Thinking about winter in Copenhagen? It’s chilly and pretty dark, that’s for sure. But don’t let that put you off!
I’ve been living here for over a decade, and I can tell you, this city knows how to get cozy when the temperature drops.
In this guide, I’ll show you how to make the most of Copenhagen’s winter charm. We’re talking about the coolest spots and activities locals love when cold outside. Plus, I’ve put together a handy 3-day itinerary to help you see the best of the city without missing a beat.
Ready to explore Copenhagen in winter the right way? Let’s get started!
Preparing for Your Winter Trip to Copenhagen
What to Pack for Winter in Copenhagen
Packing for Copenhagen in winter? Think layers.
You’ll need a heavy coat to tackle the cold, a warm hat, gloves, and a scarf to keep you snug.
Don’t forget waterproof boots for those snowy days. Layering is key, so pack sweaters and long-sleeve shirts you can pile on or peel off as needed.
Last, bring a good moisturizer – the winter wind can be harsh on your skin!
How to Get to Copenhagen
Getting to Copenhagen is a breeze. If you’re flying, you’ll land at Copenhagen Airport, which is well-connected to the city.
Hop on a train, and you’ll be downtown in about 15 minutes.
If you’re coming from elsewhere in Europe, consider taking a train or bus for a scenic journey.
Driving? The city is well-connected by road.
Remember, public transport here is top-notch, so getting around is easy once you arrive.
If you are in town for a few days, consider getting the Copenhagen Card to save on activities and public transport.
Best Accommodation Options for Winter Stay
- Copenhagen Downtown Hostel: Ideal for budget travelers, offering a cozy vibe and a great location to explore the city.
- Hotel Sanders: A touch of luxury and warmth in the heart of Copenhagen, this boutique hotel is perfect for those who love a blend of comfort and style.
- 71 Nyhavn Hotel: Set in a beautiful harbor area of Nyhavn, it combines historical charm with modern amenities, making your stay memorable, convenient, and warm.
What Are the Best Things to Do in Copenhagen in Winter?
Copenhagen doesn’t just hibernate; it transforms.
From cozy indoor activities to stunning outdoor adventures, there’s something magical about Copenhagen this time of year.
Whether you’re a first-time visitor or a returning fan, winter brings out a side of the city that’s truly unique.
Let’s explore the best things to do in Copenhagen when the temperature drops and the nights get longer.
Explore the Magical Tivoli Gardens
If you’ve visited Copenhagen in winter, you know Tivoli Gardens is a must-see. This iconic amusement park, located right across Copenhagen Central Station, transforms into a winter wonderland, complete with twinkling lights and festive decorations.
Strolling through Tivoli during this season feels like stepping into a fairy tale.
Don’t miss their Christmas market – it’s a real treat, offering unique gifts, delicious treats, and a warm, festive atmosphere.
Whether it’s your first visit or your tenth, Tivoli Gardens in winter is an enchanting experience that captures the magic of the season in Copenhagen.
Stroll Along the Picturesque Nyhavn
Visiting Copenhagen in winter isn’t complete without a walk along the picturesque Nyhavn in the city center. This iconic harbor area, lined with brightly colored townhouses, takes on a special glow during the colder months.
The Christmas markets here are a highlight, offering a delightful mix of local crafts, tasty treats, and warm gløgg (sweet mulled Danish wine).
As you stroll, the festive lights reflecting off the canal create a magical atmosphere. A visit to Nyhavn during your winter trip offers a quintessential Copenhagen experience, blending historical charm with festive cheer.
Discover the Historical Rosenborg Castle
Exploring Copenhagen in the winter months isn’t just about embracing the cold weather; it’s about diving into history at places like Rosenborg Castle.
This 17th-century castle stands as a testament to Denmark’s rich past. Walking through its halls and rooms, you’ll feel like you’ve stepped back in time.
The winter adds a serene beauty to its gardens and the frozen moat, creating a picturesque scene.
