The utlimate Copenhagen winter guide for a memorable and festive holiday 🎄
Are you planning a winter city break in Copenhagen and looking for the best things to do and see? You have come to the right place! This guide will show you how to spend a memorable vacation in the Danish capital during the winter (and Christmas) season.
From a fun afternoon of outdoor ice skating to lively Christmas markets on the harbour and delicious Danish pastries and mulled wine, there is so much to discover in Copenhagen in winter, whether you are travelling on a short weekend getaway or a week-long trip.
Copenhagen is also the perfect holiday destination for solo travellers and families exploring with children. It provides plenty of activities for all ages and many indoor tourist attractions in case of a rainy day.
I visited Copenhagen in February with my partner Matt, and we both loved the city! We fell in love with its cosy atmosphere, delicious cuisine and picturesque streets with colourful houses – we even bought an orange house to take home as a candleholder 😊
And, of course, be sure to add Nyvahn to your bucket list, as this old harbour is simply magical, any time of year.
Finally, my last piece of advice is to arrive prepared! Copenhagen in winter is cold, so make sure to bring a warm winter coat, gloves and a hat.
So, are you excited? Keep on reading to find out 10 unique things to do in Copenhagen in winter, what to see, where to stay, how to get around and practical eco-friendly tips for responsible travel at the end. Enjoy!
My Copenhagen experience:
Duration 3 days
Dates visited Feb 06 - Feb 08
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- Overview: things to do in Copenhagen in winter
- Copenhagen winter guide – Map
- Why you should visit Copenhagen in winter
- Fun things to do in Copenhagen in winter
- Travel Tips
- How cold is Copenhagen in winter
- How to get to Copenhagen in winter
- How to get around Copenhagen in winter
- Where to stay in Copenhagen in winter
- What to pack & wear in Copenhagen in winter
- How to reduce your impact in Copenhagen
- Copenhagen travel planning guide
- Copenhagen in winter – FAQ
Overview: things to do in Copenhagen in winter
- Explore the city by bike
- Visit the Christmas markets
- Have fun ice skating
- Relax in a hot sauna
- Wander the Tivoli Gardens
- Go Skiing at CopenHill
- Fall in love with Nyhavn
- Stop by Rosenborg Castle
- Climb up the Round Tower
- Warm up in a museum
Looking for the perfect Copenhagen itinerary? Check out this article:
Copenhagen City Guide: Perfect 3-Day Itinerary
Copenhagen winter guide – Map
Click on the top left of the map to display the list of stops and locations.
Why you should visit Copenhagen in winter
Copenhagen in winter is a magical place to explore, especially if you enjoy a festive atmosphere combined with unique seasonal activities. Here are a few reasons why you should consider visiting Copenhagen in winter:
Christmas markets: you will find several Christmas markets dotted around the capital, including the Tivoli Gardens Christmas Market and the Nyhavn Christmas Market. They are the perfect places to buy gifts, handmade crafts and local products or just wander around and enjoy the festive atmosphere with lights and decorations.
Hygge culture: a term you may have come across! Denmark is well-known for its hygge concept, which highlights comfort and spending time with loved ones. Winter is the ideal season to experience hygge, whether by enjoying a cup of hot chocolate in a café or wandering the picturesque streets.
Ice skating: no trip to Copenhagen in winter would be complete without an ice skating experience, a fun activity for all ages and abilities! You will find several ice skating rinks in various locations across the city, including Frederiksberg Runddel and Broens Skøjtebane.
Fewer crowds: Copenhagen will be less crowded in winter, especially compared to peak tourist periods like summer. As a result, you will be able to explore famous spots and attractions like the Little Mermaid statue and Rosenborg Castle with fewer crowds – and without rushing.
Indoor attractions: the Danish capital benefits from plenty of indoor attractions, including museums, art galleries and historic monuments, perfect on a cold and rainy day, whether you are travelling alone or with children. Here are some museums you should check out: the National Museum, the Glyptoteket and the Botanical Garden.
Danish cuisine: winter is a perfect time to taste delicious Danish cuisine. During your city break, try traditional dishes like “smørrebrød” (open sandwiches), “æbleskiver” (pancakes) and “gløgg” (mulled wine) at local restaurants, cafés or markets.
