Copenhagen is a wonderful destination to visit all year long, but when is the best time to visit Copenhagen? Well, there’s really not a bad time to explore Copenhagen. However, you’ll notice a different side of the Danish capital depending on the season. Copenhagen can even seem like a new city from month to month. There’s a stark change in the weather, daylight hours and activities going on depending on the time of year you visit. This guide will let you know what to expect when you travel to Copenhagen at any time of the year.
Copenhagen in Summer
In Copenhagen, we often joke that “I’m looking forward to summer – it should be a nice weekend.” Meaning that summer is often short. In truth, it’s difficult to predict what the Danish summer will be like. Still, visiting Copenhagen from June through August is always wonderful.
Summer Crowd Size
If you plan your trip to Copenhagen in late June to mid-August you’ll be there in peak season. You’ll find larger than normal crowds and plenty of tourists, Baltic cruise-goers and locals out and about. A lot of people think summer is the best time to visit Copenhagen. Expect to wait in lines and make sure you allow for extra time at the airport. Pre-book as many things as possible from dinner reservations to tours and museum tickets.
The weather in Denmark isn’t easy to predict. The Northern European climate can vary from year to year and change quickly. Copenhagen is also on the sea, so weather systems can blow in and out fast.
In a typical Copenhagen summer, you can expect average temperatures to be 20°C or 68°F. There will be many warmer days, and you get a lot of sun. In the direct sun, it can feel much warmer than the actual temperature.
The light balance in the summer can be difficult to deal with for first-time visitors. The sunset is around 10 pm throughout most of the summer and sunrise is around 4:15 am. It doesn’t get fully dark in the weeks around the summer solstice, it trends from twilight to dusk for only a few hours, but no real darkness.
The nice long days make for extra time to be outside and explore the city in nice weather. The down-side is trying to sleep in or adjust to jet lag with so much daylight. Packing a sleep mask is a good idea for light sleepers. Even the famous Illuminations light show in Tivoli Gardens is pushed back to 10:45 pm in the summer.
During a Copenhagen summer, people are outside and active all over town. It’s common for locals to grab a bottle of wine and picnic in parks, squares and along the harbor and canals.
If you want to cool off, head to the beach at Amager. It’s easily accessible by the metro and about 10 minutes from the city center. You can also head to Islands Brygge and enjoy a dip in the public harbor pool there. It’s free and a great place to cool off in summer. Locals also love cruise the canals and harbor with kayaks and paddle boards.
A dryer place to relax by the harbor is Reffen, the largest street food installation in Scandinavia. It’s a hip, urban playground with food stands and bars and a backdrop of Copenhagen Harbor.
Fall in Copenhagen
In Copenhagen, Autumn hits fast. Come the first day of September, it’s as if everyone is back from summer holidays and the energy of the city changes. It’s the best time to visit Copenhagen in so many ways. There’s a ton of cool activities, the temperatures are still moderate and the city has a fun, vibrant buzz. September and October are great months to consider if you’re wondering when to visit Copenhagen – here is why.
Fall Crowd Size
As you’d imagine, the crowd size shrinks a bit in the Fall months. The cruise ship season ends, the family travelers thin out and it’s a lot easier to get a restaurant reservation. An Autumn day in Copenhagen still seems busy and lively though. Part of this is the return of college students and business travelers. There are also plenty of non-family tourists that travel to Copenhagen in the Fall. They can often save a little money on airfare and lodging compared to peak season.
Copenhagen Fall temperatures are milder and nights can get chilly. There are more gray skies and rain, but it will rarely rain all day. It’s even common to have a rainy morning and a beautiful sunny fall afternoon. The weather forecast also changes quickly, so pack for every possibility. What you expect before you fly to Copenhagen can be very different than the weather you experience.
In the Fall season, the light balance is more normal. Sunrise is around 7:30 am and sunset is around 6:30 pm. It’s a lot easier to adjust to the daylight and you still have plenty of time to experience the city during the day.
There are a ton of fun Fall activities in Copenhagen. It’s can be the best time to visit Copenhagen for things to do. The city invests in attracting visitors in the autumn months and holds a lot of festivals and outings.
One great event is Culture Night in mid-October. That Friday, hundreds of cultural attractions are open late into the night with extended hours. Participants can buy a ticket that gets them into all of these attractions for the weekend.
Tivoli Gardens is also a highlight for the Fall. The charming amusement park is reopened with a spooky Halloween theme, festive decorations and a haunted house. It’s a great family trip and the crowds and lines are much lower than peak season.
Christmas Winter in Copenhagen
We all know there’s really only ONE season of winter, but it’s easy to divide Copenhagen winter into two distinct seasons. The first, and probably the best time to visit Copenhagen is “Christmas Winter.” This is the holiday season that starts in early November and features the beginning of cold weather, Christmas markets and gløgg.
Christmas Winter Crowd Size
The crowd sizes in Christmas winter shrink a bit. There are visitors who come to Copenhagen just for the Christmas markets, but it’s nothing like the summer season. Many travelers are visiting from elsewhere in Scandinavia or from other places in Europe. It’s still a great idea to book a Copenhagen city break and enjoy the Christmas winter.
