Things to do in Copenhagen in Winter

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We jetted into the Danish capital to spend a few days in Copenhagen in January. The plane landed at Copenhagen airport in the pouring rain of winter. The Copenhagen weather in winter can be challenging, but there are still many things to do in Copenhagen in winter.

Know before you go. Our top Copenhagen travel tips

Travelling to Copenhagen can be such an enriching experience for singles, couples and families. Winter in Denmark is one of the top destinations in Europe for winter travel. Did you know that Denmark has no mountains?

There are so many things to do in Copenhagen and having the best place to stay in Denmark in the winter to explore the city is extremely important for travellers. Here we’ve got some information to get you planning your vacation to Copenhagen completely hassle-free.

Where to stay in Copenhagen while visiting Denmark in winter.

You’ll never be short of options for your accommodation in Copenhagen. In Copenhagen, you find a range of hotels, apartments, Airbnb and hostels where you will be sure to find something to fit singles, couples, families, and groups on every budget.

If you’re not keen on any of our picks below or have specific needs, we recommend using Hotellook and Trip Advisor to find the best prices in Copenhagen for your Denmark holiday

Luxury: The accommodation features a 24-hour front desk, a shuttle service, room service and free WiFi throughout the property. Comwell Copenhagen Portside Dolce by Wyndham has riverside views and easy access to all Copenhagen sites. Parking, fitness centre and buffet breakfast available.

Mid Range: Great location right next to Central Station, Hotel Ansgar is in a great location. The hotel has 83 rooms over 5 floors featuring a 24-hour front desk, bar, lounge, buffet breakfast, bike hire, tour information and more.

Budget: The Generator Hostel is located close to the Nyhaven area. You will find both shared and private rooms onsite along with cafe, bar, communal area, bike hire, tour information and more. The Generator is a great winter option for staying in Copenhagen.

Airbnb apartment alternative for your stay

If you prefer a home away from home-style accommodation when on your Copenhagen trip then an apartment is the best choice for you on your vacation in winter in Denmark. There are so many options for singles, families, and budget-friendly options as well. Check out the map below to find the perfect apartment in Copenhagen

How to get to Copenhagen

Being the biggest city in Denmark, Copenhagen is connected by highways in all directions, long distant buses, trains and planes all bring people daily to the city. This easily makes Copenhagen one of the most accessible vacation destinations in Europe.

  • Copenhagen Airport is the largest and busiest airport in the Nordic countries. Copenhagen is served by over 60 different airlines. Copenhagen Airport is centrally located only 8 kilometres from the city centre. There is a train station at the airport for direct transfers to the city centre
  • Search your Copenhagen flights with Kiwi.com.
  • . Long distance international trains to Copenhagen mostly go via Hamburg, where you need to change trains. Copenhagen is a hub for train travel around the Nordic region easy. This makes adding day trips from Copenhagen easy. Book your domestic and international trains to and from Copenhagen with Omio
  • Copenhagen can be reached directly by bus from 108 destinations in Europe. Book all your bus tickets to Copenhagen with Flixbus
  • Driving in Denmark is super easy. You can pick a rental car up at Copenhagen Airport and dedicated sites in the city if you decide on a winter Denmark road trip.

How to get around Copenhagen

The S-trains are a hybrid urban-suburban rail serving the Copenhagen urban area, except Amager. The S-trains run between 05:00 in the morning and 00:30 at night. Line F runs every 4-5 minutes, lines A, B, C and E run every 10 minutes, and lines H and Bx run every 20 minutes. City buses, taxis and Uber are also available

Using your phone in Copenhagen

Relying on Wi-Fi when you are travelling and sightseeing in Copenhagen can be hard. Making calls and staying in contact when your travel is a top priority. Plan your family trip to Copenhagen and order your sim before you leave home to stop any stress about travelling, data and calls on your winter vacation in Denmark. You can also hire a pocket Wi-Fi device for your time in Copenhagen, for convenient Wi-Fi on the go.

