Getting out and about in Denmark on a Bike
Since we arrived in Denmark, almost two years ago, we have done a lot of day trips, by train, car and bike. Copenhagen is wonderful, but there is also so much to see and explore within an hour or two of the city. There are cute little villages, fabulous beaches, fascinating castles and world class art museums just a bike, car or train ride away. Europe is rather good that way. We could drive for hours in America and still be in the middle of nowhere. Now, within hours, we could be in different country!
This post is going to concentrate on places you can get to on a bike.
We have no car in Denmark, we have bikes, yikes! I must admit that, yes, occasionally, I get a little frustrated. When I am lugging heavy groceries back home, or trying to get somewhere quickly, I question our decision, but generally it is fine. It is really easy to get around the city, parking is tricky and it feels kind of cool to be car-free. We can hire a little electric car for short trips, and a day rental if we want to go further afield. However, for most longer trips we use the excellent Danish transportation system.
On your Bike!
Now that the weather is good, (did I say good, it is spectacular), cycling is a fabulous way to explore outside the city. Cycling feels so liberating, and I suspect is one of the reasons the Danes are so happy. Of course, most residents of Copenhagen are not fair weather cyclists like me. They, and I include my husband in this category, cycle all year round regardless of the weather conditions.
I am starting my list of places to go with spots easily accessible by bike. We have done all these trips recently, although some of the photos are from previous visits. These are my favourite bike rides to date.
Amagerstrand is just outside of the city in the island of Amager, really not that far by bike. It is Copenhagen’s buzzing beach area. An artificial island, almost three kilometres long, it has a lovely sandy beach. You can swim (not for the faint hearted), run, windsurf and play ball games or just lie in the sun. Bring a picnic or eat an ice-cream from one of the many little kiosks along the beach front. You also have great views of the wind farm just off the coast, and can see the new bridge across to Sweden.
Dragør is one of Denmark’s ‘smukkest’ or loveliest towns. It is a very achievable 13-14 km from Copenhagen, depending on which route you take. Like Copenhagen, Dragør was a small fishing town. After the reformation, when everyone became Lutheran, the demand for fish fell. No fasting and fish on Fridays any more. Dragør started making its money by offering piloting services to the many ships making their way through the treacherous Sound. There is a lovely harbour to explore and the pilot’s lookout is still there.
It is obligatory to eat ice-cream whenever the sun shines in Denmark. Normally that is not too onerous as sunshine is generally in fairly short supply, but this year is different. Shops are running out of ice-cream, well certain flavors anyway. Luckily the ice-cream shop in Dragør, one of Denmark’s oldest, was fully stocked.
Afterwards, once you have finished your ice-cream, wander through the preserved ‘Gammel By’ or old town and be thankful that Dr Dick saved it from being torn down in the 60s.
Many of the street are called after the profession of the people who lived there. Baker Street (oh no I feel a song coming on!), is pictured below with the official sign for bakeries in Denmark, the pretzel. Think this one may have a royal warrant as well?
On the way home, walk your bike along the seafront back towards the direction of Copenhagen, and then follow the coastal route home. Not a route that comes up with google maps so you kind of have to wing it and trust the force. It takes you past Amagerstrand!
I am not sure this qualifies as a day out, but as Frederiksberg Have is technically outside the city of Copenhagen,I am including it on my list. This bike ride was only about fifteen minutes from our apartment. However, as soon as we turned into Frederiksberg, with it’s wide, tree lined street referred to as the Champs-Élysées of Denmark, we felt we were somewhere completely different.
The park or ‘have’ as it is known in Danish, is in the Romantic English Garden style which might be why I loved it as soon as I walked in. Large areas of the grass are left unmown and are dotted with flowers.
There are sweeping lawns, and you feel that at any moment Darcy might suddenly appear (in his wet shirt?). This is a perfect park to have a picnic, some bread, French brie and pate and a little chilled Chablis. That’s what we did!
Elephants and Dummies!
The park is quite large and if you can muster the energy to go for a walk there are some fun and slightly bizarre things to see.
This is the Dummy or Pacifier tree. When children are ready to part with their dummies they can take them and hang them in this tree. Apparently it is a Scandinavian tradition, a rite of passage for small children as they leave being a baby behind.
The other surprise in the park is turning a corner and suddenly seeing an elephant’s bottom. Copenhagen Zoo is in the park and the wall in the Elephant enclosure has been taken down to give them a better view. Gives us a better view too.
Finally, as you leave the park nip in next door to the Revymuseet’s garden and admire the new statue of Dirch Passer, one of Denmark’s favourite actors and comedians. The sculptor was our very talented friend and super lovely Nanna Brøndum.
Bike Ride round Copenhagen Harbour
Okay, totally pushing my luck here. My final suggestion is to cycle around the harbour but in my defense part of this bike ride does take you outside the city. Copenhagen has added many new bridges recently and it is now possible to cycle from the new Kissing Bridge
all the way down to Sluseholmen or Little Venice.
There are various routes you can take. I would use the one passing by Amagerfælled to get from Islands Brygge down to Sluseholmen, and go home the same way. Suddenly you are in the country, minutes outside Copenhagen. There is a little pedestrian bridge where you have to walk the bike at the very end of the trail, so no need to to go on the main road as it suggests on google or the map I gave you click.
Bridge Street Market
Just over the kissing bridge on the Christianhavn side you can stop by the new Bridge Street open air market for a bite to eat. Gasoline Grill, recently rated in the top 27 burgers of the world by Bloomberg, has just opened a new location. There is also a Grød,the porridge speciality shop. They do more than just oatmeal, just tried a barley and mushroom risotto which was soooo good.
My new favourite sweet treat experience is the ice-cream bars hand dipped in chocolate stall.The praline topping is beyond delicious. I have only had a bike of one so far and can’t wait to go back and try a whole one on a day when I am not trying to be good!
Be sure to pass the fabulous new Circle Bridges designed by the Icelandic Architect Olafur Eliasson
and check out the swan’s nest at the outdoor swimming pool outside Fisketorve.
On the way back, admire the new space built by Blox. If you have time visit the new Danish Architecture Centre with its fabulous outdoor seating area with views over the water.
and the fabulous views into the old town.
If you continue up you will end up at Nyhavn, and eventually you will reach the little Mermaid. For more information on that side and all the wonderful sights you can see, you should read my post on Wonderful, Wonderful Copenhagen.
However, if you cross back over the Kissing Bridge and head in the opposite direction from Christianhavn, you will find Reffen, the new street market.
I suspect the easiest way to get to Reffen is by bike. You can catch the 9A bus or hop on a water bus. There is also a dedicated canal boat which goes directly from Nyhavn, a free drink is included in the Kr50 fare!
Paper Island, the very popular street food market, closed at the end of last year. Reffen, on the island of Refshaløen, is its replacement.
I cycled out there last Friday, and was lucky enough to arrive as just the two entrepreneurs who created Reffen officially opened the site.
The site has stunning views over the Sound
and looks to have a fabulous collection of fun food stalls.
What better treat at the end of a bike ride than to sit down with a drink and a bite of food with a view over the water!
Part two of this post will really take us out
of Copenhagen by train and car.
Happy and safe Cycling!