Copenhagen has long been synonymous with cycling. With the city representing a green destination on the global radar, not only have the possibilities for public pedal power increased, but eco-friendliness is now reflected in the city’s restaurants, cafés, and hotels
The Crowne Plaza hotel may appear to be yet another ode to glassy modern architecture, but this light and spacious 26-floor building is all about the environment. Underneath the outside panels lie solar ones which, combined with an interior whose systems conserve energy in a number of unique ways, help make the hotel a beacon for sustainability. There’s a groundwater heating and cooling system and the retention of up to 90% of expended energy to regulate the indoor temperature. As a guest, you can pedal exercise bikes to contribute power while gaining credit for a free restaurant meal. You can also rent electric bikes and cars from the reception desk.
The socially responsible Baisikeli Bike Rental rents out previously lost and stolen bikes purchased from insurance companies, using its profit to fund the shipment of bicycles to Sierra Leone, Tanzania and Ghana. Christiania Bikes offers family-friendly carriers
If you would rather see Copenhagen from the seat of a fold-away or recumbent bicycle, you can rent them from the Bicycle Innovation Lab about a mile north of the Crowne Plaza. The shed-like headquarters is actually more of an unusual bicycle library. The owners experiment, build and craft the frames, and customers can loan models that include three-man bikes and velomobiles.
Ride and Dine
Being on a bicycle allows you to really take in the compact beauty of Copenhagen. From the south, you can circle the vegetative Amager Beach Park, cross the water and head up to the revitalized working class district of Vesterbro—now a hive of activity. Prominent in the Vesterbro dining scene is the 100% eco-friendly restaurant BioMio: a wooden, open-kitchen affair fitted inside an old Borsch home appliances store. The food embodies the raw, vitamin-laden, colorful and local. And chefs can be seen taking leftovers to a homeless shelter.
On the outskirts of Frederiksberg Park is one of the more fascinating green sites in Copenhagen—the Organic Inspiration House. Part community center (the nonprofit venture has links to both local schools and gardeners) and part public installation, the Organic Inspiration House showcases sustainable construction.
More Riding and Dining
Among many urban farming projects in Copenhagen, Prague Garden stands out since it was developed on former industrial wasteland. On a boulevard on the southern island of Amager, factory funnels have made way for a metropolitan community allotment of vegetable patches, plant beds and a rediscovered sense of purpose.
The sandy stretch of Kastrup Beach runs parallel to some thoughtfully designed green spaces; out on a 300-foot jetty in the shallow sea are baths—a swimming and sunbathing area built inside a magnificent, amphitheater-like wooden structure
For an evening meal, there are a number of more upmarket eateries currently plying their trade responsibly. The menu at BioM, like those at many “new Nordic” restaurants, rolls with the seasons while upholding a 100% organic policy. At Nose2Tail bodega chefs make use of entire pig, chicken or cow carcasses fresh that day—wasting nothing in the process.
SIMON COOPER is a freelance writer based in Copenhagen.