The Happiness Index

The Best Winter Markets in Denmark


By Helen Russell

Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas in Denmark without a trip to a winter market, and scores of Danes make a pilgrimage to their favorite hygge happening to get into the festive spirit. From November onward you can inhale the aroma of mulled wine and roasted almonds in markets across the country as you pick out the perfect Danish design gift or decoration for the holidays. Here are four of the best winter markets in Denmark.

For Scandinavia’s biggest spectacle: Christmas at Tivoli Gardens, Copenhagen

November 14, 2015–January 3, 2016

For Danes, Tivoli Gardens is synonymous with Christmas, and the park attracts a million visitors during the holidays. In addition to a roller coaster and theme-park rides, Father Christmas holds court in a spectacular 19th-century theater and hundreds of market stalls entice with mouth-watering yuletide food, warming drinks and Danish handicrafts.

Vesterbrogade 3;

For history fans: Jul i den gamle by, Aarhus

November 14–December 30, 2015

This lovingly re-created open-air museum allows visitors to step back in time with traditional Danish holiday scenes from centuries past. Beginning with the 1600s, the exhibits move through the 19th century, which brought the Christmas tree, and culminate with the 1920s, when electric fairy lights made their appearance. Finish off at the traditional Danish Christmas market, which sells mechanical toys, books, posters and homemade sweet treats.

Viborgvej 2;


For fairy-tale festivities: Hans Christian Andersen Market, Odense
November 4–6 and 11–13, 2015
Christmas takes center stage in many of Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tales, and the famous Dane’s hometown celebrates with entertainment inspired by his stories. Meet the Little Match Girl, see where the writer grew up, and stroll around a bustling market selling Christmas decorations, jewelry and crafts—all in a fairy-tale setting.

Sortebrødre Torv 1;


For a Viking experience: Valhalla parade and Christmas market, Skagen

December 6, 2015

At the northernmost tip of Jutland, locals celebrate the holidays with a Valhalla parade in which 30 Icelandic horses with riders in Viking dress lead the way to a Christmas market complete with Viking food, music, arts and crafts.


Photographs: Nana Hagel