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Taking a dip in the cool, clear, clean water of Copenhagen’s harbour and canals is a summer scene and a winter thrill. Access is everything: the sheer convenience of getting into the water, almost wherever you choose, means that residents can dive into the brine as a tonic for the busiest working day or simply cool off and socialise in the long, rather magical Danish summer evenings. The city’s “dyppezones” are tailored to encourage winter bathing, which has enjoyed a real resurgence in recent years. The welcome proliferation of saunas won’t have dented the popularity of the winter dip either.


The bike lane is to Copenhagen what the six-lane highway is to Los Angeles but – thanks to architects who cycle to their studios and the city’s serious investment in infrastructure – biking across the city is a breeze. Strict zoning restrictions for cars and a surge in electric mobility means that the breeze is pleasurably pure. Most hotels will rent you a bike, enabling visitors to join the world’s most chilled-out rush hour. Perhaps the greatest success is the city’s lack of Lycra: here, cycling is done in style.


Run (at any pace, even walking pace will do) 
While the throng ding-a-ling along to the sound of their bicycle bells, there’s much to love about exploring the city on foot. Running is a joy in all that clean air but walking will also do – after all, the city is good-looking and you’ll miss some of that bounty from your saddle. Plentiful parks are a favourite but the whole city is eminently runnable, enviably walkable and very beautiful.


Copenhagen’s miles of harbour sides, canal paths and well-disciplined pedestrianised routes are a wonderful way to see the city and burn off last night’s gourmet gastronomy. After all, switching into sneakers and getting a little breathless is good for the heart and soul.

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  • The Urbanist