What to Do in Copenhagen - A Magically Beautiful City in Winter (and Summer)

A city trip to Copenhagen is always a good idea, both in summer and winter. Do you want to know why? We'll tell you everything about what to do in Copenhagen!

What to Do in Copenhagen - A Magically Beautiful City in Winter (and Summer)  by Kayleigh van Proemeren

Kayleigh van Proemeren

Photographer:Kayleigh van Proemeren

Why Go to Copenhagen?

Almost everyone who has visited Copenhagen agrees unanimously: Copenhagen is absolutely one of the most beautiful and fun capitals of Europe. It is also one of the safest cities in Europe, especially if you hop on a bike. Kilometers of bike paths take you past the city's most beautiful sights, from important government buildings and the working palace of the Royal Family to the free state of Christiania and from the beautiful colored houses in the harbor to the fairy-tale world of Tivoli Gardens.

Are you a fashion lover? Then Copenhagen is the place to be. You can shop well in various neighborhoods, from second-hand shops to boutiques with more expensive brands. It's also the place to get some inspiration for nice outfits. The Copenhageners look impeccable as they cruise through the city on their trendy bikes. So, do sit down somewhere with a cup of coffee and a Danish pastry and take all the time to look around.

The city also has a lot of cool museums. The SMK – Statens Museum for Kunst is truly magnificent, as is the Danish National Museum. The Danish Design Museum is also cool. Here you find all sorts of gems that you'd secretly love to have in your home.

Copenhagen in Winter or Rather in Summer?

A city trip in winter has its own charm. The days are shorter, streets are adorned with cozy lighting, roofs may be covered with snow, and the atmosphere is extremely romantic. We visited the Danish capital in winter, and it guaranteed a lot of hygge.

Yet, Copenhagen is beautiful in all seasons. In spring, the city blooms in many places, and when it's warmer, it's just nice to ride around on a bike or picnic in the park. The best tip is actually to visit this city twice, once in summer and once in winter. That way, you really get to experience the city fully.

Keep an online travel journal during both trips, by the way. This way, you'll have a lasting memory of your city trip to the Danish capital.

What to Do in Copenhagen

Going in winter? We've compiled the best tips for what to do in Copenhagen so you stay a bit warm during your city trip.

1. Wander through Glyptoteket

Greek and Roman sculpture, paintings by famous painters like Monet and Van Gogh, and a fairy-tale indoor garden full of palms, fountains, and sculptures. Even if you're not an art lover, this museum is worth a visit. Next to the famous Tivoli park, you find the 125-year-old Glyptoteket, actually called “Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek.” Besides art, you also admire colorful mosaic floors and architectural feats. We definitely put this museum on our list of the best museums in Europe. For prices and current opening hours, look here.

Mooie binnentuin en indrukwekkende knust in het Glyptoteket museum

2. Tivoli Garden

Tivoli Garden is one of the oldest amusement parks in the world, with attractions, beautiful gardens, and many cozy restaurants. It feels a bit like a sort of Efteling, but without all the fairy-tale characters. You can buy different entrance tickets for the park. One gives you access only to the park, another also gives you access to the attractions. Tickets for the attractions are also available separately. In winter, especially just before Christmas, Tivoli is a true Christmas paradise. The park is lavishly decorated, there are special winter attractions, you hear music in various places, and there is a Christmas market. The locals like to come together here on Friday evenings and weekends to have drinks, eat, and enjoy the conviviality. All information about Tivoli Garden can be found on the site.

3. Visit the Botanical Gardens in Copenhagen

Green, greener, greenest. With more than 13,000 plant species, you'll find yourself in a tropical destination for a while in the Botanical Garden. From banana plants to palm trees and cacti. Besides the various plants that you can admire here, this is also the place to warm up. The temperatures reaching a tropical peak make this a nice stop in winter Copenhagen. For prices and current opening hours, look here. The tropical botanical garden of Copenhagen.

De tropische botanische tuin van Kopenhagen

4. The Little Mermaid

Be sure to walk to the iconic statue inspired by the fairy tale of Hans Christian Andersen in Copenhagen. The statue is small, but it's still fun to take a look. Especially in winter because then there are fewer tourists gathering around the statue.

5. Admire Colorful Buildings in Nyhavn

Probably the most photographed spot in all of Copenhagen: Nyhavn. This picturesque harbor full of colored houses is an absolute must-see during a visit to the city. The 17th-century mansions on either side of the canal now serve as cozy cafes and restaurants. Tip: Stroll along the canal full of wooden sailing boats in the early morning and watch the morning sun slowly rise, and imagine the lively bustle this harbor has been in the heyday of fishing. 

Kleurrijke panden van het Kopenhaagse Nyhavn

6. Free Town Christiania

Copenhagen also has a raw edge in Free Town Christiania. You can walk there from Nyhavn. Christiania is a self-proclaimed autonomous hippie district with art, alternative culture, and a unique atmosphere. You don't need to stay long, but it's fun to walk around. Be sure to strike up a conversation with the jewelry sellers behind their stalls. Some of them are very open and are happy to tell you more about their lives and the district.

