Odense is a bustling city in Denmark, known as the birthplace of Hans Christian Andersen and for its historic sites. During December, the city holds the Odense Christmas Market, which attracts locals and tourists.
In this guide, I’ll provide details such as the confirmed 2023 dates, opening times and some unique items you might find.
Odense Christmas Market 2023
When you visit the Christmas market in Odense, you’ll find it in the city’s oldest quarter, close to the house where Hans Christian Andersen was born.
This particular market, known as the Odense Julemarkedet in Danish, carries the theme of the renowned fairy-tale writer.
You can buy items like wool products and traditional food such as pancakes and waffles, and even encounter characters from Andersen’s stories roaming the streets.
The market is focused on 19th-century Danish traditions and is situated in Odense’s Sortebrødre Torv.
You can enjoy local culinary treats and handicrafts. The markets serve glögg, a warm, spiced wine that’s a Danish take on mulled wine.
Dates and Location
Odense Christmas Market dates: 2nd to 3rd, 9th to 10th and 16th to 17th December 2023.
Location: Sortebrødre Torv.
Opening times: Saturday: 10am to 6pm. Sunday: 10am to 5pm.
Christmas Day: Closed.
Christmas lights: Switch on date and Christmas tree lighting: 18th November at Flakhaven at 4pm to 5pm.
Ice skating: No.
Vegetarian: Yes, plenty of options.
Vegan: Yes, plenty of options.
Gluten free: Yes, but limited.
Parking: Please take public transport to help limit congestion.
Reason to visit: Hans Christian Andersen theme, historic setting, local Funen design and handicrafts.
Food specialities: Pancakes, waffles, glögg, traditional Danish pastries,
Where to stay: Hotel Odeon is a popular hotel, located 3 minutes from the market.
Hotels near Odense Christmas Market
The Christmas market is located in the city centre, where most visitors would likely want to stay. You’ll find a mix of shops, restaurants, and cultural landmarks within walking distance.
Hotel Odeon is a popular choice in this area, given its prime location near the market and Hans Christian Andersen House museum.
Read my Denmark Christmas Markets 2023 guide for ideas on where else you can go this winter or maybe consider visiting another time.
Location of the Market
Christmas in Odense
Æbleskiver (Apple Slices): Not actual apple slices, but doughnut-like treats. Æbleskiver are round and often filled with apple sauce or jam. You’ll commonly find them dusted with powdered sugar. They’re a seasonal favourite in Odense and many other parts of Denmark.
Glogg (Mulled Wine): A warm drink to keep you cosy, glogg is spiced, often with cinnamon and cloves, and occasionally spiked with a shot of a spirit like rum or brandy. It’s a staple at the Christmas market in Odense.
Frikadeller (Danish Meatballs): Frikadeller are meatballs made of pork. They’re usually served hot and are a regular feature at the Odense market. The meatballs often come with pickled red cabbage.
Flæskestegssandwich (Pork Roast Sandwich): This sandwich is a complete meal between slices of bread. It features roasted pork with crackling, red cabbage and pickles. The Flæskestegssandwich is a much-loved fast food in Denmark and is especially popular during Christmas.
Smørrebrød (Open-Faced Sandwich): A slice of dark rye bread is the base for various toppings like herring, cheese, or liver pate. At the market, Smørrebrød comes in festive variations.
Risengrød (Rice Pudding): A traditional Danish dish made of rice, milk and vanilla. Served hot, it’s a comfort food often enjoyed in the winter. In Odense, you’ll usually find it sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar.
Pebernødder (Pepper Nuts): These are small, spiced biscuits that are a bit like gingerbread. You’ll find them in some Christmas stalls. These biscuits are crunchy and have a hint of pepper.
Honninghjerter (Honey Hearts): These are gingerbread-like cakes soaked in honey. Shaped like hearts, they are sweet treats commonly found during the Christmas season in Odense.
Koldskål (Cold Bowl): Though traditionally a summer dish, some stalls in Odense serve a Christmas version. Koldskål is a cold buttermilk soup, usually sweetened and flavoured with lemon or vanilla.
Lakrids (Liquorice): Liquorice is an acquired taste and comes in many forms in Denmark, from sweet to salty.
Gifts and Stocking Fillers
Håndlavet Julepynt (Handmade Christmas Ornaments): Odense’s market frequently features stalls where local artisans sell handmade ornaments. You can find everything from carved wood to painted glass ornaments. These unique items add a Danish touch to any Christmas tree.
Fynsk Forår Beer: This local beer from Fyn, the island where Odense is located, makes for a unique gift. Fynsk Forår is a pale ale often available in festive packaging during Christmas.
Strikkede Varer (Knitted Goods): Woollen socks, mittens, and scarves are standard at the Odense stalls. Knitted by local crafters, these goods are both functional and decorative. They are handy for keeping warm during the cold winter months.
Trælegetøj (Wooden Toys): Danish craftsmanship shines in the form of wooden toys. Sold at specialty stalls, these toys range from simple building blocks to intricate puzzles. They are durable and often passed down through generations.
H.C. Andersen Merchandise: Odense is the birthplace of Hans Christian Andersen, the famous Danish author. Various items related to Andersen, including books, illustrations, and figurines, make for culturally relevant gifts.
Danske Slik (Danish Sweets): Licorice, marzipan, and various forms of Danish confectionery are popular in Odense. Packaged in festive boxes, they make for easy and tasty stocking fillers.
Julesnaps (Christmas Schnapps): Julesnaps is a spiced version of schnapps, a strong alcoholic drink. It is often infused with herbs and spices like caraway, dill, or cinnamon. Bottles are usually adorned with festive decorations, making them an ideal adult gift.
Odense Marcipan: Originating from Odense, this brand of marzipan is widely renowned. Available in various forms and often in holiday shapes, Odense Marcipan is a sweet treat synonymous with quality.
Danish Design Homeware: Denmark is famous for its design heritage, and you can find stylish yet functional homeware at the Christmas market. Products range from kitchen utensils to small furniture items, all showcasing the minimalist aesthetic Denmark is known for.
Check out Visit Odense, the city’s official website, for up-to-date information on winter activities and the latest events.
Sustainable Travel Tips
Here are some ways to be a responsible traveller in Odense this Christmas.
Select eco-friendly hotels: The city has several hotels that run on renewable energy. When making your reservation, check the hotel’s sustainability credentials to ensure they match your standards. Many of these places also have green certifications.
Minimise food waste: When visiting the Christmas markets, plan your meals and portions to avoid unnecessary waste. Many vendors give you the option of smaller portions, so take advantage of this feature when you’re not sure you can finish a full-sized dish.
Ethical consumption: While the markets are teeming with items to purchase, focus on buying only what you genuinely need or can use. Some stalls sell handcrafted goods made by local artisans, which supports the local economy without contributing to fast consumerism.
Sustainable diets: Look out for stalls that serve organic, locally sourced foods. Eating local gives you a taste of Odense’s culture and minimises your carbon footprint. Look for traditional Danish treats made with organic or sustainably sourced ingredients.
Use sustainable transport options: Odense has a well-connected public transport system that’s an eco-friendly alternative to driving a car. You’ll find buses and trains powered by renewable energy and the option to rent electric scooters around the city.
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Recommendations are independently chosen based on personal travel experiences and extensive research. This post contains affiliate links to hotels and tours in Odense, Denmark. This means I get a small commission from any bookings at no extra cost to you.