Naar man saaledes bliver ved at gaae, saa gaaer det nok – Kierkegaard, obv
Copenhagen is feted – and fetes itself – as a biking city par excellence, but it’s not really a walking city. What to do? Let’s hear it for walking in Copenhagen and beyond. På dansk, unless otherwise noted.
Tours and walks in central Copenhagen
NEW Guide Catch app, launched July 2016. Access tours by locals, it says.
Havneringen/the Harbour Circle, inaugurated 29 May 2016, is not branded as a walking experience. So be glad for The Royal Route/Den Kongelige Rute, comes as a leaflet, which remains the sole sighting of walking as tourism, cultural or otherwise. Not so new, and in Danish, is a guide to musical sites in the city, featuring Constanze Mozart’s house.
Visit Copenhagen offers online guides to Hans Christian Andersen and Kierkegaard, plus TV and film locations including The Killing and Borgen. That’s pretty much it – no walking related leaflets are available from the Wonderful CPH tourist office.
Below is my selection of companies offering walking tours, a supplement to Visit Copenhagen’s rather one note listing of sightseeing suppliers. Traditional ‘blue badge’ guides are listed at Guides.dk; see also Red Badge Guides and Københavns Byvandrerlaug, a guild of city guides.
Cultural heritage: Byvandring.nu (Facebook) with Paul Hartvigson (Facebook, comprehensive and informative, limited English | CPH Guides | Historiske Byture (portal for history oriented guides) | Historic Talks with Steffen Løvkjær | History Tours (Facebook, also in English) | Københavnerture | KulturenNU (Facebook) | Kulturens Venner | Panduro/Historier i byen | Poul Kragelund | Vandrehistorien | Østerbrobyvandring.dk
Also worth a look are Find vej i, an orienteering cum geocaching site, Gadens Stemmer, a social enterprise, and RailTrails.dk, with details of lost railway lines (also auf deutsch). Speaking of German, see Deutsche Spuren in Kopenhagen for German traces in the city.
The Museum of Copenhagen (Facebook) is temporarily closed, but usually offers walks, in particular during the summer, with some in English. Most of the big museums follow suit – see in particular Parkmuseerne, Copenhagen’s museum quarter, and the Danish Architecture Centre (DAC; English).
Other (all with English): ArkiTours (pricey) | cph:cool (Facebook) | Copenhagen This Way | Experience Ørestad | GhostTour.dk | Green Energy Tours (pricey) | Nordic Noir Tours (Facebook) | Pop-up Tours Meetup | Tours by Locals | Urban Explorer CPH | Weird Walks
The adult education forening movement also offer walks in the broader cultural heritage area, if your Danish is up to it.
Outside the city centre
Despite their name Copenhagen’s grønne cykelruter (green cycle routes) have separate walking ‘lanes’ and are a good way of getting off the beaten track. The routes cross roads, but for the main part take you away from motorised traffic – just make sure you don’t walk in the holy bike lane!
The best known is probably Nørrebroruten/Den Grønne Sti, but by 2025 the plan is for 115km of interlinking routes – for more see Københavns Grønne Cykelruter or Københavnerkortet (map; click on Cyklernes By under Borger in the left hand column).
For the record, Ishøjruten, a 13.8 km supercykelsti opened in September 2016, runs through Vallensbæk, Brøndby and Hvidovre. The 16.9 km Albertslundruten, opened in 2012, runs through Glostrup, Rødovre and Frederiksberg.
Further afield, several councils in the greater Copenhagen area have established kløverstier (list), signposted paths of varying lengths from a central point laid out in the shape of a four leaf clover, mostly out in nature but sometimes also tied in with cultural heritage and local stories.
The route details also available on Endomondo, and there are further kloverstier in other parts of the country.
Denmark has a network of trails and paths, although there are no waymarked national routes. Instead see WikiProject Denmark’s Walking routes, a listing of 5000 km worth of marked paths longer than 10 km.
Dansk Vandrelaug (Facebook), the Danish equivalent of the UK’s Ramblers, has branches around the country for those who favour walking in packs with poles. For summer 2016 the town of Holstebro in Mid Jutland has rebranded itself as Hiking Holstebro and Danmarks bedste vandredestination, with a lengthy menu of walks. There’s also the annual Kystvandringen (Facebook), a weekend of health oriented hikes around the coast and Vandrefestival on Sjælland, Møn and Lolland-Falster.
