The Absolutely Best Things To Do In Copenhagen In Winter – Denmark

What there is to do in Copenhagen in winter? Uh, hello, a lot! After my recent visit to the capital of Denmark, I decided to make a list of all the best things to do in Copenhagen in the winter season, so you know what to get ready for when planning your trip!

Copenhagen in winter – is it worth visiting?

The weather in Copenhagen in winter

Everyone who visits Scandinavia in winter, has usually one main question – how cold is it? Well, it’s not always as cold as you might think! I wrote the whole post about Oslo in winter showing that winter doesn’t always mean terrible cold up here, and it’s similar for Copenhagen. Or even better, since it’s a little bit more south of Oslo.

Temperatures in Copenhagen in November, December, January, and February

Even though winters in Copenhagen, and the whole of Scandinavia, tend to be quite cold and dark, the temperatures in winter in Copenhagen are not always that bad. The daily high temperatures go around 4°C (39.2°F), and the lowest daily temperatures usually are around 1°C (33.8°F) to -1°C (30.2°F), rarely falling below -8°C (17.6°F).

Does it snow in Copenhagen in winter?

Yes, it does! The first snow usually falls in mid-November and can last until early April. That doesn’t mean that the snow will lie on the ground the whole time, though. As the winters and the climate become warmer, also there is less and less snow.

During my visit to Copenhagen in December, there wasn’t actually any snow, but there is more chance for snow in January or February.

When it snows, Copenhagen truly is a magical place.

Daylight in Copenhagen in winter

Daylight in Denmark’s capital in winter is significantly shorter than in the summer. The shortest day of the winter lasts just 7 hours and falls in December and the longest day is the end of February, with 10 hours, and 41 minutes of daylight.

Tip: The days are significantly shorter in winter in Copenhagen (and in Denmark, or the whole Nordic region, in general), so plan your days well. The sun can rise around 9 am, and already start setting down before 4 pm. That makes, however, a great opportunity to see the sunrise and the sunset, at a “normal” time :)

It’s not as short as you can expect to be even further north. For example, the Norwegian town of Tromso, in winter doesn’t see the sun at all, as there is a polar night.

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How to get to Copenhagen in winter

The best way to get to Copenhagen is by plane. You can check the best flight deals on or

From the airport, you can get to the city by train or metro to Københavns Hovedbanegården (Central station) and to other places in the Copenhagen city center for around 38DKK ($5.47).

Save money in Copenhagen

If you plan to visit a lot of attractions in Copenhagen and also use public transport, it’s worth getting the Copenhagen Card – it will save you a lot of money.

The Copenhagen Card gives you free entry to over 80 attractions and access to free public transport. Check it out here.

The best things to do in Copenhagen in winter

1. Get into a Holiday mood in the Christmas markets

Visiting Christmas markets is definitely one of the best things to do in Copenhagen in December! I love Christmas markets in Oslo, where I live, but I also always try to visit the new ones when I’m traveling.

You can taste some of the traditional Danish Christmas food, feel the holiday spirit and buy cute souvenirs. You can also check out Christmas Markets and city highlights on a segway tour.

Here are some of my favorite ones:

Check more info about Copenhagen Christmas here.

2. Discover the Winterland in Tivoli Gardens in Copenhagen in December

The Tivoli Gardens is the famous Copenhagen amusement park. It’s located directly in the city and it’s one of the oldest amusement parks in the world! It doesn’t mean it’s not safe though. Everything is new and well-maintained – they got a lot of experience over the years.

In the winter, Tivoli Gardens gets transformed into one massive Christmas Market. You can feel the magical winter atmosphere and go on fun rides at the same time. Just bare in mind that during December, they often get sold out, so buy Tivoli Gardens tickets in advance here.

3. Find winter colors in Nyhavn

If you’ve ever seen a single photo from Copenhagen, there’s a good chance that it was from Nyhavn. This picturesque harbor is one of the most recognizable places in the capital of Denmark.

And it’s even better in winter! You can find there a cute Christmas market spread along one of the canals. There are stalls with hot glogg, and delicious caramelized apples and all the boats have Christmas lights on them. It’s really pretty and festive! You can also take a canal boat tour to really feel the magic of the place.

4. Take a canal tour

Exploring Copenhagen from the water level adds another dimension to your visit. Take a canal boat tour and see ancient castles, traditional houses, and Danish churches on the way. Book here.

5. Visit Freetown Christiania

Christiania is a district in Copenhagen that used to be a bit run down and neglected, but then developed a bohemian reputation, and now it is a very hip and interesting place to visit.

