Budget Friendly Tips to Explore Like a Local
As a DIS student I lived on Amager, an island right off of central Copenhagen. I lived in a
Kollegium, which houses both DIS students and local university students. My Kollegium was located in a beautiful area, right next to the Amager kolonihave, a collection of gardens and tiny houses. The area was a lively neighborhood near the water, brimming with top-notch dining, plenty of natural area to explore by bike or foot, and countless shops to explore. Apart from DIS, Amager is where I spent most of my time. It’s where I ate, slept, hung out, biked, and went on adventures!
Amager has everything I – and hopefully you – could dream of, and I hope you will take the time to get to know the area!
What to see, do, and eat in Amager:
Amager has everything I – and hopefully you – could dream of, and I hope you will take the time to get to know the area! Swimming is one of my favorite activities, so living on an island had its perks. One of the best places to take advantage of the sea is Amager Strandpark (Amager Beach). It is a 2 km long strip of sandy beach right off the eastern side of Amager. In the warmer months the beach is filled with swimmers, sunbathers, kayakers, wind surfers, runners, and picnickers. There are also grassy dunes you can sit in and a wide pedestrian promenade towards the southern end of the beach.
Most notably, on the southern tip of Amager Strandpark you will find Kastrup Sea Bath, also known as the ‘snail.’ A beautiful wooden architectural piece standing above the sea, you can sunbathe, swim, and jump off the 3- or 5-meter diving platforms (proud to say I have jumped off of both) all while admiring the view over to Sweden. From the snail you get a great view of the sunset over the dunes back on the beach, or if you are a morning person (I am not) I hear that the sunrise over the water is spectacular. So, throw your bathing suit on, pack a towel, sunscreen, and a change of underwear (the towel is your new changing room), and head on over to one of my favorite spots in Copenhagen.
Den Blå Hal (The Blue Hall Antiques)
Right near Amager Strandpark you will find Den Blå Hal, a huge indoor flea market and thrifter’s dream. They are open on Saturdays and Sundays from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. and the entrance is 10 DKK. Once inside, you can find just about anything, including clothing, accessories, furniture, kitchenware, and books. Tip: many sellers are open to bargaining! This is the perfect activity for a rainy weekend.
Once you make your way off the main boulevard Amagerbrogade, you will come across Ingolf’s Kaffebar, an Amager gem. The most hyggelig little cafe, with indoor and outdoor seating, Ingolf’s is a local staple with live music, delicious food, and rare wines. The friendly service and laid-back atmosphere make it the perfect place for an all-day brunch, cozy afternoon coffee and tea, or a relaxing happy hour.
Near Københavns Universitet southern campus is one of my favorite ice cream places: Ismageriet! All of their gelato-style ice creams are made from organic milk and fresh seasonal ingredients. According to me and my friends, some of the best flavors include: mint chocolate chip (fresh and chunky), pistachio (with real pistachios from Italy), stracciatella (smooth and creamy), peanut-caramel-chocolate (sweet and salty) and sea buckthorn sorbet (a unique Scandinavian fresh flavor). And definitely go for the cone!
Just a short bike ride from DIS, Amager Fælled is a huge park filled with winding biking and walking paths that take you through fields of tall grass and forests. There are multiple soccer fields you can play on with a few friends, or pack a picnic and find a quiet spot for a relaxing lunch or early dinner. I suggest putting aside a map and just letting yourself get lost in the twists and turns of the pathways exploring all the park has to offer, including the cute and lazy cows!
Amager Fælled is currently caught in some political tension because the City of Copenhagen owns the park – and has chosen to sell the southern tip in order to pay for the new metro line. This could mean the loss of another green space in Copenhagen – and has led to multiple protests. Copenhageners love their green spaces and are willing to stand up for them to protect the rich biodiversity of Amager Fælled.
Islands Brygge Harbor Bath
As previously mentioned, swimming is one of my favorite activities, so what better way to book end this list than with another swimming spot. Islands Brygge is an area right on the harbor in central Copenhagen with ample green space for picnicking, sunbathing, and playing King’s Game/ Kubb (wooden backyard game). However, the most important part of Islands Brygge is the Harbor Bath! As someone from New York, the idea of swimming in the water surrounding a city terrified me at first (I envisioned the pollution of the Hudson River back home). However, the harbor water in Copenhagen is actually incredibly clean, and throughout the summer months Copenhageners can be found taking advantage of their easy access to a cool dip in the water. Islands Brygge is essentially a public pool that has been created on the harbor (and therefore, the water comes in from the harbor and is not heated). There is a towering diving platform over the deepest pool, where you can jump from 1, 3, or 5 meters high.
One of my favorite memories as a student was biking back to my Kollegium from classes with a few friends, when we spontaneously decided to go for a swim in the harbor bath. It was a hot summer day, so our lack of bathing suits or towels didn’t phase us. Instead, we jumped in from the 5-meter diving platform in our running clothes into the chilly water below. The cold water is incredibly energizing and wakes all your senses – try it out! And for those who do not know how to swim, there are shallower pools where you can stand and chat with a friend.
Madeline is the Shared Housing Assistant at DIS and former Fall 2017 DIS student. She is a lover of all things water, and consistently has a swimsuit in her work bag throughout the summer – just in case! With a major sweet tooth and a knack for finding all things free and affordable, she can often be found wandering around new areas of Copenhagen with a bag of candy in hand.