Copenhagen is more a city break destination than a beach resort, but here, one type of travel does not rule out the other. More than just about any other northern European capital, Copenhagen offers bathing opportunities just minutes from your downtown hotel. Here’s our rundown on Copenhagen’s best places for an outdoor dip, from urban architectural design to natural ideal.
A harbor clean enough to swim in
It may have been inconceivable back in the 80s, but Copenhagen city planners really did stay true to their promise of cleaning up the capital’s harbor enough to swim in. Since 2002, the smart, safe bathing area at Islands Brygge (Københavns Havnebad) has provided hot families and sweaty office workers downtown dips. A little further west, next to the Fisketorvet mall, is the smaller Copencabana baths. Both are open throughout the summer with free entry.
The vast beach area of Amager Strandpark is large enough to provide a wide variety of activities without ever seeming crowded. The landscaped, 3-mile-long stretch of sand and grassy lawns opened in 2005, replacing a dilapidated collection of wooden jetties. Harder to believe is that Bellevue Strand, north of the city at Klampenborg, was equally architecturally designed in the 1930s by Danish design icon Arne Jacobsen; check out his signature white bathing huts and tower.
Unspoiled nature a day trip away
Great design is all very well, but for those craving a real sandy beach whipped up by centuries of North Sea waves, a day trip up to Zealand’s north coast is in order. The pretty fishing villages of Hornbæk, Gilleleje, Tisvildeleje and Rågeleje are all accessible by car or by train, and offer picturesque, sandy beaches, woodland walking and cycling tours and even some gourmet-standard fish restaurants.
Photo of Rågeleje beach, North Zealand courtesy of Ty Stange/ Copenhagen Media Center.