It’s called a “Freetown”, as it is operated in a different way from the rest of Copenhagen. It has its own flag, laws, and way of life. If you go there, you will understand what I mean :)

In December, there is also an outdoor and indoor Christmas market in Christiania.

6. Check out the winter festivals in Copenhagen

Denmark has a wealth of wonderful festivals, and many of them can be found in Copenhagen, also in winter. Check out the current festival calendar here.

7. Go ice skating

This is my favorite winter activity. I love ice skating in Norway and I do it all the time in Oslo in winter.

There are several ice skating rinks in Copenhagen, that are also free! All you need is a pair of ice skates and you can dance on the ice.

I recommend checking out the ice rink at Frederiksberg Runddel located at Frederiksberg Runddel, 2000 Frederiksberg. It is free, and everyone is welcome. If you have your own skates, you can use the skating rink at any time. During the day, you can rent skates for DKK 50 until an hour before closing time.

There is also the Broens Ice Rink, located on the harbourfront in the heart of the city.

8. Visit The Little Mermaid

The Little Mermaid is an iconic Danish sculpture made out of bronze. It was a gift from Danish brewer Carl Jacobsen to the City of Copenhagen.

It was inspired by Hans Christian Andersen’s famous fairytale, The Little Mermaid, about a mermaid who gives up everything to be with the prince on land, who she fell in love with.

For me, as a Pole, the sculpture has even more meaning, as a famous statue of the capital city of Poland, Warsaw, is also a Mermaid.

The walk to the Little Mermaid is cold and windy, especially in winter, so wrap up well. When I was there, there wasn’t much else around, apart from other tourists snapping photos. However, the area is very picturesque, located by the water and near the Kastellet (the Fortress).

You can also visit The Little Mermaid as a part of the Copenhagen Bus and Boat Hop-On, Hop-Off 48-Hour Pass.

9. Take a guided walking tour of Copenhagen

There is no better way to learn about the city, than joining the locals and hearing their stories. You can join a small-Group Hygge and Happiness Culture Tour, and see charming neighborhoods while tasting your way through traditional foods. Book here.

10. Go shopping at the famous Strøget

This is the most famous shopping area in Copenhagen, and in winter, and especially in December, it’s full of Christmas decorations and cheer. You will find there plenty of nice shops to pick up Christmas gifts from!

11. Take in the view from Christiansborg Palace Tower

At 106 meters, the Christiansborg Palace Tower is the highest tower in Copenhagen that offers great views over the whole city. The tower is free to visit, but there is often a long queue in front of it. You can also book a visit to it in advance, as a part of a tour around the Parlament.

12. Visit Kongens Nytorv – The Main Square

You’ll find this “King’s New Square” at the end of the pedestrian street Strøget. In winter, it often houses a Christmas Market. It’s an important place on the map of the city, and home to several institutions such as the Royal Theatre, Hotel D’Angleterre, and Kunsthal Charlottenborg.

13. Wonder around the Kastellet (the Fortress)

The Kastellet is one of the best-preserved star fortresses in Northern Europe. It was constructed in the seventeenth-century fort in a form of a pentagram with bastions at its corners.

It looks pretty spectacular on the map or from the air, like a big star, but also is nice to visit from the ground.

14. Walk on Jægersborggade

Jægersborggade street is located in the Nørrebro neighborhood and is now one of the hippest and most buzzing streets in Copenhagen. Filled with little art galleries, street art, vintage shops, organic shops, designers and wine bars, coffee shops, and restaurants.

15. Check out Superkilen park

Superkilen park is a contemporary urban space with street art, a jogging track, a playground, a basketball court & a skateboard ramp. If you’ve ever seen photos of white lines on the dark pavement from Copenhagen – they are from here.

16. Explore Botanical Gardens

The Botanical Garden is a part of the Natural History Museum at the University of Copenhagen.

The Garden has the largest collection of living plants in Denmark. In the Herbarium, you can find the biggest collection of preserved plants in Denmark. There is also a wood collection, a spirit collection, an economic botany collection, and a seed bank.

17. Ride a bike

Next to Amsterdam, Copenhagen is the most bicycle-friendly city in Europe. Even in winter, you will see hundreds of bikes and bikers on the streets. So join the craze and explore the city on a bike.

If you are unsure about cycling alone, you can join this 3-Hour Bike Tour with Guide.

18. Walk on the waterfront

Copenhagen has wonderful access to the water, and nothing is as peaceful as a gentle stroll on the waterfront. The sunsets are also the most beautiful from there!

