About a century before Disneyland was constructed, Tivoli Gardens was welcoming its first visitors to this idyllic Denmark amusement park nestled into scenic Copenhagen – with Hans Christian Anderson himself in attendance! The gardens and classic rides bring up a sense of nostalgia for a simpler time – something that has been lost in the more modern parks.
After success with changing the park over to a Christmas theme in the 90s, visiting Tivoli Gardens at Halloween for autumn-themed fun became a new option for guests beginning in 2006. However, the family-friendly atmosphere is still maintained, with silly pumpkins and friendly ghosts rather than jump scares and gruesome scenes other parks go for.
Intro to Tivoli Gardens in Copenhagen
Built in 1843, Tivoli is the second oldest amusement park in the world. Although the Disney parks are now much better known, this park is thought to be what inspired Walt Disney – who visited many times prior to constructing his own park.
As a Florida kid who frequented Disney World, it was interesting to see some comparisons. The Flying Trunk had similarities to It’s a Small World and The Roller Coaster reminded me of a first draft of Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. But no idea if those were there for Walt’s visit.
However, it is said that Disney was inspired by the beautiful gardens, rides, and fireworks. While looking at this classic amusement park compared to the enormous city-like experience Walt Disney World has become, it’s unfair to compare them against each other.
Disney certainly has some fancier, more technologically advanced upgrades that make it quite a magical experience. But, Tivoli just has far more charm, in my opinion. And WAYYYY less crowds. Which I’d prefer any day.
Know Before You Visit
Opening Dates of Tivoli
Before you plan your trip, be sure to check the hours and opening dates for any changes. This is a seasonal park with closing times between its summer (1 Apr. – 20 Sep.), Halloween (9 Oct. – 1 Nov.), Christmas (16 Nov. – 5 Jan.), and winter (31 Jan. – 23 Feb.) seasons. If you don’t want to miss Tivoli during your visit to Copenhagen, plan ahead!
The park usually opens at 10 or 11 in the morning and closes by 10 or 11 at night. But, sometimes rides have their own hours. We recommend planning a few hours in the morning and a few at night, if possible. But, if you can only pick one – night time is pretty romantic!
Tickets & Options
On this trip, we were guests of Tivoli and also got their permission to take photos during our visit. However, after getting to check it all out, we’d highly recommend getting the ride pass during your visit.
A normal entry ticket doesn’t include rides – which is a good option if you just want to enjoy the classic vibe and beautiful setup. But, if you want to go on the rides you can get an additional ride pass or an all-inclusive pass. Be sure to check the Tivoli website for special offers as well as extras you can add on to your visit.
Ticket Options for Visitors (8 Years and Older)
- Entrance 155 DKK (~US$23)
- Ride Pass 169 DKK (~US$25)
- Tivoli Packages 439-689 DKK (~US$65-103) – includes all rides and other options
This can be an expensive visit if you don’t plan well, but many of the packages are a great deal – especially with a meal and drink included, as well as ride photos.
Note: These are prices as of July 2023.
Food & Drinks in the Park
Once you get to the park, you can really stay all day. There are plenty of food, snack, and drink options. Some candy shops even offer free samples!
A go-to option at the park is the Tivoli Food Hall which has options from all over the world. Just be sure to get a stamp when heading in since this counts as leaving the park and you’ll need that to reenter.
Inside the park, there is Rasmus Klump’s Pandekagehus for pancakes, a few cafes for sandwiches and local fare, the pirate ship for a unique atmosphere, and our favorite – Frank’s Toast.
Plus, a few places for beer are conveniently located around the park, as well as vendors serving hot wine on cold nights and a place to sip Jameson.
Rides & Activities
Fun fact: Buddy does not do twisty-turny, uspide-downy rides. I love them. So, when we go to amusement parks, we do all the cutesy, relaxing (aka kid) rides together, then I check off the more thrilling stuff solo. Since Buddy is the photographer in our little team, this works just fine.
Most Charming Rides
The Galley Ships: Quick, silly ride that spins in a circle with fun effects.
The Flying Trunk (Den Flyvende Kuffert): This fairy tale ride takes you through the mind of Hans Christian Anderson with little summary scenes of his most famous stories – like Thumbelina, the Snow Queen, the Princess and the Pea, and the Little Mermaid.
The Classic Carousel & Vintage Cars are other cute options!
Rides with Best Views
The Ferris Wheel: This is the best view of the park! You get to look down over the rides and do some fun people watching. All while in a classic Ferris wheel, that’s even decorated seasonally.
Fatamorgana: This unique ride spins and twirls to give you a little bit of a thrill, but it also has AWESOME views of the surrounding area!
The Star Flyer: A high-flying swing ride (even turned into brooms for Halloween!). Apparently, on a clear day, you can see all the way to Sweden. This is a must, IMHO. Such a fun, thrilling, yet beautiful ride. It was a favorite that just filled me with child-like wonder.
Note: On this ride, you have to completely empty your pockets, even zipped ones. But, they do have a shelved area to put your things that they make sure everyone gets their belongings from before unlatching the exit gate.