Looking for the best eco-friendly things to do? Check out this article:
10 Eco-Friendly Things to Do in Copenhagen
Fun things to do in Copenhagen in winter
Visiting Copenhagen in winter is a fun and unforgettable experience, especially in December! Here are some unique activities and unusual things to do if you plan to visit the capital this season:
1- Explore the capital by bike
Copenhagen is one of the most cycling-friendly cities in the world, making it a perfect destination to discover by bike. It is renowned for its dedicated bike lanes running through the city, and you can easily rent a bike for just 150 DKK per day (£17).
Its flat terrain, spacious roads and the abundance of bike lanes in the city centre and surroundings make cycling the ideal way to navigate and fully enjoy your visit to this charming city – even in winter!
You can find a wide range of bike rental options to suit your needs. From classic city bikes to mountain bikes and electric scooters, you will be able to explore the best attractions of the Danish capital in no time.
Cycling is also the ideal way to tap into the local vibe and truly experience the city like a resident whilst pausing whenever you want and discovering non-touristy, hidden gems you might otherwise miss.
However, when visiting Copenhagen in winter with chilling temperatures, it is essential to pack a few layers to avoid falling into a freezing trap. And if you plan on renting bikes for the day, do not forget to bring a hat, scarf and gloves.
Copenhagen is also safe to explore by bike at night.
You can easily rent a bike from your hotel or on the Donkey Republic app, an affordable and efficient bike rental service that allows everyone to get around the capital. The app lets you find a bike around you, and the price varies according to the duration of use = the longer you ride, the cheaper it gets!
Cycling tours I recommend
2- Visit the Christmas markets
Christmas in Copenhagen is a delightful experience, offering you several festive attractions and activities. Wondering what the Christmas markets have in store for you? Get ready to be captivated by the cosy atmosphere of these small and cute markets.
With layers of comfortable clothing to keep you warm, venture out into the night to experience how the Danes celebrate the holiday season!
King’s New Square Christmas Market (Julemarked Kongens Nytorv)
Julemarked Kongens Nytorv, also known as King’s Square Christmas Market, is perhaps the most traditional Christmas market in Copenhagen. It presents a nostalgic wonderland filled with charming decorations and wooden stalls filled with delightful gifts and treats.
Located on a historic square with roots dating back to the 17th century, the ambience here is romantic, enchanting and wonderfully festive – perfect for couples!
High Bridge Square Christmas Market (Julemarked Højbro Plads)
Højbro Plads Christmas Market is right in the heart of the festive scene of Copenhagen. Here, you will find a classic Christmas market ambience that resembles what you would encounter in central Europe. Wooden stalls line the market, offering a lovely array of gifts and traditional Christmas market treats like sausages. It is a charming spot to soak up the festive spirit of the Danish capital.
Whilst you are there, do not miss the chance to explore Strøget, a sprawling pedestrian shopping street, one of the longest in Europe. The shops there really get into the holiday spirit, and it is also a lovely place to explore at night.
HC Andersen Christmas Market (HC Andersen Julemarked)
For an authentic fairytale-like adventure, put the H.C. Andersen Christmas Market on your Copenhagen must-visit list.
The Hans Christian Andersen market is a paradise for children with fun activities, stalls and delicious food. It is a delightful tribute to the beloved Danish storyteller we all adore, Hans Christian Andersen. The market features stalls named after his famous fairy tales, decorated with Christmas lights.
Here, you will find gifts, jewellery, mulled wine and hot chocolate. There is also a nostalgia carousel, a Christmas caravan and Santa Claus himself. It is the perfect place for families to immerse themselves in the holiday spirit.
For a unique and offbeat Christmas market experience in Copenhagen, check out the annual Christmas market in Freetown Christiania, the renowned district that originated when squatters occupied a former military base in the 1970s.
You can find numerous stalls at this particular Christmas market that offer handmade items such as jewellery and candles.
3- Have fun ice skating
Broens Ice Rink
Broens Ice Rink, right along the harbour, is a 600m2 ice rink nestled in the heart of the city and a fantastic spot for all travellers to enjoy.
