We jetted into the Danish capital from Reykjavik, Iceland. Copenhagen in January we were told we were crazy. We landed at Copenhagen airport only to be greeted by pouring rain. This Copenhagen weather would push our ideas of things to do in Copenhagen in winter. The weather is cold in winter have no doubt about that. The temperatures in December – January can be in the minus degrees. We made sure we had thermals, good quality winter jackets and waterproof shoes for winter activities in Copenhagen.
Getting into the city from the airport:
Copenhagen is a manageable airport for arriving and departing. The metro train to the city is located right above Copenhagen airport arrivals terminal 3. All the trains go in the same direction, the airport is the end of the line. No need to worry about getting on the wrong train. The trains run with 4-6 minutes intervals during the day and evening. At night the train runs every 15-20 minutes. The airport service will deliver you to the Nørreport Station (hub in the city centre) in 13 minutes.
You buy tickets at the metro station and at the DSB ticket sales counter in terminal 3. Customer service representatives were present to help you buy the right tickets. This was something you don’t see often but it was reassuring to be pointed in the right direction. It would have been even handier when we arrived at Norreport in the rain and had no idea which direction to go. A real tourist moment.
Best Places to stay in Copenhagen
For budget-friendly accommodation, we stayed at the Generator Copenhagen. The Generator Copenhagen had a family room for 4 that suited our family. There was a communal area with games, TV, food and drinks for the whole family. It was nice not to be stuck in your hotel room at the time. We were able to meet other people travelling while enjoying a few drinks in a social atmosphere that was kid friendly. Is the Generator in the best area to stay in Copenhagen? Yes, we believe so.
⇒ You might like our article on Staying at a Hostel with kids
It is close to Nørreport Station in central Copenhagen. This is where you can disembark from the Airport train. Plenty is plenty of Copenhagen attractions and food options available close by including an Aldi supermarket 100 meters away. The Nyhavn tourist area is 500 meters away. All this we believe makes the Generator one of the best places to stay in Copenhagen and in one of the best areas to stay in Copenhagen.
Copenhagen facts and figures:
- The currency is Danish kroner. (DKK)
- Danish is the home language, most Danes speak excellent English.
- Copenhagen is a safe city by international standards
- Smoking is banned in all public indoor areas
- Tipping is not custom in Copenhagen but will be appreciated if you recieve good service
Things to do in Copenhagen in winter.
Copenhagen City Tour
The Copenhagen City Tour or hop on hop off bus was our best way to get around the city. Hop on hop off Copenhagen provided us with a warm environment and made things to do in Copenhagen in winter more practical. Some of the most important sights during the hop on hop off Copenhagen tour are the Little Mermaid, Amalienborg Palace, Rosenborg Palace, Nyhavn, Gammel Strand, Tivoli, Christiansborg Palace. The bus is especially practical for the Little Mermaid.
The bus makes a 10 minute stop so you can get out take a picture and get back on. Most times when you get off the bus you have to wait 30 minutes for the next one. The Copenhagen city tour has 3 different routes. The Mermaid, The Christina and the Carlsberg route. Not all routes were running in winter. The routes that were active provide more than enough things to do in Copenhagen in Winter.
Copenhagen: 48-Hour Hop-On Hop-Off Bus (All Lines)
See the sights of Copenhagen at your own pace with a 48-hour ticket to the 3 routes of the open-top hop-on-hop-off sightseeing bus. Learn more about the city and its main attractions from the onboard audio guide, available in 11 different languages. This is the best way to see Copenhagen in Winter.
Latest Copenhagen city tour Prices and information ⇒CLICK⇐ this here
The Little Mermaid Copenhagen
I can say the Little Mermaid Copenhagen is underwhelming. I actually thought that someone was taking the piss when we got to the location. The little mermaid sits in the water a few meters from the bank. The mermaid has been on display since 1913. Why I say underwhelming is because the mermaid is only 1.25 meters high.
The Copenhagen mermaid is a polarising symbol for the people of Copenhagen. Over the years it has had its head and arms cut off and even blown up. Through all this, the mermaid has been continually repaired. It was a popular site for our kids and every kid who visits. It remains a premier attraction and symbol of Copenhagen. As previously mentioned hop on hop off Copenhagen makes a special photo stop at the Little Mermaid
Rosenborg Castle Copenhagen
This castle in Copenhagen dates back to 1606 when Christian IV built it as a summer country house. The castle is located in beautiful parkland in central Copenhagen. The Rosenborg Castle Gardens surround this Copenhagen Castle. Kongens, as it is locally known, is 12.5 hectares in size. The castle was used as a Royal Residence until 1710. We really enjoyed this castle it was small and very manageable to see.
