Last year we were in the lovely city of Antigua in Guatemala for the festive season. We enjoyed ourselves, but Christmas is not celebrated in Central America in quite the same way as it is in Europe. In fact, Easter is the biggest religious celebration and Christmas tends to take a backseat.
The Independent Town of Christiania
Back in the UK, we decided to embrace the festive season this year. So we spent a couple of days visiting Copenhagen, a city known for its seasonal delights and Christmas markets.
After an EasyJet flight of one hour and forty minutes from London, we found ourselves at Copenhagen Airport. A twelve-minute ride on the metro and we were in Cristianshavn, a picturesque area criss-crossed by canals. Our first stop was at nearby hippie village Christiania, a short walk from the metro station. As we made our way there, we noticed that cycling is the most popular method of transport in Copenhagen. Bikes were everywhere!
Christiania is an independent self-governing area full of incredible street art, galleries, eco-houses and vegan eateries. The aroma of pot hung in the air as we explored the main drag of Pusher Street. We have always had an interest in alternative culture. Consequently, we found it fascinating to spend a couple of exploring this unique area.
In all honesty, the atmosphere didn’t feel particularly welcoming. The taking of photographs was banned in Pusher Street and the residents seemed a little wary of outsiders. Nevertheless, we enjoyed our visit and it provided an interesting insight into Christiania.
The Fabulously Festive Tivoli Gardens
We strolled through the city to the famous Tivoli Gardens, via a couple of Christmas Markets. For the few weeks prior to Christmas, the gardens transform into a winter wonderland. Nordic huts, snowmen and Christmas trees are strewn with snow. Actually, it was fake snow – we were a few days too early for genuine snowfall!
Restaurants and cafes served up festive fare including hot caramelized almonds and warming glogg (Denmark’s version of mulled wine). Meanwhile, shops did a roaring trade in Christmas decorations and gifts. As a matter of fact, the gardens are also home to one of the oldest amusement parks in the world. As the sun went down, the lights came up, making the gardens appear even more spectacular.
The next morning, we headed to the colourful street of Nyhavn. Vibrantly painted houses and restaurants line the famous canal. Wooden huts were selling festive snacks and hot drinks, not to mention locally made produce. We couldn’t miss out on visiting the Little Mermaid, which was situated nearby. Despite its popularity, we have to admit that we considered the statue to be somewhat over-rated as a tourist attraction!
We spent the afternoon shopping in Stroget. It is certainly a lively area. Shopping opportunities range from stylish department stores to small independent shops. Many of shops are hidden away in the narrow lanes off the main drag. Needless to say, there were plenty of festive offerings. In fact, we left loaded up with Christmas napkins and decorations.
Copenhagen makes a great weekend break from the UK, especially in December. Assisted by a combination of copious amounts of glogg and lots of Christmas sparkle, we returned to the UK full of festive spirit.