Copenhagen in the Snow

Winter in Denmark can feel long, dark and damp. When the little white lights of a perfect Dansk Jul are boxed up and put away ‘til next… October, the limited daylight of January and into February here can be challenging. But if you are lucky and like manna from heaven, the city becomes blanketed in fluffy white flaked goodness – watch out – Copenhagen’s charm shifts into overdrive. Snow. Snow. Snow! Sne in Danish.

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The Lakes teem with life in Winter

Like a Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale, old buildings and bridges and spires seem to gleam in the white. And I’m not the only one who thinks so. Head down the lakes in the middle of Copenhagen and the paths overflow with people. Families pushing prams. Packs of teens on the prowl. Lovers cling together on benches. Runners scoot past and weave around the flow. Dogs and their walkers stroll casually, taking it all in. From the young to the old – you are sure to find throngs of people out enjoying. Especially when the snowfall abates and the Nordic sky lets the sun shine bright and the sky burn blue blue blue blue. Soak it up. Faces to the sun. The Danes surely do.

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The Lakes in Copenhagen mid Winter

I’ve heard rumors that a few flakes here and the city shuts down. Not the Copenhagen that I have come to know. And while they aren’t Norwegians who ski up mountains with children on their back, the ex-Viking Danes are fairly hardy themselves I have found. Case in point, snow on the ground in Copenhagen doesn’t stop the bikers. The city is proud of their statistic that 50% of Copenhageners commute to work and to school by bike. I wonder how great a dip those counters post in winter? From the casual observer, it doesn’t seem like much. It feels just as crowded during rush hour on the bike lanes despite the snow. Bundle up and roll on you Viking bikers. We have tried it and it definitely takes some skill and concentration!

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Viking Biking in Copenhagen

On a weekend in winter cargo bikes chock full of snow-suited littles clutching their sleds, make their way to one of the few hills around town. If you can carve out a slice of space on the slope – join the crazy and watch out below! You are sure to encounter as many modes of sliding devices as there are bikes in Copenhagen.

When Danes do bundle – they bundle well and with style. Children under 11 are zipped into colorful one-piece snowsuits known as flyverdragt in Danish. We call them “onesies” and they littles look darling donning them capped off in their pointy gnome-looking hats. But onesies and snow are not mutually inclusive – as you will hear those suits swish swish swish swishing all season long. For women, there are more stylish full size onesies for you. It’s true. Or you’ll find that here fur is fine. And women don’t relegate their full-length fox fur only to Ballet outings or the Royal Theater or Christmas parties or special events. It is perfectly acceptable to be worn to the shops, on the bus OR your bike. Not-fake OR faux, Danish fur takes on all shapes – from hats to boots to fringes on mittens. When the temps dip into negative C’s – I will admit that I can see the appeal of swaddling one’s self head to toe in animal pelt.

So get out and enjoy or visit in winter! And once you are frozen and red cheeked and worn out, Copenhagen offers a million and one places to brush off the cold and defrost. Candles and kaffe or varme chokolade shared with family or friends after a perfect day in the snow. This is truly what “hygge” means. A few of our favorite places are Original Coffee on Bredgade or Nordre Frihavnsgade, Kaffestuen on Østerbrogade, Rist on Værnedamsvej or Mirabelle on Guldbergsgade. All ever so cosy with well-executed espressos, yummy baked goods and dare I say are rigtigt hyggeligt*. Enjoy! Skål! Cheers from Denmark.

(*Really nice.)

I’m linking up with the Ersatz Expat #TravelatHome – when you can’t get away – remember to explore your own corner of the world!

Ersatz Expat

40 thoughts on “Copenhagen in the Snow

  1. Karen Savage

    Gorgeous! And always such a joy to read about your adventure. Not sure how this Texas girl would handle that much time under 70 degrees let alone below freezing! But I love that I get to see your beautiful pix and enjoy from afar.

    Best from your Texas friends! Say hi to the whole family,

    Karen, Declan & Raye

  2. Linda

    Erin, I loved this post! I love your prose and the pictures were magical…Thank you, with love!

    I have a fur coat that we bought in Canada….it will be perfect for you next winter….I’ll show it to you when you are here this summer!!

  3. Martha

    It all sounds so beautiful. We wish it would have snowed while we were there. The fur coat story reminds me of my mother and grandmother. They loved their furs!

  4. Monica Iizuka

    Hello Erin:

    Thank you for sharing your winter wonderland. How adventurous, grand and magical it sounds! We are missing you in Oregon. Monica and Cameron

  5. bavariansojourn

    Bavaria does good winters, but I will always remember our very first winter in Copenhagen – the worst snow for 47 years or something ridiculous, and it was fantastic! Love your pictures….

  6. Lisa (Travel Loving Family)

    We visited Copenhagen in November:) It is an incredible city. I would love to visit when it is snowing. We also noticed that all the local kids bundle up warm in their onesies! I have since bought my boys outfits as they are great for being able to continue sightseeing even when the weather is bad. Great post, it has made me want to return!

  7. Your photos of snowy Copenhagen are so pretty! I love your captures of fur fashion 🙂 I feel like you never know what you’re going to come across in Copenhagen. I was there for a weekend this past December, and one evening all of a sudden one of the waterways was full of people in kayaks making their way down the canal with their boats decorated in lights. Those Danes truly embrace the winter and make the most of it!

  8. Fantastic post! I’ve been to Copenhagen twice, and the first time it was snowing, which was quite magical. I didn’t notice any issues because of snow either, and we also travelled around on our rented bikes. Great photos too, I love your people-watching skills! 😀

  9. You’ve made the cold sound so magical. It looks like something out of Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tales. We were originally planning a visit there this month but have chickened out because of the cold and are going to Lisbon instead. Perhaps I’ve made a mistake!

  10. Ruth

    I am not a fan of cold weather but have to admit the city looks very pretty covered in snow. I also like the idea of sitting next to a chimney with a hot beverage after being outside on th ecold for some time.

    1. Did you get any time to explore on your work trips? Copenhagen is great because it has it all – history, modern design, great food, lovely coffee shops and bars if that is your thing AND it is so accesssible. Happy to help if you need any suggestions! Cheers!

  11. Ohh I love reading your posts about your life in CPH 😀
    I also love your photos!!
    The fact about bikes is pretty funny, I also wonder if there are still 50% of people riding a bike during those snowy days. Here in Munich people still do it, but way less than during summer for example 😀 I am always afraid of riding a bike when it’s snowing, I never tried it hahaha

    Thank you for joining #MondayEscapes 😀

  12. I adored Copenhagen when we visited last February! It was my first and only visit, and I absolutely fell in love with it. Unfortunately there wasn’t any snow when we were there, but on the other hand it was less cold than Berlin so we did not complain 🙂 Loved your post. #MondayEscapes

  13. Snow definitely makes things better in winter! Nothing’s worse than grey mushy stuff on the ground and around 0 temperatures! We went to Moscow over these Christmas holidays and at first we really upset with icy rain. Thankfully, the situation improved and we had snow and -20 to experience :))

  14. I have never been to Copenhagen (well aside from a layover in the airport) and these photos make me realise that I really must remedy that (and remedy it in Winter so I have an excuse to take my Kazakh furs out of cold storage! Thanks for linking to #TravelAtHome

  15. Pingback: Things I am Thankful for Living In Denmark - oregon girl around the world

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