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25 outdoor activities in Copenhagen

These Copenhagen activities are cheap, and you won't find them in any tourist guide. A list will keep you occupied in Copenhagen for the next couple of months

The warm weather in Copenhagen is here. Just when you thought the cold, dark winter would never end, and any change of temperature was hopeless, the flowers blossom and the long days return.

We have compiled a list of activities, which take advantage of the warmer weather in Copenhagen. So go ahead and take off those parkas and woollen layers, dust off those sandals, and put on those sunglasses!

Here is your guide to help you seize the season, a.k.a. 25 alternative opportunities that Copenhagen has to offer right now.

1. Fresh, culinary delights

There’s no better way to say goodbye to the deep frost of winter than indulging in the freshness and variety of produce. Local produce in the form of root and early leafy, green vegetables and imported exotic goodies like berries, melons and peas will appear as the weather warms. So why not go local and visit the farmers market in Nørrebro?

Every Saturday from the end of May to September from 10.00 to 14.00, you will find Jægersborggade full of life and colour. Local Danish farmers bring their fresh organic produce to you. The purpose is to lower our impact on the environment by reducing the path from their soil to your kitchen. To be even greener, ditch that bus pass and take advantage of the sunshine by riding your bike.

Organic foodies and locavores however can revel in the offerings of the fruit and vegetable stands of Torvehallerne or at a local farm like Fuglebjerggaard. Don’t forget that these establishments can also carry a nice selection of locally produced and organic meat, perfect for grilling in many of Copenhagen’s local parks.

When the sun is shining in Copenhagen, there is nothing better to do than to grab a quality ice cream on the way. Favourite establishments are Paradis Is and Ismageriet who serve homemade gelato, or go ahead and try something new, like “gammeldags” – an old-fashioned ice cream cone with delicious ice cream, whipped cream, jam and a “flødebolle”.

2. Watch the Copenhagen marathon

It may be too late to start training for the Copenhagen marathon, which in 2015 begins on Sunday 24 May, but there are plenty of opportunities to watch the proceedings, especially if you are cheering someone on.

The Nykredit Copenhagen Marathon 2015 course is a round course commencing at the harbour front on Islands Brygge, continuing through Inner Copenhagen, Østerbro, Nørrebro and Vesterbro and back to the starting point at Islands Brygge. Key viewing hotspots include places like Christianborg and Christians Brygge where refreshments are sold and viewing platforms erected. Café deals and entertainment are also included in this year’s event.

If you’re eager to get out and running already, the Copenhagen 1/2 marathon is only a few months away and provides another chance to run through the streets.

3. See more of Zealand (Sjælland)

Naturally, the best way to get to all of the sights and activities is by bike, but make sure to check the forecast and, if necessary, bring along your rain gear because you never know when you might get caught in a spring shower.

We suggest taking the S-train. It is a great opportunity to see more of Zealand such as to the end-station of Frederikssund, which is by the picturesque Roskilde Fjord, or try travelling to the S-train station Hareskoven in the middle of a quintessentially Danish beech tree forest, or if you’re in a royal mood try another end-station Hillerød, the home of the massive renaissance castle Frederiksborg.

Tip: Go out to the Open-Air museum in Brede, near Lyngby. It has a whole village built up like in the past centuries.

4. For the adrenalin junkies

Why not speed into the sun in a Lotus? Or fly high over Copenhagen in a hot air balloon? Or use the strong winds for daring wind surfing? The website with ‘experience gifts’ offers these activities and a lot more action from lamborghini driving to parachute jumping and from deep water diving to paragliding. Go ahead and get your heart pumping this spring with a new and daring activity.

5. Pushing up daisies

The pop of colour that flowers and budding trees can provide is welcome after a dull, grey winter. To make the most out of the city’s botanical bounty, the most obvious place to look is the University of Copenhagen (UCPH) botanical garden, which boasts the country’s largest collection of living plants, a greenhouse always turned up to tropical temps, and free admission.

