Winter in Denmark: 12 fun cold-weather activities
Winter in Denmark is here and it’s time to look at some fun things to do in winter around here. While most Danes hibernate in the cold, dark winter months, there are plenty of enjoyable activities to do with your family or on your own in Denmark – both indoors and out.
Let’s take a look.
Read next: 25 best places to visit in Denmark that’ll give you wanderlust
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1. Christmas market in Aarhus Old Town (Den Gamle By)
One of the best way to enjoy winter in Denmark is visiting the Christmas market in Aarhus Old Town. Known locally as “Den Gamle By”, this open-air museum features 75 historical buildings from the last 500 years of Danish history and it houses a big Christmas Market in December.
All the traditional shops are open in the winter period and the streets are packed with locals in medieval clothing. It’s similar to the Old Towns in Tallinn and Riga.
2. Go winter swimming
If you’re feeling adventurous, hop on the winter trend here and go winter swimming. I’ve never done it, but several of my friends do it every winter and love it. You basically jump into the ice-cold lake or ocean wearing nothing, spend a minut or two in the water and ideally head to a sauna right after, like at La Banchina on Refshaleøen in Copenhagen.
Winter swimming will boost your immune system and make you burn more calories, because swimming in cold water makes your body work twice as hard to keep you warm.
It all sounds dandy and super healthy, right? Brr. I’m still going to pass.
3. Go ice skating
Ice skating equals winter, don’t you agree? Well, in several cities around Denmark, outdoor skating rinks are being set up for free use for kids and adults. You can bring your own skates or rent them at the spot. The ice skating rink in Randers, where I live, is open from December to the end of February.
4. Christmas in Tivoli
For Danes, this is a must, and there’s a good reason for it. It’s so hyggeligt!
We have two tivolis (theme parks) in Denmark: one in Copenhagen (Tivoli Gardens), which is the largest, and one in Aarhus (Tivoli Friheden). Christmas is a season of magical adventure in both tivolis, and inside you’ll find plenty to keep you occupied while keeping the cold at bay.
5. Rent a hot tub on the canals in Copenhagen
I bet you’ve never tried this one before.
With Copenhot, you cruise the Copenhagen canals in a spa boat or chill out in a fire-heated barrel spa at the harbour. The 40-degree warm water will ensure you’re warm and toasty no matter the weather, and you can always step into the ice-cold barrel shower to cool down.
6. Taste fastelavnsboller
Fastelavn is a carneval tradition in Denmark. Kids dress up and everyone eats fastelavnsboller: a sweet puff pastry filled with custard and marzipan, jam or cream, topped with icing.
While Fastelavn is celebrated on the Sunday before Ash Wednesday, you can find fastelavnsboller in bakeries the week up till Fastelavn. Try one. They’re delicious.
7. Visit castles
Denmark is a fairy tale land with castles around every hilltop, or so it seems. In December, you can experience how Christmas used to be celebrated at some of the castles back in the day. Christmas trees and tables are set, and the halls and chambers are beautifully decorated. Several of the castles host Christmas markets with reindeer, camp fires and æbleskiver (sweet, puffy pancake balls).
Some of the most beautiful castles in Denmark are:
- Egeskov castle (on Funen)
- Frederiksborg castle (close to Copenhagen)
- Rosenborg castle (in Copenhagen)
- Gammel Estrup manor (on Djursland)
8. Experience hygge
Hygge is the epitome of winter in Denmark. Hygge is found everywhere, from the Christmas exhibitions at the old castles to the candle lit cafés in every city. Hygge is easy to find or create, no matter where you look.
9. Join the Copenhagen light festival
Denmark in winter can get dark, but if you visit Copenhagen in February, you can experience the festival that lights up the capital.
The annual Copenhagen light festival presents a wide range of installations, architectural lights, art and more created by both established and upcoming light artists. The festival lasts for three weeks of February.
10. Try skiing in the city
Skiing isn’t typically connected with Denmark seeing as the country is rather flat. But if you’re spending winter in Denmark, you shouldn’t cheat yourself from experiencing skiing at Hedeland Ski Centre. It’s Denmark’s largest ski slope and ski resort, served by three lifts (two adult lifts and a children’s lift).
Just to keep expectations realistic: This is NOT like skiing in Norway, Austria or Switzerland. It’s much smaller. But it’s a fun way to spend a day near Copenhagen, if you feel like skiing. You can rent gear on site.
11. Visit the North Sea (Vesterhavet)
The roaring North Sea is always a wonderful place to visit, whether you’re spending summer or winter in Denmark. I recommend heading to Blokhus or Løkken, which are on the West Coast. Jutland’s West Coast stretches from Skagen in the north to Ulfborg in the west and it is by far the coldest, windiest and most rugged place in Denmark!
I love it there. It’s so wild and untamed.
