The Bicycle Snake | Ursula Bach

Sustainable Copenhagen

Copenhagen is truly a green city surrounded by water and parks, with climate-friendly citizens to match. Copenhageners excel in combining sustainable solutions with growth and a high quality of life. In fact, Copenhagen was European Green Capital 2014 and aims to become the world's first carbon-neutral capital by 2025. Experience it for yourself. Swim in the clean waters of the city’s harbour baths, stay in a sustainable hotel, eat organic, and ride the electric city bikes around the old maritime city.

Danes are often said to be the happiest people in the world, and Copenhagen among the world’s most liveable cities. 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.

Island's Brygge harbour bath | VisitCopenhagen

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 over 70% 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

Crowne Plaza Copenhagen Towers

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. 

Brøchner & Arthur Hotels

The Brøchner Hotel Group and Arthur Hotels have 6 hotels in Copenhagen and are the world’s first carbon neutral hotel group.

Scandic Hotels

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.

Guldsmeden Hotels

Guldsmeden Hotels are founded on the basis of love of good hostmanship, and the hotels are all operated by dedicated – but untraditional and unorthodox – guidelines within sustainability and ecology. 

All hotels are Green Globe and Gold-Ø-certified (the official Danish label for 90-100% organic produce).

Organic consumption is logical, not luxurious

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 and of course Noma.

In Copenhagen, buying organic produce is not considered a luxury, but merely logical. Thus organic food make up 24% of the total food sale in Copenhagen, which is the highest in Denmark. Even better, 88% of the food consumption in the City of Copenhagen’s public institutions, such as daycare centres, nursing homes and schools, is organic. 

See our guide to organic restaurants.

Copenhageners love their bikes

Life in Copenhagen is almost lived in the saddle of óur beloved bicycles. 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

The world's first Bike city

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. 

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".

The sustainable city of tomorrow

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.

GoBoat in Copenhagen harbour | VisitCopenhagen

Maritime Copenhagen

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?

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Facts about Sustainable Copenhagen

The world's first carbon-neutral capital by 2025. That is the official aim of the city of Copenhagen. 

In 2014, the European Commission named Copenhagen European Green Capital.

In Copenhagen there are more than 5 bikes for every car.

Over 70% of all the city’s hotel rooms hold an official eco-certification.

Organic food make up 24% of the total food sale in Copenhagen, which is the highest in Denmark.

88% of the food consumption in the City of Copenhagen’s public institutions is organic.

Only 29% of the households in Copenhagen own a car.

41% of the commuters living in Copenhagen use their bicycles going to work or school in Copenhagen.

75%  of all Copenhagener's take the bike all year round.

More than 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.

Copenhagen harbour bath

8 refreshing baths & beaches

In Copenhagen you are never far from a beach and during summer you can also go for a swim in the many centrally located harbour baths.