But if you are in need of a natural spot that’s a little less ‘lively’, why not try visiting the city’s many cemeteries? For decades Copenhageners, as natural park-like refugees, have favoured many sites like Assistens Kirkegård in Nørrebro, Holmens Kirkegård in the city and Bispebjerg Kirkegård in Nordvest. Pick your favourite tomb-side spot with a blanket and a book, or enjoy the many tree-lined walks and beds of natural wild flowers that can be found there.

The flowers to be enjoyed now at any of these locations include bulbs like crocus, tulips and daffodils, flowering trees like cherry blossoms and magnolias and budding bushes such as forsythia and pussy willow.

6. Fresh fish

Sunny days not only signal the return of warmer weather, but warmer water as well. Denmark is a country that is only too lucky to be surrounded by so much water and much of it is fishable by the public. Whether you’re after coastal fishing or freshwater in lakes or rivers, fishing can prove to be the perfect springtime activity that might even end with a free meal.

Gear, equipment rentals and information can be secured at Copenhagen’s local store Jagt og Fiskerimagasinet and fishing sites can be discovered through the Official Tourism Office. Just remember that you do need a license and/or permit to fish in Denmark, but one can easily and cheaply be secured online.

7. Set your sails for Holmen

It is a sad fact that most people only see the old naval base Holmen, north of Christianshavn, from the comfort of the Copenhagen canal tour boats, because the area is rich in culture and history.

Here you can see the Dannebrog (Danish flag) raised at 8.00 and lowered at sunset to the sound of saluting guns, and if you are really lucky you might even catch a glimpse of the Royal Danish Naval Band practicing one of their signature tunes ‘What Should We Do With the Drunken Sailor.’

If naval history does not float your boat, then Holmen still offers some of the most beautiful views of Copenhagen. Watch the sun set over the rooftops, smoke stacks, and golden spires of the city.

8. Do the Copenhagen Ironman triathlon

‘Swim 2.4 miles! Bike 112 miles! Run 26.2 miles! Brag for the rest of your life’, as the slogan goes. If you think you’re in good shape now test yourself against some of the best amateur athletes in the world. The Copenhagen Ironman triathlon takes in some of the best scenery around Copenhagen, swimming off Amager Strand, cycling through the Zealand countryside and running past Copenhagen’s most historic and famous attractions (but let’s face it. By the time you get to the run section, you shouldn’t be able to enjoy the attractions!)

9. The birds and the bees

The arrival of spring always marks the awakening of animals big and small, but you don’t have to take a major trip outside the city to get in touch with nature. The Urban Beekeeping Organization BYBI is currently gearing up for a ‘sweet’ honey collecting season and can arrange guided tours or even volunteer positions at one of their many sites around Copenhagen.

If insects aren’t really your thing, the city’s more friendly winged friends are also making a comeback. Bird walks with DOF Copenhagen are frequently posted on their website or you can do one yourself by becoming familiar with the species and places where they can be sited. Of course baby birds can always be found in late spring just by taking a walk around Copenhagen’s lakes.

10. Fashion faux pas

While the sun may be warm and bright, April and May in Denmark are not without their quickly shifting temperatures and brisk winds. Such weather is certainly to inspire interesting clothing combinations and fashion faux pas in the coming weeks – shorts and scarves, anyone?

In order to keep yourself properly outfitted for changing weather or to score some new spring fashion why not check out the quirky, independent boutiques of Nørrebro. Designer duds can also be scored at discount events such as the spring edition of the Designer Forum held in mid April in Frederiksberg.

Of course, it’s always trendy to score deals on second-hand clothes at the many Loppemarkeds around the city. A reliable listing can always be found with this calendar, which updates listings around the whole of Denmark.

11. Cool off with a beer… or ten!

We all know that Danes love their beer. Experience the full extent of this love at the Copenhagen Beer Festival 28-30 May at Lokomotivværkstedet.