The Royal Treasury underneath features the Crown Jewels from the Danish Royal Family and a wine cellar with bottles dating back over 300 years. The knight’s hall was amazing, it occupied the whole floor. The hall was used for royal banquets. I really enjoyed the Castle, it is one of my favourite in all of Europe. The Copenhagen City tour drops off out the front. I believe there is reduced opening hours over the Copenhagen winter and it was closing at 3 pm when we were in town.
Free things to do in Copenhagen in Winter
- Copenhagen free walking tours – The Classic Copenhagen Tour starts at 11.00 am every day at the Copenhagen City Hall. The Christianshavn Free Walking Tours starts at 16:00 from Bishop Absalon’s Equestrian Statue on Højbro Plads square
- Copenhagen Botanical Gardens – 27 glass houses and 13000 plant species.
- The Tower at Christainborg Palace – At 106 metres is the highest tower in Copenhagen it offers an amazing view of the city’s rooftops.
Copenhagen City Card (including transportation)
See the sights of Copenhagen in Winter at your own pace and enjoy free or discount entrance at more than 73 museums and attractions. Choose a card with validity suitable to you (24 to 120 hours), and save time and money in the Danish capital.
Choose the ⇒CITY CARD⇐ that best suits your stay in Copenhagen here!
Nyhavn or the new harbour area of the city is a major attraction for tourists. Chances are if you have seen a picture of the Copenhagen canals with the wooden boats then you are looking at Nyhavn. This picturesque district Stretches from Kongens Nytorv to the harbour front just south of the Royal Playhouse.
The street, road canal not sure what to call it is lined by brightly coloured 17th and early 18th century townhouses. Tourists flock here for photo’s and to frequent the bars, cafes and restaurants. Many historical wooden ships now reside in the canal. The great anchor sits at the end of the canal. It is a memorial for the Navy, merchant fleet or Allied Forces, who sacrificed their lives during World War II.
We stayed at the Generator Copenhagen
The Generator is centrally located near the Norreport Metro Station and the Nyhavn tourist area. Rooms for couples and families are available. There is a tourist information desk, food, drinks and a great communal area with games and TV. The Generator is the new type of hostel/hotel that seems to be popping up everywhere. We loved the concept and value for money its one of the best options in Copenhagen.
Latest prices at The Generator click ⇒HERE⇐
For more great accommodation options in Copenhagen check here with Trip Advisor
What to do in Copenhagen in Winter – A boat tour
Canal Tours Copenhagen is a pleasant thing to do in Copenhagen in Winter. The Copenhagen canal cruise boats are enclosed shielding you from the weather. As tourists, we have taken many boat cruises across different cities including Paris by boat. A boat trip provides a different perspective of the city. A big plus is the kids will love it. These flat bottom wide canal cruise boats will show you the harbours and canals of Copenhagen.
The Copenhagen boat tour is available in many languages to suit all. The tour takes approximately an hour. The highlights of the Copenhagen canal tour include The Copenhagen Opera House, Amalienborg Palace, Christiansborg Palace, Black Diamond Library, and the world famous but underwhelming Little Mermaid. Make your Copenhagen boat tour departure from Nyhavn or Gammel Strand. The Opera House and the Library are outstanding examples of the modern Danish architecture. A cruise is included in the Copenhagen city tour.
Copenhagen: 1-Hour Canal Cruise from Gammel Strand
See the sights of Copenhagen on a 1-hour boat tour of the main harbour and adjoining canals. Depart from Gammel Strand, Copenhagen’s historic central public square, and see lovely houses, ancient castles, and beautiful churches along the way.
Book your Copenhagen ⇒CANAL TOUR⇐ right here!
What to see in Copenhagen – Tivoli Gardens
Tivoli Gardens amusement park in Copenhagen is a must for all visitors to the city. It may be the most famous attraction in Copenhagen. Even in cold weather, the Tivoli Gardens is still one of the major things to do in Copenhagen in Winter. The Tivoli Gardens says it had something for everyone. Amazing architecture, historic buildings and lush gardens not to mention the carnival side of things for the thrill seekers.
The rides are all designed to harmoniously fit in with the existing style of the Tivoli Gardens. Some rides are wonderfully nostalgic with a wooden roller coaster from the early 19th century through to the Vertigo which will spin you and flip you at 100 km/h and was voted Europe’s Best Ride in 2014. From mid-November until January, Tivoli dresses for Christmas and New Year and features the most magical Christmas universe and market in Copenhagen. The Tivoli Christmas market is a Copenhagen tradition and not to be missed. Check your dates the Tivoli Park does close in Mid January and reopens as the weather gets warmer.
