Summer is Super in Copenhagen
If you’ve been to Denmark, you know. If you haven’t – what are you waiting for? Despite the popular meme that circulates in this season that “summer is the best day of the year,” it really truly might be the best time of the year here in Denmark. So come. Stay. And explore sustainably. It’s easy to do here. Really. They’ve practically terraformed it for you. A European Green Capital in 2014, Danes take the title very seriously. That. Is super. Seriously. And Danes love to say “super.” Lucky for you. It’s easy to pronounce. “Soo-pah!”
Ways to have sustainable fun when visiting the Danish capital
1 | Do the Danish Dip
Start sommer season off right and get happy in the head. “Glad i låget” as the Danes say. The water temps may feel brisk at the beginning of June, averaging 15-17ºC, but come to the peak of summer and the water will average 20-21ºC. That’s 70ºF. Basically balmy. It’s beautiful I tell you!
At the beginning of summer, take a tip from me. To really do the dip, it is best to find a spot where you can just jump right in, no wading required. Check out the beautiful new piers just put in along Nordhavn. A lovely place to relax and go for a swim, safe from boats. Just don’t test the water. Trust me. Just breathe. And jump. Come up for air. Emit a gasp of shock. Flail a bit. Get out. Repeat. The second time is the charm. I promise. As all the blood rushes to your extremities, the water feels amazing and you will feel full of life. I’m a believer. Try it. You’ll see.
TIP: You can check the Danish Meteorologic Institute’s Website below for current water temperatures. It’s in Danish, but still easy to read temperatures. Just remember we work in Celsius over here.
DANSK VANDTEMPERATUR (from the drop down on the map, choose havtemperatur, or sea temperature)
Since 2000, Copenhagen has made valiant efforts to clean up their harbor restricting industrial, sewage and wastewater runoffs. The building of rainwater reservoirs and runoff conduits has dramatically increased the water quality and makes it safe to swim and enjoy.
2 | Roam the Canals in an Electric Boat
Love the water, but afraid to get in? Take a toodle on an electric picnic boat. Have you ever rented a sustainable solar-powered boat? You can! And you should.
Really – you must do this. Copenhagen is a harbor town. It’s in the name. København means merchant’s harbor. There is water everywhere. Seize your inner Viking sailor. You must get out on it. Especially in the sommer. Don’t have a boat? No problem. There are so many options for all budgets to explore the canals and harbor in Copenhagen.” – Summer in Copenhagen | 10 Must Do’s
We adore Go Boat and their super charming little electric picnic boats powered by solar cells. Book online, rent by the hour. It can be popular when the weather is nice, so plan ahead. Pick up your boat from their cool outpost near Islands Brygge right on the canal. We love the slow, cozy Go Boats for their charm, ease, stability, and maneuverability. There is a picnic table in the middle! No time to pack a lunch? Order ahead online and they will fashion a perfect picnic with organic wines, soft drinks and food.
Go Boat takes their sustainability next level and encourages your littlest sailors to help keep the harbor clean. Children who are interested can borrow a long-handled net to scoop garbage from the waters. They will be rewarded for their efforts when they return!
Friendships also offer electric boat rentals out of Christianshavn. Easy to find from Nyhavn take the pedestrian and cycle bridge across the canal and follow to the end of this channel, past the Bridge Kitchen street food area.
1 hour = DKK 449 for up to 8 people
2 hours = DKK 799
1 hour = DKK 420 for 8 people
2 hours = DKK 750
Note that 1-hour bookings amount to 55 minutes of sailing after quick briefing.
3 | Experience Hygge at Ofelia Plads
After your cruise is complete, head to Ofelia Plads. Opened on this clean Copenhagen canal in the summer of 2016, it is a perfect place to perch in the sun and even try your Danish dip. Calmer than the colorful neighbor and tourist center Nyhavn, Ofelia Plads offers a casual chill and great views of the water. Snag a lounger and groove to the music. Share some cold rosé by the glass or bottle from the nearby Luftkastellet.
Follow Ofelia Plads on Facebook to stay up to date on special events and performances on the water. We adored seeing the Danish Royal Ballet this past weekend.
4 | Ride a Bicycle Across Bridges and Around ‘bros
There are roads for bicycles in Copenhagen. Signals too. Little lights just for the cyclists to tell them to stop or to start. There are more bikes than people here in the capital. The easiest way to experience the city like a local is on two wheels.
Renting a bike allows you to get a little further off the tourist path. Head to the Copenhagen neighborhoods – explore Vesterbro, Nørrebro and Østerbro. Or pedal your wheels across one of the two car-free harbor bridges. The Bryggesbroen will take you from Vesterbro to Islands Brygge and back. The Inderhavnsbro connects classic Nyhavn with Paper Island, Christiania and Christianshavn. Or try this route from the Cykelslangen south through Amager Fælled to Sluseholmen.
