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Gardens of Earthly Delight: Tivoli Gardens

By Pamela Robin Brandt

Created in 1843 by Georg Carstensen, the well-travelled son of a diplomat, Denmark's Tivoli was inspired by its founder's memories of the Orient as well as by the 'pleasure gardens' that had been all the rage in Paris and London the previous century: lyrical, natural displays enhanced by the maximum in civilised amenities and amusements.

Originally outside Copenhagen's boundaries (the main lake is a remnant of the old town moat), the gardens became, as Copenhagen expanded in the 1880s, the central-city oasis it remains today.

From the front gate, Tivoli's herbaceous-bordered central avenue zig-zags through a variety of ever-changing prospects -- hanging container gardens; spring bulb gardens; flowers (400,000 of them), including summer roses, lilacs and laburnum and fall chrysanthemums and tagetes; as well as 875 trees, such as lime, chestnut, elm, Japanese cherries, and evergreens -- all arranged in an ingenious plan that makes the garden seem far bigger than its 83,000 square metres.

Tivoli's man-made amenities also retain much of their original, festive, 19th-Century style and structure.

Some Asian and continental Victorian-era pavilions remain, like the 1874 'Chinese' Theatre, Tivoli's oldest building, still adorned with its famed peacock curtain (which does not rise for performances; instead, the bird's tail parts).

The Gardens always had a few eating and drinking establishments, too, but there are now over 30, some of which, like the Fregatten Sct. Georg III sailing ship restaurant, offer cutting-edge cuisine.

And on Tivoli's many stages, along with pop concerts and other modern performances, are the same entertainments patrons loved a century ago: commedia del'arte pantomimes, ballet performances, classical and parade band concerts, amusement park rides, and the famed Tivoli Trained Live Fleas (now in the Gardens' museum).

While daylight hours are obviously best for flora fans, viewers must remain till sunset to see Tivoli's traditional magical illuminations: 110,718 lights, including giant twinkling dragon flies and the red, green and purple Oriental onion-dome-shaped 'Tivoli globes' that have been used for over a century.



Tivoli Gardens
3 Vesterbrogade
Copenhagen V


Open mid-April to late September (this year April 14 to September 24), 11 a.m. to midnight weekdays, and until 1 a.m. Fridays and Saturdays. Also open for Christmas Market from mid-November to New Year's, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday to Thursday, 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday.


Adults 39 DKK (45 DKK Fridays and Saturdays; 49 DKK during high season, June 19 to August 20), children 3-11 20 DKK all days, (25 DKK during high season); Seasonal Pass 198 DKK Adult, 100 DKK child.

Getting There:

Tivoli is located within a brick-walled enclosure right in the city centre, next to Copenhagen's Central Station, which is a 15-minute train ride from Kastrup International Airport (only nine kilometres southeast). Any hotel, restaurant, or other tourist attraction in greater Copenhagen is easily accessed via foot, local S-Train, bus, or taxi (vacant cabs carry a sign reading 'FRI'; credit cards as well as cash are generally accepted).

Further Info:

45 33 75 03 38 - phone
Website: www.tivoli.dk

For Flights and Airfares to Denmark - click here for the Travel Homepage.

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