Tivoli: The Enduring Park of Copenhagen and 16th Century Pleasure Garden

The notion of spending a day in a place as far away as possible from real life, has beckoned humankind for hundreds of years. Since the 1550’s, early day amusement parks known as “pleasure gardens”, have been a veritable source of joy and entertainment for man. Pleasure gardens, whose origins can be traced back to Ancient Rome were simply, gardens that were open to the public for recreation and entertainment purposes, and often featured a variety of live entertainment, eating establishments and a menagerie on its premises. They were a popular attraction amongst the aristocrats of society in the 18th century and were replicated in cities around the world.

No trip to one of the happiest countries in the world would be fully realized, without a visit to one of the oldest pleasure gardens in the world- Tivoli Gardens. Located in the center of Copenhagen, Tivoli Gardens, has been welcoming tourists and locals by the millions since its inception in 1843. Its original name alluded to the Jardin de Tivoli in Paris and Vauxhall Hardens in London and today, it remains the second oldest operating amusement park in the world, after Dyrehavsbakken, which is also located in Denmark. It currently holds the accolade for being the world’s most visited seasonal theme park in Scandinavia and rightfully so.

Summoning lyrical romanticism, ancient myths and folklore, Tivoli Gardens is the perfect amalgamation of modernity and antiquity with cutting-edge rides and games, intricately designed buildings and classic live entertainment. Originally the brain-child of Danish showman and officer Georg Carstensen, the Gardens, are punctuated with a sense of timelessness and offer its guests a delightful diversion from big city living.


Enter Tivoli via the main entrance on Vesterbrogade Street and be wowed by the baroque gates and one of fifteen romantic gardens, which are a focal point of the grounds. Springtime I hear, is a glorious time to visit Tivoli, when hyacinths, cherry blossoms and tulips abound.


Take a stroll by the park’s verdant lakes and ponds before letting loose on the amusement rides that are some of the Garden’s biggest hitters.

If you have an appetence for pulse-racing thrills, then Tivoli Gardens does not disappoint. The Vertigo, which is the Gardens’ fastest ride, revolutes at 360 degrees while traveling at 60 miles/hour, leaving its riders dazed and bemused. Additionally, there is The Dæmonen (The Demon), a floorless rollercoaster, which reaches speeds up to 50 miles an hour, eliciting the most shrilling vociferations of all park goers. For those of you who are less venturesome and “gun-shy”, you can always gander over to rides that are designated for the younger set and perhaps, better suited for your adult palette. Tivoli also offers “themed rides” such as The Mine Ride and The Flying Trunk, which depict scenes from none other than Denmark’s most beloved fairy tale writer and visionary, Hans Christian Andersen.


(The Vertigo)

And of course if you like to stay completely grounded, then you can rely on the faithful merry go-round/carousel for a bit of nostalgia. Traditional games such as basketball, bow & arrow and darts will test your accuracy, prowess and athleticism. Meander by any of the Gardens’ reflective mirrored walls to rekindle a relationship with your inner child.




(4th photo in set:photo credit: Nyasha Bass)

“Childishness?” queried Walt Disney, America’s showman, animator and creator of Disneyland, and repeat visitor to Tivoli Gardens. “ I think it’s the equivalent of never losing your sense of humor…It’s the equivalent of not getting so stuffy that you can’t laugh at others”…. and in this case, yourself.


There are a multitude of attractions for every age range and taste. With names that connote its function like Dragon boats, Star Flyer and The Trolley Car, guests can experience the full spectrum of entertainment offered on the premises. When you are seeking a bit of respite from the well-trodden paths, you can stroll over to the Great lawn to listen to local and international talent or feed your senses at one of the garden’s eateries serving up anything from Danish homemade fare to American burgers to rustic Italian cuisine.


With Copenhagen having already earned the reputation of being one of the world’s gastronomic hotspots due to the sheer number of restaurants that have earned Michelin stars, it is only befitting that this past spring, Tivoli Gardens saw the unveiling of an outshoot of Thailand’s Kiin Kiin, which is the only Thai restaurant outside of Thailand that is Michelin starred.

With exquisite food, music and entertainment to feed the soul, it is no wonder that amusement parks are referred to as some of the happiest places on earth. So when you’re ready to seek temporary refuge from the stresses of modern day life, satiate your inner child, and become part of the enchantment, come join in on the visual feast, that is Tivoli.  It does deliver on the promise of its creator, Georg Cartensen, to provide “something for everyone”.



*For more information regarding hours of operation, admission prices, rides and facilities, visit:


or download the Tivoli app on iPhone or Android to get an full overview of offerings at the Gardens.

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