Discovering unique spots in Copenhagen feels the best cycling as the city is the most bike friendly place in the world. Cycling in Copenhagen is as common as eating potato in my hometown. In fact, there are more bikes than inhabitants in Copenhagen and 5 times more bikes than cars. Even though it’s a capital of Denmark, with the bikes, I didn’t feel hustle and bustle of the big city.What’s more, Copenhagen is the most eco-friendly city I have ever visited. As a responsible traveler I have to mention the cool initiatives Copenhagen have towards cleaner and sustainable environment.
Let’s hop on the bike and cycle through unique spots in Copenhagen. On the list you will find the alternative and non-touristy places, where to relax, where to eat and also get a chance to support local initiatives and responsible tourism in Copenhagen.
Cycling in Copenhagen
If you ask me to describe Copenhagen in 3 words I would say: bicycle, bicycle and bicycle! Seeing a world from the saddle is eco-friendly and one of the most healthy and cheap means of transportation. Besides, it’s safe and cuts down the city traffic. In Copenhagen, people cycle, despite weather conditions or social status. Seeing streets full of cyclers and having trouble to find a parking slot is what every newcomer will encounter.
Copenhagen is one of the first Bike cities in the world and the model to follow in terms of bike-friendly urban planning. The city of Copenhagen provides perfect cycling paths of over 350 km. There are even cycling highways which lead bikers out of the city fast and smooth. The bike culture spreads around the world, and many cities ask Danish architects for bike-friendly urban planning. It even got a unique term: copenhagenization, which basically means making the cities ready for bike culture.
Renting a bicycle in Copenhagen
The Bike city Copenhagen was one of the first to provide the free city bikes. However, as I was digging in I found out, that there are no more free bikes in Copenhagen. But don’t worry, renting a bike is cheap and easy in a Bike city and at the same time you can support some great initiatives. The prices vary from place to another, but to give you an idea, a day rental will cost around 75 kr.
There are many bike shops and rental services around the city but as a responsible traveler I would like to recommend Baisikeli. It’s a secondhand bike shop with a brilliant ideology of making bicycles accessible for everyone, even the poorest. Therefore, they send used bicycles to African countries such as Tanzania, Sierra Leone and Ghana. In fact, Baisikeli means bicycle in swahili.
In Africa some of the bicycles are transformed to cycling ambulances in the areas without health care facilities. Moreover, farmers getting bicycles switched into trolleys can increase dramatically their profit as they are able to carry more crops in shorter time.
All these financed and realised through this little bike rental in Copenhagen. Planning to spend a weekend in Copenhagen, why not renting a bike in a place with meaningful business idea?
Unique spots in Copenhagen
Copenhagen is a modern city with a multicultural vibe, where almost everyone speaks english. These make it so easy to go around, even for a newcomer. Visiting Copenhagen you will surely go through the main touristic points of interest. I bet on your list will be seeing the palace of the queen, main port canal, parliament or walking through the main square. Not to mention the little mermaid statue which is favorite place to take a selfie. They are all lovely monuments, but after you may want to see Copenhagen off the beaten path. Or if you’re looking for respite from the crowded streets, jugglers and human statues of the city centre, this list may come up handy. I prepared few alternatives for a lovely day cycling around Copenhagen. Let’s hop on the bike and see all the unique spots in Copenhagen!
Royal Library Garden
In the most touristic zone there is one little secret garden between the Parliament and the Royal Library buildings. This peaceful enclave is often skipped by rushing crowds of tourists, and thanks to that has its tranquility. This secret library garden is hardly known even by locals. It’s a ideal place to read a book on the bench, have a picnic on the grass or simply meditate with the sound of the fountain.
Not every cemetery has to be reverent and sombre. Look for instance at the happy cemetery in Romania or Assistents in Copenhagen. It’s not only place where great Danes like Hans Christian Andersen rest, but also a huge park where people go cycling, reading a book or even make a bbq with friends.
Street food heaven in Copenhagen
Some of the unique spots in Copenhagen are a must-visit! Like the food market, for example. The best place to get your taste buds spoiled is to head to the street food market. Refshaleøen or Reffen is where you can eat authentic food from all around the world, cooked by expats living in Copenhagen. Locals know Reffen has the best food and local craft beers. Plenty of small street-food stands which offer food from all over the planet. You will be totally lost in willing to try everything! There is no place for a big restaurant or famous brands as food market is reserved for start-ups. A mix of street food and entrepreneurship creates multi-cultural space for cultural events and activities.
I love to visit street markets. No matter if it’s a dirty market in exotic country or clean in a modern city. Street markets are a chance to buy the best food, support local communities and local farmers. Bazars are integral part of local economy and an alternative for growing shopping malls, which only focus on business destroying social contacts and small entrepreneurs. More about why is worth shopping locally?
Copenhagen has street markets for everything: foods, clothes, antiques, obviously bicycles or even upcycling (creative reuse of products). The most popular are: Loppemarkedet in the Carlsberg brewery district. It’s a huge vendor market where you will find everything from food, clothes to furniture. Nørrebrogade flea market will be perfect to connect with the tour to Assistens Cemetery as they are near each other. Nørrebrogade is mostly for antiques, vintage items and art. Torvehallerne Market is in the city center and even though it’s pricy, you are sure to find the best quality food.
