Copenhagen at Stroller Height

Kid Friendly, Travel Tips — By Jane Graham on November 17, 2010 at 2:00 pm

Getting around a city with a pram or stroller can be a daunting task, especially if you’re new to the place: Should you push your baby around in a buggy or is it best to sling it? And what do the locals do? Here’s our lowdown on how families with small children can best get around Copenhagen.

Copenhagen is an incredibly accessible city, and that counts for families as well. It’s customary in Denmark to wheel babies and even toddlers around in what appear to many visitors like incredibly bulky, old-fashioned prams, which often have room for two babies as well as the shopping! Thanks to the large spaces provided on public transport, these “portable homes” can be pushed onto buses, trains and the underground Metro service without the need for folding away.

There are elevators at all Metro and train stations, though they are well-used, which means you may find yourself with a wait—so always allow a little extra time in your schedule. Children under 12 travel free on all forms of public transport in Denmark if accompanied by an adult (with a maximum of two children per paying adult).

The flipside to all this stroller-friendly access is that many of the city’s smaller shops and cafes do not allow buggies or prams on the premises. Many are located above ground floor without an elevator, while others are found in basements with very narrow steps. This doesn’t seem to bother most Danish parents, who are used to leaving the pram outside—often with the baby still in it. This is a cultural norm in Denmark, where most babies sleep outside from being very small. To date, no baby has ever been snatched from its pram here—though the prams themselves are sometimes a target.

This isn’t a case of “When in Rome,” however—feel free to pick up baby and take him or her with you. Alternatively, move on and check out the many stores and cafes where prams can easily be brought along: Downtown department stores Illum and Magasin are ideal examples.

If you’re planning a visit to a museum, be aware that you will probably be asked to leave your pram outside in the foyer: Some museums, like the National Museum, will allow you to borrow a lock for it – then switch to the museums’ strollers to wheel around the exhibits. The exception to this is the science museum Experimentarium, where everything is accessible both for prams and wheelchairs.

Most tourist spots offer good, clean baby changing facilities, and some—like the Zoo and Tivoli—have child-size toilets as well. Both places also provide facilities for warming baby food and bottles.

If you’d prefer to get around at a rather quicker pace than the stroller provides, you could take a leaf from the Danes and try cycling around Copenhagen, with baby safely strapped into a cycle seat on the back. The Danish capital has a number of good bike rental places, including Baisikeli and Rent a Bike Copenhagen, all of which provide child bike seats along with their standard bike rental.

Photo, baby on bus: Flickr/creative commons/storebukkebrus.

Tags: accessibility, baby travel, child-friendly Copenhagen


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