Best Rides for Couples
The Roller Coaster: You can see the snow-topped mountain from all around the park. This cute ride takes you inside it to see polar bears and other fun friends – along with some mild thrills and drops.
Kids Rides!: There’s something so hilarious about fitting your adult butt in one of these rides that are obviously made with kids in mind.
The Mine laser shooting ride, Dragon Boats, and Bumper Cars are great interactive rides for those competitive couples out there looking for a laugh.
Super Fun Spinny Rides
Tik Tak: Spinning while spinning sounds like a recipe for an upset stomach, but this time-travel-themed ride was an absolute blast. I was afraid I’d get motion sickness, but instead, I was laughing hysterically.
Aquila: Another ride that flips your stomach upside down in the most wonderful way. As you soar above the park, your eagle flips around offering a fun, wild ride.
The Demon: This quick ride loops through a vibrant area of the park. It also offers a virtual reality option (at an extra cost).
Vertigo: I nick-named this the nope. I’m pretty game for any ride, but this thing terrified me. Plunging face-first to the cement after spinning and flying through the air. Nope. If you try it, let me know!
The nearby Golden Tower is another fun ride to scream your head off on!
Other Fun at Tivoli
Between rides, be sure to stop in all the cure little shops and booths for food, drinks, and cute souvenirs or candy. We loved window shopping and sampling here!
They also have lots of arcade and fair-style games. Plus, a regular show great for the kiddos (although, not in English).
How they Change Up Tivoli Gardens at Halloween
One of the fun things about Tivoli Gardens is that they operate in seasons, and they really go out for all of them! We were so excited to get to visit Tivoli at Halloween and were very impressed with the charming autumn decor everywhere we looked.
As we wandered throughout, we laughed at the silly pumpkins, admired the beautiful displays with lights, autumn-colored decor, cute ghosties, and plenty of squash. It wasn’t scary at all. Quite beautiful, actually!
They also had fun themed food and treats, cute Halloween-themed souvenirs (like a squeaky black cat I really almost bought), and they even switch up the rides for the occasion. This must be part of the reason the park shuts down between seasons, and totally worth it for the great effect! The iconic Ferris wheel was changed into pumpkins, the swing ride got broomsticks added on, and other little additions were added all over.
Once the sun goes down, the Halloween decor gets stepped up a few notches. There’s an eery shadow puppet scene going on throughout the night on the mountain of The Roller Coaster, fun music, and festive lights. There’s even a dramatic laser light show about every hour!
Another reason to go back to Tivoli at night is to check out the Hospitalet haunted house. Of course, this is a more adult activity compared to all the family-friendly offerings. But, definitely worth a walk through and not as scary as I had feared. Some fun jumps for sure, but nothing traumatizing (looking at you, Halloween Horror Nights).
Tips for a Fun First Time Visit to Tivoli
As you can see, we are basically pros after a full day at Tivoli. If planning a visit for the first time, be sure to check out our tips for a great visit:
- Check open days and times before booking your trip!
- Get there when it opens to have a better chance for rides to yourself.
- If you leave and want to come back, be sure to get stamped.
- Definitely go back at night for a different look at the park!
- Be sure to try the samples as you wander around.
- Check out the happy hour deals at various places.
- Go to Frank’s Toast for the best cheap and filling food in the park.
Exploring Copenhagen More!
If you have never been to Copenhagen, be sure to go for a wander around this gorgeous city. We took a break from the park to walk along the water and take in the sights.
A visit to the free observatory atop Tarnet Tower is a great way to see more of the city when tight on time. But, if you are one to “see the thing”, you’ll likely want to trek to the iconic Little Mermaid statue as well (about 3km from Tivoli).
While we enjoyed our stroll, our favorite stop was at Nyhavn to take in the beautiful multi-colored buildings and watch the ships sail through the canal. If you go anywhere, go to this postcard-worthy place.
Where to Stay Near Tivoli Gardens
As we were searching for the right place to stay during our visit to Tivoli Gardens, we decided that a hotel between the train station and amusement park would be the best fit. Luckily, we found Absalon Hotel!
This comfortable, clean, and affordable hotel was a convenient place to rest our heads after wearing ourselves out at Tivoli! We also really enjoyed their breakfast. It is one of the best we’ve ever had – they even had ginger juice shots for an immunity boost and every topping you could think of for yogurt! A great way to start a fun day of exploring Tivoli and Copenhagen.
Overall, we fell in love with Copenhagen and our date day to Tivoli Gardens during our short visit. We would 100% have an annual pass if we lived there – especially because their Christmas season looks even more amazing than Halloween and there are shows throughout the year as well. Such a fun place!
Have you ever been to Tivoli Gardens in Copenhagen? What was your favorite part?
We’d like to thank Tivoli Gardens for providing us with complimentary entry to the park as well as rides, and for granting us permission to document our visit with lots of photos. Thanks also to Absalon Hotel for providing us with a discounted media rate during our stay. As always, all opinions are our own – we pursued these collaborations due to sincere interest.