Top things to do in Copenhagen in winter with kids:
Here is a list of attractions I found on the Copenhagen website of things to do with kids that may be interesting. I am sure on this list you will find some fun things to do with kids in Copenhagen.
- Experimentarium – A fun-filled science museum
- Bakken – The world’s oldest amusement park opened 431 years ago is a short trip outside Copenhagen
- Children’s Museum of the National Museum – Special programs for kids aged 4-10 including Vikings!
- National Aquarium – Northern Europe largest filled with sharks, rays Piranha and anacondas
- Copenhagen Planetarium – explore permanent exhibitions and watch IMAX and 3d movies
- Copenhagen Zoo – Featuring over 3000 animals from 264 different species.
- The Zoological Museum – See stuffed animals and skeletons walk among the woolly mammoth and follow Charles Darwin through animal evolution.
- The Viking Ship Museum – 25 minutes from Copenhagen see full-sized replicas and even take a cruise on a Viking ship. Tale a look back in time at how the Vikings lived.
- Danish Museum of Science and Technology – Located in Elsinore 20 minutes out fo the city. Many interactive exhibitions the get the kids involved. See full sized aeroplanes and vehicles.
Copenhagen things to do in Winter – There is plenty
Don’t be put off by the fact that Copenhagen can be cold and wet in winter. After all, it’s located in Northern Europe and that’s just the norm. The Danes have many times voted as the happiest people in the world. The term used to capture this part of the Danish mentality is “Hygge“. The best English translation means cosiness. We were able to find many things to do in Copenhagen in winter actually we ran out of time. We only had a short stay of 3 days to enjoy the winter activities in Copenhagen.
Copenhagen prices are little more expensive than most of Europe. Even with this, it is still doable with some planning. Grab your Copenhagen tourist map and walk or use the Copenhagen City tour. Picking up food in supermarkets can help with Copenhagen prices. We look forward to returning to Copenhagen one day maybe in the summer months. It would be nice to see what the city is like in the warmer weather. I am sure there are many more places to visit in Copenhagen that we have not see.
How to get to Copenhagen
The Copenhagen airport is located 8km from the City Centre. Copenhagen Airport is serviced by over 60 different airlines. Plan your flights to Copenhagen with Momondo
Copenhagen is serviced by international trains. Generally, you will need to transfer trains in Hamburg or Cologne. Trains from Paris or Brussels will take around 12 hours. You can check the latest ticket prices here!
You can pick up a hire car at Copenhagen Airport. It is easy to explore Denmark and Sweden from Copenhagen Airport. Malmo Sweden is just 25 kilometres away.
Frequently Asked Questions:
What to do in Copenhagen in December – December is all about Christmas in Copenhagen. We suggest that you visit the Copenhagen Christmas Markets and try some of the Christmas specialities.
Below is a list of Markets in Copenhagen in December.
- Freetown Christiania Christmas market. …
- Christmas market in Nyhavn harbour. …
- Cozy Christmas market at the renaissance castle Kronborg. …
- The Christmas market at Kongens Nytorv. …
- Hans Christian Andersen Christmas market. …
- Christmas Market at Højbro Plads. …
- Visit Carlsberg Christmas Market. …
- Christmas market in Tivoli Gardens.
Copenhagen and Denmark in Winter mean Christmas foods and drinks to try. One of the most popular things to try is the warm mulled wine aka Glögg. Christmas Menus in Copenhagen in December might include traditional foods such as smoked salmon, herring or liverpâté with bacon and mushrooms. This can be accompanied by a Christmas beer, bubbling wines or the previously mentioned warm wine.
Things to do in Copenhagen in January:
January in Copenhagen brings the post-Christmas shopping sales into focus. January in Copenhagen brings the fewest tourists into the town of any month of the year. Ice skating and strolling the city are popular things to do in Copenhagen in January. You will find the most popular ice skating rink in Copenhagen is located at Frederiksberg Runddel in Frederiksberg Garden. Entry is free and you can rent some skates for fun. Winter in Denmark can be fun.
Public Transport in Copenhagen:
The Copenhagen Metro system is a rapid transit system covering 20.5 kilometres. The Metro has 22 stations, of which 9 are underground. Further expansion of the system is being built as we witnessed when we visited Copenhagen. The expansion being built is a city circle line taking you to all the tourist attractions in Copenhagen.
Copenhagen has four lines of waterbuses, or locally known as Copenhagen Harbour Buses. This network of waterbuses serves 10 stops on the Copenhagen waterways. four on the Amager-side and six on the Zealand-side of the harbour.
Here are two more articles recommended by Wyld Family Travel for you to read. We review our stay at the Generator and we talk about our trip to Iceland that was prior to visiting Copenhagen
Cover picture by Thomas Høyrup Christensen