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Five nearly free ways to fend off the winter cold in Copenhagen

It can sometimes feel like the only thing you’re likely to experience in Denmark in January is a vitamin D deficiency. These activities in Copenhagen don’t break the bank and get you active outdoors as well as inside.

Copenhagen's Fælledparken is one of several locations with free activities available in winter.
Copenhagen's Fælledparken is one of several locations with free activities available in winter. Photo: Ólafur Steinar Gestsson/Ritzau Scanpix

Visit a coffee and book shop 

There are plenty of spots around Copenhagen where all it takes is a filter coffee – which can sometimes be had for as little as 20 kroner – to warm you up for half an hour and give you a place to sit while you browse endless bookshelves.

One such place is the Paludan Book & Café Shop on Fiolstræde in the Inner City, walking distance from Nørreport station, the Round Tower and the old university building.

The café, which claims to be Denmark’s oldest book café, has plenty of seating and a literary environment, with the aforementioned 20 kroner filter coffee (we recommend stretching to 25 for a large). You can also browse the antique bookstore in the basement.

Go to a museum for free

A number of museums in Copenhagen offer free entry on set weekdays. These include Glyptoteket (free on Tuesdays), Kunsthal Charlottenborg (Wednesdays after 5pm), Thorvaldsen’s Museum (Wednesdays), and the Museum of Copenhagen (Wednesdays).

The David Collection, an extensive exhibition of Islamic, European and Danish early modern art, is also free on all days apart from Mondays, when it is closed. The same applies at Frederiksberg art museum Møstings.

Complete a Parkrun

Immensely popular in the United Kingdom and successfully transported to Copenhagen, the Parkrun concept is a volunteer-driven five kilometre run in a local park every Saturday.

Participants cover the full range of ages, fitness and running experience, and newcomers or visitors from abroad are ritually welcomed before the run is started each week.

It’s free to enter – you just need to register on the Parkrun website and bring a bar code with you each time you take part.

Copenhagen has three parkruns – at city park Fælledparken, Amager Common and Amager Beach. All offer different experiences and surroundings. Make sure you dress appropriately – although running 5k makes you sweat, the winter wind cuts quickly through thin layers.

Eat at a green ‘people’s kitchen’

As shared economy becomes more popular, the soup kitchen or folkekøkken in Denmark has evolved.

The folkekøkken, literally ‘people’s kitchen’ is a concept that has become more mainstream in recent years, having once been a form of social support for vulnerable families and now also a low cost event which strives to offer good food.

Several locations have emerged with regular folkekøkken events. One example is the Folkehuset Absalon, opened in a former church in Vesterbro in 2015. The kitchen events cost 100 kroner and you can pay at the door or book in advance (it can sell out). At the time of writing, a valid coronapas is required to take part.

Find the six hidden giants 

Six impressive wooden troll-like statues are hidden in the forests west of Copenhagen.

Artist Thomas Dambo’s creations are located in six different natural areas in Copenhagen’s outlying municipalities, so it might take more than a single fresh winter walk to see them all. Their placement away from the big draws of the city centre is a deliberate attempt to get more people off the capital’s beaten tracks.

Families with children can enjoy climbing inside or on the wooden giants.

A fun map to help you search for the giant trolls can be found here.

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