Unbelievably yesterday was the first day of summer here in Copenhagen. The weather isn’t playing ball but as soon as it does everyone heads down to the sea, whether it in the inner harbour, one of the urban beaches or out in a boat. I have always wanted to live by the sea and now that I do, I try to make the most of it. It only takes a quick walk along the harbour or a cycle around the headland towards Tuborg Haven to remember why I love this city so much.
Here are some of the ways you can enjoy the sea right here in the city…
Public Buildings and bridges in the harbour – over the last decade or so city planners have been building a number of iconic modern public buildings such as the Opera, the Royal Playhouse and the Black Diamond along the central part of the inner harbour, drawing people into this area and also complimenting the existing historic architecture. It is possible to walk along almost the complete length of the harbour from the Black Diamond to the Little Mermaid, with a few inland deviations. The opposite side of the harbour from Nyhavn is also seeing a facelift with Papirøen and Christianshavn soon to be linked with Nyhavn by a new bridge.
There is also the new Cykelstang (cycle snake) connecting Vesterbro with the other side of the harbour again opening up more of the harbour to more people.
The new Kalvebod Bølge promenade with a kayak slide and amazing views of the harbour opened last summer and has drawn people into what was previously a business area.
Halvandet at Refshalevej, close to the location of Eurovision, is a beach bar with beach furniture and stunning city views. You can play volley ball, basket, football, petanque, mini golf, or kayak polo. You can reach it by using the harbour boat bus and it a great place to chill out and watch the sunset.
Free swimming in the harbour – just fifteen years ago it would have been unthinkable to be able to swim in the inner harbour. But now, not only do you see people simply diving from the edge of the harbour when the whim takes them, like these two lads below but there are also three purpose build harbour swimming pools at Islands Brygge, Sluseholmen and Fisketorvet. There are pools for both adults and children – and they are very popular with the hardy Danes.Beaches close to the city – Again the city planners have come up trumps with the development of urban beaches within a fifteen minute public transport ride from the centre of the city. Amager Strand being the biggest, offering a long stretch of sandy beach, with a boardwalk and a swimming area as well as a lot of sport and leisure opportunities. It feels as if you are on holiday somewhere a lot further south than Copenhagen here.
More recently, in 2010, Svanemøllen Beach was inaugurated. It provides 4,000 square metres of beach with family-friendly low waters as well as a 130 metre long pier providing direct access to deeper water. It is amazing to live in the urban area of Østerbro, hop on your bike and be swimming in the sea in less than fifteen minutes.
Just a short train ride away and you can find yourself at Bellevue Beach, where swimming is heavenly. My mum delighted in telling her French neighbours that she had swum in the Baltic sea on this very beach. The water here can reach around 22 degrees C on a hot day, as it can at Svanemølle Strand.
Boats – getting onto the water in the harbour and on the canals is an everyday thing for many people. Kayaking is very popular in Copenhagen and it is not uncommon to see people paddling at speed past all the main sights of the harbour. You can, of course, take a tourist boat tour but for the price of a normal public transport journey, why not hop on one of the harbour bus boats and see the harbour from one end to the other. For a leisurely pootle around with a picnic the new Go Boats, solar powered boats, can be hired from Islands Brygge. I definitely want to give these a go this summer.