You can sample a variety of exotic beers from around the world. However, if you plan on tasting a lot of beer, and making the most of your experience, make sure to drink lots of water too, and show some self-discipline because visibly intoxicated participants will be escorted out. Tickets are available for advance purchase on-line, or at the front door.

Follow this link to get information about hours, prices, and a live countdown.

12. ‘Flea’ to the markets

If you’re in the shopping mood but also dealing with the reality of a student budget, why not make your way up to Nørrebro’s Flea Markets? On every Saturday, starting in April, a wide array of vendors set up shops along Assistens Cemetery (Assistens Kirkegård).

You can find everything you need here to add that vintage Scandinavian flare to your wardrobe. From 6-8 am vendors arrive to set-up and then close around 2 pm, so get there early for the best buys!

Afterwards if you find yourself exhausted from shopping and feel like mingling with some famous dead Danes, feel free to go inside the Assistens cemetery to chill out with fairy tale writer H.C. Andersen and philosopher Søren Kierkegaard.

13. Ever been ‘frolfing’?

Are you tired of soccer and want to get some exercise in a new way? Try Valby’s Disc Golf Park. They have built an 18 ‘hole’ course especially for the sport in Valby Park (Valbyparken) free to the public. For those of you unfamiliar with the sport ‘the object of the game is to traverse a course from beginning to end in the fewest number of throws of the disc,’ according to the Professional Disc Golf Association.

The disc is a bit like a frisbee, but you can use a frisbee as well. So gather your friends for an afternoon of ‘frolfing.’ Get even more into the spring and bring along some refreshing beverages and the essentials for a post-game BBQ.

Click here to see Valby Park’s website here (in Danish).

14. Build a city

Get inspired by the good weather, get a great idea and build your ‘dream city’ at the Roskilde festival this summer. Read more about the competition and its rules, here. Each week the campaign has a challenge and a weekly winner is picked. So get dreaming and winning!

15. Påske treats

Regardless of your religion or family tradition, mostly everyone is familiar with the connection between the spring season and Easter. Like many other holidays, Danes do not miss out on the chance of creating special Easter traditions, foods and of course beer. The most famous of the springy brews would be the Tuborg Påskebryg (Easter brew) but many other brands also have their own take on the tradition.

Påske øl will be around a few more weeks throughout the spring season and now is the time to sample the best that the city has to offer. Try visiting local microbreweries like Brew Pub or the Nørrebro Bryghus or hitting up a specialty beer bar like Ølbaren also in Nørrebro.

16. Play a little footie

Football (soccer) is the national sport of Denmark, but you don’t have to be the next Lionel Messi in order to pass around a ball with some friends.

We suggest going to one of the many public pitches located around the city. For example, you might consider checking out Fælledparken in Østerbro, Kløvermarken on northern Amager, or the fields by the DR Byen metro station.

This is a great way to make new friends, get some exercise, and soak up that sorely missed sunshine. Not all fields have regulation goals but two thirty-packs of Danish beer will surely suffice.

17. Copenhagen Sakura Festival

One sign that spring has arrived is the cherry trees that bloom with thousands of little pink and white flowers. In 2005 Copenhagen was given 200 of these breathtaking Japanese trees on the occasion of fairy tale writer H.C. Andersen’s 200th birthday.

The trees were planted along the waterfront of the citadel, Kastellet, in Langelinie Park. If you would like to see a display of Japanese culture and celebrate the coming of the cherry blossoms, make sure you mark your calendars for the Copenhagen Sakura Festival on the 25-26th of April. Festivities include a traditional tea ceremony, Japanese drum show, and demonstrations of Aikido martial arts.

18. Take it easy in Dragør, and then do something really interesting

Dragør is a hidden and often forgotten gem. An old town that seems lost in time, it stands isolated on the end of Amager. Equipped with a beach, cafés and great ice cream it is a safe haven away from the city buzz. It is easy to get there by bike, as it is just twelve kilometres from the city centre.

