorated Christmas cows and stalls filled with sweets and other edibles, while the smell of gløgg and æbleskiver (mulled wine and pancake balls) lingers in the air.


Christiania Christmas market takes place every year in the autonomous Freetown Christiania. Stalls with jewellery, clothes and handicraft items fill the 19th-century building while music bands play festive melodies. It is a relatively small market, but no one leaves empty-handed from this charming indoor experience.

During these shortest days of the year, the Danes literally and metaphorically turn the darkness of winter into an expression of light and joy - wrapped in the hope of Advent and the coming New Year.

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