As a country who created hygge and who live to drink warming cups of gløgg throughout the winter months, you know Denmark and specifically Copenhagen are going to offer everything you dreamed of and more for a holiday getaway! While it will certainly be cold, Copenhagen’s charm will more than make up for it. Take a few days out of your winter schedule to make time for this magical city and you won’t regret it!
Copenhagen Weather In Winter
Temperatures rarely raise above 5 degrees Celsius throughout winter in Copenhagen, with lows of 1 or even -1 in January and February. Therefore, travellers can expect to need plenty of warm layers to keep them cosy during a trip to the Danish capital.
The city receives an average of around 10 days of rain per month in December and January, with this lowering to 7 days throughout February. Therefore, rain, or even snow, are unlikely to majorly affect your travel to Copenhagen but you should still be prepared just in case. If it does snow, you’ll be in for a magical winter wonderland trip, with trees, parks and squares coated in sprinkle of white.
Check out the average temperature for Copenhagen in winter:
November average temperature for Copenhagen: 45°F high and 37°F low / 7°C high and 3°C low
December average temperature for Copenhagen: 39°F high and 32°F low / 4°C high and 0°C low
January average temperature for Copenhagen: 36°F high and 28°F low / 2°C high and -2°C low
February average temperature for Copenhagen: 39°F high and 27°F low / 4°C high and -3°C low
13 Things To Do In Copenhagen In Winter
1. Visit Tivoli Gardens
The famous Tivoli Gardens are beautiful at any time of year but they are transformed into a winter wonderland every November and December. The amusement park comprises of rides, Christmas decorations, markets and ice skating to offer the best of winter in one place. While the Tivoli Gardens are great after dark, it can also be fun to visit during the day to make the most of the golden hour light and the lack of crowds (who flock here from 5pm onwards). Even if you don’t go on any rides, wandering through this magnificent winter destination will fill you with wonder as you marvel at the Christmas cheer on every corner.
2. Christmas Markets
Copenhagen is famous for its Christmas markets as it’s not just Tivoli Gardens that put on a show each year. The city comes alive with Christmas markets with over 15 taking place at different spots around Copenhagen. Some specialise in food, while others boast handicraft stalls and gift shops and all will fill you with festive spirit. No trip to a Christmas market would be complete without a steaming cup of gløgg (Danish mulled wine sprinkled with spices, raisins and almonds). This warming drink is perfect paired with some tasty aebleskiver, traditional Danish apple pastries.
3. Eat Winter Food
If the sound of gløgg and aebleskiver has your mouth watering, you’re in for a treat with a winter trip to Copenhagen as there are so many winter delights to get your taste buds tingling! Whether you want to snack on local Danish delicacies as you make your way around the markets, or would prefer to sit down to a bowl of warming, hearty stew, there is a tasty, traditional dish for you. For meat-eaters, the soft, salty taste of Flæskesteg, a traditional Christmas meal of pork, will have you in heaven as you soak up the flavours and textures. Alternatively, try a Christmas pizza, a classic Smørrebrød open sandwich or stick to sweet treats like yummy cinnamon buns!
4. Photograph Nyhavn
The colourful buildings that line the canal in Nyhavn are probably one of the most quintessential sights in the city, and no trip to Copenhagen would be complete without taking a least a couple of snaps. The picture-perfect buildings are arguably even more stunning in winter when the doors are adorned with Christmas wreaths. Plus, the canal features a Christmas market in winter (of course it does!), so you can really embrace the Christmas spirit. Many of the boats here are dolled up with Christmas decorations too so everything works together to allow for spectacular photographs.
5. Ice Skating
As with many European cities, Copenhagen has some awesome ice skating spots to allow you to soak up the spirit of winter. Most ice rinks are actually free to enter but you’ll need to rent some skates (and probably buy a warming hot chocolate after). If you fancy hitting the rink, wrap up in plenty of layers and head to Frederiksberg Runddel or Toftegårds Plads to enjoy an afternoon skate. Rinks are lit up at night too which give it an even more magical feel.
6. Visit Kongens Nytorv
Kongens Nytorv, aka “The King’s Square” is another famous spot in the city that is home to some of the most majestic buildings. These become even more astounding during winter, when buildings such as the Hotel D’Angleterre and the Magasin Du Nord are covered in elaborate Christmas displays and decorations. If you’re lucky enough to see the square coated in snow, you’ll have a real experience to remember! Kongens Nytorv is also home to one of the city’s Christmas ice rinks so you can take in the sights while enjoying time skating with family and friends.
7. Enjoy a Spa or Sauna
Once you’ve spent hours wandering around the city sights, you’ll want to warm up from the inside out and thankfully, Scandinavians know how to do this in style. Nordic saunas and spas are the perfect place to relax, so don’t forget to pack your swimwear! Copenhagen has a great range of saunas, hammams and spas to choose from, with everything from classic architecture and even sailing boats playing host to wellness centres around the city. Soak with friends or loved ones in a warming hot tub while looking out over this stunning city.
8. Wander along Kronprinsensgade
If you’re strolling around the city, don’t miss Kronprinsensgade one of Copenhagen’s most famous streets. This picturesque road is lined with shops, boutiques and cafés so is worth visiting at any time of year, but these shops also have added Christmas cheer throughout winter when they are decked out with displays, lights and decorations. This can be a good place to get started on your Christmas shopping, with fashion houses and gift stores galore.