Things to do in Copenhagen in Winter
The Borsen Building is a 17th-century stock exchange in Copenhagen

Things to do in Copenhagen in winter

Most travellers on a Copenhagen trip will arrive at Copenhagen Airport. Copenhagen is an easily 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.

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. The airport service will deliver you to the Nørreport Station (hub in the city centre) in 13 minutes.

Now that we have arrived, let’s look at some of the best 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 see and do. On a cold Copenhagen day, the bus is one of the best Copenhagen things to do in winter.

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.

Things to do in Copenhagen in Winter
The Little Mermaid in Copenhagen

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.

Things to do in Copenhagen in Winter - Rosenborg Castle
The Rosenborg is a must-see in Copenhagen in December

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 favourites in all of Europe. The Copenhagen City tour drops off out the front.

Nyhavn Copenhagen

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.

Things to do in Copenhagen in Winter - Nyhavn area of the city
Nyhavn in Copenhagen is the cities most popular area

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.

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 if you’re travelling with kids in Copenhagen, they will love it. These flat bottom wide canal cruise boats will show you the harbours and canals of Copenhagen.

Things to do in Copenhagen in Winter
The National Library of Denmark

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 modern Danish architecture. A cruise is included in the Copenhagen city tour.

Go shopping at Fields

In the suburbs is Fields shopping centre, featuring 140 shops and restaurants. This Copenhagen shopping centre has both domestic and international brands such as Zara and H&M. Fields offers a lot more than shopping, on the top floor, you find BOUNCE – an indoor adventure centre featuring trampolines, parkour tracks, and challenges for everyone. 

Fancy catching the latest blockbuster movie, on level 1 you will find a modern cinema with 4DX and reclining seats. Plan a trip around January in Copenhagen for the post-Christmas shopping sales.

Christmas Market in Copenhagen in December

Christmas markets are highly popular all across Europe, and Copenhagen is no exception. Many of the popular Christmas markets in Copenhagen start in the middle of November and wind up just before Christmas day, This gives visitors plenty of time to soak up the Danish Christmas experience. Below you will find a list of some of the popular markets in the city.

  • The Christmas market at Kongens Nytorv
  • Christmas market in Nyhavn harbour
  • Christmas market in Tivoli Gardens
  • Visit Carlsberg Christmas market
  • Freetown Christiania Christmas market
  • Cozy Christmas market at the renaissance castle Kronborg.
  • Hans Christian Andersen Christmas market
  • Christmas market at Højbro Plads

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.

Experience a local meal or a food tour in Copenhagen

Food plays a big part in the local culture when you visit countries and cities in Europe. Most cities have some great options when it comes to eating out, doing a food tour, taking a cooking class or even having a local cook you a meal.

Copenhagen is a renowned foodie destination with Michelin in 2021 awarding a total of 23 stars to 14 restaurants in Copenhagen. Having a local cook a meal helps with your appreciation and understanding of the local cuisine and culture of Copenhagen. 

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.

Things to do in Copenhagen in Winter
Christmas in Copenhagen at Tivoli Gardens

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.

Ice Skating in Copenhagen

Ice skating and strolling the city are popular things to do in Copenhagen in January. The tradition of ice skating dates backs centuries in the cold Nordic countries. 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.

Get tickets for Copenhagen winter events

For concerts, theatre, stage shows and sporting events search TicketNetwork or Ticketmaster. TicketNetwork is an online marketplace that provides an outlet for buyers and sellers of tickets to live entertainment events. Search Ticketmaster below for a special event when in Copenhagen

Watch a football match in Copenhagen

The Danish Superleague runs from September through May each year with a small break over the Christmas period. You can see Copenhagen FC play football games at Telia Parken, the National Stadium of Denmark. Attending a football match in Europe for many is considered a bucket list item and a match in Copenhagen will not disappoint. Copenhagen is the most successful and popular team in Denmark and regularly play in European competitions.

Fun 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.

Things to do in Copenhagen in Winter
The girls playing near Gammel Strand 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.

