Lifestyle

6 industry insiders share their guide to Christmas in Copenhagen

By Anna Clarke
christinesofiej CHRISTINE SOFIE

Vogue Scandinavia gathers together Cathrine Saks, Trine Kjær, Naomi Anwer and more to spill the gløgg on their must-visit spots to make merry in the Danish capital

Copenhagen is a city that lends itself seamlessly to the festive period. Its quaint, charming cobbled streets – like those of Magstræde and Snaregade – all decked out in ultra-chic all-white glittering Christmas lights give the city an extra layer of sparkle and magic.

And come December, it’s time to fully embrace the Yuletide joy with endless Christmas lunches, gift-giving, and, inevitably, lots of gløgg-infused cheer. So skip Tivoli, and go beyond the usual tourist traps to discover what else the Nordic city has to offer.

Here, seven in-the-know Copenhageners share their all-time festive favourites:

Joy M’Batha - Singer

Last year, my boyfriend took me and some friends to Det Lille Apotek for the first time – it’s a really old classic Danish restaurant on a cobbled, historical street in central Copenhagen. We ate smørrebrød with herring and had lots of snaps around a big circular table, all scooched together to fit us all in – it’s a great place to have fun with friends. I'm usually not a big snaps person, but for these sorts of moments, I definitely am. They have so many variations too, including fig and sea buckthorn. I'm planning on going again this year for a Christmas date!

Joy M’Batha

Joy with her boyfriend at Det Lille Apotek. Photo: Joy M’Batha

Det Lille Apotek

Det Lille Apotek is the oldest restaurant in Copenhagen. Photo: Det Lille Apotek

Joy M’Batha vogue

Photo: Joy M’Batha

Camilla Hosbjerg - Founder of Hosbjerg

I’m a sucker for Christmas, I love all the festivities. We have a tradition at the Hosbjerg office where, every Christmas, we go to Granola cafe and bar on Værnedamsvej, to sit and have a glass of gløgg and get into the festive spirit. Their gløgg is the perfect potency – it’s not too strong – plus, it has raisins and almonds in it. The street outside has beautiful Christmas lights strung up and feels like a city within the city with all its little independent shops. We sit outside with blankets and watch people pass by – all different types and styles cycle past. It’s so cosy.

Camilla Hosbjerg

Camilla and her team love to visit Granola for a glass of gløgg. Photo: Camilla Hosbjerg

Camilla Hosbjerg

Camilla Hosbjerg outside Granola. Photo: Camilla Hosbjerg

Camilla Hosbjerg

Cathrine Saks - co-founder Saks Potts

It’s a family tradition for us to always have a Christmas lunch at Sankt Annæ, a very old restaurant in the heart of Copenhagen. It’s so popular that we always book a year in advance. We sit at a long table, so everyone can sit together, and the food is as traditional as it gets: we start with the fish dishes, like homemade curried herring with egg or salmon with salt and dill on rye or toast, then comes the meat, such as frikadeller [pan-fried meatballs]. For dessert, it’s risalamande (rice pudding) – in Denmark, we hide an almond in it for fun and my mother-in-law brings presents for whoever finds it. The lunch can last hours!

Cathrine Saks

Sankt Annæ is a Danish institution, says Saks Pott's co-founder Cathrine, pictured in the restaurant. Photo: Cathrine Saks

Sankt Annæ's opulent private dining room.

Catherine Saks

Photo: Catherine Saks

Christine Sofie Johansen - Model

In Denmark, people often meet friends in the days leading up to Christmas, so my husband Rasmus and I will usually go to Beau Marché on 23 December. It’s an interior design shop, cafe, and bistro run by a French-Danish family who are great hosts. They sell a mix of new and vintage pieces, sourced from flea markets in France, including furniture, vases, and Christmas decorations. Every year, Christian, the son, does the vin chaud (mulled wine) in this huge pot. You can walk around the store with your wine, looking at all the pretty things, and can always count on running into someone you know. It’s like nothing else in Copenhagen.

Christine Sofie Johansen

Christine's favourite festive spot is Beau Marché, the perfect place to find that unusual Christmas gift. Photo: Christine Sofie Johansen

Beau Marché

Inside Beau Marché. Photo: Beau Marché

christinesofiej CHRISTINE SOFIE

Helle Mardahl - Artist

I love the Copenhagen Christmas spirit – December is a magic month. The city’s decorations are so romantic and delicate, it feels intimate. I love to go to Pastis, a French brasserie on Gothersgade. It’s got lovely old-school French-style interiors, with a marble bar, white table cloths, and fresh flowers on every table. Get the oysters with Champagne, while the waiters are milling around dressed in black and white suits. If you can’t get to Paris, this is the next best thing.

Patis

The interior of Pastis, a French brasserie on Gothersgade. Photo: Helle Mardahl

Helle Mardahl

Helle Mardahl in her studio. Photo: Helle Mardahl

Patis

Oysters at Pastis make a great alternative to the usual Christmas meal. Photo: Helle Mardahl

Naomi Anwer - Content Creator

For me, Christmas is all about the food and, so, it’s tradition to go for a meal with friends at restaurant Kronborg, for sild [herring] and snaps. It’s situated in an old building, so the acoustics are terrible, but that just makes it feel even cosier. You dine in a classic Danish manner, with the cold fish first and then move on to the warm stuff, and end with cheese. Their snaps are homemade too – and my favourite is flavoured with fennel, which tastes a bit like liquorice, and is very alcoholic!

Naomi Anwer

Photo: Naomi Anwer

restaurant Kronborg, for sild [herring] and snaps

A classic Danish Christmas lunch at Restaurant Kronborg is a must-visit. Photo: Kronborg

Naomi Anwer christmas

One of Naomi's favourite bits about the Christmas period is the festive lunches and the opportunity to spend it with friends. Photo: Naomi Anwer

Trine Kjær - Stylist & Creative Consultant

Every December, I meet up with my friends at Hviids Vinstue, an old, brown bar situated at Kongens Nytorv, in central Copenhagen. It’s been a tradition ever since I moved here 10 years ago. It’s one of the most Christmassy spots in Copenhagen with a view of Nyhavn and Hotel d'Angleterre’s beautiful Christmas decorations. The atmosphere inside is laidback and rumour has it that the gløgg is the strongest, and best, in town. The first time I went there, my friend and I got carried away and had three glasses each before going Christmas shopping. We had so much fun.

Trine Kjær

Kjær last Christmas. Photo: Trine Kjær

Hviids Vinstue was founded in 1723.

Trine Kjær

Photo: Trine Kjær