Christmas Winter Temperatures
The weather during Christmas winter is, of course, cold. Copenhagen can be very windy, which makes the cold days feel even colder. Still, temperatures range from 1-5°C or 35-40°F and with a winter jacket and gloves, you can enjoy the city.
Many people still make use of outside seating and restaurants and bars provide blankets and heat lamps for those patrons.
Christmas Winter Daylight
The days grow darker come November and December. By early December, the sun rises after 8:30 am and is already setting by 3:45 pm. It feels like the days are very short, but the city is well-lit and glows with Christmas lights and decorations. The festive look of the city does a lot to make up for the early sunsets.
Christmas Winter Activities
There are a lot of activities taking place in November and December. As you may imagine, they are mostly centered around the Christmas season. That’s why, for many people, Christmas Winter is the best time to visit Copenhagen.
It’s hard to miss the Christmas Markets, they pop up in all the major squares of Copenhagen. Even the iconic Nyhavn Harbor has food stands and Christmas vendors. It’s a lot of fun to bundle up, visit the markets and sip a gløgg, Danish mulled wine.
You should also visit Tivoli in the Christmas Winter season. They deck the whole park in artificial snow, Christmas lights and decorations. The rides are still operating, and it’s packed with visitors enjoying the Christmas spirit.
Hygge Winter in Copenhagen
What comes after Christmas Winter in Copenhagen? We like to call it “hygge winter” because it’s the season where most people stay inside and do cozy activities. It’s the dark days, cold temperatures and period where most Copenhageners hunker down and stay in. It’s a popular time to meet up with friends and play board games on the weekends. Relaxing at home, maybe with a fire and a glass of wine, is common. This season is from January through March. Travelers in this period enjoy a slower-pace and a cozy time to visit Copenhagen.
Hygge Winter Crowd Sizes
The crowds seem to really fade in this stretch of winter in Copenhagen. This is where people spend more time at home with friends and family. It’s the “cozy season” where life slows down and there are less visitors. It’s still a lovely time to see a more quaint Copenhagen and visitors can truly embrace the hygge lifestyle of Denmark.
Hygge Winter Temperatures
The temperatures in this part of winter are cold. It doesn’t snow that often, besides an occasional dusting or freezing rain. You can expect temperatures to range from -1 to 4°C or 30-38°F. You’ll need a heavy jacket, gloves and a scarf when outside. It’s usually quite windy in Copenhagen and when it’s cold, the wind can be harsh.
Hygge Winter Daylight
The light balance gets better in this part of winter, but it’s still a very short day. Copenhagen in February sees sunrises around 8 am and sunsets around 6:15 pm. It’s not until late March where you begin to see the days grow longer and the switch is fast.
Hygge Winter Activities
During this final stretch of winter, there are still a lot of things to do in Copenhagen. Since there are fewer travelers, visiting castles and museums means you aren’t fighting a crowd. They’re also great places to explore during the day since you can escape from the cold.
Also use the “hygee winter” period to do something cozy. Copenhagen boasts amazing coffee shops and a great food scene. Find a hearty meal, a warm cup of coffee and even enjoy one of the many board game cafes. There’s still a lot of things to do in Copenhagen Winter.
Spring in Copenhagen
Spring is a really fun time to visit Copenhagen. The city comes back to life after a long and dark winter season. People flood the streets, outdoor cafes and parks. As soon as the sunny weather returns, people emerge from every direction and the city is buzzing. This is why April and May are the best time to visit Copenhagen.
Spring Crowd Size
In the Spring, crowds start to return to Copenhagen streets. Locals are out and active in the city after surviving the long and dark Winter. It’s a wonderful time to enjoy the city with lots of activity while avoiding the masses that hit Copenhagen in peak season.
Spring weather in Copenhagen is still a bit chilly, but it feels much warmer in the sun. Most days a light jacket is all that’s necessary to enjoy the outdoors. Temperatures in April and May range from 10-16°C or 50-60°F.
The light balance in Copenhagen begins to tip back to longer days in April. During this period, the days grow about 8 minutes longer each day. Even over a 2 week time, you will experience a noticeable difference in the daylight hours.
Copenhagen Spring means there’s a lot of activities going on. Copenhagen sightseeing is perfect in the Spring, and one of the best ways to enjoy it is with a canal tour. There are many to choose from, and they all give you a great overview of the city, its history and the beauty of Copenhagen.
Tivoli gardens also opens for the season in the spring. Each year their doors open after Easter, so it’s a great activity to book for Spring travelers.
April and May are also the beginning of concert and festival season in Copenhagen. There are so many outdoor festivals in and around the city from Spring through Summer and into the Fall months.
So When is the Best time to Visit Copenhagen?
As you may have noticed, there really isn’t a bad time to visit Copenhagen. Whenever you want to visit Copenhagen, there will always be something going on and plenty of things to do. Each season has something unique and special to offer visitors. Whenever you plan your trip, there will be something that it’s the best time for. All you have to do it book.
What do you think of Copenhagen and the best time to visit? Let us know with a comment below: