Winters in Denmark have somewhat undeserved reputation for being extremely cold, but in my opinion it’s actually the constant and crisp wind that makes your face feel like it will break into pieces, that is the worst. With that in mind, you probably wondering why I am writing a post about outdoor activities during Danish winters?
The answer is that it’s because no cold temperatures or icy winds are able to keep Scandinavians from doing as many outdoor activities as possible, which is something I thought might inspire you. Some outdoor activities during the colder season in Denmark are similar to other countries but there are also some that are different, let me know which ones you are familiar with and which are different?
Sauna and swimming in ice cold water
The sauna tradition is really originally from Finland, the Finnish people are known for their love of their sauna time. Infact, almost every Finnish house has their own little sauna. Finnish people don’t see the sauna as a luxury but as a way of relaxation, and a place to enjoy with friends and family. Many saunas have water nearby because it’s tradition to go from sauna to swim in very cold water (or roll in the snow!) and then back in the sauna. The extreme temperature change really gets your blood circulating and releases many pain-relieving and pleasure hormones. This is a year round activity practiced in Finland because of the cold temperatures but to some extent also in Denmark.
Summer in Denmark allows you to swim in the water with no problem, but winter bathing is also very popular. The Finnish tradition of going from a hot sauna and for a swim in cold water is becoming more and more popular here in Denmark and I believe in Sweden as well. In Denmark, there are several places that allows you to rent a sauna with a panoramic view of the city next to the water, some may even have outdoor hot tubs that you can share with your friends. In Copenhagen harbour there is even the option of a sailing hot tub that you can cruise around in with your friends, while enjoying 40 degrees celsius (that is 104f) clean salt water in the cold winter days.
However, even without a sauna, you will still find Danish people swimming in the cold winter water, either in the sea or the city’s clean harbours. It’s a good way to start your day and get your blood circulating. What is most entertaining for me is seeing many people swimming in the water – naked, no shame in that, right?
If you are in Copenhagen during winter time and want to experience the outdoor saunas and bath, I recommend checking out CopenHOT for their services.
Photo credit CopenHot Website
Ice skating and the ski slope green
Ice skating is an extremely popular sport here, not just for kids but also for adults. I love to skate, outdoors especially. It reminds me of when I was small and used to stay out all day on the slopes with my friends. In Denmark, skating is seen as a way to get together with friends or even a Friday night fun date, it’s cheap, romantic and fun.
If you are ever in Copenhagen and looking for a place to skate, I prefer the Outdoor Ice Skating Rink at Frederiksberg runddel, it’s not very fancy or modern but it’s really cosy situated in a wonderful area.
Skating is a sport for people of all shapes and ages but in Copenhagen, they have also opened their own ski hill on green slopes. The place is called CopenHill and it is an artificial ski slope, climbing wall and hiking trails situated on top of a giant waste recycling plant. I am not much of a skier, so I haven’t visited the place yet, but to see more information and photos of the green ski slope, check this article in the New York times, HERE.
Photo credit Instagram @visitcopenhagen.
The fact that everyone bikes in Copenhagen is absolutely not news anymore. As I wrote in my previous post 7 Fun Facts about Scandinavia, HERE, Danish people bike around 1.270.000 kilometers a day, that is 30 times around the globe. Sure, it’s a pleasure biking in the summer and I personally can’t imagine using any other kind of transportation, when the weather is nice, you are surrounded by such lovely neighbourhoods and on top of that, you have bike paths on just about every street.
But Danish people keep the biking routine going during winter also, seeming not to sense the crisp wind and the colder darker days. They do change the type of clothes they are biking in. Many using proper biking clothes to protect them against the cold temperatures and then change into proper work clothes when they arrive at their job. Another good idea for biking during winter is to bike in groups and fight the wind as a team.There is a saying here in Scandinavia
“There is no such thing as bad weather – only bad clothing“
Photo credit my Instagram @beyouverywell
Like in many cities, the food markets are a popular attraction and at the beginning of winter, the Christmas markets start popping up. Many people spend their Saturday or Sunday mornings going to the markets, trying different types of food and buying fresh local vegetables. I personally love the markets during the holiday season it feels like they bring magic and music to the whole city center.
Another type of markets that danish people love to go frequently are the second hand markets. They are extremely popular and people love buying items that have value and appreciate great finds and hidden treasures. I was never a fan of second hand clothing or furniture but now I am actually selling clothes that I might not use anymore and furniture that can have a better place in someone else’s home. I can’t say that it brings me a lot of money but it s lot of great interaction with people and while it’s cold in the winter, it’s a really fun experience.
My favourite market place that is open all year long if called Torvehallerne market.
I hope this post inspires you to go outdoors and find something fun to do in your own city because every city has it’s own magic after all. I tried to write recommendations of places to go in Copenhagen because I receive so many questions on what to do or where to visit in Copenhagen.
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