Explore Copenhagen with Matti Breschel
Local legend and current EF Education-EasyPost sports director shares his favourite spots around his home city
This year’s Tour de France starts in one of the world’s great cycling cities.
Everyone in Copenhagen rides bikes to get around. That gives the Danish capital a lot of its character. People just aren’t cooped up in cars. Pelotons of kids zip around the city’s old streets. Grandmas fill panniers with their daily shopping. Every day, hundreds of thousands of people ride to and from work and home and their favourite coffee shops and bars. Thanks to the Danish capital’s world-class infrastructure, cycling is simply the nicest, fastest way to get around.
“I think you have more bikes here than people,” says EF Education-EasyPost sports director Matti Breschel, who grew up near Copenhagen and now lives in the city centre. “There are more bikes than cars. If I meet up with my friends north of Copenhagen for a ride, I have to pass through the city, and it is just one big highway of bicycles. Everyone is going to work or school or wherever. Everybody rides.”
When you come to Copenhagen, you’ve got to join them. Cycling its colourful streets, past Copenhagen’s historical buildings, calm parks, and hyper-cool cafés and shops with the sea breeze in your hair will open your mind to what a city can be. Whether you are here for the Grand Depart or planning a trip, Matti has got a great route for you.
“Copenhagen is a small city and you can get everywhere within 20 minutes by bike,” he says. “There are a lot of free spirits here. Everybody enjoys life. It’s a very old city, but still very modern. The people are very peaceful. Our bike paths are safe and well connected. It’s a very free place, so don’t be afraid to rent a bike and explore.”
“Our route starts at Amager Strand—where I live! Amager is an island next to Copenhagen. We call it Lorteøen, ‘the shit island’ in Danish, because that’s where the King and the rest of the city used to dump their shit. It’s gotten a lot nicer since then and is now a beautiful beach park right next to the city.”
“Ride from the beach to the Royal Opera, where my father-in-law plays bass. It’s an architectural masterpiece. (Not my father-in-law, but the Opera!)”
“You have got to check out the canals of Christianshavn. It’s all cool small streets with cobblestones, so choose the right tyre pressure. Eat lunch at Broens Gadekøkken for great Copenhagen street food.”
“When you’re full, continue over the new bike and walking bridge Inderhavnsbroen. We call it ‘The Kissing Bridge.’ It connects Christianshavn to the city centre of Copenhagen and is used by 16,000 bikes every day.”
“Check out the old harbour Nyhavn. You could even get a tattoo like the sailors from back in the days. Stay away from the walking street Strøget, as there are so many tourists from Malmø.”
“Head straight to Vesterbro and meet the real Copenhagen. There’s a lot of diversity and the streets are always full of life. Ever since the 1960s, the street Istedgade has been a place for free spirits. I love to cruise around on my city bike and feel, smell and hear Vesterbro.”
“When you get tired, stop at Kødbyen, Copenhagen’s meat-packing district. There are still lots of old butchers, but they are mixed in with cool restaurants, small cafés, and clothing shops. If you are into a bit of weekend clubbing, this is the place as well.”