Danes are often said to be the happiest people in the world, and Copenhagen the world’s most liveable city. Some of the reasons are the large number of green oases and open spaces with fresh air, some of the cleanest water in the world – for drinking and swimming - as well as a city overflowing with bicycles, and a high availability and consumption of organic produce. Denmark is also one of the safest countries in the world, and has an excellent and efficient infrastructure.
When you are in Copenhagen, there are plenty of ways to be an eco-tourist. Finding a sustainable place to stay in Copenhagen is actually easier than finding a non-sustainable one, as 71% of all the city’s hotel rooms hold an official eco-certification.
More than half of the hotels in Copenhagen have an environmental plan regarding water, laundry, house cleaning, waste, energy consumption, food, smoking, indoor climate, and administration. Below you find some of Copenhagen's green hotels
The flagship of climate-friendly hotels in Copenhagen is beyond doubt the Crowne Plaza Copenhagen Towers. Denmark’s greenest hotel, where 25 storeys of luxury joins up with sustainability.
The Brøchner Hotel Group and Arthur Hotels have 6 hotels in Copenhagen and are the world’s first carbon neutral hotel group.
Scandic hotel group began, what is now considered the industry’s leading sustainability program, back in 1993. Their goal is to be completely carbon dioxide neutral by 2025.
All hotels are Green Globe and Gold-Ø-certified (the official Danish label for 90-100% organic produce).
Not only can you sleep with a clear conscience. You can also eat with one. When eating out in Copenhagen, there are plenty of options. The New Nordic kitchen, which has become so popular in recent years, is also good news for the eco conscious. With its focus on seasonal ingredients and a largely organic use of produce you will find many climate-friendly and organic restaurants in all price ranges in Copenhagen. On the top shelf you will find Geranium - the world's only all-organic restaurant with three Michelin stars.
In Copenhagen, buying organic produce is not considered a luxury, but merely logical. Thus organic food make up 17% of the total food sale in Copenhagen, which is the highest in Denmark. The goal is to reach 20% in 2015. Even better, 75% of the food consumption in the City of Copenhagen’s public institutions, such as daycare centres, nursing homes and schools, is organic. The goal is to reach 90% in 2015.
See our guide to organic restaurants.
Life in Copenhagen is almost lived in the saddle of a bicycle. Everybody does it. Bike that is. In Copenhagen we bike whether there is sun, rain or snow. We bike to work, to school, to bring the kids to kindergarten, to shop for groceries and to social gatherings. Cycling is fast, convenient, healthy, climate-friendly, enjoyable - and cheap, although Copenhageners honestly love their bikes no matter their financial income. Even top politicians ride their bike every day to parliament.
Read more about our big theme: Bike city Copenhagen
Actually, only 29% of the households in Copenhagen even own a car. In comparison, there are more bikes than inhabitants in Copenhagen, 350 kilometres of cycle tracks and traffic lights that are coordinated in favour of cyclists during rush hour. While motorists sit in tailbacks, cyclists tend to sweep through the city.
Currently, Copenhagen is building even more green routes through Copenhagen to ensure a safe and green transport route for cyclists while creating green spots in the cityscape. Cycle super highways are already a reality, leading cyclists in and out of the city from as far as 15 kilometres away.
Thus Copenhagen is a city that invites you to cycle. It is simply our way of life, and if you want to experience it the local way, you have to jump in the saddle. As a first time visitor in Copenhagen the amount of bicycles on the streets can be overwhelming, but you will soon get the hang of it and start loving it. If you feel rusty, avoid morning and afternoon rush hour, and check out the traffic rules before you go.
Many hotels in Copenhagen provide bicycles for their guests, there are numerous bike rentals and bike tours on offer, or you can rent one of the new electric city bikes for a very low cost per hour. In 1995, Copenhagen was one of the first cities in the world to launch free city bikes for its citizens and visitors. The first generation of bikes later retired, and in 2013, a brand new generation of electric city bikes with GPS and tourist information was introduced. In the very near future more than 1,800 bikes will be launched onto the streets of the Danish capital. You will find them at train and metro stations around Copenhagen. See when BBC tested the new city bikes.
It is no wonder that The International Cycling Union, UCI, appointed Copenhagen the first official Bike City in the world from 2008-2011. And that other cities, such as New York, look to Copenhagen for inspiration. Danish architect and urban planner Jan Gehl is famous for teaching other cities around the world how to plan for a bike culture. It even has its own term: "copenhagenization" or "to copenhagenize".
Whether it is new bike routes, urban parks or new residential areas, Copenhagen is constantly preparing for a more sustainable future. Water, light, open spaces, sustainability and quality of life seem to be the key elements in the capital’s architectural development.
Copenhagen’s most ambitious urban planning project so far is the development of a new district in the city’s northern harbour, Nordhavn, which is the largest urban development project in Northern Europe. State-of-the-art knowledge from all over the world will contribute to Nordhavn becoming the sustainable city of tomorrow.
Copenhagen is a city by the sea with water running through the old canals, with lakes, beaches and harbour baths. Indeed water is an ever present element, and most Copenhageners could not imagine life without it.
In Denmark you are never more than an hour from the coastline. Thus most Danes feel a strong connection with the sea. In Copenhagen you are never more than 15 minutes from the waterfront, and the water runs free through the old canals and the Lakes.
At GoBoat, you have the opportunity to be your own captain in the canals; anyone can sail a GoBoat. The boat is equipped with a solar cell powered engine and has a maximal speed of 3.5 knots (6.5 kph/4 mph).
Life in Copenhagen is lived by, on and in the water. During the summer months, you will find Copenhageners seeking out the sun at the city beaches and beach bars, swimming in the clean water inside the harbour baths and kayaking around the canals. Even in winter, cool winter bathers dip themselves in the harbour.
Away from the harbour you will find Copenhageners strolling around the Lakes and eating lunch by the canals with their feet hanging over the railing. Why not join us?
71% of all the city’s hotel rooms hold an official eco-certification.
Organic food make up 17% of the total food sale in Copenhagen, which is the highest in Denmark.
75% of the food consumption in the City of Copenhagen’s public institutions is organic.
Only 29% of the households in Copenhagen own a car.
There are more bikes than inhabitants in Copenhagen.
Each day people cycle 1.2 million kilometres in Copenhagen.
37 % of the commuters going to work or school in Copenhagen use their bicycles. For people living in Copenhagen, it is 55%.
25% of all families with two kids in Copenhagen own a cargo bike or a bicycle trailer.
All taxis in Copenhagen have racks for carrying two bikes.
In Copenhagen you can bring your bike on S-trains for free.