Christmas shopping can be a stressful process, so thank the lord for the markets that have had the good sense to entertain Junior while Mummy and Daddy gets some serious retail therapy.
This year, Santa’s old news, as there’s a new pretender in town: Hans Christian Andersen. Although maybe you should take them to Kronberg Castle – if the Santa ultimatum fails, there’s nothing like a good dungeon threat to make sure they behave themselves until Christmas.
Kronbørg Castle Christmas Market
Kronbørg 2, Helsingør; open Nov 29-30, Dec 6-7; 50kr; kronborg.dk
In the castle that inspired Shakespeare’s Hamlet, enjoy a charming market with activities for adults and children. The kids will be kept busy with a performance by the Danish Fairy Tale Theatre and an appearance by that round, bearded fellow who will join in with a dance around the Christmas tree. Meanwhile, the adults can peruse stalls selling toys, delicacies and crafts, and sample tapas, Christmas beer and traditional festive snacks.
Helsingør Christmas Market
Axeltorv, Helsingør; Nov 28-Dec 23, open daily, including Fri 11:00-18:00, Sat 10:00-17:00, Sun 11:00-15:00, open Sat-Sun 10:00-16:00; free adm
Your kids won’t forget the glazed apples, burnt almonds and chocolate pixies in a hurry. But make sure you take them ice skating to burn it all off while you check out the small antique Christmas huts and shops that sell pottery, jewellery, mittens, hats, scarves and clogs.
Halmtorvet Christmas Market for Kids
Halmtorvet, Cph V; Nov 28-Dec 24, open Mon-Fri 11:00-19:00, Sat-Sun 10:00-20:00; free adm
Situated close to the old wooden gates by Halmtorv Square, Santa will personally open each of the 24 windows in the large advent calendar to start the day’s lively cultural program. Kids can bake Christmas cookies under the supervision of experienced coaches and experiment in Santa’s workshop.
Copenhagen Zoo Christmas Market
Roskildevej 32, Frederiksberg; every weekend in Dec, 10:00-16:00; kids 95kr, adults 160kr; zoo.dk
The big square in front of the Zoo Tower is hosting festive fun for all the family throughout the month. The kids can meet Santa and his reindeer while the adults warm up with some hot gløgg and æbleskiver.
Hans Andersen Christmas Market
Kultorvet, Cph K; Nov 15-Dec 22, open Sun-Thu 11:00-19:00, Fri 11:00-20:00, Sat 10:00-20:00; free adm; julemarked.co
A fairy-tale experience with thousands of Christmas lights, cosy booths and a nostalgic merry-go-round. Every Hans Christian Andersen tale has a trinket named after it, and you can even meet him in the flesh. Santa’s there as well of course.
German Christmas Market
Højbro Plads, Cph K; Nov 14-Dec 23, open Sun-Thu 11:00-19:00, Fri 11:00-20:00, Sat 10:00-20:00; free adm
Join Santa on the railway and then follow him onto his sleigh. Meanwhile the adults can sample glühwein and currywurst and choose from a wide range of German Christmas gifts.
Middle Ages Christmas Market
Esrum Abbey, Klostergade 11, Græsted; Dec 6-7, 10:00-17:00; free adm; esrum.dk
Go north of Copenhagen to discover how life was like back then. Try Medieval-style pickled berries, beer and wine and buy products inspired by the Middle Ages. The Christmas bazaar offers a marzipan pig workshop – a merry experience for children and adults alike.