A winter romance with Denmark

Bellevue Beach near Copenhagen
Bellevue Beach near Copenhagen

A winter romance with Denmark

by Jessica Zen
Stripes Europe

The days are short and the nights are long, but winter weather doesn’t stop the fun in Denmark. The towns are dressed in their finest holiday wear and are dazzling like something straight out of a Hallmark movie. Step into a winter wonderland like no other when you visit this Nordic country in northern Europe. The festive mood permeates the atmosphere and the smell of mulled wine tickles your senses. Pack all the cold weather layers and get ready to explore everything Denmark has to offer this winter. 

Cozy in Copenhagen

Christmas time in Europe isn’t complete without a market or two. You simply can’t miss the Copenhagen Christmas markets. Head to the city center (Tivoli Gardens), a pedestrian-only area filled with lovingly decorated stalls selling artisan crafts, handmade ornaments and delicious treats. Be sure to try some “glogg,” a mulled wine that is garnished with almonds and raisins. Another market staple is “aebleskiver,” which is little pancakes topped with fresh jam and powdered sugar. To keep the merriment going, try some festive outdoor ice skating at Frederiksberg Gardens.

To warm up, the Bastard Café is one of a kind and the only place in Copenhagen that entertains its patrons with board games. Play over 3,500 different games with your friends and family, from simple games for kids to card and dice games for adults. You’re sure to be entertained for hours here! Have a beer or some coffee along with some bar snacks for the perfect break. 

If the romance of a snow-covered castle calls to you this holiday season, Kronborg Castle is the place to be. It dates back to 1420, but has since been burned and rebuilt. The rooms are decorated with Renaissance and Baroque themes and are a testament to the lavish lifestyles of the past residents. There are also crypts and catacombs hidden deep beneath the castle. This castle is perhaps most famous for William Shakespeare’s drama “Hamlet,” which takes place in the chambers of Kronborg.

Snow-filled fun

No winter vacation is complete without some outdoor adventures. For something truly unique, head to Helgoland Bathing Institution on Amagerstrand or the urban Islands Brygge Havnebad for some winter bathing, which is, unfortunately, exactly what it sounds like. Jumping into the freezing cold waters, this experience is sure to wake you up and be a one-of-a-kind experience. The locals claim it is good for the body and releases adrenaline, serotonin, cortisol and dopamine, amongst other benefits. 

For something a little less extreme, try skiing at Østerlars (Bornholm). Though this ski resort is by no means the ultimate skiing location, it will allow you to get out on the slopes. It’s great for kids and has two lift systems. 

A little history

No trip to Denmark is complete without learning about some Viking history. Ribe, the oldest town in the country, is a prime location to soak up some Viking knowledge. Here, you’ll find Ribes Vikinger, where you can learn about the Vikings and the town of itself. A little fact: there was a big fire in 1580 that destroyed over 200 houses! You’ll see the 16th-century houses that were built after the fire and can admire the beautiful doors and half-timbered architecture. Be sure to wander towards the water and see the “Men at Sea” statues. The four statues tower at almost 30 feet and can be seen by any ships coming or going from Esbjerg harbor. 

If you want even more Viking history, the city of Roskilde is brimming with it. Perched on the Roskilde Fjord is the Viking Ship Museum, giving insight into the fascinating world of Vikings. Here, you’ll find not only incredible displays but also opportunities to live the Viking life. The inside of the main hall of the museum features five original Skuldelev Viking ships from the 11th century. The Glendalough Sea Stallion is the museum’s longest ship and is open for boarding. Outside, you’ll find the boatyard where vessels were erected. Here, you can experience the culture of the Vikings while you view boats in full scale. Board a merchant vessel that is outfitted with war equipment. Dress up like a Viking or visit Tunet, a commonplace for the Vikings to gather. You can see what types of crafts were created during that time, such as metal, wood or rope work. 

For your Denmark adventure, be sure to pack items like waterproof and insulated boots, wool stockings and a heavy coat. You don’t want to get chilly while exploring all the incredible things this country has to offer. Whether you stay in the city and soak up the spirit of the holidays at the Christmas markets or venture out to one of the Viking museums, you’re sure to have a splendid time on this incredible trip. 

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