7. Discover Rosenborg Castle

Another activity that is particularly suitable for rainy days: a visit to Rosenborg Castle. This castle, built in Renaissance style, is located in Kongens Have, the city park in the center of the city. This imposing building was home to the then-king Christian IV from 1606 to 1710. Today, the castle is a museum, and you can admire the Danish crown jewels here. For prices and current opening hours, look here.

Wandelen door het park van Slot Rosenburg in Kopenhagen

8. Torvehallerne

If you're hungry and it's raining, take shelter in Torvehallerne. In this covered market, you find lots of fresh products and delicacies. Even better are the small restaurants here. From pizza to Asian and the best pastries for a dessert. Also ideal if everyone wants something different, or just order from everywhere and share with each other. Everything here is definitely delicious.

9. Discover the Multicultural Nørrebro

Vegan restaurants, students, creatives, unique concept stores, and colorful street art. Nørrebro, north of the center, is a trendy, vibrant neighborhood where you can stroll around wonderfully. Visit Superkilen Park, admire street art in Banana Park, or score unique souvenirs in one of the shops on Jaegersborggade street.

There's no shortage of restaurants and bars either. Join for breakfast at Grød, taste a cinnamon roll at Mokkariet, go for an Instagrammable lunch at The Sixteen Twelve, and get the best coffee in Copenhagen at Coffee Collective. Pizza lover? Then you'll want to try the concept of Pico Pizza.

Shoppen in de Jaegersborggade in Kopenhagen

Winkeltje in de Norrebro wijk in Kopenhagen

Pico Pizza restaurant in Kopenhagen

10. The Round Tower

The Round Tower, also known as the Rundetaarn, was built in the 17th century on the orders of King Christian IV. The tower has a unique design: instead of stairs, it has a spiral ramp that leads you to the top of the tower. The original purpose of the tower was as an observatory and library for scientific studies in astrology and astronomy.

Today, you have a beautiful view over Copenhagen. The spiral ramp is wide and easy to navigate, making it accessible to people of all ages and even those with limited mobility. In winter, the view may be somewhat limited, but when the city is covered with a layer of snow, it might be even more beautiful! Here you can find all the info about the Round Tower.

11. Kayaking in the Canals of Copenhagen

For a unique view of the city, why not explore Copenhagen from the water? Kayak tours through the city's canals offer a unique and environmentally friendly way to see sights such as The Little Mermaid, Nyhavn, and the colorful facades of the city's houses from a different perspective. These tours are suitable for both experienced kayakers and beginners, with instructors who lead you through the calm waters. It's a special way to spend a summer afternoon, or even a winter one if you dress warmly!

12. Taste the Local Cuisine

Copenhagen is also a paradise for foodies. The city is known for its innovative culinary scene that combines Scandinavian ingredients with modern cooking techniques. Visit, for example, 'Torvehallerne', the covered market, for some local delicacies such as smørrebrød (Danish open sandwiches), fresh seafood, and artisan cheeses. For a more in-depth experience, consider a culinary tour where you visit various eateries and learn more about Danish culture and cuisine. Don't miss the chance to dine at one of the many Michelin-starred restaurants for a real treat.

Plan Your Trip to Copenhagen

Of course, you can jump on a plane, but have you ever thought about a city trip in Europe by train? Sustainable and also comfortable. From Utrecht Central, you can travel by train to Copenhagen in about eleven hours. Find the trip too long? Then make a stopover in the German city of Hamburg, just like we did. This way, you combine two cities in one trip. Curious about what there is to do in Hamburg? Then read our blog: City Trip to Hamburg: 8 Highlights.

Treinstation in Kopenhagen

Low-Budget Overnight Stays in Copenhagen

In Copenhagen, there are plenty of trendy boutique hotels and unique accommodations where prices can quickly rise to hundreds of euros per night. For those who would rather spend that money on fun sights and great restaurants, fortunately, there's also a low-budget option. Book a private room, double room, or (mixed) dormitory at a&o Hostel.

If you want to experience an authentic harbor atmosphere near the central station, choose a&o Sydhavn. Crazy about trendy bars and unique concept stores? Then opt for a&o in the multicultural and vibrant district of Nørrebro. Don't expect unnecessary luxury, but a room that meets your basic needs. Not only when you're looking for a budget option is a stay at a&o hostels a good idea. Also, if you find sustainable travel important, you're at the right place here.

The hostel chain is the first in the world to achieve a top result in sustainability. For example, it achieved the second-highest possible ESG rating from international rating agency Sustainable Fitch at the beginning of 2023. Their goal? To become the first emission-free hostel chain in Europe by 2025.

De ontvangsthal en ontbijtzaal van het a&o hostel

There's a lot to do in Copenhagen, and it's the ideal city for a city trip both in winter and in summer. When are you going?

We visited Copenhagen at the invitation of a&o Hostels.


This article was about:

Last updated on: 26.05.2024

Read more

Create your own travel journal

Capture your adventures in a digital diary that you can share with friends and family, and order as a printed copy when you're finished. Create an account and get started in our online web application or mobile app.