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.
READ MORE | COPENHAGEN’S BEST PLACES TO GET DRINKS OUTSIDE
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.
READ MORE | DING! DING! BIKING ETIQUETTE IN COPENHAGEN
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!
READ MORE | LET’S GO HUNTING FOR GIANTS
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.
READ MORE | SUMMERTIME IN COPENHAGEN: 10 MUST-DO’S
Come to Copenhagen, she said. Cheers from here.
46 thoughts on “10 Super Activities for a Sustainable Summer in Copenhagen”
I would definitely do ALL of these, especially the swan boat peddling!!! I’ve always wanted to do that but never see them anywhere, only once in Hallstatt, Austria! #FarawayFiles
I don’t remember swan boats in Hallstatt (but that was 20 years ago!) but we did toodle around the lake there in a little electric boat! So fun!
We went on a cold gloomy autumn day, which was actually perfect bc there weren’t so many tourists and the dog was hanging low in the mountains
Summer in Copenhagen looks amazing. Love that there’s so many relaxing, sustainable things to do in a city. Me and my OH both love a good flea market, so that’s something we’d definitely check out! #FarawayFiles
It’s one of my favorite things to do – get a coffee, stroll through the stands…love it!
I cannot wait to be back ‘home’ – i might take the kids picnicking on the go-boat looks cute and the kids will love it! thanks for sharing all this – shame I don’t have more than a few days
If you’ve got limited time and really want to do the GoBoats – maybe book ahead! Copenhagen is so magical in summer! Hope you enjoy! Cheers, Erin
Yes please! Love all of it but am especially coveting a swan and a go boat. I keep thinking about our lovely wines and sunset boat trip a few weeks ago.Magic!
We LUCKED out with the weather – it truly was a taste of Danish summer! So happy to have shared – cheers, Erin
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Well once again I am super impressed by the environmental focus of the Danes. The opera would be such a fun thing to experience by the water, and I would love to try the bike ride that Katy covered recently, as well as the street food festival, the swan peddle boats and the giants garden. #FarawayFiles
Sounds like there are lots of fun activities to do during the summer. I’d totally do the dip. I’m used to swimming in Lake Michigan which is freezing all year round. My daughter would love hunting for giants and my husband would love doing a bike tour. My son would love everything as long as we’re outside. 😉 #farawayfiles
How warm does Lake Michigan get at the peak of summer? Curious? I know what the upper midwest feels like in summer and a dip in the lake to wash off the heat and humidity is always good! Cheers from Copenhagen, Erin
You make summer sound so magical in Copenhagen, Erin. I’d love to do everything on your list – and those picnic boats are the best idea ever!! C xx
It kind is. Really. When the weather is nice! Would love to take you on a picnic boat!
I’d love that too. Still need to sort out our summer getaway…
Oooh – let’s chat!
So many fun things to do in Copenhagen during the summer! My family and I are bikers so the thought of biking everywhere with the locals is right up our alley. And a swim of course too. #farawayfiles
Ahhh! You’d love it here then! Copenhagen was just voted number one Bicycle city in the world AGAIN!
I definitely need to hire a little boat and explore Copenhagen on my own pace when I visit next time! I mean, for me, there’s nothing more relaxing than being on the water 🙂
How gorgeous are the swans!?! I loved Copenhagen. I wish I could go back
It has been many years since I’ve been to Copenhagen, but this certainly makes me want to go back! #FarawayFlies
I want a go in the swan boat! #FarawayFiles
Do not know where to start since I am feel delighted by your post. So many fun and unique things to do in Copenhagen. Love the idea of foraging and getting on the swan boat. What are the peak months to visit? My friend went at the end of may and she said it was freezing (but she was born and raised in California). #FarawayFiles
Cities vary so much in their approach to cyclists. I love that Copenhagen is so pro cycling and the street lights include bikes in their traffic cycle. #FarawayFiles
A picnic boats sounds SO adorable – and all the better for being solar powered. ? A trip to the loppemarked and open air cinema would round out a perfect summer day for me!
Lots of great activities there. I like the idea of hunting down the giants! Wilbur #farawayfiles
Those forgotten giants are so cool my girls would love them, copenhagen is on my (very long!) list to visit. #FarawayFiles
I want to have lunch on an electric picnic boat! How cute! Also, looking for forgotten giants in the woods sounds like something straight from a fairy tale. My children would love an adventure like that! What fun ideas! #FarawayFiles
Thanks! Off to find the last three of the Forgotten Giants tomorrow! Can’t wait!
Would love to do that street food festival, or street food festival wherever 🙂
This is Super! ha ha! I also love to say super! So many fun choices, and while sustainable might not always sound fun, apparently it can be super fun! #farawayfiles
EXACTLY! That’s what I was hoping to share!
The bot opetions for me! I was quite satisfied with the little canal motor boats, but I am afraid the giant swans definitely pipped that at the post. Cool!
Deary me. ‘boat’ and ‘options’. Must proof read before posting…
Oh now summer is coming, the outdoor activities are springing up here and there! 🙂 I do love the spring and summer activities in countries of temperate climate because you guys really come out to enjoy the long daylight hours and the sun – totally understand why 🙂 But jumping into that water of 20-21 degrees?? That’s still cold for me hahah!
one day hopefully:)
You are whetting our appetite nicely for our summer trip to Denmark! Not sure if we will make it to Copenhagen though. Coincidently we’ve been following some of your tips here in Luxembourg today: going out on a cycle trip, spontaneously jumping into the local river and making Elderflower cordial (hurrah for good weather!!). Some things are good anywhere ;o) #FarawayFiles
Oh I’d love to take a picnic boat out! My children would probably prefer the large swan boat though – we’d have to do both. Copenhagen looks a lovely place to go in Summer with such a variety of lovely things to do. I love cities on water, I was born in one, I live in one – they have something special don’t they! #FarawayFiles
YES! I would have a hard time living long term somewhere that didn’t have access to water!!
That’s so fun that you can just jump in the water! And urban foraging sounds like a great activity! (Here it’s less exciting, though you can pull over on the side of the road and pick as many blackberries as you want!)
That’s what we did in Oregon! Oregon blackberries are the best – but I may be biased! 😉
Every time I see a blog post of yours on Copenhagen I feel like we missed out something on our trip there. So it’s up there as a destination to return to and this time with the girls too. #FarawayFiles
I love reading your posts, Erin! They are always full of recommendations that I would never have thought of myself! Thanks for sharing!
Thank you kindly! Happy to hear that!