Hovering above the concrete skyline of Copenhagen, a kaleidoscope of birds, bees and butterflies have come together for an extraordinary feast. In the height of spring, flowers bloom and the air is thick with sweet nectar. But what makes this pollination party so special is its location – a garden 280 feet above street level on the roof of an incinerator.
Capable of converting 440,000 tonnes of waste into clean energy every year, CopenHill is a testament to the Danish city’s ambitions to become the world’s first carbon-neutral capital by 2025. The offbeat attraction is also a highlight of a walking tour. ecological theme organized by a non-profit association. Green Bike Tours organization, led by expert guides with a background in sustainability studies. During the three-hour experience, I learn about sustainable urban planning initiatives such as green roofs and rain management systems. Even better, I saved 1.1 kg of carbon by doing the tour by bike rather than by car.
Flat, easy to navigate and equipped with around 240 miles of cycle paths and bridges separated by sidewalks, Copenhagen is a city made for two wheels. Since 2015, it has rightly claimed the title of the most bike-friendly city in the world, according to an IPSO index which ranked features such as local infrastructure, politics and culture.
Building on their success, the government has declared 2022 the Year of the Bike, building on a commitment to invest millions in improving cycle paths and road safety. Confident that I could pedal at the same pace as the locals, I embarked on an independent ride through the city. Known as the Greenway, the route from Nørrebro runs along an old railway line in Frederiksberg. Office buildings are soon replaced by housing estates, while lampposts and pillars soon give way to twisted tree trunks supporting a sky ceiling. Stretching nearly 10 kilometers from Lyngbyvej in the north to Valby in the south, the road passes through so many parks and green spaces that any distinction between city and countryside is easily erased.
But green is not the only color that decorates nature-loving Copenhagen. The islands are shrouded in blue ribbons of waterways, all crossed by a network of architecturally remarkable bridges with generous cycle paths.
Opened in 2014, Cykelslangen (the “bicycle snake”) is one of the most aesthetically pleasing and promises some of the best views. Beginning at Vesterbro, it meanders above the harbor pools of Havnebadet Fisketorvet and continues to Islands Brygge. Along the busy 720-foot route, I join business leaders rushing to the office, hipsters strolling between cafes, and parents racing to school with a side stroller in tow. . An invention exported around the world, these bike trailers originated in the hippie, car-free commune of Christiania in the 1970s. Initially made from recycled materials and old bed frames, they evolved into sophisticated kits used for much more than transporting young children around town. Street trader Michele Lucarelli of Bike and Bake has customized his trailer with a pizza oven, while Rustvogn Cyklen uses his ornate float to transport corpses to funerals.
The most inventive adaptation, however, comes from Nordic Cryobank, whose Sperm Bullitt rapidly transports donor samples to fertility clinics. As much a novelty as those birds and bees spreading seeds on the roof of a landfill, it’s another part of the great creation that is constantly changing. Copenhagenits green streets.
How to do: A three-hour tour with Green bike tours costs 250 kr (£28) per person. Alternatively, borrow a bike from your hotel, use the Donkey Republic App or rent one via Bycyclenwhich have over 100 stations across the city.