Copenhagen’s Historic Tivoli Amusement Park: Is It Worth It?
Most people love amusement parks. At the very least they enjoy the atmosphere of rigged carnival games and miniature donuts.
Tivoli is a legendary park in the downtown core of Denmark’s capital city, Copenhagen. It is the second oldest functional amusement park in the world, the oldest being Bakken park which opened in 1583 and is a 20 minute train ride from Copehnagen in the city of Klampenborg.
But what makes Trivoli park so spectacular? The story goes that in 1951 Walt Disney visited this park while studying the famous Danish children’s story writer Hans Christian Andersen and loved the magical atmosphere of the park so much that he visited it multiplied times to capture what created the feeling. It ultimately inspired him to create a similar magical park: Disneyland. In 1955 the first Disney park opened in California which has since expanded to 12 parks in 6 locations worldwide. So, you can take Disney’s word for it- but we had a slightly different experience.
Trying to be as unbiased as possible, the main takeaway from our Tivoli visit was that tourists should be aware of what they will be getting upon entry to avoid disappointment.
We decided to go based on the recommendation of our British expat tour guide who said he goes often himself just for the atmosphere and the beautiful park lights in the middle of the city. Not only him, but others pitched to us that even if we weren’t into carnival rides, the entry alone would be worth it because of the atmosphere. We were expecting something similar, but smaller, to Disney or Universal but it wasn’t the atmosphere we had hoped for. There are plenty of rides, games, shows, and good food to entertain, but it wasn’t some mystical enchanted forest that filled our hearts with childhood joy. Don’t take us wrong, it was nice and cute, but it didn’t quite hit the “awe-inspiring” mark. It was very similar to other displays we have seen that were free or much cheaper.
We went in the winter so our experience reflects seasonal variants but you can imagine what other seasons decorations may look like. They had fake snow everywhere so it made you feel like you were walking in a winter wonderland. There were cute winter characters and a large “snow globe” that kids could use to ride a toboggan for free and play some other small games. They also have an ice skating rink for an extra charge.
The park has a 2 song small light show every hour in the park’s “large” lake which was nice but nothing exceptional.
There wasn’t much to do if you didn’t have a ride pass. You can pay for one or two rides separately if that’s all you want. The aquarium has an online discount of 5 DKK which normally costs 30 DKK. The best atmosphere we found, and very much enjoyed, was a strip of games and small shops in the park’s avenue called Smøgen. We played in the arcade, purchased some classic carnival treats, and wandered into shops selling Danish crafts.
So, overall, is the park worth a visit? First, let’s talk about price. It costs 135 DKK (approximately €18), to just enter the park and walk around, which is a lot especially if you’re a budget traveller. That being said, if you’re already paying the 18 euros, the full park entry package, (including rides, the aquarium, mobile accessible ride photos, and one free game at the Hygge Wheel), isn’t too much more at 330 DKK (approximately €45). At the time of writing, the website does say that the winter tickets are discounted and normally tickets cost 430 DKK (approximately €58). When the tickets fluctuate in price is not mentioned, however. There are several packages you can choose from that may include rides, meals, experiences, and more. Tip: pre-ordered online tickets seem to have discounts.
If you live near Copenhagen or are staying nearby for a while, the year-long passes are surprisingly cheap. For entry into the park all year, including the Friday night concerts, it costs 350 DKK. If you want an all-year pass for all the rides it costs 950 DKK (approx €127). The park also has options if you want the ability to bring guests at your leisure or would like VIP experiences in the park.
If you’re thinking of going but aren’t sure, a good way to decide is to work out what you want out of the experience. If you want to visit a historical park to walk around and view the history, we highly recommend taking the train to Bakken because admission to the grounds is free. You can walk around, view the antiques, and make a checkmark on your world list. If you want to go for the rides, or have kids, Tivoli is a good park- just remember not to expect 6 Flags and you won’t be disappointed! The rides they have are very fun and for an amusement park situated in the downtown core, it has everything core amenity a larger park offers, just on a smaller scale. The all-inclusive price honestly is reasonable when you consider how expensive Denmark and amusement parks are in the first place.
If you’re going for games, they have lots! But if you’re travelling to other places in Europe I’d encourage you to do research as many large cities have carnivals and arcades that are free to enter and have just as many gaming opportunities.
TLDR: Overall, if you’re looking for an evening of carnival fun, Tivoli is a great experience. If you’re looking for Disney magic, you may need to look further, sailor!
Keep working hard and have fun out there 💪