The Best Time to Visit Copenhagen

Aerial view of shopping street and main city square in Copenhagen old town, Denmark
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The best times to visit Copenhagen are May through September. Still, almost every month has something to offer, from never-ending sunny days to festive Christmas markets and an abundance of hygge. Copenhagen attracts visitors all year, but there is an influx during July and August when most Danes retreat to their summer homes or fly south to Italy or Greece. 

Use this guide to help pick the best time to explore the hospitable city, but no matter when you visit, come prepared to bike alongside the locals who have a rain, snow, or shine attitude towards their wheeled transportation.

Peak Season

Danish schools let out in mid-June, and that's the unofficial kick-off to summer. Most Danes take a lengthy vacation in July, and August is busy with European visitors. But don't get too worried about the crowds: Copenhagen feels full of life and fun, rather than slogged down with big bus tours, and everyone seems happy, relaxed, and enjoying the extra-long summer days. 

The Weather & Pricing in Copenhagen 

Copenhagen's weather follows the four seasons of the northern hemisphere, and there's a 30-degree swing between summer's peak (highs of 68 degrees F in July and August) and winter's chill (highs of 35 degrees F in January and February). Snow is a rare occurrence in winter, but it's best to pack rain gear and at least one sweater no matter when you visit. 

Is your credit card ready? Copenhagen, as with the rest of Scandinavia, isn't a cheap date. Deal hunters will find good flights and accommodation prices from September to November; the weather will be nice, too. 

Once winter kicks in, rates drop even further from December to February, but they see a brief spike during Christmas. While the price might be tempting, remember the sun will set before dinner, so sightseeing hours will be limited, and the weather is pretty gloomy. 

March to May brings fewer rain showers and the reopening of the famed Tivoli Gardens in April, a major draw to visitors of all ages. Sacrificing the warmer summer weather for a good deal on a hotel and fewer visitors could be a win-win for many travelers. 

June to August is when Copenhagen really shows off. The sun is shining, and canals are filled with boats and kayaks while swimmers cool off between sunbathing sessions with dips in the (slightly) chilled water. Despite July being the biggest month for Copenhageners to jet off on vacation, this is the height of the tourist season for Denmark and Scandinavia. Ever wonder why people say Denmark is one of the happiest countries? Visit in July or August, and you'll consider applying for residency. 

January 

With the Christmas lights turned off, the festivities of December over, and the fireworks from New Year's Eve gone, the gloom of January's short days (sunrise at 8 a.m. and sunset at 4:30 p.m.) hangs over the city. Expect gray skies and bitter winds but fewer crowds at museums. 

February 

By the end of the month, the sun rises and sets a full hour earlier and later, and that extra two hours of daylight give the winter-worn Danes hope for sunny days. While there might be pockets of sunshine here and there, February's weather feels similar to January and the majority of days are gloomy. 

Events to check out:

  • Vinterjazz is a three-week-long winter version of the fantastic summertime jazz festival, and jazz talents from the Nordics perform in cozy bars and cafes to intimate audiences.
  • The Danes take advantage of the early darkness and dot the city with architectural lighting and designs created by Danish and international artists. Most displays around the city are available for public viewing for three weeks. 

March 

The doldrums of winter still hang in the air, but things are looking up as the days get longer. The highlight of the month is the city's wonderful documentary film festival. 

Event to check out: CPH:DOX brings acclaimed documentary films to Copenhagen along with Q&As with film markers and panel discussions.

Copenhagen Rosenborg Slot castle Kongens Have spring tulips Denmark
fotoVoyager / Getty Images

April 

April is a toss-up when it comes to weather, so come ready for glorious spring days, rain, hail, and winds that make city biking a chore—possibly all in the same day! 

The Easter holidays are public holidays in Denmark, and many stores and museums have limited hours. Easter lunch, filled with lamb, herring, and schnapps is a beloved tradition. Tuborg, a local brewery, sells their limited edition Easter beer in April. 

Event to check out: Typically in the middle of the month, Tivoli Gardens reopens after its winter break. Check their website for exact dates.

May 

Ah, May. The sun is regularly shining and it's almost like you can feel the city's residents breathe a collective sigh of relief as they pack away their sunlamps and head outdoors for the real deal. While not quite the peak tourist season, the number of visitors starts to pick-up. 

