Copenhagen's Tivoli Gardens, Europe's Magical Theme Park

Tivoli Gardens, Copenhagen’s Magical Theme Park

When you think of European theme parks, what springs to mind? France’s Parc Asterix? PortAventura World in Spain? Germany’s Europa-Park? Disneyland Paris? It may not have quite the international reputation of these and other European parks, but Copenhagen’s Tivoli Gardens still offers a magical and unforgettable theme park experience.

Tivoli Gardens

This utterly charming park was built in the centre of Copenhagen in 1843, making it the world’s second-oldest amusement park. Shamelessly designed as an opiate for the masses, with founder Georg Carstensen telling then King Christian VIII that “when the people are amusing themselves, they do not thing about politics,” the park still entertains and delights visitors nearly two hundred years on.

In its first year of operations, Hans Christian Anderson visited the park and penned one of his most famous tales, The Nightingale, which took its inspiration from Tivoli Garden’s manicured landscapes and beguiling lights. The fairytale quality that Anderson perceived lives on, and each year, countless visitors find similar forms of enchantment in the park.

The Attractions of Tivoli Gardens

In its early years, Tivoli Gardens featured countless unique attractions for visitors to enjoy. These included Asian architecture-inspired structures, various band shells, a full theatre, manicured lawns and flower gardens, as well as primitive mechanical amusement rides, including a merry-go-round and scenic railway. At night, brightly coloured lamps cast a distinctive glow over the park, drawing visitors from all across the city. Regular fireworks displays also drew spectators in the early years.

Today’s attractions include a fully functioning historical Roller Coaster (or Rutschebanen), built entirely from wood in 1914. Along with many modern rides (including a 4-G Zamperla Air Race Ride), the park includes historic Bumper Cars (dating back to 1926) and Galley Ships (built in 1927) as well as giant swings and boat-centred amusements. The Pantomime Theatre puts on free pantomime shows, while the historic Aquarium and Amusement arcades are also popular drawcards. Little wonder, then, that Tivoli Gardens is the world’s most-visited seasonal theme park.

One spectacle created for 2017 is Olafur Eliasson’s light installation, the Little Sun Light Swarm, which features sculptural solar lights placed around the park’s trees. Eliasson’s installation adds to an already charming atmosphere, making Tivoli Gardens an essential destination for visitors to Copenhagen.

In 2018, Tivoli Gardens was included in Time Magazine’s list of the world’s greatest places citing the Fatamorgana, which is actually three rides in one. At the bottom of the ride are mini-bumper cars for children aged 5 years and up. The tower spins at two speeds–the fast one, not for the fainthearted, have guests seated in a ring with their back towards the centre while they are propelled to great speed, while the slow version gives riders time to enjoy the scenic view.

Odyssey Traveller tours in Denmark

Tivoli Gardens

On Odyssey Traveller’s Culture & History of Denmark tour, we learn more about the magic of Tivoli Gardens, and experience its many attractions during our 20 days in Denmark.

If you would like to explore more of Scandinavia, why not try our Scandinavian small group tour? On this tour, we’ll journey to Norway, Sweden, and Denmark, soaking in the best of this region’s food, culture, landscapes, and museums.