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Tivoli Gardens: Discover the Iconic Amusement Park of Copenhagen

by Paola Bertoni
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Tivoli Gardens is a magical destination deeply rooted in Copenhagen’s history and culture. This iconic amusement park, located in the heart of the city, offers rides to visitors of all ages, an aquarium and various theatres that host regular cultural events. A visit to Tivoli Gardens is a must-see for anyone in Copenhagen who wants to experience the essence of the city’s cultural and family fun offerings.

About Tivoli Gardens in Copenhagen

Tivoli Gardens is a beautiful urban park near the train station in the heart of Copenhagen. The amusement park inside sets it apart, featuring a wide range of rides, from the classic fairytale-like ones to the most modern ones.

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The park was inaugurated on 15th August 1843 and is currently the third oldest operating amusement park worldwide, after Dyrehavsbakken in Denmark and Wurstelprater in Austria. Many famous personalities have visited the Tivoli park many times, including the Danish writer Hans Christian Andersen and Walt Disney, who drew inspiration from it for Disney World.

The park’s name comes from the Jardin de Tivoli in Paris, itself called after the town of Tivoli near Rome, a place so magnificent that Virgil mentioned it as Tibur Superbum. The original name of Tivoli Gardens was Tivoli & Vauxhall, where Vauxhall meant to recall London’s Vauxhall Gardens.

The founder, Georg Carstensen, apparently obtained the concession from King Christian VIII to construct the park, thanks to the suggestion ‘When people are having fun, they don’t think about politics’. From the outset, Tivoli Gardens was conceived as an amusement park and included a variety of attractions: theatre, restaurants, mechanical rides and even buildings in the style of an imaginary Orient.

For the Danes, Tivoli Gardens is a collective good to be preserved and protected. In 1943, during the Nazi occupation, many of Tivoli’s buildings, including the concert hall, were razed to the ground. The people of Copenhagen reacted decisively, constructing temporary buildings to bring the park back into use after a few weeks as if to emphasise the value of Tivoli Gardens as a symbol of the Danish capital.

One of the theatres in Copenhagen's Tivoli Gardens
One of the theatres in Copenhagen’s Tivoli Gardens

Tivoli Gardens in Copenhagen: activities and must-see attractions

Tivoli Park is an essential landmark in Denmark. It holds great significance due to its historical importance. I recommend visiting Tivoli Gardens multiple times yearly, as each month features different themed decorations. The park changes its aspect and transforms into a magical wonderland during festivities like Halloween and Christmas.

The park is open every day and remains open until evening. Still, if you plan to visit in the evening, go on a Saturday. On Saturday evenings, the park is illuminated with spectacular fireworks, adding charm and making it an even more delightful attraction.

Rides

The rides in Tivoli Gardens blend in with the park’s architecture. Some have a romantic and nostalgic feel, such as the Ferris wheel adorned with balloons and the flying trunk that takes you on a journey through Hans Christian Andersen’s famous fairy tales.

There are also vintage-looking carousels, some more traditional with horses, carriages and revolving tea cups. Others are Indian-colonial-themed with animals like giraffes and elephants. Additionally, several toy trains and car rides are perfect for young children, which we have enjoyed numerous times.

For thrill-seekers, Tivoli Gardens also has several roller coasters. The park’s oldest and most popular ride is a wooden roller coaster inaugurated in 1914. On the other hand, the Vertigo, awarded Best Ride in Europe in 2014, flips you over at 100 km/h.

Chains carousel at Tivoli Gardens in Copenhagen
Chains carousel at Tivoli Gardens in Copenhagen

Aquarium

There is a small aquarium inside the park, which consists of several tanks. The main tank in the Tivoli Aquarium is 30 meters long and replicates a tropical coral reef. Inside, you can observe over 100 fish species, including sharks, rays, moray eels, and various small, colourful fish. The smaller tanks are home to piranhas and octopuses.

Theatres

Tivoli Gardens offers a daily live music program that hosts regular events. The park is a popular destination for Danes, who attend theatre shows that feature seasonal programs catering to fans of different musical genres.

The music program includes various events such as Mundo Monday, featuring music from all corners of the world, Tuesday Tunes, which showcases Danish songs and evergreens, and Jazzy Wednesday, dedicated to jazz music. On Saturday evenings, the Tivoli Big Band and the Tivoli Late Night Orchestra provide swing music at Tivoli Park.

Restaurants and breweries

Tivoli Gardens offers various food options, from street food to restaurants. During the summer, visitors can even bring their picnic. Still, the reasonable prices of the park’s eateries make it worthwhile to sample their cuisine.

For lunch, we visited the Tivoli Food Hall. It features food stands from different countries, offering everything from traditional Danish cuisine to burritos, gourmet burgers and Chinese dumplings. At the Tivoli Food Hall, we tasted some delicious smørrebrød, the typical Danish cold lunch. You can enter both from outside and inside the park.  