Indoor things to do in Copenhagen in winter

19. Visit museums

Copenhagen has tons of museums to visit.

Some of them are free to access, and the other ones can be accessed with a Copenhagen City Pass

Some of the free museums in Copenhagen include:

Other, worth visiting, Copenhagen indoor landmarks, accessible with a Copenhagen City Pass are:

20. Do Hygge!

Hygge is a word in Danish (and also in Norwegian – “koselig”, often used in Norway in winter), that describes a mood of coziness and contentment from the small joys of life.

December is the number one hygge month in Copenhagen. And the best way to do hygge in Copenhagen is to enjoy passing time with a cup of hot delicious coffee and Danish pastry.

There are tons of cute cafes where you can try proper Danish hygge. Some of my favorites are:

21. Warm up in the sauna

Sweating out in the sauna can also be considered a part of “hygge” rituals in Denmark. Copenhagen has several saunas to try, where you can warm up in between the cold walks.

Saunas originate from Finland, where I had a chance to try them out in Helsinki in winter. But they also recently exploded in popularity in Oslo and other parts of the Nordic region.

Some of the popular saunas in Copenhagen are Aire, CopenHot, and Sjællandsgade Bad located in a historical setting.

22. Taste traditional winter Danish food

The best place to try is in one of the food markets, or in one of the traditional restaurants. Some of the most important winter Danish dishes are food served during Julefrokost (Christmas lunch), Risengrød (Rice pudding) – my personal favorite, Fåsselår (lamb leg), Rødkål (red cabbage), Gløgg (mulled wine), Risalamande (cold rice pudding), roasted duck and, of course, a classic, Smørrebrød, an open sandwich.

23. Climb the Round Tower

The Round Tower is a 17th-century tower with an observatory, planetarium, and event hall. There is a spiral ramp instead of stairs and a nice view of the old town from above. Accessible for free with Copenhagen City Pass.

24. Discover delicious Smørrebrød.

Smørrebrød (originally smør og brød, “butter and bread”)  is a traditional open-faced sandwich, well-known in Scandinavia.

You can often find it in Norway, Denmark, and Sweden, and each country has its own favorites. It’s usually made with a piece of buttered rye bread a dense, dark brown bread – which is amazing in Denmark. The bread is topped with a variety of ingredients, from cold cuts, fish, meat, seafood, cheese, spreads, and garnishes. If you’ve never had one, you have to try one!

25. Check street food Reffen – Copenhagen Street Food

If you get hungry on your tour around Copenhagen, I recommend stopping by Reffen.

It is a famous Copenhagen Street Food market with global street food places and fun events and parties. The prices are usually quite reasonable there, so it’s a popular place with tourists.

26. Eat at the famous Seks bakery and eatery

For desserts or breakfast, make sure to visit the very famous Seks bakery and eatery. Expect to find worldwide cuisine with a twist, together with a few Polish dishes, since the owners are actually Polish. Just bare in mind that this place is insanely popular, so it’s very hard to get a table.

27. Taste Danish Pastry

When we speak about desserts and sweets, you cannot leave Copenhagen without trying traditional Danish Pastry. Where else better to try it than in Denmark?

What to wear in winter in Copenhagen

As to other Scandinavian countries in winter, pack warm clothes. You can find a lot of inspiration in my post about Norway winter clothing post. Here are some of the essentials to pack for Copenhagen: 

Where to stay in Copenhagen in winter

Copenhagen has a big choice of hotels and hostels to stay at, and here are some of the best ones.

Budget hostels in Copenhagen:

  • Next House Copenhagen – that’s where I stayed on my visit to Copenhagen and I can highly recommend this hotel. It has private rooms, family rooms, as well as hostel dormitory rooms. It also has 4-bed female rooms with private bathrooms, which are very comfortable to sleep in, they make it easy to make new friends, and they are much cheaper. The hostel has big common areas, such as a hang-out lounge, several busy bars, a rooftop kitchen, and a fun vibe. The location is good too! Check it out and book here.
  • Steel House Copenhagen – this hostel was recommended to me, and it was my second choice. It looks very clean and nicely made with a good atmosphere. Check it out and book here.
  • Globalhagen Hostel
  • Urban Camper Hostel & Bar

Higher range hotels in Copenhagen:

Read more:

What to do in Helsinki in winter

Fun and unique things to do in Oslo in winter

15+ interesting things to do in Bergen in winter

21 Unmissable things to do in Tromso in winter

Have you been to Copenhagen in winter before? Did you like it? Let me know in the comments!

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