5 | Eat Fresh Local Food Outside
Fresh food, food trucks and fab markets make their appearance once again when the weather is warmer and the light stays long. Make a positive impact by supporting the local economy’s bitty small businesses. All the while tasting lots of local and international flavors at one of the following fun options.
Kødbyen Mad & Marked
Flæsketorvet, 1711 København V
Saturdays & Sundays | 10-18
April to September
Kødbyen is the trendy meatpacking district in the Vesterbro neighborhood of Copenhagen. Every Saturday and Sunday starting late spring through early fall, there is a foodie dream market with rotating vendors and tables to enjoy your tasty wares outside.
Reffen | Copenhagen Street Food
A, Refshalevej 167, 1432 København
More than just food carts in a warehouse, Reffen is striving to “hack the future” and create a space where sustainable cuisine, craft and culture can co-mingle. All stall owners are required to make efforts to reduce and reuse. Those that adhere to organic standards get reductions on their rents, further promoting sustainability.
READ MORE | WHERE TO EAT OUTSIDE THIS SUMMER: CPH STREET FOOD
6 | Try Urban Foraging
You don’t have to live on a farm to pick your own produce. Lucky for you there are plenty of places to forage for summer sweets right here in the city. Check out Byhøst, a Danish website that will help you find and identify wild raw food. Click on KORT and find a map to what’s growing where. Click on RÅVARER to see what’s edible. Even if you don’t speak Danish, clearly labeled icons and images will allow you find what you’ve foraged. Can I eat that? I want to know. Download their app and dial in on the go.
Brombær = Blackberry
Jordbær = Strawberry
Hindbær = Raspberry
Kirsebær = Cherry
Hyld = Elderflowers
We’ve recently been foraging for hyldeblomst or elderflowers. You can find them all over town, but we like to look along the paths in Fælledparken. Be careful to not cut too many from one bush or plant. Elderflowers turn into elderberries in the fall, which you’ll want to find later. Take the recent blooms when the weather isn’t wet. What to do with the fragrant blooms? Make hyldeblomst saft of course! Elderflower cordial, ummmm. Stay tuned, recipe and tips on the blog soon.
7 | Find One Man’s Treasures at a Loppemarked
Danes love a loppemarked. You may know the concept as a flea market. A yard sale. A garage sale. But these are collective experiences – more than one purveyor of gently used goods. Look for one of a kind vintage pieces or jewelry or antiques or chairs. You can find just about anything at a Danish loppemarked.
Rita Blå’s Lopper Saxogadefest
Litauens Plads, 1723 København V, Danmark
June 24 | 12-17
Kulturhuset Islands Brygge Loppemarked
Islands Brygge 18, 2300 København
June 25 | 10-17
8 | Go Looking for Giants
Danish artist Thomas Dambo has hidden the 6 Forgotten Giants in the woods south of Copenhagen. Each constructed of reclaimed and recycled wood, they wait for you to find them. Make a sustainable day out with the family by carpooling to the destinations. Pack your picnic in and leave no waste. Bring a reusable water bottle! Really want up your green quotient – take the S-tog with your bike and ride to each of the parks!
9 | Put out Your Blanket for Movie in the Park
I love when you can see the cinema outside. Every summer the Copenhagen theater Cinemateket offers two nights of viewing on a big screen set up in the Kings Garden. Spread out your blanket, invite some friends and sit back and relax. DJ music starts from 16:00. Last year we loved the David Bowie old school classic Spiders From Mars.
This year’s line up includes: David Lynch’s Blue Velvet on Tuesday and Saturday Night Fever on Wednesday. Ses vi? See you there?
Cinemateket Open Air
Kongens Have, The King’s Garden
August 1st and 2nd, 2017
10 | Sail with the Swans
Paddle for your pleasure along Peblingesø, one of the lakes in the middle of Copenhagen. Restaurant Kaffesalonen rents the boats from their dockside café by the hour. The gentle churn of the pedal-powered craft is a lovely slow summer treat.
Kaffesalonen Paddle Boat Rental
Peblinge Dossering 6 2200 Copenhagen N
Swan Bicycle for 2 persons costs DKK 100 per ½ hour, DKK 125 per hour.
Larger (non-swan) paddle boats can accommodate 5 and 7 passengers for a little more.
So there you have it. Summer fun that can be sustainable too. Looking for last year’s summertime list? Click the link below for a few more fun in the sun (and maybe not sun – it IS Denmark) options.
Come to Copenhagen, she said. Cheers from here.