Free things to do in Copenhagen in winter

Denmark would not be considered a budget-friendly destination. The country has a high cost of living and travelling is not cheap. We went on the lookout and found a few Copenhagen winter things to do for free.

  • 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.

What to pack for winter in Denmark

The one thing to remember about Copenhagen is to pack for the weather, any and all of it.

  • Denmark has a mild climate, with ever-changing weather conditions. This can be sun, rain and cold weather all in the same day. Make sure you are prepared for all condition by carrying something for rain, sun and cold weather.
  • With a constant threat of rain in the colder months we suggest you a weatherproof backpack, lightweight raincoat or Poncho and small travel umbrella.
  • In the colder part of the year, accessories are must to keep warm. Heading out requires in the Danish winter requires a scarf, gloves and warm smart coat.

Should I pack some extra warm clothes for the kids?

For travel families visiting Copenhagen with kids, we have a few suggestions to keep them warm and happy. Winter in Copenhagen with kids can be tricky especially if they are cold. We suggest you take:

  • Extra gloves for them so if the get wet you have a spare
  • Extra socks.
  • An extra beanie in case it is thrown over or taken off and misplaced
  • Little hand warmers
  • A lightweight but warm blanket if you are using a pram

Is Copenhagen good for budget travellers?

Copenhagen’s prices are a 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 seen yet.

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 been 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.

Search Airbnb in Copenhagen ↗

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.

We hope you enjoyed reading about our trip to Copenhagen Europe in winter as much as we loved being there. We know this article from us here at Wyld Family Travel will have you inspired to visit the Danish capital and beyond this winter.

For more amazing ideas on where to holiday in Denmark click through to our Denmark Destination Guide page for more brilliant inspiration.


More travel inspiration for your Northern Europe trip


Author bio:

Father, husband, traveller, and chief destination manager here at Wyld Family Travel. When Mark is not discussing travel or planning travel, you will find him working in disability support. Mark is a family travel advocate, having travelled to over 45 countries with his kids from 10 months to their teenage years. You will find his work here and on other popular websites.

Having a beer in Pilsen Czech
Mark Wyld

Content Creator

10 thoughts on “Things to do in Copenhagen in Winter”

  1. Copenhagen looks absolutely beautiful! I visited Amsterdam years ago and the architecture seems very similar but a little bit different. My only question is what is Copenhagen known for food-wise? Specifically what are the street foods you should enjoy when visiting? Is it frites, herring in white sauce?

    Reply
    • My wife and I were in Copenhagen 3 years ago and I would move there in a heart beat. Another place that is well worth the visit is Harry’s Place, a renowned little eatery not far from the Lettle Mermaid

      Reply
  2. You all had some epic explorations in beautiful Copenhagen. It’s definitely high on my bucket list.

    Reply
  3. I visited Helsinki in December so I can understand how the weather was like in Copenhagen.
    This city has always been on my travel bucket list.
    How many days do you think is enough to explore this city?

    Reply
  4. What a complete list of recommendations for Winter visits, that’s really helpful. Interesting that you found the Little Mermaid underwhelming, reminds me a bit of the Manneken Pis in Brussels in that respect. I’d love to visit Copenhagen and Tivoli Gardens looks like a lot of fun

    Reply
  5. Cophenhagen looks so beautiful. I used to live in Norway, so I know that the winters in these regions are no joke! The Copenhagen City Tour sounds like a great and convenient way to explore the city. I would love to visit the Tivoli Gardens and the castle 🙂

    Reply
  6. There are so many beautiful architectures in Copenhagen. I’d love to take the boat tour to see all the highlights! I’ve heard many people saying Little Mermaid Copenhagen is underwhelming as well.

    Reply
  7. I am saving this list as there are many things which look like they will be interesting in summer as well. We are planning to go to Copenhagen this summer. The free walking tours are a good tips . Thanks

    Reply
  8. Thanks for your information I am going to be in Denmark this November, I would appreciate you to guide me how to go shopping in cheapest price

    Reply

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