Located at the end of the Inner Harbour Bridge, it is a new addition to Copenhagen in places where locals and visitors can embrace their inner ice-skating pro. Plus, the view of the harbour and the tempting offerings from the food stalls in Broens Street Kitchen make it an excellent hangout place.
Each winter, Frederiksberg Runddel, located at the entrance to Frederiksberg Garden, undergoes a charming transformation into a welcoming ice rink, providing winter fun for all.
Entrance to the ice rink is free and open to everyone. Skaters can bring their own skates, rent them for DKK 50 during the day, or have them sharpened for DKK 70. Note that this ice rink is dedicated to skaters only and is not intended for ice hockey games.
Frederiksberg Runddel usually opens on the last Saturday of November and closes on the last Sunday of February, depending on weather conditions.
4- Relax in a hot sauna
Copenhagen is a city that values both physical and mental well-being, and its residents take both aspects seriously. On your winter city break, you will come across a diverse range of sauna facilities, from the traditional ones you would expect to the more innovative and unique options.
CopenHot offers a fascinating swimming and sauna experience that has gained immense popularity in Copenhagen. Here, you will encounter a mix of locals and tourists seeking an off-the-beaten-path adventure.
CopenHot provides a variety of saunas, including the Panoramic Sauna, which provides a stunning view of the Little Mermaid statue and Mamrorkirken. This sauna can accommodate up to 10 people and is available for private bookings at a flat rate of 1,200 DKK. For larger groups, it is priced at 120 DKK per person. Each session lasts up to an hour, and you can even take a dip in the sea afterwards.
Remember that CopenHot is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays, so plan your visit accordingly.
Skodsborg Spa og Fitness
Skodsborg Spa og Fitness features a picturesque mist sauna where you can unwind in a charming wooden room. It offers a perfect touch of luxury, complemented by delicious aromas and other enhancements to elevate your relaxation.
Once there, you will have a few options to access the sauna. You can either book an overnight stay at the facility, which includes sauna access or become a member.
Frederiksberg is undoubtedly one of the most desirable neighbourhoods of Copenhagen.
Whilst the main attraction at this facility is swimming, you will discover a wide range of other amenities to enjoy. A notable feature is the mist sauna, which offers a service similar to what you would find at Skodsborg Spa og Fitness.
Interestingly, Frederiksberg Svømmehal was one of the first places in Denmark to adopt saunas. Here, you can experience several “saunagus” sessions, each lasting around 10-15 minutes, adding an extra layer of relaxation to your visit.
5- Wander the Tivoli Gardens
Tivoli Gardens in winter is like a Winter Wonderland and the ultimate destination for those festive vibes you crave. You will find this fun amusement park, the second oldest in the world, right in the heart of Copenhagen, near the central station.
Once there, take a thrilling ride on its oldest and most famous attraction: the wooden rollercoaster. It is one of the only seven rollercoasters worldwide with a brakeman on every train, adding to the excitement.
And if Ferris wheels and rollercoasters are not your thing, do not worry. You can cosy up amidst the exotic gardens, enjoy a meal at one of the restaurants, explore the shops, or savour a glass of gløgg (mulled wine).
Note that this is the only Christmas market in Copenhagen with an admission fee. However, given the spectacular decorations and the magical atmosphere that envelops the place, it is worth the detour.
BOOK YOUR ENTRANCE
6- Go Skiing at CopenHill
Are you looking for a thrilling adventure in Copenhagen? Check out Copenhill (Amager Bakke), a massive dry slope atop a Scandinavian-style waste-to-energy factory.
This innovative project has a dual objective: to generate environmentally friendly energy for the greater Copenhagen region and to provide a year-round ski experience for the most enthusiastic locals and visitors.
Although it may not provide impressive alpine vistas or challenges for expert skiers, Copenhill delivers a unique and enjoyable skiing experience suitable for all skill levels, along with stunning views of the vibrant cityscape of the Danish capital.
👉🏻 Book your entrance: CopenHill Ski Pass Including Rental Gear
7- Fall in love with Nyhavn
The place you have undoubtedly seen on all those picture-perfect postcards and the spot you will instantly fall in love with in Copenhagen is none other than Nyhavn, a 17th-century waterfront lined with colourful townhouses. Trust me; you will not be able to resist snapping a photo here, so make it a priority on your visit.
