Magic in Scandinavia’s Fun Capital


If you’re looking for «wonderful wonderful Copenhagen» you’re guaranteed to find it in the capital’s gabled Tivoli Gardens.

No one enjoys this classic amusement park more than the Danes themselves; since the day it opened I 1843, a visit here has been a much-loved summertime tradition. More than 100,000 twinkling white Christmas lights and 400,000 flowers set the fun-filled (and in the evening, romantic) scene.

The park’s 20 leafy acres feature carnival games, marching bands, and amusement rides (the creaky 1914 roller coaster is the same vintage as the merry-go-round of tiny Viking ships).

Dance halls, beer gardens, and a full schedule of mostly free open-air stage performances keep young and old entertained and coming back. There are dozens of restaurants and food pavilions – some of them very elegant but pricey. Traditional Tivoli fare of pølser (hot dogs with fried onions) is usually heaven enough for most.

Divan 2 was the most renowned restaurant in the gardens, in operation since they were first built in an area well outside the city center by King Christian VIII. It was Tivoli’s most refined (read: expensive) dining venue with an impeccable French menu, but declared unfortunately bancruptcy before Tivoli opened its doors for the 2011 summer season.

However the Nimb Terrace is an excellent alternative. Serving seasonal cuisine with a focus on local harvest, flavour and eye pleasing presentation, the restaurant invites diners to explore the creative menu and enjoy the same-sized dishes in any preferred order.


131-year old Grøften, ‘The Ditch’, is one of Tivoli’s oldest and most venerable establishments. Part of the restaurant stands more os less as when it opened. Since then, the restaurant has branched out covering quite a large outdoor seating area, parts of which bear names such as Granny’s Garden or The Schnapps Gallery.

Grøften specializes in traditional Danish fare prepared as Granny herself would do. Home made rolled pork sausage, roast pork and fried fillet of plaice are among the age-old favourites. This restaurant is very well-known in Denmark since it is frequented by real as well as wannabe celebrities, who convene here to see and be seen. If you are lucky enough to rub elbows with someone famous, you can wash down the experience with a nice glass of schnapps – there are more than 12 kinds to choose from.

Tivoli, said to have inspired Walt Disney to create Disneyland, is light years removed from the archetypical American amusement park. Now wonder we’ve named Copenhagen Scandinavia’s fun capital.

Tivoli Gardens will be open from April 10 this year.

Written by Tor Kjolberg