Julemarked Højbro Plads: Copenhagen’s Enchanting Christmas Market

30-something year old Filipina woman with a brown beanie and a beige jacket, sipping on gløgg, a mulled wine, at Højbro Plads Christmas Market in Copenhagen, Denmark.

If you had told me three years ago (It is November 2022 as we speak) that I would be going to fly off to Europe and stroll around the Christmas Markets, I’d probably laugh and be in disbelief. 

Three years ago, I wrote about the small Christkindlmarkt in Sacramento. Fast forward a few months later, a momentous pandemic shook the world. Things looked so bleak that I was so worried I would never be able to travel again.

But hope was not lost as the world slowly started opening up. I decided to treat myself to a solo trip to Copenhagen for my belated 33rd birthday. It just so happened that some of the Christmas markets were open in mid-November. I visited the Christmas market in Højbro Plads, which is right near Strøget, one of the longest pedestrian streets in Europe. 

Julemarked (which literally means Christmas Market) at Højbro Plads is one of the many Christmas markets in Copenhagen. 

Christmas Market in Højbro Plads in Copenhagen, Denmark. There are light up trees, reindeer installations and wooden cabins as stalls. You also see the equestrian statue of Bishop Absalon.

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About Julemarked Højbro Plads

Højbro Plads’ Brief History

Højbro Plads did not exist until the 1795 Copenhagen fire. Before that, it was a dense neighborhood. Today? The plaza connects to Strøget, Copenhagen’s biggest shopping area (and one of Europe’s longest pedestrian streets!) and Christiansborg Palace. Højbro Plads is marked by the statue of Bishop Absalon, the founder of Copenhagen as a city.

The Enchanting Christmas Market in Copenhagen Today

Every year, from mid-November to days before Christmas, over 180,000 lights illuminate Højbro Plads along with surrounding Christmas trees, decorations, and log cabins selling crafts and holiday treats. Thousands crowd the square with loved ones and enjoy a nice cup of gløgg, while children play and savor hot chocolate.

Rows of log cabins spread Højbro Plads as booths selling drinks, desserts, gifts, holiday decorations, and knitted scarves and gloves.

While you will see traditional Danish holiday goodies, this Christmas Market draws inspiration from other European cities (especially from Germany). You can see it with one of the cabins serving the German glühwein alongside the Scandanavian gløgg. You may also come across one cabin selling Italian pastries, and another one selling Greek gyro sandwiches.

A booth selling Christmas decor in Copenhagen at the Højbro Plads Christmas Market

What to see

Lights, lights, everywhere

With almost 200,000 lights strung on the cabins, Christmas trees, and reindeer installations, you feel like you stepped out of a fairytale. Night time is the best time to visit, but it’s also beautiful when the sun sets and the sky is a darker bright blue.

Højbro Plads Christmas Market in Copenhagen, lit up tree and reindeer installation

Gifts to bring back home

There are so many cabins selling Christmas decor, art, and ornaments to bring home. Since I didn’t have much room left in my bags, I wanted to get something small, simple, and related to Copenhagen and/or Denmark. I ended up buying a Denmark flag Christmas ornament made from Nielgaard Glass Art, one of the vendors. I can’t wait to add it to our tree!

So if you’re stuck on what kind of souvenirs to get for family and friends, scope out what the vendors are selling. That way, you’re supporting Danish businesses!

glass ornament with of the Denmark flag sold from Nielgaard Glass Art in Copenhagen's Højbro Plads Christmas Market
Chocolate gifts in different shapes (such as shoes, utensils, sheep, clocks, etc.) at Copenhagen's Højbro Plads Christmas Market

Santa and his sleigh

Santa comes sometime in the evening, so don’t miss an opportunity to take a photo with him! I didn’t get a chance to because I felt weird about taking a photo with him by myself since I went solo. I regret not taking one and wish I didn’t worry about what other people thought of it, especially people I would never see again.

Even if you don’t get a chance to see or take a photo with Santa, you can always take some photos in his sleigh, which has a permanent spot in this Christmas market in Copenhagen.

What to eat and drink

æbleskiver

This deep-fried donut hole is a classic Danish holiday treat. The name actually means “apple slice”, as in the past, there used to be an apple slice as a filling. The cabin that serves æbleskiver has three pieces dusted with powder and raspberry jam. I loved it so much that I had it three times during my stay!

æbleskiver, a deep fried donut hole with jam and powdered sugar at Copenhagen's Højbro Plads Christmas Market

Currywurst

I’m not a huge sausage or hot dog eater, but I wonder what I was missing out on before I tried currywurst. This German dish consists of cut up sausages marinated with curry ketchup, curry powder and other spices. Normally, it’s served with a side of fries, but the cabin served it with a hot dog bun and you just plop it on top. My tastebuds were partying!

