6 Reasons Why the Copenhagen Christmas Markets are Highly Overrated

Copenhagen Christmas markets consistently rank highly on various Top 10 lists of Christmas markets in Europe so we decided to try something a bit different and headed to Copenhagen in winter to see how Denmark celebrates the festive season. Sadly, the Copenhagen Christmas markets just didn't live up to the hype for us. Here are six reasons why I was disappointed by my Copenhagen Christmas market experience.
Tivoli Christmas market in Copenhagen


1. Ten Dollar Glögg Equals Copenhagen Christmas Market Disappointment

Glögg is the Danish version of mulled wine and a glass at the centrally located Christmas Market near Strøget cost 60 DKK (almost $11 per cup at the time of writing!)
Copenhagen Christmas Market Strøget
We opted instead for the slightly more economical Tysk Gluhwein (German Glühwein) which was priced at 35 DKK (about $6 per cup at the time of writing).
Dat Weinhus at the Copenhagen Christmas Markets
Menu highlighting the high cost of gluehwein at the Copenhagen Christmas Market
The Upside:  Raisins and almond slivers soaked in Schnapps are the secret ingredient that make glögg at the Copenhagen Christmas markets so good (and is probably why it's so expensive)!
Raisins and almond slivers in glogg at the Copenhagen Christmas Markets

2. Souvenir Mugs were Scarce and Expensive at the Copenhagen Christmas Markets

One of the things that we like the most about European Christmas Markets are the cute souvenir mugs used to serve the glühwein.  In Germany, Austria, and Poland, we bought the signature mug at each Christmas market and have developed quite a collection that we use to drink our coffee throughout the year.  In Copenhagen, only one of the markets had a mug and it cost 50 DKK (about $9).  To compare, in Germany, the mugs typically cost between 2-4 EUR (max $5).  All told, our cost for 2 cups of glühwein and one souvenir mug came to 120 DKK or a whopping $22 USD at the time of writing!
Souvenir mulled wine mugs at the Copenhagen Christmas Markets
The Upside: The mugs seem so rare, maybe they will become a collector's item and justify the cost we paid.

3. You Often Pay to Enter the Copenhagen Christmas Markets

The Christmas Markets in all the places we've visited before have been free.  In contrast, at least a couple markets in the Copenhagen area charged a hefty admission fee.  For example, Tivoli Christmas Market costs 95 DKK to enter (about $17 USD).  This doesn't even include the cost of ride tickets should you want to give it a go.
Tivoli Christmas Market in Copenhagen
We visited a smaller Christmas market near Roskilde, a town on the fjord not far from Copenhagen, and paid 25 DKK (about $4.50) for the privilege of walking around a small selection of craft vendors selling high priced wares.  The venue itself was located in a warehouse district a good 15-20 minute walk from the train station so we felt we were committed and had to pay the fee by the time we walked all that way over.
Copenhagen in Winter: Abandoned building near Roskilde Denmark
Entrance to the Roskilde Christmas Market
The Upside:  The lights at Tivoli Christmas Market are pretty cool plus they have a laser light show over the lake and reindeer!
Christmas lights at the Tivoli Christmas Markets
Christmas lights at the Tivoli Christmas Markets
Christmas lights at the Tivoli Christmas Markets
Laser Light show at the Tivoli Christmas Market in Copenhagen Christmas Lights at Tivoli Christmas Market
Reindeer at the Tivoli Christmas Market

4. High Priced Crafts Abound at the Copenhagen Christmas Markets

We always like to do a little shopping when we visit Christmas markets: candles, notebooks, tea, you name it...We are always on the lookout for that little something to send home for the holidays.  Alas, in Copenhagen, the crafts offered at the Christmas markets were very expensive.  I saw lovely wool hats and scarves for upwards of the equivalent of $100 USD.  Needless to say, other than our souvenir mug, we didn't come home with any crafts.
Expensive Christmas ornaments at the Copenhagen Christmas Markets
The Upside:  Everything is expensive in Copenhagen so take heart!

5. We Were Dismayed by the Limited Hours of the Copenhagen Christmas Markets

The Christmas Markets in Copenhagen (aside from Tivoli Christmas Market) seem to be open rather limited hours.  The market near Strøget was locked up tight by 8 pm on a Saturday.

The Upside:  You'll have plenty of time in the evening to catch a movie at one of the nearby cinemas.  Brace yourself to pay the equivalent of $20 a ticket though.  You'll also need to make time during the day for the market which offers spectacular views at Nyhavn particularly as the sun is setting.
Danish flags and the Nyhavn Christmas Market

6. The Copenhagen Christmas Markets Have Limited Food Options

In Germany and Austria, we loved the sweet and savory food options around just about every corner of the Christmas markets.  In Copenhagen, the food choices at the Christmas markets were much more limited.  The Christmas market near Strøget had a vendor selling grilled sausages and a hot dog (pølser) truck just outside the entrance but that was it. Tivoli Christmas Market had a variety of sit down restaurants and the usual amusement park fare.  We opted for Paafuglen which offered a nice atmosphere and decent entries like this lamb dish but we paid the equivalent of $100 USD for our meal.  Oh, and patrons are charged an extra fee if they'd like to use a credit card...
Lamb dish served at Paafuglen in Tivoli in Copenhagen
The Upside:  As the food options in the Copenhagen Christmas markets themselves were limited, this gave us more motivation to look for delicious alternatives.  Our favorite food find in Copenhagen was, hands-down, Flødeboller!  We couldn't get enough of these chocolate covered marshmallow treats in a variety of flavors.  They were also relatively expensive (between $3-$4 USD each) but they were definitely worth the splurge.
Copenhagen in winter: Display of Flødeboller
Copenhagen in winter: Flødeboller by a lake
Copenhagen in winter: Flødeboller marshmallow centerOverall, I wish you a Gladelig Jul if you visit Copenhagen in winter. It was interesting to see the contrasts between the Copenhagen Christmas markets and the Christmas markets we've experienced in Germany, Austria, and Poland.  While there were some highlights (did I mention the reindeer?!), I don't agree with the Top 10 rating often bestowed upon the Copenhagen Christmas markets. I wouldn't go so far as to say that the Copenhagen Christmas Markets sucked but in my opinion, your money is better spent in Germany or Austria for a more traditional and affordable Christmas market experience.
Merry Christmas Sign in Danish

Alternatives to the Copenhagen Christmas Markets

Now that you've read this post, if you are looking for alternatives to the Copenhagen Christmas markets check out our favorite Christmas Markets spanning three countries.

We also love the Christmas Markets in:

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Sidewalk Safari | Part-time Travel Blog: 6 Reasons Why the Copenhagen Christmas Markets are Highly Overrated
6 Reasons Why the Copenhagen Christmas Markets are Highly Overrated
Visiting Copenhagen in winter? Read a contrary review about why the Copenhagen Christmas markets are disappointing and why all the Top 10 ratings are unjustified.
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Sidewalk Safari | Part-time Travel Blog
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