So, this is the interesting part. Ride your bike along the coast back to Copenhagen, east of the airport (so you have the Øresund to your right). At one point, the incoming or, depending on the wind direction, outbound planes are, literally, metres above your head!

19. Have a spring fling

Now that the time of staying indoors and layering on kilos of winter clothing is over, it’s no wonder that spring is the season for new love. Scores of romantic couples love flocking to the city’s many romantic walks or promenades. Catch some sea breezes and rays of sun along Islands Brygge’s boardwalk or blast a tune or two with friends along Dronning Louises Bro, Nørrebro’s bridge.

If an April shower or two gets in the way of your romantic outdoor plans, the season for free concerts is beginning. If you’re still flying solo, why not attempt this spring to try out the University Post’s still relevant top 10 best places to find love.

20. Stop and smell the flowers

Living in a new city it is hard to find the quiet place where you can appreciate Mother Nature without the urban racket. Fortunately, we have found one such sanctuary in the heart of the city, The Royal Library Garden (Det Kongelige Biblioteks Have).

Tucked between The Royal Danish Library, the Danish National Archives and The Royal Danish Arsenal Museum (Tøjhusmuseet), the Royal Library Garden is one of the best-kept secrets in Copenhagen. Enjoy the blooming flowers, creeping vines, and luscious grass from one of the benches that surround the garden. Unlike most other parks and gardens it is not overrun with tourists.

For further information check out this local travel guide.

21. Roller sports

The disappearance of all that ice and snow can also open up the possibility of new modes of transportation in the spring months. Rollerblading and skateboarding have become popular ways to leisurely enjoy an afternoon commute and tone up idle bodies that will be perfect for the beach in a few months time.

To capitalize on this newfound spring pastime, check out Copenhagen’s Friday Night Skate event.

22. Cultural awareness

Nothing rouses one out of cabin fever like a chance to engage in culture. The city in springtime is thus full of cultural offerings from theatre, dance, art and music – many for free!

Other cultural events are easily discovered by keeping an eye out for posters and flyers around the city or by subscribing to an online event calendar like KultuNaut.

23. Study break at the university garden

New spring opportunities don’t necessarily require you to travel far, sometimes they are right in your backyard… or in this case outside your classroom.

The Life Sciences garden (Landbohøjskolens Have) is a University of Copenhagen garden that was founded in 1835 and features over 600 species of exotic plants, most of which will be full of life this spring. The garden is free and open to the public from 7.00 to sunset.

And do not forget to check out the newly renovated Greenhouse Café (Væksthuset), a student eatery where you can get a drink and bite to eat at a discounted price. But remember to save those crumbs, just in case you happen to cross paths with a hungry duck.

24. Take a road trip

Take a ride up the golden highway of Copenhagen. Kystvejen (Strandvejen) starting in Klampenborg, north of Copenhagen, is often compared to the golden highway of California for it’s breathtaking beauty. It leads straight to the famous Elsinore castle and on it’s way passes sandy beaches, luxurious villas, views of Sweden and a stunning maritime horizon.

If you prefer comfort, rent a car with a friend to take it all in at high speed. If you are into fresh air through your hair, take your racing bike. If you get tired along the way you can always take the Øresundstrain back home.

25. For the childish souls

Theme parks Tivoli (in central Copenhagen) and Bakken (north of Copenhagen at the Klampenborg S-train stop) have just opened for the summer season after a long hibernation. Visit or revisit Tivoli, which apart from roller coasters also offers classical, pop and rock concerts. Bakken, in the north of Copenhagen is in the middle of scenic and green Dyrehaven (animal’s garden, ed.) where deer walk freely.

There’s candyfloss, roller coasters and a good excuse to get out of town and away from exams. What more could you ask for?

Give us your own tips!

So this was it. All 25 of them. I bet there were one or two there that you would be interested in doing this coming weekend?

Do you have any more ideas for outdoor activities in Copenhagen yourself? Please let us know in the comment field below!

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