Tivoli Gardens – Copenhagen, Denmark

Keeping the Magic Alive in Scandinavia’s Fun Capital

If you’re looking for “wonderful, wonderful Copenhagen,” you’re guaranteed to find it in the capital’s fabled Tivoli Gardens. No one enjoys this classic amusement park more than the Danes themselves; since the day it opened in 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 is 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 is Tivoli’s most refined (read: expensive) dining venue with an impeccable French menu. Its less-expensive and more informal sister establishment, Divan 1, leans more toward local cuisine. Tivoli, said to have inspired Walt Disney to create Disney­land, is light years removed from the arche­typal American amusement park.

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