Copenhagen’s Top 4 beaches by Virtual Wayfarer
Granted, Copenhagen isn’t exactly top of the list for a beach holiday but it doesn’t mean you won’t find beautiful beaches! On your next visit (hopefully this summer), we think you should consider a dip in Nordic waters. So we asked Copenhagen based travel blogger and photographer: Virtual Wayfarer, to share the city’s best beaches. Venture below for his take.
Top 4 beaches
Amager Standpark | Clear waters, warm and quite shallow
Island Brygge | It’s a harbour… a great pace to relax in the sun. Also great if you want to go diving too
Bellevue Beach | This beach has the best sand in Copenhagen
Charlottenlund Beach Park | Unconventional backdrop of a 19th century fortress. Perfect for a stroll, swim, and relaxing afternoon
When one thinks of Denmark, a tan isn’t usually the first thing that comes to mind. However, it should. There are few people in the world who value the warmth of the sun’s kiss as much as the Nordic peoples. Their love of the sun is contagious and will leave even the most sun-blessed visitors re-evaluating how they see summer.
Famous for its northern location and climate, beaches aren’t often at the top of the list for most of Copenhagen’s visitors. Yet, in summer months when the weather is perfect and the days last for nearly 20 hours, the Danish beaches are the center of a flurry of activity and Danish culture. Surrounded by relatively calm water on three of its four sides, the city of Copenhagen enjoys easy access to a number of beautiful beaches. Combine this with the city’s reputation for having water that is so clean that you can even swim in its sprawling harbor, and you’re greeted with a great mixture of beaches all situated in convenient proximity to the city center.
Located on the island of Amager about 10 minute’s metro ride from the city center, you can access this nearly 4km long beach by bike or via one of three metro stations. These are Øresund Station which is situated near the northern start of the beach, Amager Strand Station situated just off the middle of the beach, and Femøren Station which can be found near the southern tip of the beach. Each of these offers beach access near what look like hulking cement gun emplacements from the war, but which are in actuality just bathroom facilities. I suggest visitors focus on either the northern or middle part of the beach. If you want something slightly more civilized, the northern most part of the beach is home to a divided bathing facility with wooden boardwalks and a restaurant. If you want more of a traditional beach experience, head down to the central part of the beach and make sure to bring a few extra DKK for an ice cream as during summer months there is a reasonably priced stand attached to the bathroom and bathing structure.
The water is clear, sometimes a bit warmer than you would expect, and quite shallow in the immediate vicinity of the beach. Due to its protected location, wave action is always minimal, and there is very little tidal differential. The sand is not the finely grained golden sand you’ll find on Mexican and Floridian beaches but is still extremely clean, comfortable, and perfect for an afternoon at the beach.
Amager Strandpark is also a bit unusual in that as a man-made barrier beach, it actually has two sides you can enjoy. While the seaward facing side is much fresher and more enjoyable, the inward facing side is quite popular among parents and families who prefer even less wave action and more control over water depth.
Don’t forget a picnic basket, cold drinks, and – if you make sure to clean up after yourself – perhaps one of the single use BBQs which Danes are crazy about and that can be purchased from any local market. Remember, Denmark has an open-container policy so drinking in public is viewed as completely acceptable.
You won’t find any sand at this popular Copenhagen beach. Situated along Copenhagen’s inner harbor, which separates the main part of Zealand from Amager, Islands Brygge is an old converted rail yard. Sounds like a strange place for a beach, right? Its central location in the very heart of the city makes it extremely convenient and gives it its own unique vibe. The only reminder of the location’s pedigree is a lone set of railroad tracks set into one of the paths and series of converted box cars which now rest in-front of the beach’s large green spaces as works of modern urban art.
On a sunny day you’ll find locals relaxing, almost all with ice cream purchased from one of the numerous nearby shops or stands, and BBQing or snacking on pizza. Taking a water pipe/sheesha down to the park area is also very popular. This long waterfront beach-park has a series of raised grassy areas that overlook the boardwalk and waterway. There are also a number of flower beds and an ornamental cherry-tree lined walkway (which is gorgeous in April) that divides the beach-park from the frontage road.
Concerned about swimming in a harbor? Don’t be! Sometime ago Copenhagen decided it was important to clean up its waterways. Through a series of heavy investments and new initiatives they completely renovated the city’s public waters. The water in the harbor, which is actually just the small waterway that divides Amager from Zealand, is salt water and fed by the open sea via both ends of the harbor. Because of this, the water in the harbor is continuously getting refreshed. But, just in-case the water is also tested daily before the harbor baths are opened.
While you can jump into the water anywhere along the beach-park, it is strongly suggested that you confine swimming to the large floating harbor baths which include three and five meter tall diving platforms.
If you’re interested in a more glam-beach experience, there are several cafes situated along the beach. You can also find several small supermarkets within a five minute walk should you need to re-stock or pick up cold beverages. Access to the beach is best accomplished by way of a short eight minute walk from Islands Brygge metro station, or the Klaksvigsgade stop via bus 5A.
Out of all of Copenhagen’s beaches, I find that Bellevue has the best sand. While still not terribly large, this beach is one of the largest in Copenhagen. It is protected by several small breakwaters, has shower and bathroom facilities, as well as large green park spaces that overlook the sandy beach. It also has a number of public volleyball nets available for anyone itching to re-enact a few scenes from Top Gun.
In addition to having the best sand in Copenhagen, this beach tends to also feel the most civilized because of its urban backdrop and wide assortment of facilities. As an added allure, Bellevue Beach is located about eight minutes walk from Copenhagen’s Dyrehaven which is a sprawling public park/forest full of semi-wild deer and serves as home to the Hermitage Palace. You’ll also find Bakken, the world’s oldest amusement park, situated just inside Dyrehaven. The amusement park is open to the public during the summer. Entrance is free, but rides cost money. There are several roller coasters, numerous restaurants, various other rides and everything you’d expect to find in an amusement park.
Bellevue Beach is perfect for those looking for a full afternoon that combines sun, beach, sea, nature, and a bit of excitement. You’ll also find a lot of horses in the area, which adds to the charm and fairytale ambiance. The best way to access Bellevue Beach is by way of Klampenborg Station via one of the S-Trains. It is the terminal station which makes for extremely easy access.
Charlottenlund Beach Park
If the thought of relaxing on a small beach with the sea in-front of you and a converted 19th century fortress behind you sounds appealing, this is the spot for you. With several small sand beaches interspersed between small rock breakwaters and grass spaces, the Charlottenlund Beach Park has a wealth of character. The sand is good and the view from the beach is out over the narrow channel sea that separates Denmark and Sweden. From fishing to swimming and BBQing the park is the perfect spot for a stroll, swim, and relaxing afternoon.
This beach-park is a strange blend as it sits on the edge of one of Copenhagen’s most high-end areas but also serves as home to a small campground. Charlottenlund Park, which is located immediately behind the beach-park, is home to a small hunting lodge and beautiful protected forest with gorgeous historic trees. Not exactly the type of backdrop you usually find next to a beautiful beach.
Amenities include all of the usual restroom facilities. These are supplemented by a lovely little campground cafe, ice cream stand, and Charlottenlund Fort restaurant. The restaurant offers reasonably priced, albeit somewhat more up-scale meals, a wonderful view, and some of the most gorgeous and mouth-wateringly delicious brownies you’ll find in Copenhagen.
Access to the beach can be had by way of the 1A Bus to the “Constantia” stop, or by taking the S-Train to Charlottenlund Station, disembarking, and then enjoying a brief walk through the Charlottenlund Park.