Located in the beautiful woodlands of Dyrehaven, just a short train ride away from central Copenhagen lies Bakken, the oldest amusement park in the world.

Oddly, you don’t find Bakken listed in too many Danish guidebooks as a ‘must see’ attraction, and in terms of amusement parks, Tivoli is probably seen by most visitors as the one to visit when in Copenhagen.  But from the moment I read about Bakken online I knew I had to visit.  The only problem was that upon my first visit to Copenhagen and having travelled to Bakken, I found the amusement park was closed.  There was not a sole in sight, let alone a vendor selling hot dogs, or two dodgems crashing into one another.  I had arrived out of season. Fail!

Lucky for me, less than 12 months later I was given the chance to visit Copenhagen for a 2nd time, and with it, a 2nd chance at exploring Bakken.  Once I’d finally made it, the park did not disappoint.

Bakken in Copenhagen, the worlds oldest amusement park

Founded in 1583, Bakken, or Dyrehavsbakken if you want to use it official name, is a fun packed family day out.

Being 432 years old you might think the rides and stalls would be slightly dated, but there’s a great mix of new and old.  Enough new to get the heart racing with excitement – see the Tornado roller-coaster photo below for just one example, and enough old type stalls where you can fish for rubber ducks or tuck into a huge mass of vibrant pink candy floss, to make you feel nostalgic about previous visits to the fun fair you may have had in your youth.

Basically, there is so much to enjoy within Bakken that the girlfriend and I were reduced from (supposed) adults, to small children who couldn’t stand still for more than a second.  There was so much to do and see, so many colours to take in.  It was an assault on the senses, but one we relished in the June sunshine. First things first though, ice cream … and a large one at that!

eating a huge ice cream at Bakken, Copenhagen

Please note, we did this totally in the wrong order.  It should be rides first and ice cream second.  We are stupid!

Anyway, here’s a look inside Bakken …

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Unique Location

Visit Denmark have called Bakken a Danish institute.  Said to attract some 2.5 million visitors per season, it is one of Denmark’s most popular attractions, yet as I’ve mentioned previously, it’s not on too many top 10 ‘must see’ lists.

It’s omission from such lists probably owes a little bit to not only its location outside the city centre (whereas Tivoli is very central), but also because Bakken is kind of hidden also.  Located in the protected woodlands of Dyrehaven, which is otherwise known as Deer Park because of the thousands of free roaming red, fallow and sika deer that call the woods home, Bakken is accessible by car, but most locals arrive either by foot or by bike, so that they can travel through the woodlands.  The deer we have to thank the Danish Royal family for, as in 1669 they established Dyrehaven as their royal hunting grounds.

It’s a fairly unique setting for an amusement park.  If you’ve been lucky enough to visit Disney Land (USA), Six Flags (USA), Thope Park (UK), or any other large theme park, you’ll probably have had to deal with monstrous car parks and queues to gain entry through the front door.  Whilst you’ll obviously have to queue for rides at Bakken, the queues to park and to gain entry are non existent.  You just stroll right in.




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the wooden roller coaster Rutschebanen which opened in 1932

Above is the wooden roller-coaster Rutschebanen, which opened in 1932 and is still going strong today.

In case you were wondering, ‘Rutschebanen’ pretty much means ‘roller-coaster’ in Danish.  Say what you see.

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How it all started

So Bakken has been around for over 400 years, but why?

Why was the world’s oldest amusement park set up in the middle of the woods?

Well, the story goes that Bakken is the result of a natural spring, which was discovered in the woods of Dyrehaven and attracted large crowds who believed the cool, pure waters to cure a large number of illnesses and aliments.

Where large numbers of people gather, other people will always look to provide some kind of service and make a little money for themselves, and it was no different in Dyrehaven.  No sooner had the spring been discovered and visitors flocked to the area, hawkers were setting up stalls and selling home made remedies which would supposedly boost the healing power of the spring waters.  Next to the hawkers would be entertainers, out in force trying to keep the waiting crowds happy … or at least happy enough to hand over some change in return for a show.  These entertainers effectively created Bakken, and this is where the claim to be the worlds oldest amusement park comes from.

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So that is Bakken in a nutshell.  The worlds oldest amusement park, hidden away in woodlands around 10km north of central Copenhagen.  Simple.

To say that we thoroughly enjoyed our afternoon at Bakken would be an understatement.  We ate and drank our own bodyweight in all types of sugar.  Listened to some incredible music in one (or two) of the German like beer tents.  We won a small prize when collecting tickets from certain stalls – see the gf above with a rifle in her hands, she’s a good shot!  We (mainly I) enjoyed being thrown all over the place on roller-coasters, and having all the bones in our bodies shudder as we were bumped and bashed around on the dodgems. It was all great fun, but when it all got too much and we needed a lie down, there was of course plenty of green space to just lay out and lap up and bit of sunshine … or burn in my case.  Such frail British skin!

Another reason to lie down might be if you catch a glimpse of Bakken’s mascot a white clown by the name of Pjerrot.  He’s creepy looking if you ask me, but then clowns in general are a big nope for me.

Summary

There are some great things to see and do in central Copenhagen, more than enough to fill a weekends exploration.  Such as …

However should you want to venture outside the city centre for a day, or even half a day, I would thoroughly recommend Bakken.  With entry being free, you’re under no obligation to try get there as early as possible so that you can get the most value out of your ticket.  You just take your sweet time.

Why not combine it with a trip to the beach up at Bellevue Strandbad!? – check out the map below for more details.

Getting to Bakken

The simplest way to Bakken is to take the train.

The C line from Nørreport St to Klampenborg pretty much lands you at the gates to Bakken, with just a short walk from the station and through the woods required.

Opening Dates/Times

Typically, Bakken is a summer destination.  I would double check the website and/or email the company for opening dates and times if you’re unsure.  The link is at the bottom of this post.

Prices

Entrance to Bakken is free, but you then obviously have to pay for rides, shows, food and drink on top.  In that sense it can cost as little, or as much as you want.   Buying ride tickets in advance is cheaper, but even cheaper is visiting on a Wednesdays, when you can save 50% by paying cash for individual rides.

Car parking is 60DDK

More Information