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Training Wheels

Copenhagen by Bike, with the Kids in Tow
  • Copenhagen

    Copenhagen

  • Avenue

    Avenue Hotel

  • copenhagen

    Copenhagen

  • torvehallernekbh

    Torvehallernekbh

  • Relae

    Superkilen; image courtesy of BIG architects

  • Nimb

    The Brasserie at Nimb

  • Nimb

    Nimb entrance

CHEAT SHEET
WHERE

The Danish capital occupies a collection of islands and islets on the Oresund Strait, which connects the Baltic and North Seas, with southern Sweden just across the strait to the west.

WHY GO

For the long Northern European summer days, a welcoming, kid-friendly culture, and an urban landscape of islands and waterways sprinkled liberally with parks and bike-lanes.

HOW

Copenhagen’s Kastrup Airport (CPH) is a relative joy, at least as air travel goes, efficiently serving as a major Scandinavian hub. Within Europe, it’s especially well served by budget carriers such as EasyJet. Plus, it’s a short trip (about fifteen minutes by train) into the center of town.

TABLET TIP

There’s a reason everyone here rides bikes — it’s the fastest, most comfortable, least expensive way to get around. Most hotels offer rental bikes, helmets and maps to guests, and if you get lost, local bikers to be friendly and fluent in English.

Copenhagen, July, 2013

Copenhagen is a pretty open-armed place to begin with, but if you travel the city on two wheels, with a kid cruising at your side or strapped into a seat on the back of your bike, the welcome you receive only gets warmer. Mind your manners on the road — hold up a hand before stopping, ride to the right of traffic, and use your arm as a turn signal — and you’ll soon be sharing drinks with fellow riders while your kids make some pint-sized companions of their own.

But first, where to stay? Even for Copenhagen, the Avenue Hotel is especially accommodating to kids. At breakfast, the little ones can get their own table for a morning tea party with pannekoeken, organic jam and homemade bread. Outside on the hotel’s patio, they’ll find a trove of toys and plenty of space to play with them, while parents can settle into comfy, shaded sofas.

The hotel also provides bikes of all sizes. Once everyone finds one that fits, load up on smørrebrød at torvehallernekbh and then ride out to Superkilen in Nørrebro. Built by the artist collective Superflex, a cooperation between the Bjarke Ingels Group and the German architecture team Topotek1, this urban park is ideal for giving your rented bikes a test run — or if you’d rather relax while your kids wear themselves out, you can sit back with a Carlsberg or Tuborg and watch them wheel around.

To get the energy levels back up, head over to the Karamelleriet for a late-afternoon sugar high. Their delicious caramels may not be the healthiest snack, but the candy is made mainly from organic ingredients, and the smell alone will have you feeling nostalgic.

And finally, for some kid-friendly sensory overload, Tivoli is a must come nighttime. One of the oldest amusement parks in Europe, it’s open late — rides, restaurants, bars and all. The food at the park-side Nimb Terrasse is a serious upgrade on the sort of concession-stand offerings you might expect. The Nimb hotel’s restaurant serves local fare like salted mackerel, cod or Skagen shrimp, along with kid’s dishes for pickier diners. Afterward, you can head to the park through the hotel’s own secret entance. Between the crowd-pleasing food, the live music, lots of other happy kids running around and even a few colorful wild peacocks thrown into the mix, Tivoli ought to keep the whole family up well past bedtime.

Ela Marx

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CHEAT SHEET
WHERE

The Danish capital occupies a collection of islands and islets on the Oresund Strait, which connects the Baltic and North Seas, with southern Sweden just across the strait to the west.

WHY GO

For the long Northern European summer days, a welcoming, kid-friendly culture, and an urban landscape of islands and waterways sprinkled liberally with parks and bike-lanes.

HOW

Copenhagen’s Kastrup Airport (CPH) is a relative joy, at least as air travel goes, efficiently serving as a major Scandinavian hub. Within Europe, it’s especially well served by budget carriers such as EasyJet. Plus, it’s a short trip (about fifteen minutes by train) into the center of town.

TABLET TIP

There’s a reason everyone here rides bikes — it’s the fastest, most comfortable, least expensive way to get around. Most hotels offer rental bikes, helmets and maps to guests, and if you get lost, local bikers to be friendly and fluent in English.


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