Don’t miss the chance to explore Rosenborg during your winter visit – it’s a unique experience that combines the charm of Copenhagen’s history with the crisp beauty of the season.
Enjoy the Views from Christiansborg Palace Tower
Even in the freezing cold, the view from Christiansborg Palace Tower is a must-see in the Danish capital.
Wrapped up warm, ascend this historic tower to witness Copenhagen draped in winter’s embrace. The panoramic views from the top are breathtaking, offering a unique perspective of the city’s streets and rooftops, adorned with Christmas decorations.
This experience not only showcases the city’s beauty from above but also highlights the festive spirit that envelops Copenhagen during the winter months.
Visit The Little Mermaid and Citadel
A visit to the iconic Danish sculpture, the Little Mermaid Statue, feels like stepping into Hans Christian Andersen’s fairytale, especially amidst the chilly winter winds.
Perched by the waterside, this famous statue embodies the spirit of the city and its rich literary history.
Just a short walk away, explore the historic Citadel, a well-preserved fortress offering a peaceful escape with its snow-dusted paths.
Together, these landmarks provide a unique experience, blending the enchantment of fairytales with the stark beauty of Copenhagen’s winter landscape.
Experience the Charm of Stroget’s Shopping Street
Strøget, one of Europe’s longest pedestrian streets, is a must-visit for anyone looking to experience the Christmas magic in Copenhagen.
As you wander down this bustling street, you’re surrounded by vibrant, colorful buildings that add to the festive atmosphere.
The street is a perfect blend of modern shops and historical architecture, making it more than just a shopping destination.
During the winter, Strøget comes alive with twinkling lights and seasonal decorations, enveloping visitors in a cozy, joyful ambiance.
It’s an ideal place to soak in the festive spirit and find unique gifts.
Go Ice Skating
Embracing the Christmas cheer on a cold winter’s day in Copenhagen isn’t complete without ice skating.
It’s one of those timeless winter activities that everyone should try when they visit Denmark. Across the city, several rinks pop up, offering a chance to glide on ice with locals and visitors alike.
Whether you’re a seasoned skater or just looking for a fun way to keep warm, ice skating in Copenhagen is a delightful experience.
The rinks, often surrounded by festive lights and decorations, add an extra layer of magic to this winter pastime.
Cold Dip and Sauna
Don your winter boots and step into a true winter wonderland experience with a cold dip followed by a sauna.
My favorite spot for this invigorating tradition is La Banchina. Located by the harbor, it offers a breathtaking view and a uniquely Danish way to embrace the winter chill.
If you’re feeling adventurous, the cold dip is exhilarating, perfectly complemented by the warmth of the sauna afterward.
While La Banchina is a personal favorite, Copenhagen has many such spots where you can enjoy this quintessential winter activity, each offering its own unique charm.
Dine at Iconic Spots
There’s no better winter food experience than dining at Copenhagen’s iconic spots, each turning your holiday dream into reality.
For a truly memorable meal, head to Meyers in the Tower. It’s not just about the delicious smørrebrød; it’s the stunning views of the winter landscape that make it special.
Copenhagen, in its winter attire, offers a diverse array of dining experiences, from high-end restaurants to more affordable, yet equally charming, eateries.
Cozy cafes dot the city, providing warm havens where you can escape the cold and enjoy local flavors.
Each spot captures the essence of Copenhagen winter, offering both warmth and culinary delight.
Unique Winter Experiences in Copenhagen
There are many great activities that you can do while visiting Copenhagen in winter. These are truly unique and will truly stick with you as you return home.
Here are some of the best ones.
Canal Tours: A Different Perspective of the City
Discovering Copenhagen’s winter delights from the water is an experience like no other.
A canal cruise offers a unique vantage point to see the city. As you glide along the waterways on a canal tour, you’re treated to views of historic buildings and modern architecture alike, all framed by the crisp winter air.
