Copenhagen, the capital of Denmark, is located on the eastern edge of Zealand, the nation’s largest island. The city is located at 55 degrees north in northern Europe. Typically, cities at this latitude experience average highs below freezing in January and February and highs of only 15.5°C during the warmer summer months.
Copenhagen, however, benefits from its location on the strait that connects the North Sea and the Baltic Sea. The city enjoys an oceanic climate, which means that its temperatures and precipitation are influenced by the warm ocean currents and the storms that move through the area, especially during the winter. Because of these factors, Copenhagen’s temperatures are an average of five degrees warmer than similar cities at 55 degrees north in Alaska, Canada or Russia.
High temperatures in January and February average around 1.7°C and the lows average a few degrees below freezing between December and March. In July and August, the high temperatures average around 18.3°C and the lows drop to around 12.8°C.
The winter months can be rainy and stormy due to the low pressure systems that regularly track through the area. The cloudiest and rainiest period of the year occurs between November and February, when there are usually less than 80 hours of sunshine per month. During the winter, rain is just as common as snow and ice due to the ocean’s moderating influence. In the summer, there can be more than 200 hours of sunlight each month between May and August.
There are plenty of activities to enjoy in Copenhagen during all four seasons. Danes love jazz and celebrates the musical genre in all its forms during festivals throughout the year. In late January and early February, the 10-day Winter Jazz Festival takes place in Copenhagen.
In August, the Copenhagen Fashion Festival is an extravaganza for fashionistas who love to keep up with the latest trends. Participants can enjoy fashion shows, shopping opportunities and the chance to see what designers have to offer.
Danes love their queen and celebrate Queen Margrethe II’s birthday every April. The royal family appears on the balcony of the royal palace to the cheers of the crowd below.
In the summer, Midsummer's Eve celebrating the summer solstice is the high point of the season, akin to the Christmas holiday. In Copenhagen, celebrations centre on bonfires, singing and foods such as herring, potatoes, fresh fruit and schnapps. A summertime jazz festival occurs later in July.
The Aarhus Festival, held in late August and early September, is a 10-day cultural festival in the town of Aarhus about three hours from Copenhagen. The festival features musical performances, dance, films and exhibits. For the last two weeks in October, the Tivoli Amusement Park puts on a Halloween celebration for children that include a Harvest Fair and spooky events after dark. During the same time period, Copenhagen hosts the Autumn Jazz Festival, very similar to the festival held during the winter.
Christmas is celebrated on 24 December with special meals and music. Visitors who want to find excellent holiday bargains can take advantage of the Christmas flea market held at the Copenhagen Forum early in the month.
There are so many festivals and other events scheduled throughout the year in Copenhagen that visitors won’t have any trouble finding something to do. Whether summer or winter, Copenhagen is a wonderful city to visit.