5 Alternative sights of Copenhagen
Copenhagen and bikes go together like peas and carrots. It’s one of life’s great matches. You can’t argue with it. It just is.
So when you come to Copenhagen, you need to cycle. Just try your best not to be intimidated by the seemingly effortless and glamorous locals. After a year of trying to look more Danish (that's code for glamorous) when cycling in Copenhagen I’m now convinced it is a DNA thing. As in do not attempt unless you are of Danish descent. But that’s okay. I can still cycle un-glamourlessly. I’m okay with that. Truly.
BBB (Bilingual Backpack Baby) gets on a bike most days. Sometimes as co-pilot sometimes as Cleopatra in her cycle chariot trailer. So when you visit Copenhagen you'll do well to take her lead and explore by bike to find a world full of pastries and an island full of food trucks. Yup. A whole island full of food trucks.
To encourage you on your bikes here are 5 lesser known corners of Copenhagen. For more alternative sights check out The Doubtful Traveller. A great website with a focus on what to see when you’re not into ‘the big thing’ a city is known for (pastries excluded).
I’m super excited to be joining their team as a contributor. So if you know of other lesser known and interesting sights of Copenhagen (or Denmark) that you think others should know about, then I’d love to hear from you. I’m also putting together a list of alternative events in Copenhagen so check back in a couple of weeks for that.
In the meantime put the below GPS co-ordinates into your phone and start pedalling.
1. Hire a bike
I know. Bikes and Copenhagen go together like peas & carrots yet I’m now telling you it’s an ‘alternative sight’. Well strangely you’ll rarely find it in a list of the ‘top 10’ things to do in Copenhagen. So please don’t read those lists. Instead listen to me and hire a bike.
There are many places you can hire bikes from including the numerous cycle shops throughout Copenhagen. And I do mean, numerous.
Copenhagen also has a city wide bike share scheme where you can hire electric bikes with GPS screens. They’re the white bikes you’ll see at over 100 bike stations around Copenhagen. You can pick up and return at different locations but you’ll need to set up an account online first. Full details at http://www.visitcopenhagen.com/copenhagen/bycyklen-gdk495345
Most visitors to Copenhagen will be lured towards the canals for the compulsory Nyhavn photo. Soon after they’ll take a Canal Boat Tour along with 100 other passengers. Don’t do it.
A better way to check out the canals is by driving the boat yourself. Head to www.goboat.dk where you can hire your own small boat, pack your own lunch and take your own wine. No special licence required (to drive the boat or drink the wine). It’s extremely popular during summer so pre book your boat online (either via their website or app), then just ‘check in’ at their HQ where you’ll get a safety briefing, lifejackets etc and you’re off. The boat carries up to 8 people. So choose wisely. At least one of your group should be comfortable driving the boat and obviously someone else should be good at picking wine.
3. Bastard Café
Now you’ve got your bike and seen the canals it’s time to knock another bastard off and head to the Bastard Café. This place is gold. It’s a Board Game Café. A whole café dedicated to playing Board Games.
The Danes love a good Board Game. It’s one of many ‘hyggelit’ activities that pop up frequently in Danish life. So when you find yourself wishing for a hygge moment, head here.
The walls of this café are lined with every imaginable board game in history with ‘Game Gurus’ at the ready to explain how to play them. It’s a Monopoly-fest. Board games on steroids and a hugely popular place which is open until 2am in the weekends. Booking a table is recommended but not compulsory.
There are many small lanes and streets in Copenhagen to explore and when you’re on your bike you’ll easily be able to find these. However, if you want to lock in one particular location to explore then type in ‘Jægersborggade’ into your GPS. You might need to copy and paste that one.
In and around this street you’ll find some interesting cafes and little shops. The street has its own website where you can check out the shops (butikker) and events happening here.
As a bonus it is right across the road from where Hans Christian Anderson is buried, so on your way back, cycle through ‘Assistens Kirkengarden’ and play hide and seek with Hans. Best you be the one ‘seeking’ for this game I think.
5. GRØD – the world’s first porridge bar
Almost as entertaining as the board game cafe, this is a restaurant that only sells porridge. A true happy place for all of the inner Goldilocks within us. There are four GRØD restaurants in Copenhagen and one in Aarhus. My personal favourites are the ones on Jaeggersborggade or Falkoner Alle.
They’ve totally nailed the whole making porridge sexy thing.