Christiania – the hippie district
Looking for unique spots in Copenhagen, you cannot miss the legendary district of Christiania, where rules don’t matter. Christiania is an autonomous neighborhood led by the group of hippies. District is famous for the soft drug freedom and cultural events. Small streets are full of stands leaded by man in the mask offering hashish, marijuana or magic cakes. Christiania is also good place to listen to alternative music, watch theater or simply enjoy the unique ambient. In addition, choose the hostel with a party vibe, if it’s in your mood.
Nevertheless, Christniania is not just drugs, music and hippies. Apart from the free city, there is another part, which is more quiet and gives a totally different view of Christiania. There is a lake in which you can swim, row a boat or make a picknic.
The free city of Christiania certainly reminds me of similar places in Europe. First of all, Metelkova in Ljubljana which is an enclave for artists and cultural life of the city. I was amazed by stunning graffiti in Metelkova and how many cultural events it gathers. Secondly, worth mentioning is Exarchia in Athens, which is a place for artists, rebels and cultural life. Politicians and police have no entry there, and you can see the freedom of speech on every wall. Third hippie place I have been to, is self-proclaimed “Republic” of Užupis in Vilnius. It’s a particular district which used to be abandoned and dirty. Local artists changed into squat and renovated it. Now it’s one of the most expensive areas to rent a falt in Vilnius which follows their own rules, has its own government, constitution and bishop. It’s also place for creatives, cultural events and performances. Feeling inspired for a next adventure?
The Candy Factory
Digging in the non-touristic and unique spots in Copenhagen I found out about the Candy Factory, which has nothing to do with candies anymore. The Candy Factory (Bolsjefabrikken) is an autonomous free space organising cultural, social and political activities. From underground concerts, art workshops to playing board games. As we are talking about Bike city, there is a bike repair workshop once a week. The candy factory was an abandoned warehouse which volunteers took over to create non-profit and non-commercial space. Trying to foster young artists and musicians, invites people to simply buzz their creativity.
Nokken is said that Hobbits go there on holiday. Leaving the city center, you will find wide area with allotment gardens and hobbit style huts. Cycling around Nokken feels like being in the countryside with the greenery and little houses. It’s the thing to love here! While cycling in Copenhagen there is no space for traffic or air pollution.
This English style garden is probably the largest green area in Copenhagen. You can enjoy the romantic scenery and take a boat to roam around the lake. In the middle stands Frederiksberg Palace, a beautiful Italian-style Baroque residence that was built at the beginning of the 18th century. Apart from that many lovely little bridges and the Chinese Pavilion which was a Royal teahouse.
This blog is absolutely religion-neutral and I don’t want to promote the mosque as a touristic attraction. I just want to point what I found really interesting. The Mariam Mosque leads a beautiful lady Sherin Khankan which is first Danish female imam. What does it mean? Muslim communities are conservative in certain countries or regions and often discriminate woman. Female imam stands for women’s rights and actively fights extremism and patriarchal. Everyone can come to Mariam Mosque which is right in the heart of Copenhagen. The mosque gives a right to women in leading the Friday prayer, which is normally lead my men all over the world. Tolerance for LGBT is also an example of a futuristic attitude. What’s more, Mariam Mosque gives marriage to couples of different religions, which some mosques will not allow. Inspiring?
Enjoy the water in Copengagen
Copenhagen is surrounded by water from the sea, lakes and canals. Therefore, there are many eco-friendly outdoor activities like baths, beaches along the canals or kayak rentals.
Loving responsible tourism in Copenhagen I have to mention Green Kayak initiative, where you get 2 hours free rental if only you collect trash from the water surface. Sounds like a great deal in helping to keep the city clean, right? GoBoat is another eco-friendly idea, that everyone can rent a boat and roam free in the canals of Copenhagen. The boat has a solar cell powered engine and a maximal speed of 3.5 knots (6.5 kph/4 mph).
Responsible tourism in Copenhagen
Copenhagen is the world’s most sustainable city. If you are interested in sustainable tourism in Europe, this city should be your nr one as it has an ambition of becoming the first carbon neutral capital in 2025. The wind turibines are the most common structures to see on the flat Danish landscape and cover 40% of the energy use in the country.
Being responsible traveler in Copenhagen is easy as the city is a great example to follow in terms of ecotourism and sustainability. The bike culture makes the city quiet, safe and eco-friendly. Only 29% of citizens own a car which means less traffic and air pollution. Cycling in Copenhagen is accessible for everyone with great paths, traffic lights and bike parking.
Finding a sustainable accommodation in Copenhagen is easier than finding a non-sustainable one. In fact, over 70% of all the city’s hotel rooms hold an official eco-certification.
You can find climate-friendly and organic restaurants in all price ranges. What’s more, there are plenty of street markets with fresh food from local farmers. No problem with getting organic products as eco-friendly farming is very common in Denmark. Around 88% of the food in Copenhagen’s public institutions is organic, including daycare centres, nursing homes and schools.
It’s in Copenhagen where I saw the biggest amount of urban bee hives ever. The bees find their shelter on the roofs, large sidewalks or other empty spaces.
Cycling around Copenhagen off the beaten path spots made me love this city. Copenhagen is an inspiring model of a modern and sustainable city. I wish more places will take an example and create a innovative city in harmony with nature. How is it in your city? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.
The Bee is a nature lover and tea addict. Loves the idea of slow life and responsible traveling, constantly trying to improve to bee more eco-friendly. Appreciates old cultures and traditions, loves to immerse with locals, listen to ethnic music as well as taste regional food and drinks. Her favorite spots while traveling are family houses and street markets.