This year has been a rough one for all of us, and while you might not be feeling that holiday spirit, we need it more than ever.
Copenhagen at this time of year truly is a magical place and even with the current pandemic, there’s something to do – whether you’re alone or with the family.
All the included information was correct as of Monday morning, but with uncertainty over Christmas opening times, we thought it best to include it all, even though some (or many) of the events will be cancelled due to coronavirus restrictions.
Read on to find out what the city has on offer for you on December 24, 25 and 31 this year. Let’s hope the lockdown has paved the way for some kind of festive feeling, but make sure you check online to ensure you know what the details are.
Glory to God
Celebrate Christmas at the Christmas Eve Midnight Mass (23:30) at the St Albans Anglican Church (Churchillparken 11, Cph K). Or earlier in the day, attend the children’s carol and nativity service (12:00), or the Christmas Day service (Dec 25, 10:30). Try a Lutheran service (Dec 24, 15:00, 16:30 & 23:30) at Copenhagen Cathedral (Nørregade 8, Cph K). For a contemporary Lutheran service, try Elijah’s Church (Vesterbrogade 49, Cph K) for a Christmas Mass hosted by Eliaskirken and Folkekirken Vesterbro (Dec 25, 13:00).
Out and about: activities
Join a few people by swimming a bit or cycling on Christmas Day – feel free to show up in a cute costume or a Santa hat (Holmen Dirt, 12:00).
Øresund, the strait that separates Denmark and Sweden, hasn’t frozen over since the 1950s, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still go ice skating in Copenhagen this Christmas.
Just over the bridge from Nyhavn, a new Christmas skating rink is making its appearance from November 6, with wintry views out over the harbour itself. Broens skating rink (Mon to Fri, 09:00-20:00; Strandgade 95) offers a turn on the ice for free – as long as you bring your own skates. For everyone else, it’s just 50kr to lace up a pair of skates and start showing off your twirls.
There’s also a range of special events on offer at the rink, whether you’re looking for a disco on ice, a hockey game, or even want to try your hand at curling, check out the Broens Skøjtebane webpage for information on extra events.
Broen also has the food sorted, with nearby street-food stalls offering a wide range of meals to keep you warm – from burgers and crepes a la carte, to hot cocoa piled high with marshmallows.
Just keep in mind that demand for ice skating may be high this year, with the annual rink at Frederiksberg Runddel announcing that it will remain closed, alongside the annual Christmas rink at Kongens Nytorv. So if you’re an avid winter skater it would be wise to book your tickets ahead of time – while you still can!
Copenhagen’s new state-of-the-art skating rink in Østerbro is set to open its doors in March. So there is something to look forward to.
Let the music begin
If music is your jam, then try the online Classical Christmas Facebook live concert with Simon and Maria Kjelsson from 13:00. For a safe and fun dance-filled Christmas head over to Rådhuspladesen for an Ecstatic Dance Copenhagen experience hosted by the Copenhagen Conscious Movement and a few others (18:00).
NEW YEAR’S EVE:
Getting it right
This New Year’s Eve will be a little different from the usual way we are all used to celebrating it. We’re going to have to be more careful, but that does not mean we can’t have fun. Even through the pandemic, Copenhagen will be lit up and celebrating the new year in creative and Covid safe ways. So while there probably won’t be lavish parties and large gatherings, make the most of this New Year’s Eve by spending it with your family or close friends.
As the night reaches its peak, make sure you have your champagne and your kransekage (almond cake) at hand – staples for a Danish New Year. Then, find a couch, chair, table (or any elevated surface that you can), grab the hand of the person next to you, count down and leap off into the New Year! If you happen to trip, it will bring bad luck (so make sure you cling on to your most sober friend).
Countdown in the centre
Head to Rådhuspladsen (city hall square) where the crowds follow the live countdown being broadcast to the nation. Watch out for rogue fireworks as the place will get a little sparky as the night continues. The Lakes, Islands Brygge, and the Knippelsbro and Langebro bridges are probably safer but still lively alternatives, so remain vigilant. Some countries have heavy restrictions on the private use of fireworks – but in Denmark you can blast away merrily! And people do. Purchasing a pair of safety goggles is a very good idea.
Hop in the harbour
When in Rome, do as the Romans do. And when in Copenhagen – get naked and jump in the sea during midwinter. Sound crazy? Then you haven’t heard of the benefits of winter bathing: a longstanding Nordic tradition that’s associated with heightened happiness and invigorating the body.
This winter, Copenhot are inviting newcomers to take the plunge with a 360 introduction to winter bathing. Instructors will take you on a 1.5 hour journey from hot to cold and across the Baltic Sea. Clad in swimsuits, Copenhot offer a range of experiences: from ice baths to fire-heated saunas with panoramic views of the harbour. There’s even a luxury ‘sailing hot tub’ that cruises the harbour of northern Copenhagen in a haven of 40° heated salt water – something that could convince anyone to go Scandinavian (Wed-Sun; Refshalevej 325, Cph K; various events).
If saunas aren’t quite your style, you can also get in on the action with Copenhagen’s newest bathing zone at Kalvebod Bølge. The mobile bathing zones have adjustable bottoms, letting you sink down to a depth of up to 140cm before hopping back out into the cold air. Access is free all year round, so you could also be forgiven for waiting to take a dip until warmer weather is on its way – July, perhaps?