Introduction: Soluble urokinase-type plasminogen activator receptor (suPAR) is upregulated by inflammation and plays a role in the pathogenesis of atherosclerosis. Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is associated with enhanced systemic inflammation and increased risk for atherosclerosis, however, studies analysing the circulating suPAR levels in COPD are contradictory. The aim of the study was to investigate plasma suPAR concentrations together with markers of arterial stiffness in COPD. Materials and Methods: Twenty-four patients with COPD and 18 non-COPD, control subjects participated in the study. Plasma suPAR was measured, together with lung volumes, symptom burden, exacerbation history, markers of arterial stiffness and soluble inflammatory biomarkers, such as endothelin-1, high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hsCRP), interleukin-6 (IL-6). Results: Plasma suPAR levels were higher in COPD (2.84 ± 0.67 ng/ml vs. 2.41 ± 0.57 ng/ml, p = 0.03) and were related to lung function measured with FEV 1 (r = − 0.65, p < 0.01) and symptom burden determined with the modified Medical Research Council questionnaire (r = 0.55, p < 0.05). Plasma suPAR concentrations correlated with various measures of arterial stiffness in all subjects, but only with ejection duration in COPD (r = − 0.44, p = 0.03). Conclusions: Plasma suPAR levels are elevated in COPD and relate to arterial stiffness. Our results suggest that suPAR may be a potential link between COPD and atherosclerosis. © 2019, The Author(s).