Events to check out:

  • Spring Festival is a week-long international theatre festival that showcases acrobats, puppet shows, dance performances, and more.
  • For five days in late May or early June, the streets and clubs come alive when Distortion takes over with DJ sets, block parties, street food, and silent raves.  
  • Denmark is known for its great design, and during 3daysofdesign, visitors will have the chance to get up close with furniture makers, lighting, and interior designers, and others in the creative space. Talks and exhibitions are typically centered around a singular theme, which in the past included sustainability. Check the website for exact dates, but the three-day event is in May or June.

June

The first two weeks of June are quieter than the end of the month when school children go on a seven-week break starting in mid-June. But moods are lifted, temps are warming up, outdoor dining is back in full force, and social events fill the calendars. 

Events to check out: 

  • The beloved Queen Margrethe II celebrates her birthday on April 16 and will wave to a crowd of people at noon from the main balcony of Amalienborg Palace. 
  • Skt Hans Aften celebrates the shortest night of the year (June 23) with bonfires at the beaches and in locals' backyards. There's drinking, singing of songs, and even the burning of a witch effigy on a pyre. 

July 

Locals who haven't taken a multi-week summer holiday yet might be extra cranky and quick to ding their bike bell at confused or slow tourists on bikes or anyone who crosses the bike lane on foot. But don't let a grouchy interaction sour you, the sunny days put everyone in a bright disposition. Be sure to pack a raincoat for intermittent showers. One of the city's best festivals, the annual Copenhagen Jazz Festival, takes place this month and it's worth experiencing for a few days. 

Events to check out: 

  • For 10 days in early July, the Copenhagen Jazz Festival pops up on street corners, sunny park lawns, cafes, large scale venues, and wine bars, delighting patrons with jazz in multiple disciplines from local and international talents. 
  • CPH Opera Festival runs for 11 days in either July or August, and world-class performers take over streets, canal boats, markets, and other nontraditional venues.
  • Roskilde Festival takes place 30 minutes outside of the center of Copenhagen in late June and early July. The eight-day festival celebrates art, music, activism, and freedom, according to the non-profit group that runs it, and draws international talents like Chance the Rapper and Bob Dylan to headline. Many young people will take the week off work to camp on the festival grounds, and the whole thing feels like Danish Coachella. Tickets sell out quickly. 

August 

The famous work-life balance in Denmark is really apparent when a warm summer day hits around 3 p.m. on a Thursday or Friday, and it feels like the entire city is outside. At the end of the month, school is back in session, and the city is at its busiest, feeling alive and energetic. 

Events to check out: 

  • For 10 days at the end of August, Scandinavia's largest food festival—Copenhagen Cooking & Food Festival—takes place around town. There's lots of eating, of course, along with symposiums on things like food deserts and sustainability and cooking demonstrations.
  • Strom is an EDM-lovers dream, and the multi-day festival includes raves, dance parties, DJ sets, and other events.
  • The annual Copenhagen Pride each August brings out the rainbow flags and allies who support the queer community. There's a parade on Saturday as well as cultural events, like political forums, film screenings, and concerts.
  • For three days in August, Kulturhavn hosts more than 100 cultural events on Copenhagen's waterways, like dance, music, children's activities, sports, sustainability, and workshops, as well as guided tours by kayak in Copenhagen harbor. All events are free.
Trees By Lake During Autumn
Katrine Aanensen / EyeEm / Getty Images

September

The weather and the cost of airfare begin to drop in September as the cooler weather transforms the city's large public parks with colorful leaves.  

Events to check out:

  • While March features a documentary film festival, September's CPH:PIX highlights thought-provoking feature films, many of which have director Q&A or talks afterward.
  • The Copenhagen Blues Festival runs from the end of September into early October each year and highlights local and international artists. 

October

Much like April, the weather in October can be unpredictable as sunshine gives way to sleet. That flip-flopping weather can make it hard to pack but come prepared with layers and a good rain jacket. 

