Christmas in Copenhagen in nothing less than magical. Since one can´t run all the time, I have decided to share a few of my tips of what to do in Copenhagen during December.
My favourite way to enjoy Copenhagen during Christmas time is to wrap up warm and simply walk through the streets of our capital while enjoying the atmosphere, the Christmas markets and Gløgg (mulled wine) to-go. Personally I am not a huge fan of our main shopping street Strøget, as eager Christmas shoppers tend to spoil the desired relaxed and idyllic state of mind, so instead choose the smaller streets such as Strædet, Sværtegade and the Latin Quarter (pisserenden). Nyhavn is always a nice place to go in the evening during Christmas, but beware that its still fairly touristy.
The Christmas markets are of course a “must”. You can choose to simply wander through the Christmas markets at Nyhavn, Højbroplads and in Tivoli, or you can venture outside the City Centre and see the markets with a twist. If you are in Copenhagen during the first weekend of December you will for sure find me in Jægersborggade at Nørrebro, where the street is getting ready for Christmas with loads of activities and food and drink. It’s a cool crowd that hangs out in Jægersborggade so you are guaranteed lots of Copenhagen coolness venturing to this small sidestreet in our capital.
Other Christmas Markets are the more local and “different” markets. One of these local Christmas market, which I will be visiting is the “new designer Christmas market” where up and coming Danish designers sell self made items. It can be all from jewellery, to art, to clothes, “unika” products. It’s a great way to find out, what´s hot and what´s not on the Danish design scene. Its perhaps worth noting that most of the designers have already implemented high street prices so bring lots of cash 🙂
A personal favourite of mine is the Christmas market at Christiania. It is by far the most “hyggelige” Christmas market you will find in Copenhagen and also the market where the boundaries of Christmas is somewhat reinterpreted and stretched. What does that mean ? That simply means that you can buy lots of Christmas items and at the same time, you can for example buy a “free Tibet” t-shirt or a woolen bikini if you so wish (and who doesn´t ?!?).
Gløgg (Danish version of Mulled wine/Glühwein)
Those of you who have read my other Copenhagen tips, know that I have a huge love for wine. And the fact that the wine in this case is heated up and pimped with almonds, raisins and hard liquor, does not have an adverse effect on my fondness for wine. To put it very simple – Gløgg is a great drink, and just sitting writing this makes me want to close my laptop and make Gløgg. I have interval training with my guide colleague Jens tonight though, so no Gløgg today.
But where to get this hot stuff ? If you simply walk through the city, you can buy gløgg from the many street stands. This is OK Gløgg and will keep you temperature and spirits up on your continued walk. If you want to sit down and enjoy a good glass of Gløgg then head to the winebar R (Vinbar R), and let yourself taste one of Copenhagens best Gløggs. Most cafes and bars will during December be serving Gløgg so if you are nowhere near Vinbar R, then simply head to the nearest café and get your dose of Danish Christmas.
No update from Running Copenhagen without the running part. The best running activity to do is of course to join one of our running tours :-). (Read more about why you should run in Copenhagen during winter here.) On th 13th of December we are hosting a charity run called the Lucia Løb where we together with our best friends Kayak Republic run/kayak to three different locations in the city where we meet and sing the Lucia song. This is truly a unique and absolutely stunning running experience in Copenhagen and its free and its fun.
Danish Christmas Lunch
In Denmark we have a tradition of “Christmas lunch” and at these lunches we eat traditional Danish Smørrebrød and drink beer and lots of snaps. They are notorious for their excessive drinking, so if you are invited to a Danish Christmas lunch, then be prepared to write off the following day. This however also means that the city is a fun place to be on Friday and Saturday night all through December. Us Danes have Christmas lunch with our work, friends, family and sports clubs, so our December is very much about eating smørrebrød and drinking beer and snaps. If you are not invited to a Christmas Lunch then don’t let yourself miss out on this experience.
Swim like a Viking
Winter bathing is popular and the very best place to do this is at Kayak Bar. This is also where the Running Copenhagen office is located so we know for a fact that this is the best place in town to go to the sauna and jump in the harbour. The people of Kayak Bar are fantastic and there are a couple of hours every evening when the sauna is free. See their website for more details. It is also possible to book a running tour and a Sauna session where we first run a 8-10 km running tour and you finish off with the sauna all to yourself for one hour while you are enjoying the view to the Parliament, The National Bank and perhaps an ice covered canal.
And then all the other stuff
The above is only a fraction of what December in Copenhagen is like and my best tip is to enjoy it all and let yourself be inspired. Pop your head into the local church, stop by the street musicians, enjoy the many beautiful light decorations, chat to the person next to you on the bus and simply just soak it all up.
As for running, then December in Copenhagen is cold and its magical to go running in these conditions. The mornings are crisp and the evenings are usually finished off with a beautiful sunset so put on the wintertights and jacket and enjoy the cold wind blowing in your face.