It’s a peaceful yet invigorating way to explore, giving you a glimpse of Copenhagen’s charm from a different angle.
Whether it’s your first visit or you’re a seasoned traveler, a canal tour in winter is a must-do for a new perspective of the city.
Traditional Danish Lunch: A Culinary Journey
Embrace Danish culture and please your taste buds in the winter season with a traditional Danish lunch. The star of the show is undoubtedly smørrebrød, an open-faced sandwich that’s a culinary icon in Denmark.
Each bite offers a blend of flavors and textures, perfect for a cold day. But there’s more to Danish winter cuisine than just smørrebrød.
Warm, hearty dishes abound, providing comfort and warmth in the chilly weather.
Pair your meal with a local schnapps or a beer for a truly authentic experience.
This culinary journey is a must for anyone looking to dive deep into the heart of Danish winter traditions.
Cycling Through the City: A Local’s Experience
One of the best Copenhagen tips I can offer is to explore the city center on a bike, just like a local.
Cycling through Copenhagen, especially during the festive season, is an experience unlike any other. The streets come alive with beautiful Christmas decorations, adding a magical touch to every corner.
Pedaling around, you get to see the city’s charm up close, from the twinkling lights to the festive displays in shop windows.
It’s not just a mode of transportation; it’s an immersive way to experience the city’s winter wonder and connect with its vibrant culture.
Exploring the Vibrant Nørrebro District
Nørrebro, a gem among European cities, is a must-visit when you’re in central Copenhagen. This vibrant district bursts with life, offering a stark contrast to the more traditional parts of the city.
It’s a melting pot of cultures, cuisines, and experiences, making it a captivating place to explore.
Wander through its lively streets to discover quirky shops, eclectic eateries, great bars, and colorful street art.
Nørrebro provides a unique insight into the modern, diverse side of Copenhagen, showcasing a different facet of the city’s personality.
Freetown Christiania: A Unique Community
Freetown Christiania, distinct from the typical Christmas markets and bustling streets of Copenhagen, offers a unique experience in embracing the Christmas spirit.
Copenhagen is famous for this autonomous community, with its alternative lifestyle and vibrant atmosphere, is a must-visit.
During the winter, the area takes on a quieter but equally enchanting character. Wander its paths to discover artistic expressions and local crafts. The coffee shops here offer a cozy refuge from the cold, perfect for warming up with a hot drink.
Christiania’s unconventional charm provides a different perspective on the festive season, one that’s rooted in community and creativity.
Copenhagen’s Winter Itinerary: A Three-Day Guide
Continuing with our winter exploration of Copenhagen, let’s dive into a carefully curated three-day itinerary.
This guide is designed to ensure you experience the essence of the city during these chilly months. Packed with a mix of indoor and outdoor activities, it’s the perfect way to see Copenhagen’s top spots and hidden gems alike.
From historic landmarks to modern attractions, this itinerary balances sightseeing with authentic local experiences and recommendations from a native!
Day 1: Copenhagen’s Heart and Soul
Danish Pastry and Delicious Breakfast
Start your day with the aroma of yummy cinnamon buns at a local bakery. As the sun rises late, indulge in a variety of Danish pastries and breakfast that set the tone for a delightful day ahead in Copenhagen.
Morning Walk in Strøget and Visit City Hall
Take a morning walk in Strøget, the heartbeat of the city center. Wander through the bustling streets to City Hall Square, where the pulse of Copenhagen’s urban life is palpable.
Afternoon at Amalienborg Palace and Canal Boat Tour
In the afternoon, visit Amalienborg Palace, and then embark on a canal boat tour.
Glide past the Opera House and cruise straight past The Little Mermaid from a Hans Christian Andersons fairytale.
Experience the Danish Beer and Pub Culture
Evening calls for experiencing Denmark’s famous beer culture. Visit the world-famous Carlsberg Brewery for a taste of history and some of the finest brews in the city.
