7 outdoor winter wonders to make the most of the cold season
While the Scandinavian winters may be known for being long and dark, that doesn't mean that you have to be stuck indoors. Actually, quite the opposite. Skiing, skating and stargazing, here's the top outdoor adventures to be had in Denmark this winter.
Winter swimming festival in Denmark's northernmost waters
The concept of winter swimming is a freezing, yet popular hobby enjoyed by many Danes in the colder months. Denmark has 8,700 kilometres of coastline, which provide plenty of opportunities to head to the beach or harbour pool for a dip, even in the winter. Many Danish towns have their own club, where people gather and jump in the water.
Check out the Harbour Bath in Aarhus Ø, which has been designed by the famous Danish architecture firm Bjarke Ingels Group. In the winter months you have access to the pool, locker rooms and restrooms on Saturdays and Sundays from 08.00-12.00. Or explore the Kastrup Sea Baths in the Øresund Sound, which has views all the way to Sweden.
In Skagen, which is on the North tip of Denmark, an annual festival for winter bathers is held every January. Since 2012, a local club called ‘The Icebreakers’ have held a four-day festival, where winter bathers join them in the waves while also experience the rest of the historic town of Skagen. This town is especially known for its art and delicious seafood as well as having two oceans meet at ‘Grenen’.
Because of the current situation, the upcoming festival has been moved to 24-27 March 2022.
Photo:DCL, Copenhagen Light Festival
See Copenhagen covered in lights
In February, you can explore the multi-coloured lights at Copenhagen Light Festival. Whether it’s rainbow-coloured lights, which embed one of Copenhagen’s many bridges or beams, which set to put light on clouds passing by, this festival will offer many stunning sights for visitors of Copenhagen. It is possible to enjoy the installations for free by simply strolling through the capital.
Ice disco and free "dressed up" skating
Broens Gadekøkken is a popular street food area located centrally in Copenhagen. In the colder months a large ice-skating rink opens in the area. This rink is unique in that it has various events happening in January and February. These include ice discos every Friday in January and February. Also, as the Danish traditional day of dress-up Fastelavn falls in February, any visitor, who is wearing a costume of some sort can enter the rink free of charge.
Heat up in a floating hot tub and sauna
Why not keep warm in a unique way and try sailing the waters of the Copenhagen harbours in a floating hot tub? This unique and fun activity includes a guide, who controls the boat, while visitors relax and enjoy the sights of the Copenhagen harbours while being immersed in the warm water. CopenHot offers new Nordic wellness and also offer harbour-side hot tubs with heated sea water as well as a sauna heated with firewood. As the water in the tubs is always at 40 degrees, any weather is spa weather.
Diving into the cool waves with good facilities has been somewhat limited to people, who are part of a winter bathing club. This will now change, as GoBoat in Copenhagen has opened their new sauna facilities in the centre of the city. The sauna is floating on the water, fits up to 12 people and does not require a club membership, which allows tourists to visit the sauna on equal terms as locals. The sauna can be booked as a whole for one or two hours and opened to the public in November of 2021.
Starry winter nights
About an hour away from central Copenhagen, the largest observatory in Denmark, Brorfelde, has welcomed a new initiative, where visitors can sleep in unique shelters with a window in the roof, allowing them to view the starry night sky. It is possible to purchase wood to make a bonfire, which can be used for warmth or cooking dinner.
If you’re looking for interesting natural sights, Møns Klint on the island of Møn is worth a visit. Here, you have the possibility to see nature at its finest. Take your time to experience the spectacular white chalk cliffs and gaze at the stars in Scandinavia’s first Dark Sky Park. On clear nights, you are able to see the starry sky with a view of the milky way! The cliffs are only 1,5 hours’ drive from Copenhagen, and if you’d like a secluded experience, try the lighthouse cabin Fyrhytten on the edge of the island cliffs. It is never fully quiet in the little cabin with the sound of waves crashing against the stones on the nearby beach and the sounds of seagulls flying high above.
Skiing in one of the world’s flattest countries
Denmark is said to be within the top five of the flattest countries in the world, however, there is still a possibility of going on a sustainable skiing adventure in the capital of Copenhagen. CopenHill is situated centrally in the city and is placed on top of a waste-to-energy plant, which provides electricity to 30,000 households in Copenhagen as well as central heating for 72,000 households. The energy plant incinerates around 1000 tonnes of waste per year.
CopenHill opened in October 2019 and features four lifts and three slopes of varied difficulty. The top of the hill is the steepest of its kind in the world with an incline of 30%. Further, it also has a climbing wall, a hiking trail, a run track and offers the possibility of sledding as well. The surface of the slope is covered in Neveplast, which is a form of green plastic that looks a bit like grass, so the slope can be used when it’s not snowing.
The hill is also complete with its own rooftop café, where there is a chilled vibe and the possibility to enjoy the view of Copenhagen and Sweden. At the base of the hill, there is a ski bar, which serves the perfect possibility for after ski complete with schiwasser, Weissbier and other drinks.
For other skiing experiences, look to the Danish island of Bornholm. The rocky island is situated in the Baltic Sea and is one of the hilliest places in Denmark. It also has a ski slope with a lift. If the weather allows it, and there is enough snow, this hill will provide a fun day for the entire family.
Photo:Thomas Høyrup Christensen
Forage Denmark’s two oyster variants
In the Limfjord in North Denmark, you’re able to go on an oyster safari, where you can collect your own oysters and learn how to prepare them while trying some Danish produced whisky from Stauning. The whisky will add new layers to the experience and taste of the oysters, which have risen in popularity in the later years. For a truly unique experience, try the Oyster Stout, which is brewed on European oysters (Ostrea edulis) from the Limfjord.
Similarly, it is possible to enjoy fresh oysters in the UNESCO’s World Heritage awarded Wadden Sea National Park on the West Coast of Denmark close to Rømø. In the colder months from September to April, the low waters offer plenty of opportunities to collect oysters, which can then be brought back and enjoyed or raw where a local guide can provide help and tell all about the Pacific oysters (crassostrea gigas) of the Wadden Sea.
The oyster season in Denmark starts every year in October and ends in April, so there are plenty of opportunities to go foraging this winter.