Currywurst at Copenhagen's Højbro Christmas Market

Gløgg

No Christmas market in Copenhagen is complete without a warm cup of gløgg, a Swedish mulled wine with dried fruits and nuts (which are meant to be eaten). There is usually a splash of aquavit, a Scandanavian liquor. If not, most subsitute with vodka. In Højbro Plads, you can also pay more for gløgg with more alcohol.

Gløgg, a Swedish mulled wine, sold at Copenhagen's Højbro Plads Christmas market

Gløgg vs. glühwein: What’s the difference?

We know that gløgg is the Scandanavian version of the widely-known German glühwein, but what else? You’ll find star anise in glühwein, but not gløgg. Glühwein does not use cardamom and ginger, while those are staples in gløgg. Both have cinnamon, cloves and orange. Gløgg is a lot sweeter, and adds the dried fruits, nuts, and liquor not found in glühwein.

Mini crepes

One of the cabins served mini crepes, that come in batches in a paper container. You can add sauces of your choice and even alcohol! I ordered it with Nutella and Bailey’s, which was quite an interesting combination. It’s so fun (and cute) seeing the cook make them in his very own mini crepe maker!

Mini crepes with Nutella and Bailey's sold at Copenhagen's Højbro Plads Christmas market

Churros

Yes, you heard that right. Christmas markets all over Copenhagen sell churros as well. While I haven’t tried it, my tour guide from Copenhagen Free Walking Tours raved about them (well, specifically the ones in Nyhavn).

Hot Chocolate

Not in the mood for gløgg or anything alcoholic? You can never go wrong with hot chocolate, especially for kids. I recommend getting the hot chocolate at the cabin that also serves æbleskiver. It’s nice, rich, and velvety, especially with the whipped cream!

hot chocolate and æbleskiver sold at Højbro Plads, Copenhagen's Christmas Market.

Other Christmas Markets in Copenhagen

Spoiler alert: there are other Christmas markets in Copenhagen you have to check out. With Denmark being the home of hygge, do Christmas markets not exude coziness?!

I came a week or two earlier before all the other Christmas markets opened up. Oh well, I guess that’s the trade-off for being to book a trip during Veterans Day weekend in the US and not lose too much time off, correct?! After all, I could always use it as an excuse to come back…I have fallen in love with Copenhagen, after all 🙂 And who knows, maybe Cecilio and I will have a kid in tow if we ever come back one of these years!

Tivoli Gardens Christmas Market

There is nothing more magical than holiday cheer in Tivoli Gardens, one of Europe’s oldest amusement parks (they also inspired Disney!). There are also more traditional Danish food options like roasted pork sandwiches, rice pudding, and marzipan. The rides are open, and at night there are light projections all around. You can also watch The Nutcracker in the Tivoli Concert Hall!

Julemarked Kongens Nytorv

A few blocks away lies a Christmas Market in Nongens Nytorv, which is right next to Nyhavn and Charlottenborg Palace. It is the most similar to Højbro Plad’s Christmas market and is only a few minutes away.

Nyhavn Christmas Market

There are cabins and stalls across Nyhavn, Copenhagen’s most popular and photographed attraction! For a quintessential, hyggelig Copenhagen experience during cooler months, you cannot miss walking around Nyhavn with even more gløgg and æbleskiver in your hands!

Hans Christian Andersen Christmas Market

Named after Denmark’s most famous children’s author, this Christmas market is located in the heart of Strøget. It’s suited for people of all ages, but especially for the little ones!

Christiana Jukemarked

This is not your typical Christmas market, that’s for sure. And it certainly isn’t family friendly. This market is located in Freetown Christiana, an autonomous district in Copenhagen’s Christianshavn neighborhood. Formely a military base, Freetown Christiana is a hippie town known as a Green Light District, selling cannabis even though it’s illegal in Denmark. In the Freetown Christiana Christmas market, you’ll be able to find handmade goods from independent artists.

Don’t miss out on the Højbro Plads Christmas market!

I loved spending time at Højbro Plads that I probably spent more time there in lieu of other attractions and restaurants in Copenhagen I could’ve been going to, lol! I highly recommend going if you ever do have a chance to visit Copenhagen in November and December, especially because it starts in early November!

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Hannah is a travel writer, graphic designer, and the founder/editor of Hannah on Horizon. She is based in Sacramento, California, living with her husband and two adorable dogs. She shares tips on how to experience luxury travel on any budget, and how to maximize time at each trip or destination, no matter what your budget or amount of vacation time at work. She enjoys making you feel like you have visited each destination with her through her storytelling and informative writing style.

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