The European summer backpacking trip has officially commenced! Stop 1: Copenhagen, Denmark.
This city is truly one that I have dreamt about traveling to since I first started my studies in Urban Planning. It is known for being in the happiest country in the world, infamously beating out Amsterdam as the most bicycle-friendly city, and for their bold goal to become completely carbon neutral by 2025. As I arrived here the day that our current President announced that we would withdraw from the Paris Agreement, I desperately needed some ideas and inspiration to bring back to the US.
Saying that Copenhagen is a bicycle-friendly city would be an understatement. It is truly impossible to go anywhere in the city and not see riders go by. The best part is that it is people of all ages, shapes, and sizes out enjoying the greatest invention on Earth- no special equipment, outfits, or level of fitness required. I was absolutely in awe at the end of our five-day stay that we did not even set foot inside of a car once. It wasn’t always like this though- Copenhagen once was headed in a completely different direction in terms of transportation. The people made a conscious choice to shift toward bicycle and pedestrian development, which convinced me that it is possible to shift our car-centric ways of the US and make a change toward a greener future.
Copenhagen is a city of freedom, tolerance, progressive minds, kind people, sustainability, and design. While I am tempted to simply pack up and move to Denmark, it is studying cities like this which make me want to stay and fight for change in my own homeland. Together we can leave this world better than we found it.
Things to Do
A few of my favorites from our week:
- Paper Island: A literal island of street food, comparable to food trucks in the US
- Christiania: Copenhagen’s “Freetown”, or hippie commune, where you can experience an alternative way of life
- Nyhavn: The touristy harbor that is basically postcard picture of Copenhagen.
- Ride Bikes!! (Safely): not everyone is as bicycle-obsessed as I am, but this is truly an amazing way to experience the city. Consider taking a guided tour so that experienced riders can lead the way.
- Mikkeller & Friends: amazing brewery on the cutest street in Norrebro!!
- Jump on in-ground trampolines by the canal! (yes this is a thing)
- Wander around, go out until 3 AM because you can, and soak up the beauty that is Copenhagen and its inhabitants!