Day 2: Excursions and Cultural Immersion
Morning Trip to Frederiksborg Castle
Start with a morning trip to Frederiksborg Castle, an architectural marvel connected to the Danish royal family. It’s ideal to do some day trips to experience Denmark’s regal history and culture while you are in town.
Afternoon Fun at Your Favourite Museum
Spend the afternoon in your favorite Copenhagen museum. Whether it’s the lush greenery of the Copenhagen Botanical Garden or the artistic treasures of the Danish National Gallery, the city’s museums offer something for everyone.
Evening Dining Experience
Copenhagen’s food culture is a food lover’s dream. The evening brings a diverse dining experience, from traditional Danish cuisine to international flavors. It’s a perfect setting to indulge in culinary delights and savor the city’s vibrant food scene.
Day 3: Iconic Sights and Hidden Gems
Morning at Copenhagen Zoo and The Cisterns
Begin your day with a visit to Copenhagen Zoo, followed by The Cisterns, a unique art gallery in an underground reservoir. It’s a blend of natural and artistic beauty.
Street Food Indulgence at Torvehallerne Food Market
For lunch, head to Torvehallerne Food Market. Despite most outdoor street food markets being closed, here you can still savor a hot dog or a Christmas pizza in Copenhagen’s winter.
Afternoon at Rosenborg Castle and The Round Tower
In the afternoon, explore Rosenborg Castle and marvel at the crown jewels. Then, ascend The Round Tower for panoramic views of the city.
Evening In Tivoli Gardens
Spend your evening in Tivoli Gardens, where the Christmas treats, charming gift shops, and the amusement park might remind you of a winter Disney World. It’s perfect for picking up adorable Christmas gifts.
Maximizing Your Winter Experience in Copenhagen
Warm Up with Hot Drinks & Hygge
In the chilly winter, warm up with a cup of hot chocolate or Danish mulled wine. Embrace the cozy concept of ‘hygge’ as you enjoy these comforting beverages in a snug café.
Free Museums to Visit in Winter
Explore Copenhagen’s culture without spending a dime. Visit free Copenhagen museums and art galleries like Møstings Hus, the National Museum of Denmark, The David Collection, the Botanical Gardens, and enjoy tours of Folketinget- the Danish Parliament.
Don’t forget to grab a Copenhagen Card for discounts on various tours, activities, and public transport.
Indulge in Food Markets: Torvehallerne & Street Food Spots
Though many street food markets close due to cold weather, spots like “Broens Gadekøkken” remain lively with an ice-skating rink and booths selling warm drinks. Torvehallerne Food Market is an ideal place to sample a variety of traditional Danish treats, from seasonal drinks to Christmas treats, smørrebrød, and pastries.
Final Thoughts on Visiting Copenhagen in Winter
And that’s it!
Copenhagen truly is worth a visit even in the winter season. Its blend of cozy charm, festive streets, and rich history creates a magical backdrop for any traveler.
From savoring traditional Danish treats to wandering through historical sites, every moment here is a chance to make lasting memories.
If you’ve enjoyed this guide and are eager for more great activities, don’t forget to check out my guide on the best tours in Copenhagen.
All the very best,
FAQs About Taking a Winter Trip to Copenhagen
Absolutely! Copenhagen in winter is a wonderland of cozy cafes, festive lights, and charming Christmas markets. The city’s unique winter charm offers a truly memorable experience.
December is a great time to visit Copenhagen. The city is alive with Christmas spirit, showcasing beautiful decorations, festive markets, and a joyful atmosphere that’s perfect for holiday season explorers.
Yes, Copenhagen hosts several enchanting Christmas markets during the winter season. These markets are filled with festive stalls, holiday treats, and unique crafts, creating a magical Christmas atmosphere.
Winters in Denmark can be quite cold, with temperatures often hovering around 0°C (32°F). It’s important to dress warmly in layers to comfortably enjoy the winter activities and sights.
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