Winter in Copenhagen is wonderful, even though Danish winters are by many associated with never ending darkness. I start to think that these urban legends about dark and cold winters were just made up by the Danes so they can have all the winter magic to themselves. I honestly believe that winter period – especially around Christmas – is one of the best times to visit Copenhagen and explore it in a sporty and fun way. (View our running tours here.)
Why you should visit Copenhagen during winter
Copenhagen is not only considered a Christmas city but during wintertime you are surrounded by the most popular Danish export, “hygge” (Danish cosiness). Another attractive factor is that you can avoid the tourist crowds if you choose to schedule your visit around the coldest time of the year while also enjoying the benefits of the low season discounts of our somewhat costly city.
Copenhagen is also a foodie’s mecca, and winter time is the time of year it is easiest to get a table at our worldfamous restaurants. Noma you of course still have to book far in advance, but many of our other gourmet restaurants are not always fully booked and are worth a shot even for last minute reservations. Also the Copenhagen Michelin restaurants are a good choice of dining and at winter you can sometimes get same day reservations or be lucky to sit by the bar.
When experiencing winter in Copenhagen your rule number one should be the old Scandinavian saying: “There’s no such thing as bad weather, just poor clothing.” – and I can’t emphasize this enough. Once you wrapped yourself up warmly you can pick a few things from the list below and soak up the wintry atmosphere both in- and outdoors.
Winter in Copenhagen – Indoors
The most obvious indoor option is visiting one of the several museums that our culturally colourful city has to offer. Whether you are into art, history or looking for something completely Danish, we have a handful of recommendations to choose from.
National Gallery is right in the beautiful Østre Anlæg, a park that we run through on our City Tour where our guests are always impressed by the controversial architecture and beautiful surroundings.
Another unique indoor activity you can treat yourself with is the beer tasting at Carlsberg brewery. I took my parents-in-law to the brewery which they voted as the favourite of their stay (they are obviously not runners. :))
Alternatively if you fancy seeing a bit of the countryside you should target Louisiana, the modern art museum which is located directly on the shore, 35km north of Copenhagen. Apart from the breathtaking settings it offers both refreshing contemporary art and classics.
Eating and drinking
Winter in Copenhagen – Outdoors
Copenhagen during the holiday season is not only wrapped up with classy Scandinavian decoration but you can find a Christmas market on literally every corner. You can choose to visit the main Christmas markets or go local and see the alternative versions.
Sweaty combo of running and sauna
One of our most popular running tours during winter is the run and sauna tour which includes a private running tour of your choice and an hour sauna session afterwards having a floating sauna all to yourself. If you are worried about running in Copenhagen during wintertime, read our article about why you should run in Copenhagen during winter. In order to keep your motivation flying high when the temperature is low, we put together two running playlists, including the favourite pump up jams of top atheletes as well as our beloved melodies.
Every year on St. Lucia’s night Go! Running Copenhagen teams up with Kayak Republic to light up the winter darkness. You can join either the kayakers or runners and let your body and soul warm up by the exercising and singing along the harbour and ultimately buy the gløgg (mulled wine) and æbleskiver (pancake puffs) served at the end of the event. (See more Copenhagen running events here).
Dip in the harbour
The water in the harbour is clear enough to swim in it and it is a widely popular activity to jump in one of the five outdoor pools. During summer period these pools are packed with both tourists and locals but when the weather turns colder tourists tend to abstain from ice-cold water thus winter baths are considered a traditional Viking thing you should challenge yourself with.
Above was a very few warm recommendations from a cold capital to make the most of your visit during winter. I hope it will make you realise you couldn’t have arrived at a better time to experience the real Copenhagen and understand why locals are fond of their snowy city. For more tips on running in the winter in Copenhagen, see our guide to running in Copenhagen.
Off on a snowy run,