9. Discover Copenhagen’s Museums
If you’d rather enjoy an indoor activity during the cold, winter days, why not check out some of Copenhagen’s museums. Whether you’re a hisotry buff, art lover or beer enthusiast, Copenhagen has something for you. The city’s cultural diversity is huge and this is played out beautifully in the museums and galleries that celebrate all walks of life. The Danish National Gallery, Museum of Copenhagen, The National Museum of Denmark and The Hirschsprung Collection are all worth a visit.
Another favourite indoor activity is simply hopping from café to café, soaking up coffee culture and intriguing interiors around the city. Copenhagen is home to a wealth of coffee shops with everything from classically quaint cafés to hipster havens. Sit and read a book or watch the world go by as you sip on a coffee or hot chocolate while enjoying a warm Danish pastry too! You will truly feel the glow of hygge when you enjoy the cosy comfort of a cute coffee shop on a crisp winter day.
11. Go To Huset
Huset is a wonderful Danish institution that brings together both locals and tourists to enjoy music, film and theatre, comedy and other cultural performances throughout the year. This is a great place to gather with friends when the weather turns wet or windy. The famed Bastard Café features hundreds of board games and you’ll always see groups huddled around tables deep in thought and strategy.
12. Frederiksborg Castle
The picturesque Frederiksborg Castle is located on the outskirts of Copenhagen but is worth a day trip to see thanks to its fairytale style and charming atmosphere. While you can book a tour from Copenhagen to explore the castle, you can also do it yourself by catching the train from Copenhagen Train Station out to Hillerød where Frederiksborg Castle is situated. The journey takes around 45 minutes and the castle is around 15 minutes further from the station. If you’re lucky you may catch the castle covered in snow, with the lake frozen over for an ethereal winter sight!!
13. Kronberg Castle
Alternatively, or additionally is the Kronberg Castle, the setting for Shakespeare’s Hamlet. This again is a stunning building and is located around an hour from Copenhagen. Take the train to Helsingør St. and walk for around 15 minutes to reach the castle. Depending on what time you visit in winter, there may be a Christmas market going on inside the castle, which, if you’re not already ‘marketed out’ is a lovely setting to get in the Christmas spirit.
How To Get Around Copenhagen In Winter
The best way to get around Copenhagen at any time of year is on foot as this gives you the chance to take detours down side-streets, witness spectacular buildings and dip in and out of cafés, shops and museums along the way. An alternative mode of transport in Copenhagen is the humble bicycle that is much loved by the Danes.
For a warmer option, check out some of the city’s public transport such as the metro, train and bus routes. The buses and metro system run 24-hours a day (although they are more limited at night), which means you can easily get around the city at any time.
A Copenhagen Card is a great option if you’re staying for a few days as it gives you unlimited access to public transport as well as certain museums and attractions.
Where To Stay In Copenhagen In Winter
Copenhagen has loads of cool areas to explore and stay in and which you choose depends on your style, budget and whether it is your first time visiting the city. If it is your first time in Copenhagen, you’ll probably want to stay in or around Indre By, the cobbled-stoned Inner City with classically-styled buildings, the picturesque port of Nyhavn and even the country’s Royal residence, Amalienborg Castle. While staying here you’ll have all the top spots on your doorstep so you can explore with ease.
If you’re seeking a cool, hipster area of Copenhagen you might want to stay in Christianshavn, while Nørrebro is best for budget travellers.
citizenM is a modern, stylish hotel in the heart of Copenhagen with Danish art dotted throughout as well as loads of seating and lounge areas. Rooms are chic yet almost pod-like, with MoodPads in each to control the lighting, temperature and TV all from the comfort of your own bed! A buffet breakfast is served every day to get your ready for a day discovering the city. Click here to check availability and the latest prices.
Hotel Bethel is a simple, comfortable B&B-style hotel located in the colourful Nyhavn District of Copenhagen. Each room features a plush bed, TV, ensuite and a desk/chair, and a continental breakfast is served every morning. The staff are great and are more than happy to help you plan your days in Copenhagen. Click here to check availability and the latest prices.
What To Pack For Copenhagen In Winter
Warm waterproof layers are a must for any trip to Copenhagen in winter as you’re sure to be spending the majority of your time outside exploring the city on foot, taking in the sights of the city’s beautiful buildings and enjoying ice skating and Christmas markets.
You’ll therefore want a decent pair of waterproof boots that you don’t’ mind wearing for hours on end as well as warm socks that can keep your tootsies cosy throughout your trip. Jeans that keep you warm and dry are ideal (especially ones that dry quickly in case it rains or snows), as well as plenty of layers to you can wrap up and de-robe as necessary while enjoying indoor and outdoor activities.
Plus, accessorising with cute hats, scarves, gloves and handbags allow you to feel as though you’re adding personal style touches despite being wrapped up in a big coat every day!
If you are planning a trip to Copenhagen you might be interested in:
- A one day Copenhagen itinerary.
- Children friendly things to do in Copenhagen.
- When is the best time to go to Copenhagen.
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