Winter in Copenhagen is unlike any winter I’ve ever experienced. The wind, the damp cold, it seeps beneath the layers and cuts you to the bone. It’s not like summer where there are a ton of things to do in Copenhagen, but I think it’s still something special worth experiencing.
And yet, you don’t want to miss out on the beauty of the city during the winter months. There are fewer tourists, tons of fun things to do to get your hygge on, and the locals are all out and about enjoying the fresh air, so you should be, too.
When I was traveling around Denmark for a month in February, I met a Danish person who told me that there’s no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing.
So here’s what you should wear in Copenhagen in winter so that you can spend plenty of time outdoors without freezing your butt off.
Weather in Copenhagen in Winter
The weather, as you can see from the above photo, is a little bit snowy and pretty chilly. It depends largely on what month you are visiting, but you can be certain that between November and early March, the temperatures will drop below freezing at night and there will likely be snow or ice on the ground for the entire duration of your trip.
In November, you can expect highs of 46 degrees Fahrenheit (8 degrees Celcius) and lows of about 39 degrees (4 C). In December, highs average around 39 degrees (4 C) and lows of 34 Fahrenheit (1 C).
It gets colder in January and February, which was when I visited. In both months, you can expect highs of 39 degrees Fahrenheit (3 C) and lows averaging around 30 degrees Fahrenheit (-1 C), but it definitely felt colder on some nights and when there was any wind (and if you head out near the waterfront at all it’s definitely going to feel colder).
It’s worth noting that houses in Denmark are made with winter in mind. Our host would leave the windows open all night for her cat and not once did it feel cold or drafty when we woke up in the morning. It’s crazy how warm the inside of houses in Denmark are when it dips below freezing and snows all night long.
What to Wear in Copenhagen in Winter
I won’t post too many photos of what I wore while I was in Copenhagen for winter, because, well, they all look the same. All of the photos I took of me outside enjoying the city I’m dressed in my wool coat, my big blue hat, my grey mittens, my jeans, and my brown boots.
However, there was plenty of variety underneath the outdoor clothes! Here’s what I packed and what I wish I had (or had not) packed.
A very warm hat is a must. You lose a lot of heat from your head and sometimes the wind is so cutting! It’s not great for your hair, but it will keep you very warm.
The blue hat you see from these photos is from Lord n Taylor. It’s a wool hat with a fleece lining inside. I would pull it all the way down over my ears and it kept my face very very warm.
I bought it a few seasons ago, but here are some similar ones.
Gloves are great for taking photos or using your hands in general, but mittens are what really keeps your hands warm. These mittens I have (had, actually. Sadly I left one on a bus, so I can’t wear them anymore) are fleece lined and very fitted around my wrist so that no snow, wind, or water can get in and make my fingers numb.
I recommend making sure that your mittens are waterproof because while it didn’t snow a ton, it was very wet weather during our trip to Copenhagen during February.
I loved scarves. I have tons in different colors and I love really long, wide scarves that I can wrap around my neck several times. This one was from a market in New York a few years ago and it is incredibly warm.
I recommend getting something made of wool or a synthetic fiber to keep you really toasty. It’s best if it can wrap into your coat as well so that you keep your chest and neck really warm.
Wool is simply a must in a place this cold. Don’t even think about packing cotton socks. Cotton kills as they say in cold places (I used to hear it in New Zealand in winter all the time!). I highly recommend a good pair of wool socks that you can pull up to your knees. That way it keeps your legs warm and you can have them sticking out of your boots for a little bit of style.
These are my favorites that are around this season. It’s also worth noting that men’s wool socks are usually better quality and a lower price.
A Very Warm Coat
This may seem obvious, but the average thin winter coat that you can wear during winter in places like the UK or warmer places in the US will not cut it in Copenhagen during the winter. This coat I brought was probably not warm enough (I bought it in the UK) and I would recommend something very thick and warm.
A very warm winter coat is definitely an investment. You can opt for a down jacket like the Canada Goose jackets (which are cute and stylish) or something made for hiking in extreme temperatures like a North Face or Patagonia coat. I find that these sort of jackets are always in style and last a very long time (a lifetime, really).
If you don’t plan on spending a lot of time in cold countries, though, this may be too much of an expense. In that case, I recommend sticking to your warmest coat that you own and then having plenty of layers that I mention below.
Waterproof Boots (with the fur)
Waterproof boots are a must. In the mornings the city is covered in frost and as the sun comes out throughout the day, it melts into an annoying slush. There are ice and puddles and of course, it snows during the winter in Copenhagen. So your number one priority should be to bring shoes that are waterproof.
I would go one step further and ensure that they are lined on the inside with something warm like old school ugg boots (but don’t wear those, they’re not waterproof). My boots have a fleece lining that keeps my toes really warm. They’re also leather, so I sprayed them with a waterproof spray and my feet were dry for the whole trip.
These are a MUST when you visit Copenhagen during the winter months. These literally saved my life on so many occasions. Invest in a good pair of silk long johns and you’ll never feel the cold while you’re in Northern Europe.
I bought this pair off of Amazon and I continue to use it whenever I travel to a place where it’s going to drop below freezing on the regular. We’re talking both bottoms and tops here. I thought I wouldn’t want the top and that it would make me look bulky, but I ended up wearing it when we were out for long periods of time during the day and it kept my body so, so warm!
Let’s talk about what to wear over the long johns but under the coat. I packed a bunch of sweaters and the one I ended up wearing the whole time was a wool sweater I bought from the Ralph Lauren outlets. It’s a cream color, so it goes with everything (including the smorrebrod you spill on it).
I recommend packing one really good quality wool sweater with you that you can put over your long johns. I’m a big lover of the winter range at Ralph Lauren (it’s such good quality and will last your for years to come), but I also like the options at J.Crew which are usually slightly cheaper. If you really want to push the boat out, opt for the J.Crew cashmere range which will keep you nice and toasty.
Pants That Aren’t Jeans
The one thing I did very wrong was to wear denim. Jeans hold the cold SO much and even with long johns on underneath, my thighs would get so cold. Once my legs got cold it was so hard to warm them up again.
Instead of jeans, consider packing wool trousers or winter travel pants from somewhere like PrAna that looks stylish while still keeping you warm. These leggings from PrAna have been my absolute favorite pair since I bought them a few weeks ago. They also have these nice trousers which look cute and would easily fit long johns underneath them.
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