Now, when it comes to dining along the canal in Nyhavn, I will be upfront – it is a bit on the pricey side, with main course prices ranging from 130 to 270 DKK. Copenhagen is known for being a tad expensive, and being in the heart of the most popular tourist destination in the city means you will pay a bit more.
But here is the deal: the canal view is stunning. So, if you are looking for a memorable Danish experience, it is a must-do for your trip. Enjoy!
8- Stop by Rosenborg Castle
Rosenborg Castle is a historic treasure and stunning Renaissance palace created by King Christian IV at the beginning of the 17th century that invites you to travel back in time and fully immerse in Danish culture.
Set in a beautiful green garden, take the time to walk around the castle as you admire its fantastic architecture and step inside to discover the Crown Jewels.
Explore the King’s private quarters, bathrooms and other abundant spaces, witness wax models of earlier residents and discover 400 years’ worth of royal artefacts. The castle is an ideal spot for history lovers and photo enthusiasts thanks to its unique Danish Renaissance elements.
You also will learn more about the life of Danish kings from early eras as you wander through the lavishly decorated chambers.
Finally, you can combine your visit to the castle with a trip to the neighbouring Botanical Gardens.
9- Climb up the Round Tower
The Round Tower of Copenhagen, or Rundetårn in Danish, is a masterpiece of architecture and a must-see landmark in the centre of the city. This 17th-century building gives you a fascinating journey through heritage with spectacular panoramic views.
Its unique feature is its spiral ramp, which winds its way up to the top of the tower instead of traditional stairs, intentionally created so King Christian IV could ride his horses to the top.
As you ascend the tower, the inside reveals captivating historical exhibits and engaging displays. And located halfway up is the former Library Hall. Since its reopening in 1987, the hall has served as a venue for exhibitions, concerts and cultural festivals.
Continue your way up to discover the historic neighbourhood of Copenhagen in great detail from the top of the tower and enjoy a breathtaking 360° panorama. So be sure to include this activity at the top of your winter bucket list.
10- Warm up in a museum
There is no better season to experience the rich cultural heritage of Copenhagen kept behind the walls of its well-known museums than when the temperature lowers and strong winds blow across the city.
The National Gallery
The National Gallery (Statens Museum för Kunst), home to an exceptional inventory of European and Danish classics, is a haven for art lovers. As you appreciate the creations of renowned artists like Rembrandt, Picasso and Hammershi, you can enjoy the welcoming atmosphere of creativity.
The National Museum
The National Museum (Nationalmuseet) provides an exciting tour through the history of Denmark. You will be amazed by the stories of Viking sagas, medieval artefacts and fascinating archaeological discoveries.
Experimentarium Science Centre
Families with young children will enjoy a trip to the Experimentarium Science Centre. Here, engaging exhibits and hands-on displays provide an informative and fun experience for all through exploration and learning.
The stunning Botanical Garden is a living museum. It houses the most incredible collection of plants from around the globe, with more than 13,000 species in its massive collection. In addition, if you find yourself hungry during your visit, there is a lovely café where you can stop for a snack.
Shop the printable travel itinerary
Plan your perfect city break & live a unique green experience.
How cold is Copenhagen in winter
Copenhagen in the winter is generally cold and grey, with snow showers and temperatures ranging from 0°c to 4°c, but colder days can struggle to rise above 0°c – so pack your suitcase carefully for your winter break!
Something to also keep in mind is how windy it can be, especially when walking along the coast (my feet were freezing, and we had to stop regularly at coffee shops to warm up). But with a good winter coat and hat, you will have no problem exploring the Danish capital during the colder months.
Copenhagen is a lovely place to experience in winter, with its Christmas markets, ice skating rinks and cosy coffee shops to relax. In addition, the city has many indoor attractions, including historical landmarks, museums and art galleries, perfect on a cold and rainy day.
So if you come prepared, you will have a great time enjoying its festive atmosphere.
