The Greener Guide to Seeing Copenhagen More Sustainably

The rooftop greenhouse restaurant of Gro Spiseri is a uniquely green place to eat in Copenhagen
The rooftop greenhouse restaurant of Gro Spiseri is a uniquely green place to eat in Copenhagen | Courtesy of Grospiseri
Imogen Lepere

Solar-powered stays and Green Key hotels rub stylish shoulders with urban farms and organic restaurants in Denmark’s effortlessly cool capital.

A petite city with a big reputation, Copenhagen has become a byword for Scandi cool and sustainability. Not only does it lead the way in Nordic cuisine (thank you, Noma), it also has an effortless style evident in everything from furniture to fashion. As if this wasn’t enough, it’s also one of the world’s greenest urban centres, with a sparkling harbour that serves as a giant pool and hordes of well-dressed cyclists hustling cars off the roads.

1. BaneGaarden

Architectural Landmark

Various people gather under twinkling lights at the woody community centre of BaneGaarden in Copenhagen
© BaneGaarden

Tucked behind the train tracks of the hip Vesterbro ‘hood, BaneGaarden is an urban utopia in a former rail yard. Scattered between its wild blackberry bushes and gardens, you’ll find nine barns that have been restored using sustainable materials and now house fermentation workshops, a farm shop, a community hall and a hub for young entrepreneurs with a sustainability focus. It all makes for a rewarding detour.

2. Hotel Ottilia

Boutique Hotel

A tall, open communal space at Hotel Ottilia in Copenhagen, with an array of seating options
Courtesy of Hotel Ottilia /

Spot two enormous brewery buildings covered in gold discs, and you’ve found Hotel Ottilia. Blending original features such as old malt hoppers with modern Danish furniture, it offers a characterful stay combined with a Carlsberg district postcode. As well as running on 100-percent renewable energy, Ottilia donates toiletries and furniture to locals living in shelters who are in the process of establishing new homes.

3. Sandkaj Harbour Bath

Swimming Pool

A woman enters open water after diving from a wooden jetty (not in Sandkaj Harbour Bath, Copenhagen)
© whatslove /

On summer evenings, the boardwalk around this river bath has the atmosphere of a beach, with locals sipping beers and dangling their feet in the clear water. In winter, it’s a lovely place to stroll and watch a few hardy bathers doing their stuff. It’s located in the new Nordhavn area, home to eye-popping modern buildings such as the Silo and Portland Towers, and provides an interesting lesson in sustainable town planning.

4. Coco Hotel


A bar and dining area at Coco Hotel, Copenhagen, with many seats and tables
Courtesy of Coco Hotel /

A winning blend of Scandi minimalism and Parisian flair, this Vesterbro hotel combines a central location with very reasonable prices. Not only does it have Green Key certification, it’s also self-sufficient, thanks to a dedicated solar park in Jutland. Minibars come free of plastic water bottles, organic products are served in the chic Café Coco restaurant (where veg-forward open sandwiches are the order of the day) and the whole pad is fit with undetectable energy-saving solutions that make a big difference.

5. Gro Spiseri

Restaurant, Contemporary

An aerial view of Gro Spiseri rooftop greenhouse restaurant in Copenhagen; crops surround the greenhouse
Courtesy of Gro Spiseri
Located in a greenhouse on the ØsterGro rooftop farm, this atmospheric restaurant asks guests to prepay for their meal in order to limit food waste. Tuck into tasting menus of seasonal ingredients, many sourced from the farm itself, below a canopy of twinkling lights. If you fancy getting your hands dirty on the farm, drop-in volunteering sessions run every Wednesday afternoon – sign up on their website.

6. Reseller


A luxury handbag stands on sale in a shop
© AGCreativeLab /

With its white walls and metal clothes rails, this sleek boutique on Pilestræde looks like a designer store, but everything is in fact second-hand. They specialise in women’s and unisex clothes from the likes of Acne Studios, Ganni, Marni, Totême, Prada and Cecilie Bahnsen – a must if you want to leave Copenhagen with the understated style of a local.

7. Frederiksberg Gardens

Natural Feature

A wooden boat stands on the water between two jetties in Frederiksberg Gardens, Copenhagen
© Olli0815 /

Visitors to this manicured park are welcomed by a statue of King Frederik VI, who used to salute his subjects while they rowed across the lakes. You can follow in his footsteps with an organised boat tour, marvel at the Chinese Pavilion or simply relax and smell the roses in the Royal Danish Horticultural Society’s fragrant gardens.

8. Ibsens Hotel

Budget Hotel

A double bed in a spacious Ibsens Hotel room in Copenhagen
Courtesy of Ibsens Hotel

Luxurious with a bohemian edge, Ibsens is located on Nansensgade, one of the best streets in the city for independent shops and cafes. Local artisans were invited to contribute to the decor and as a result you’ll find on-trend touches such as colourful scatter cushions, antique books and a vintage gramophone. It was the first hotel in Copenhagen to sort all of its waste, and makes regular donations to local and international charities.

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