The Conscious Traveller's Guide to Copenhagen
If you are a conscious traveller looking to fall in love with a new city, then look no further than Denmark’s shining capital: Copenhagen.
Denmark is consistently ranked as the world’s ‘happiest country’ and it is easy to see why. Denmark is home to a picture-perfect landscape with a buzzing food scene. It understands the value of a cosy afternoon with friends tucked away at a local coffee house or spent plunging into the ice-cold canals before retreating into the warmth of a sauna.
More than that, Copenhagen embodies that elusive Scandinavian sensibility that effortlessly combines innovative design with sustainability. Nature, water, open spaces, green parks and high quality of life are at the core of Copenhagen architectural development. Even as a tourist, it is clear that Copenhagen is certainly one step ahead of the rest. If you want a taste of the green-living Copenhagen life, here are a few tips for your travels!
While Copenhagen has great public transportation, including a sleek metro and comprehensive bus system, the city is known for its intense biking culture. With over 390 kilometers of designated bike path, it is a biking heaven for both novice and adventurous cyclists. Thanks to great city planning and biking infrastructure, over 55% of all citizens commute by bike. In fact, the International Cycling Union appointed Copenhagen as the first official Bike City in the world.
To reduce transport pollution and congestion, other cities are trying to mimic the eco-friendly biking culture of Copenhagen. Danish Architect and urban planner, Jan Gehl, acts as an official consultant to these cities, helping to map out public infrastructure and biking incentives, even garnering a new term, ‘to copenhagenize’ a city! With tons of bike sharing programs and bike rentals throughout the city, it is easy to blend in like a local and travel by bike. But be warned, they cycle fast!
EatingThe food scene in Copenhagen is all about the local ingredients[/caption]
Copenhagen is filled with incredible food options. The city has more Michelin star restaurants than you can count and great eats for those on a budget! The common theme in many of the restaurants is an emphasis on using local, organic ingredients. World famous restaurant Noma has cultivated a food culture throughout the city that pushes the boundaries of Nordic cuisine by encouraging extremely inventive and innovative uses of local ingredients. While Noma is closed, 108 and Relæ offer similarly inventive, impressive, and delicious dining experiences.
For some more causal eats, check out the Street Food Market on Paper Island for some great local treats, or head to Bæst for the best pizza you will ever eat. They make all ingredients in house, including fresh mozzarella daily from their very own small dairy farm! What is more sustainable and delicious than that?
It is extremely easy to find a great place to spend the night in Copenhagen. Over 70% of all of the city’s hotel rooms hold an official eco-certification and many have environmental plans to regulate water use, laundry, housecleaning, waste, energy consumption and more.
Check out the Guldsmeden Hotels for a great selection of small, boutique hotels dedicated to making your stay as low-impact as possible. They are certified by Green Globe, one of the most stringent green certifications in the hospitality sector, and offer a delicious 100% organic breakfast buffet complete with a selection of tasty homemade jams and irresistible cinnamon buns.
Copenhagen has always been a breeding ground for design and innovation, and fashion is no exception. Scandinavian style is clean and effortless, and looks particularly cool while cruising along the canal on a vintage bike.
Copenhagen is a thought-leader in the slow fashion philosophy. This is thanks to an increasing amount of brands releasing seasonless collections to be worn all year. Copenhagen is home to Aiayu who offer cosy sweaters and robes made from sustainably sourced llama wool from Bolivia, as well as Sur Le Chemin, which boasts a small selection of clean contemporary cuts.
If you’re up for a wander, head to Jægersborggade for a great selection of interesting boutiques including organic retailer Tricotage, and loads of yummy restaurants like Grød, famous for its organic Danish porridge. Then you can take a brief stroll down to visit Res Res (Respect Resources), which offers a beautifully curated selection of both Nordic and global brands who share a commitment to low-impact style.
A bit of Culture[caption id="attachment_1288" align="alignleft" width="300"] The Faaborg Chair at the Danish Museum of Art and Design[/caption]
A trip focused on organic eating and sustainable boutiques definitely sounds like heaven. But you can’t go to Copenhagen without soaking up some of its incredible sights! As Denmark is a design capital, the Danish Museum of Art and Design is a must. Their collection on the Danish Chair is enough to blow your mind! The Danish Architecture Centre is also worth a visit, and you can grab a coffee there with spectacular views of the city.
If you prefer the outdoors (and free), then Copenhagen has you covered. While the colourful houses of Nyhavn harbour are worth a visit, there are lots of other great outdoor spots. Head to Kastellet for a walk along with the old fortress; you can have a glimpse of Edvard Eriksens, Little Mermaid. Or take a stroll through Freetown Christiania for a peek into the quirk. This car-free neighboured hosts incredible street art, and infamous inhabitants. So, you can get a little fix of culture by just wandering the streets and checking out the amazing architecture of fun neighbourhoods like Vesterbro, the meatpacking district or Nørrebro.
An Eco Traveller's Paradise
In just a few days, Copenhagen stole our hearts. The laid back attitude, incredible innovation and respect for sustainability makes it the perfect city escape for the conscious traveller.