Planning a winter trip to Rome? Check out this article:
Rome Winter Guide: 10 Magical Things to Do
How to get to Copenhagen in winter
The best way to get to Copenhagen during the winter season will depend on where you come from and your budget, but there are many options for reaching the Danish capital as it is well-connected to the rest of Europe and the world.
Here are the main ways to get to Copenhagen:
One of the quickest ways to get to Copenhagen is by plane. Copenhagen Airport (CPH) is the main international gateway to the capital and the country, connected to major cities around the world. Additionally, it is only 8 kilometres from the city centre (which is easily accessible by train and metro). If you decide to fly to the Danish capital, try to prioritise direct flights to reduce your carbon footprint.
One of the most eco-friendly ways to get to Copenhagen is by train. The capital benefits from an extensive rail network linking to the main cities in the country and Europe, thanks to its Copenhagen Central Station (Københavns Hovedbanegård), located in the heart of the city.
Finally, one of the most affordable options for getting to Copenhagen is by bus. It is a great way to reach the Danish capital if you are exploring Europe on a budget, but it can take longer. Several international bus companies, like Eurolines, offer services to Copenhagen from various European cities. Check their website for more information on schedules and routes.
Other options include travelling by car, ferry or bike (for the most courageous!).
And, of course, always check the latest travel restrictions, visa requirements and transportation options based on your current location.
Fancy a city break to Vienna? Check out this article:
10 Eco-Friendly & Fun Things to Do in Vienna
How to get around Copenhagen in winter
Once in Copenhagen, you will find many options for getting around the capital, even in winter.
The best way (eco-friendly too) to travel around Copenhagen is on foot. The capital is compact, and many of its best attractions are within walking distance of each other, so you can easily explore them on foot, even on a short day trip or weekend getaway. Plus, it is a great way to see the best sights whilst getting some exercise!
I mostly walked when I visited Copenhagen in February for a few days, and it was super easy. The essential is to arrive prepared and wear appropriate clothing. And if you are too cold, do like us and stop at coffee shops to warm up.
The second best option for getting around Copenhagen in winter is public transport. The Danish capital has a reliable transportation network consisting of buses, metros and trains that can take you anywhere. It is also an eco-friendly and budget-friendly way to explore the city, especially if you are too tired or cold.
The last and fun option is to travel around Copenhagen by bike (even in winter!). It is a fantastic way to get around the capital whilst reducing your carbon footprint. Copenhagen is famous for its cycling activity and provides plenty of dedicated bike lanes. I was even surprised by the number of bikes I saw – and the weather does not stop them! Plus, if you need a boost, rent an electric bike.
Want to see the incredible Northern Lights? Check out this article: 10 Best Northern Lights Holiday Tours in Norway
Where to stay in Copenhagen in winter
- Indre by: the best area for first-time visitors
- Vesterbro: the best area for nightlife
- Østerbro: the best area for families
- Nørrebro: the best area to stay on a budget
- Christianshavn: the best area for Bohemian vibes
- Frederiksberg: the best area for a quiet stay
READ MORE: Where to Stay in Copenhagen: 6 Best Areas
Fancy a unique winter adventure? Check out this article:
Norwegian Fjords Cruise: Complete Winter Guide
What to pack & wear in Copenhagen in winter
Each suitcase will look different to everyone, depending on how long you are staying in the Danish capital, but here are some essentials for a comfortable winter city break:
- Comfortable walking shoes (to keep up with your itinerary)
- Waterproof winter jacket (to stay warm & dry) ⇢ check out my favourite winter coat
- Warm hat, scarf and gloves (to dodge the wind)
- Good backpack (to access your stuff anytime) ⇢ check out my favourite backpack
- Phone and tablet (to listen to music or use as GPS)
- Camera (to capture your incredible vacation)
- All chargers (indispensable) ⇢ check out these portable chargers
- Passport, driving licence, and any necessary visas
- Credit card and cash (to bring home souvenirs)
- Travel books and guides (to discover the best of the capital)
- Reusable water bottle (to stay hydrated on the go) ⇢ check out my favourite bottle
- Notebook or travel diary (to record your thoughts) ⇢ check out my favourite notebook
IMPORTANT – take care of your belongings and watch out for pickpockets, especially in busy tourist areas.