Read next: Top 12 things to do in North Jutland, Denmark
12. Your rainbow panorama
Last but not least, you can see the world in colours from the roof of ARoS – Aarhus Art Museum. Your rainbow panorama is an elevated 360-degree walkway, glazed with rainbow-coloured glass. From here you can walk around on a 150 metre long, circular path with panoramic views of Aarhus.
- Opening hours: 10:00 – 17:00 / 10:00 – 21:00 (from Sep-Dec)
Spending winter in Denmark? Ask me anything in the comments!
You’ll also love
- 10 Amazing Danish Christmas foods you have to try
- A merry Christmas in North Jutland
- This is Danish Christmas hygge
- Why the world would end without Danish Christmas food
- The beginner’s guide to Christmas in Denmark
Nice post. The colors in Randers are spectacular!
Thanks, Stephen. We’ve definitely had some colorful sunsets here 🙂
Wow those sunsets took my breath away! What a lovely world we live in 🙂
Couldn’t agree more, Lauren!
It’s hard to imagine experiencing the winter blues with those ~amazing~ photos, but I totally can relate. I get the winter blues each February. Ironically, it’s the shortest month, but for some reason it just drags on for me and I really get into a funk for a good part of that month. Too many short days and grayness. Good thing spring is just around the corner!
I feel the same way. It’s been a long, long winter, but I saw the first daffodils in a garden today, which made me smile. Spring is officially here! 🙂
Oh we can totally relate to your feelings! Winter can be magical, but usually we are looking forward to spring as soon as Christmas is over. 😀 Here in Hungary we don’t have such cold and snowy winters as in Denmark, but it’s chilly, wet and dark… The lack of snow is maybe even more depressing, because everything is grey on cloudy days.
We can’t wait for the the long summer days and just the feel of being outside without a winter coat – though we’ve been just caught in a snowstorm yesterday driving from Krakow to Budapest. 😀 But we’ve also seen the first spring flowers and we are quite optimistic that we will have a nice April after this crazy March. 🙂 We’ve already started planning spring and summer trips and look forward to hear yours, too!
I couldn’t agree more! The few snowy days we had were so great because it completely changed the landscape and mood. It’s the grey, cloudy and wet winter days that are depressing. We had such a wonderful day in Denmark yesterday with 12 degrees, warm sun, blue skies and birds singing. Everyone was outside and it was so refreshing 🙂
By the way, how is the weather in Budapest in May? Is it still foggy and grey?
We started to have some sunny days, too, finally – though still mixed with some snowy/rainy ones. 😀 “Real spring” with blue skies and blooming flowers starts around April in Budapest and it should be pretty nice and warm by May. Though any time of the year there could be cooler and rainy periods, but the chance to have sunny days in May are quite good. 🙂
That sounds exactly like Denmark, although we have seen snow in June some years 😉 Thanks for the weather update on Budapest. It seems like May would be a great month to visit 🙂
Hope you’ll enjoy! It’s an amazing city and we don’t just say it because we are biased, of course. 😀
I’m sure I will! Thanks so much 🙂
I absolutely love the sky and its color, absolutely amazing!! 🙂 By the way, Charlie looks so so so cute!!! x Give him a big kiss from a travel aunt Agness 🙂
Thanks, sweetie <3 Yeah, doesn't he? He's such a cutie and already charming all the girls 🙂
Hae Miriam the baby out there is so cutee 🙂
seriously he will charm all the girls out there 😉
the winter out there is so cooool, and the pictures are just fab
this is what we call the natures beauty.
Thanks, Sagar! I’ll be sure to tell his mom you said that 🙂 We’ve had a long winter in the North, but the first signs of spring are finally beginning to show. Yay!
Sorry to hear you’ve been suffering from some winter blues. It sounds like you have some intriguing travel plans for the coming months though, I look forward to hearing more! I totally get what you mean about the freelancing and moments where you feel you should just get a full-time job, I have been feeling the same way lately. It’s maybe not the easiest path, but if it makes you happy it’s worth persevering 🙂
That is so true, Amy. It’s normal to be in doubt and feel depressed at times, but if it mostly makes you happy, it’s worth fighting for. Thanks for the uplifting words 🙂
After looking at your amazing pictures and moving words, It incited my feelings to visit Denmark. And babies, they make everyone feel good because of their innocence. As we grow, that innocence is lost. I hope you help to raise them in a better way.
I too started my career in Photography and writing, hope to use it as a platform to promote responsible travel.
Thanks for commenting, Ashish. I do aspire to raise my baby in a better way, so he keeps his innocence as long as possible.
All the best to you.
Thanks for the great post 🙂 I feel envy, in a good way 🙂 Those photos and your lovely baby just makes me want to hug you all!!! Such a great story. I’ve been to Copen a few times and loved it, need to come back definitely. I am planning my trip to Norway with https://tourstoeurope.com/destination/norway . What is the best way to travel from Oslo to Denmark on my way back? Cheers!
Awesome site. thankyou for such informative article.