Tivoli Gardens also houses more upscale restaurants, such as the one in the Nimb Hotel and beer gardens. For dinner, we decided on Faergekroen Bryghus, a brewery with exposed beer kegs, which served a gastropub menu alongside handcrafted blond and amber lagers.

Tivoli Food Hall entrance on the park side
The Food Hall entrance on the park side

Tivoli Gardens with kids: the best family fun in Copenhagen

Tivoli Gardens is an ideal destination to spend a day with children. The amusement park offers a range of rides in a neat, family-friendly setting. The park has a variety of attractions, from roller coasters, including mini roller coasters for children, to the Ferris wheel, toy trains, an aquarium, and toy cars, all located within a vast city park, with refreshment places almost everywhere.

You will receive a map at the entrance gate with all the attractions, but I suggest not relying too much on it. When visiting the park with children, keeping to a precise schedule is impossible because there are so many rides.

Best rides for children

You only have to wander around to find the most catchy attractions for your kids. As they were my son’s favourite, we went on the same carousels and children’s trains repeatedly during our visit.

We also tried the roller coaster designed for little ones with camels. Although intended for children, they were still quite terrifying for me, while my son merely commented that they went too fast. I recommend to give a go to the beautiful circuit with vintage toy cars.

Tips for visiting Tivoli Gardens with kids

In my experience, there are so many rides that your child will not feel hungry or sleepy. We had lunch in the Food Hall and dinner at a brewery inside Tivoli Gardens, but you could also go out and get a stamp on your hand if you prefer. However, I suggest staying inside the park because the prices are the same as outside restaurants.

When visiting with children, it is better to go for a ticket with unlimited rides. It may cost more, but you will pay it off in half a day because it allows you to go on all rides without paying for each attraction individually.

Paola Bertoni's son, riding a wolf on a merry-go-round at Copenhagen's Tivoli Gardens
My son, riding a wolf on a merry-go-round at Copenhagen’s Tivoli Gardens

Practical information for visiting Tivoli Gardens in Copenhagen

If you are visiting Copenhagen, Tivoli Gardens is a must-see attraction. Initially, I was sceptical about dedicating an entire day to an amusement park. Still, after visiting Tivoli, I would happily go back. The park has a truly magical atmosphere with unique decorations that amaze you.

The rides are enjoyable and suitable for everyone, while the food is of excellent quality at average prices for the Danish capital. Tivoli Park is a perfect destination for the whole family that will keep everyone engaged and entertained.

How much cost to visit Tivoli Gardens

To access the Tivoli Gardens, you must purchase an entrance ticket that doesn’t include access to the rides. To enjoy the unlimited rides, you need two separate tickets: one for the entrance and one for the rides. You can buy these tickets in a combo or individually at the ticket counter:

If you plan to visit the park with kids between 3 and 7 years of age, remember that they get a discount on the admission fee, but you’ll still have to pay around €20 per person. If you want unlimited rides, it will cost you €35 per person.

However, if you have purchased the Copenhagen City Card, admission to Tivoli Gardens is already included, so you don’t need to buy it. Just purchase the pass for unlimited rides, highly recommended, especially if you’re travelling with children.

The unlimited rides pass lets you enjoy all the beautiful and numerous rides without additional charges, saves you a lot of time in long queues, and is cost-effective. Moreover, it also includes admission to the aquarium.

The Tivoli Gardens app

Before visiting Tivoli Gardens, download the Tivoli app to your phone to get the park map and follow the event programmes in real-time. The app lets you download your free rollercoaster photos, included in the unlimited rides ticket.

How to get to Tivoli Gardens

Tivoli Gardens is conveniently located in the heart of Copenhagen, making it easily accessible from anywhere in the city. Multiple entrances are available for visitors, including those with pre-purchased tickets and those who need to purchase them from the ticket machines or staffed ticket office at the main entrance. I recommend purchasing the cumulative ticket in advance to skip the line.

One of the entrances is located directly in front of Copenhagen Central Station (København H), so if you are staying outside the city or in the suburbs, you can easily reach the gardens by train or metro. The metro has a stop right next to the train station. If you are arriving by car, you can park at nearby facilities with an agreement with the park. Check the website for prices and addresses.

Tivoli Gardens
Vesterbrogade, 3
1630 København

Where to stay in Copenhagen

There are plenty of options for a Scandinavian-style stay in Copenhagen, including boutique hotels and designer flats. I stayed at Hotel Danmark by Brøchner Hotels, offering city views from its rooftop terrace. The 25hours Hotel Indre By is another recommended stylish hotel with a restaurant, bar, and sauna. If you’re on a budget, consider staying at Generator Copenhagen, a hostel with private rooms and dormitories, a late-night bar, and free Wi-Fi.

If you have had the chance to experience the wonder of Tivoli Gardens or decide to visit after reading this post, feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below.

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