Events to check out:

  • Always one for embracing a theme, Tivoli Gardens goes all out for Halloween (mid-October to early November) with spooky rides, a haunted house, pumpkin carvings, and ghosts, scarecrows, and spiders decorating the theme park. 
  • Typically the second Friday of October brings late-night museum-goers together for Culture Night, where popular event spaces, like galleries and museums, stay open late and hold special events. 
  • The LGBTQ community hosts (yup, you guessed it) another film festival at the end of October and early November. Check-out the full lineup online

November 

Rain, rain go away. Not in November, it seems. This wet month won't slow down the locals, and they wear head to toe rain suits as they ride their bikes or take the Metro. If you can't beat 'em, join 'em, we say; stylish rain great is available at the trendy Rains clothing store. 

Most importantly, November welcomes the holiday season, with festive markets, warm glasses of glogg, and canopies of sparkly lights cover the walking streets. It's festive, cozy, and will warm the hearts of any Grinch out there. 

Events to check out:

  • When Halloween ends, Tivoli closes for two weeks before reopening its world of Christmas magic in mid-November. Enjoy a holiday market, warm glogg, and festive lights as you go for a stroll. Book tickets to see performances of "The Nutcracker" from the end of November through December. 
  • The Royal Copenhagen flagship store transforms its third floor with stunning tablescapes from the end of November into December. 
  • Hotel D'Angleterre in the center of town goes all out with their holiday decorations, and the unveiling of the year's theme is unveiled while the Royal band performs. This festive occasion is held around the third week of November. Go all-out and pop in for a glass of their famous white glogg, made with white wine and apricots, by the hotel's fireplace. 
  • On the first Friday in November, Tuborg debuts it's much-loved Christmas beer, with beer trucks handing out free bottles to drunken Santas in crowded bars. While smaller in scale, J-Day can reach levels akin to Santacon in New York City, which may or may not be your thing. Either way, pop in for a free beer and to sing "All I Want for Christmas is You" with a new Danish BFF. 
Copenhagen Christmas market at night
Allan Baxter / Getty Images

December 

Holiday magic makes everything better, it seems, and December in Copenhagen is full of Christmas cheer. While the dark days of winter aren't great for sightseeing, early December is a great time to kick off the holidays, settle into a cozy cafe, or leisurely shop at a Julemarked (Christmas market). Remember to bundle up to face the low-to-mid-30s F temps. 

Events to check out: 

  • On the first Sunday in Advent, the 65-foot-tall spruce tree outside City Hall is illuminated by Santa Clause. The mayor and the fire brigade join in the fun, too, and around 3:30 p.m., they turn on the tree. 
  • Kayaks illuminated with Christmas lights glide through Nyhavn canal to celebrate Saint Lucia Day on December 13. You'll need a level two kayak certification to join the fun, but it's warm off the water, and you can have a drink while you watch. 

Restaurant Availability 

If you feel your trip won't be complete without checking a world-famous restaurant off your foodie bucket list, you might consider booking the reservation before the flight. Noma and Alchemist, two of the most sought after restaurants, open up bookings four to six months in advance, but they close for two two-week-long periods, typically around mid-July to mid-August and the week before Christmas until early January. 

If a highly ranked restaurant isn't on your to-do list, you'll find the important tourist season trumps the need for a summer break, and museums and tour operators are more than happy to have your business. There will be restaurants that close for a summer break, but their websites will state their closing ("lukket") times during the summer holidays ("sommerferie"). 

Christmas in Denmark 

From mid-November until the end of December, Copenhagen fully embraces the idea of hygge, and the city comes alive with festive lights, holiday markets, and competitions to see who makes the best glogg. The bright lights, performances of The Nutcracker at Tivoli, gorgeous holiday decorations at Hotel D'Angleterre, and Royal Copenhagen's gorgeous tablescapes help (temporarily) shake the blues of gloomy weather and the sun setting before dinnertime. 

The Danes take their Christmas celebrations very seriously, and it's hard to imagine a quieter capital city than Copenhagen on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and even the day after Christmas. Almost every shop, restaurant, and grocery store shuts down Dec. 24 to 26, and it can feel like a ghost town for visitors. If your visit includes other Scandinavian destinations, remember that most Nordic countries will follow a similar holiday pattern, and small fjord towns will go into full hibernation. Visiting this part of the world during winter is best if winter sports are the top draw. 

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