Some interesting routes:
- Naturstyrelsen’s walks and other stuff
- Hjertestier, established by Hjerteforeningen | Spor i landskabet (paths on private land, it seems)
- Sjællandsleden and Bornholm rundt (115 km)
- I Ansgars fodspor
- the Archipelago trail on Fyn
- the 3600 km Marguerite route wends its way past 1000 of Denmark’s most attractive, if understated, places
- maps – Ud i naturen
- for the record, there are 11 national cycling routes
Denmark’s paths slot into pan-European efforts including the E6, a 5200km European long distance path from Finland to Greece. It enters Denmark from Øresundsbroen, wending its way via Kastrup and Korsør to Storebæltsbroen over the water to Fyn, a distance of 155 km, taking in Kalvebod Fælled, Mågeparken, Brøndby Havn, Strandparken and Ishøj in our manor – see Vandringsløse Tidende’s series (again) and Friluftsguiden.
Pilgrimsrute (pilgrim way) signs have been spotted on the route, the work of Foreningen af Danske Santiagopilgrimme, and Pilgrimsvandring seems to be quite a thing (if not so much in the UK? See British Pilgrimage exists!). Den danske Pilgrimsrute feeds into ancient pilgrim ways from Trondheim (NO) and Vadstena (SE) to Santiago de Compostela, running from Helsingør and Kastrup towards Korsør, Rødby and Gedser (as seen in Maribo). More: waymarked trails.
A number of national pilgrim ways have been opened in the last couple of years:
- Camønoen (Stedet Tæller; Realdania; FB) on Møn, Nyord og Bogø, presented as much as part of the experience tourism industry as a meditative experience; see podcast (numerous mentions of fællesskab and hygge)
- Hærvejen, a ridgeway down the spine of Jutland
- Klosterruten (Nordsjælland section | guidebooks), a 1800 km route connecting 50 medieval monasteries throughout Denmark; no independent signage, but follows eg Øhavsstien and Hærvejen (seen in Maribo)
- Santiago ruten aka Tisvildevejen
There’s also Munkevejen, a cycle trail starting north of Hamburg and ending in Roskilde, taking in “historical sites that bear witness to the spread of Christianity and its significance to cultural heritage”.
EuroVelo 7, the Berlin-Copenhagen cycling route, enters Denmark at Helsingor, then wends its way through Copenhagen and round the Koge Bugt down to Møn and Falster, before leaving Denmark at Gedser. Cue confused looking German cyclists in suburban Vestegnen every summer.
I once did a version of Diamond Geezer’s London borough website checks, hitting a pretty blank wall with both Copenhagen (English) and Hvidovre (English). Walking is just not part of Danish discourse, plus council websites tend to the strictly functional.
The Dansk Fodgænger Forbund (Facebook | story), the equivalent of the UK’s Living Streets (formerly the Pedestrians’ Association) was founded only in 2005. Its main focus is road safety, and it’s largely agin things, with a lot of naming and shaming – frankly, it’s not going to get anyone excited, or active. But kudos for In city of cylists, pedestrians feel the squeeze (and different but related, Cars battle bikes in local election showdown.)
At the other end of the scale, Denmark’s premier urbexers are Jan Elhøj and Morten Kirckhoff; see UrbexAdventures.
Podcasts and other audio:
- Bylyd (@bylyden | FB | Soundcloud) – podcast about the city
- Colin Marshalls’ Copenhagen podcasts – with assorted celebs and others
- Podwalk app – selection of DK podcasts where you are
- Stedsans (A sense of place) – weekly radio programme which ran until Sep 2014; archive available
From the Danish Architecture Centre (DAC):
- podwalks: five in English | eight på dansk
- podrides – five suburban train tours; the best of the bunch, in particular the two on the suburbs along Linje A, plus former city architect Jan Christiansen waxing lyrical in a very different tone to today’s
- podruns – running tours of the former industrial harbours of Copenhagen, Odense, Aarhus and Aalborg, plus cycle routes – what I call longer walks; all in English
Also on Soundcloud. Largely focused on bigging up Copenhagen’s new architecture. Note though that the latest track is from 2013 and in places the hype is rather dated. Some projects (Amerika Plads, CBS) haven’t quite turned out as expected.