Check out this page for more inspiration on eco-friendly products & gear.
Shop the printable travel packing list
Prepare for your perfect winter city trip & stay warm and dry!
How to reduce your impact in Copenhagen
Sustainable travel means exploring the world whilst being aware of your surroundings and having a positive social, environmental and economic impact on the places you visit.
Being a responsible traveller in Copenhagen is possible! Here are some eco-friendly travel tips for reducing your carbon footprint:
- Use the train to reach the Danish capital. Copenhagen is incredibly well-connected by train to Europe and the rest of the world, so prioritise travelling this way to lower your carbon impact.
- If you need to take the plane, book direct flights (which require less fuel than indirect flights) and offset your carbon footprint. But, do not use carbon offsetting as a complete solution. Combine it with other sustainable practices, like avoiding single-use plastic on the plane and mindfully packing your suitcase for your green holiday.
- Select a green accommodation. It is not always easy to determine whether a hotel has eco-conscious practices, but try to look on their website for green credentials and ask questions. You can also use Bookdifferent or Ecobnb to help you decide. Read this article for more on the best green hotels in Copenhagen: Where to Stay in Copenhagen: 6 Best Areas & Hotels.
- Walk as much as possible. Copenhagen is a compact city easily accessible on foot, and you will not produce any emissions. And if walking is too tiring, use the bike! The capital is ideal for cycling around at your own pace. Check out the Donkey Republic to rent your bike.
- Shop local and eat at local restaurants that use produce from the area and emphasise organic and sustainability. It will contribute to the local economy and reduce your carbon footprint by supporting restaurants where food does not come from long distances. For example, have a look at Torvehallerne, a gourmet food market.
- Always respect the local heritage. Treat people and their surroundings with respect. Sustainable travel is not only about the environment but also about the local communities. So, always be respectful, smile and learn a few Danish words to immerse yourself in the local vibe.
More inspiration for your green adventures:
- Best Travel Apps for Exploring Sustainably
- 15 Travel Books to Inspire Your Next Eco-Adventure
- Best Ecotourism Activities Around the World
Eco-friendly gear you might love:
- 10 Best Sustainable Backpacks for Travel & Hiking
- 10 Best Reusable & Eco-Friendly Travel Mugs
- 8 Best Filtered Water Bottles for Travel & Hiking
Check out this page for more inspiration on eco-friendly products & gear.
Copenhagen travel planning guide
Yes, buying insurance is always valuable when travelling abroad. Enjoy your winter city break in Copenhagen stress-free with one of my favourite providers, Nomad Insurance.
Yes, tap water is safe to drink all over Copenhagen (the city undergoes strict daily quality controls). However, I also recommend travelling with the UltraPress Purifier Bottle, a lightweight filtered water bottle perfect for reducing plastic and staying hydrated.
Yes, renting a car in Copenhagen is easy and is a great way to explore the Danish countryside freely. I recommend booking yours with Rentalcars.com – they offer a variety of operators for all budgets.
The best way to book your accommodation in Copenhagen is with Booking.com – my favourite platform to compare and reserve places to stay each night, from affordable guesthouses to luxury hotels.
I recommend booking your plane with Skyscanner. It has been my favourite platform for years, as it allows me to book the cheapest flights whilst lowering my carbon emissions.
Copenhagen in winter – FAQ
Copenhagen in winter is cold and cloudy, with occasional snow showers and temperatures averaging around 3°c. Additionally, daylight hours are shorter, so make sure to dress warmly and plan your activities accordingly, and you will have an unforgettable experience!
Yes, Copenhagen is worth visiting in winter, especially for those who love holiday festivities and unique cultural experiences! Take the time to explore its Christmas markets, have fun ice skating, visit its museums and stop at a café to taste traditional dishes and pastries.
The best way to get around Copenhagen in winter is on foot. The capital is compact, and many of its best attractions are within walking distance of each other. And if you need a booster, rent a bike. The city is one of the most bike-friendly in the world. Finally, if you are too tired or cold, use public transport.
And you, what is your favourite thing to do in Copenhagen in winter?
Let me know in the comments below!