How to Survive a Danish Winter Like a Local

Snowy Copenhagen
Snowy Copenhagen | © Kristoffer Trolle / Flickr
Aliki Seferou

From November until the end of February, Denmark’s nickname is Mordor. Yes, you got that right, J.R.R. Tolkien’s fictional world of Middle-earth. Truth is that some days you can’t really tell which is one is the worst but don’t despair because these tips will help you to survive the winter like a local.

Getting through the Danish winter is a tough challenge even for locals. With more than four months of low temperatures often sinking below zero, sunless weeks with the morning light coming up at around 8 a.m. and lasting until 4 p.m. and heavy rain or snow, you’ll need more than just Vitamin D to survive the wintertime.

Get Your Baggy Scarves on

One of the most important things to take into consideration during the long Danish winter is wearing proper clothes. Luckily, Danish fashion designers know that better than anyone, so their collections feature stylish sweaters, overcoats, and accessories that will keep you warm and in style throughout the cold months. Multiple layers of clothing and waterproof shoes (or an extra pair of socks in your bag) are recommended in order to avoid spending the winter with a box of tissues and a package of hard candies for sore throats. Gloves, scarves, and caps will become a vital part of your outfit, so make sure to enrich your collection.

Indoor Activities Can Be Fun Too

Snowy Copenhagen

Winter Delicacies Are the Best

Danish pastries can be found in bakeries all year, but during winter and especially Christmas time, extra delicacies are added to the already long catalog. Around November, cinnamon flavored Christmas cookies wrapped up in festive packages appear on the supermarkets’ shelves. It’s the first hint that Christmas is around the corner and it won’t be long until Christmas markets will start popping up around the city, serving the traditional flæskesteg, warm mulled wine, and apple-flavored pancakes, known as Æbleskiver.

With So Many Festivals and Events Time Flies

Fortunately, some of Copenhagen’s most interesting festivals take place during the winter, lightening up the dark days. CPH:PIX, Denmark’s biggest film festival and Culture Night (Kulturnatten) both take place in October, marking the beginning of a new cultural season. Then it’s Halloween time and Tivoli Gardens opens its doors for young and old thrill seekers. From mid-November, Christmas markets start setting up their stalls and the country looks like a scene straight out of a fairy tale, getting everyone into the Christmas spirit. Before you know it, February will be around the corner with The Winter Jazz Festival and Frost Festival, filling Copenhagen with music tunes. Even if you’re not living in Copenhagen, it’s a great excuse for a short trip.

Get Hyggelig

Last but not least, follow locals’ example and get hyggelig. Let’s admit it. Winter is the ideal season for cuddling with your beloved ones and the cold snowy days are a good excuse to spend some extra time in bed. If it’s too cold to hit the city’s bars, organize a dinner, a movie night, or a board game night and invite your friends to spend a cozy afternoon. If your friends are Danes, candles are mandatory.

Snowy Copenhagen
landscape with balloons floating in the air

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