A Guide to Copenhagen Carnival: Denmark’s Brazilian Carnival

Copenhagen Carnival moves Brazil to Copenhagen for biggest party of the year! Here is everything you need to know about celebrating carnival in Copenhagen.

29th May, 2020

31st May, 2020

Days to start

What is carnival in Copenhagen?

copenhagen carnival

Copenhagen Carnival is a carnival celebration that takes place yearly over the course of three days during the Whitsun Holiday in the city of Copenhagen, Denmark. It occurs on the streets of Copenhagen and in Faelledparken. Copenhagen Carnival is a relative newcomer to the carnival scene with the first celebration occurring in 1982.

Over the decades the carnival has grown into the largest carnival in Denmark attracting 100,000 spectators and featuring 2000 dancers. The carnival got its influence from Brazil and their samba carnivals. Copenhagen Carnival is three days of parades and events that focus on world music and samba!

The Copenhagen Carnival has also grown into one of the largest World Music Festivals and features over 120 music groups, orchestras and musicians each year. 

When is the Copenhagen Carnival?

Copenhagen Carnival is held in the springtime because the weather tends to be warmer and the evenings are longer. Copenhagen carnival runs for three days, always Friday to Sunday during the Whitsun Holiday. The 2020 dates for the Copenhagen Carnival are 29th – 31st May.

Where is the Copenhagen Carnival?

As you may have guessed from the name, Copenhagen Carnival takes place in Copenhagen, which is the capital city of Denmark, the happiest country on Earth! The Copenhagen Carnival occurs in the City Hall Square ‘Radhuspladsen’. The Copenhagen Samba Parade takes place on Strøget.

How do they celebrate the Copenhagen Carnival?

copenhagen carnival

The Copenhagen Carnival features everything a carnival needs including parades, colourful costumes, dancing groups, musicians, floats and live music. Copenhagen Carnival is an explosion of colour, sparkles, samba and fun!

Because the Copenhagen Carnival has been inspired by Brazil’s Samba Carnival’s they also have samba schools, samba drummers, samba music, samba dance shows, samba dance lessons and lots more samba related activities and events.

There is also a Copenhagen Kids Carnival where the kids give the adults a run for their money marching in the parade. There is also lots of entertainment for the kids including clowns, face painting and competitions.

What is the history of Copenhagen Carnival?

copenhagen carnival

Copenhagen Carnival is a baby compared to some of its European counterparts. The first carnival was only held in 1982 with the theme of “the street is the scene and you’re the guru!” The carnival had 500 dancers and attracted over 60,000 spectators!

The first Copenhagen Carnival was organised by the ‘Carnival in May’ association. The founder had experienced carnival in the West Indies and was impressed by the joy and imagination that the carnival created in the community.

Samba in Denmark

copenhagen carnival

The Brazilian Samba culture entered Denmark in 1982 and took off quickly. Since the first celebration the Samba culture has taken on a life of its own and evolved into something that is uniquely and distinctively Danish. Throughout Copenhagen are several samba schools which perform in the parades.

Copenhagen Carnival World Music Festival

Over the years the Copenhagen Carnival developed into the biggest celebration of World Music in Denmark. The main Copenhagen Carnival Parade occurs on Saturday and the following day you can see the music performances at Fælledparken. 

Today over 120 groups and 2000 artists perform during Copenhagen Carnival. The Copenhagen Carnival features a fundamental concentration of world music that is varied so you can hear anything from samba to salsa to steelpan music.

Fælledparkencopenhagen carnival

Fælledparken is the main venue for the Copenhagen Carnival. It features eight different stages all dedicated to different world music genres. While the carnival is dedicated to world music there is also an electronics stage playing.

Along with the live music shows there are lots of fun workshops, market stalls and exhibitions. There are also heaps of activities for the whole family.

Copenhagen Carnival Parade (May 30th, 2020)

The Copenhagen Carnival Parade occurs on the Saturday morning of Copenhagen Carnival. It starts at Kongens Nytorv and parades along to City Hall Square, passing by Stroget Road. The Parades are an important part of the carnival celebration. The parade attracts 100,000 spectators and along with the thousands of performers it is a fun day.

It is a colourful parade filled with costumes, floats, musicians and dancers. The parade actually features a mix of amateur carnival groups and professional samba groups. You will also see some steelpan bands and lots of samba music.

Copenhagen Children’s Carnival

There is also a Copenhagen Kids Carnival where the kids give the adults a run for their money marching in the parade along with their mums and dads. In Fælledparken there are also lots of fun activities and entertainment for the kids and families including clowns, face painting and competitions.

How much does the Copenhagen Carnival Cost?

copenhagen carnival

The Copenhagen Carnival is completely free to attend! However you need to purchase a ticket to go to the pre and after party! 

What to wear to Copenhagen?

A celebration of cultures from all around the world.  The parades are colourful AF, with women dressed in colourful and elaborate feather headdresses and bejewelled bras. You don’t need to dress like the people in the parade but why not wear some playful pieces that will help you stand out from the crowds. It’s the time to let your imagination one wild and get creative and wear something fun, you can check out some cool outfit ideas on Amazon. Remember though to wear comfortable shoes as you will be on your feet all day long! 

How to get to Copenhagen?

copenhagen carnival

By Plane: You can fly to Copenhagen’s Kastrup Airport (CPH). Several carriers service direct intercontinental routes to Copenhagen, including Delta, Egypt Air, Qatar Airways, Thai, Singapore Airlines, United Airlines, Air Canada and PIA. It is the hub for Amager which is Scandinavia’s largest international carrier. There are also several low-cost carriers that fly to the airport including Ryanair and EasyJet. To get a quote for a flight click here.

By Train: Train connections between Copenhagen and neighbouring countries are both frequent and excellent. There are numerous trains each hour to Malmö and further to Gothenburg and Lund. There are 12 daily connections to Stockholm. There is one fast connection to Berlin and six to Hamburg. Domestically there are numerous and frequent train connections to the rest of the country. For European rail tickets please go here. 

By Road: There are numerous buses between Jutland and Copenhagen. International buses have considerably lower prices than the train. Copenhagen lacks an intercity bus terminal and most international buses stop somewhere around the Central Station. Domestic long-distance buses often terminate at Toftegårds Plads, near Valby station in the Vesterbro district. Of course, if you are coming from nearby you can always drive. Get a quote for a rental car here.

By Boat: There are also ferries between Copenhagen and Oslo, Norway. Copenhagen has a new ferry terminal located near Nordhavn station in the Østerbro district. Copenhagen is also a popular port for large cruise ships that tour both the Baltic Sea and the Norwegian fjords.

Where to stay for the Copenhagen Carnival Cost?

Copenhagen has no shortage of places to stay, It has everything from 1-5-star accommodation for all levels of comfort and budget. We recommend staying close to Fælledparken if you want to be close to the carnival. 

Check out some accommodation deals here. 

What to do and see in Copenhagen

copenhagen carnival

Copenhagen is the epitome of Scandinavian cool! Incredible architecture, a rich history, modernist designs, bridges buzzing with cycling commuters, pristine waterways, great night life, excellent restaurants it’s no wonder that Copenhagen regularly tops the worlds liveability lists!

In fact Copenhagen is one of the world’s cleanest greenest and most sustainable urban centres! If you’re a foodie then this Danish capital has no less than 15 Michelin starred restaurants. The city is filled with cultural riches from Viking treasures, Royal Palaces, an incredible art collection and so many historic sights.

For more information about tours, things to do, sightseeing tours, day trips and more click here. For a longer vacation check out Tour Radar for some cool trips.

Before you go!

We can’t stress enough the importance of travel insurance! Never travel without coverage! Being protected on your travels gives you an irreplaceable peace of mind. Don’t learn the hard way about the importance of travel insurance. Get a quote through our recommended insurance provider, World Nomads!


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