Copenhagen is known for its hygge, Tivoli and interior design. But this seaside city also has a unique swimming culture with many different places offering up opportunities for a dip in the ocean.

It has even been named the best city in the world for swimming, and swimming all year round is an important part of Danish culture. Here’s our guide to the best swimming spots in Copenhagen, including the family-friendly city beach, the artificial beach, the party spot and the secret beach. So, bring your best swimwear and get ready to dive in.

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A row of parked bicycles obscures the view of the people sat on a beach sunbathing
Soak up the vibe with swimmers and sunbathers at Islands Brygge © lauravr / Shutterstock

Islands Brygge is the locals’ favorite place to swim

Probably the most popular swimming spot in Copenhagen, Islands Brygge is the perfect hangout for the day, if the weather allows. There's a large lawn popular for picnics, games and playing music from loud speakers (sometimes causing distress to the area's inhabitants).

There are tons of activities to enjoy here, such as volleyball, an outdoor gym and diving platforms of different heights. If you dare, you can jump off the 5m-high board, the tallest one there. There's also a pool for kids.

Ofelia Beach is a fun spot to swim in the city center

In the heart of Copenhagen with views of the Queen’s castle, Amalienborg, the Opera and the Theater, Ofelia Beach is the most central spot to go for a dip and is perfect if you’re looking to swim between sightseeing. There's a huge wooden deck with lots of lounge chairs you can use, as well as street food trucks nearby to make sure your hunger is dealt with before or after the plunge. On a good summer's evening, Ofelia Beach turns into a fun and lively place to go for a few drinks.

People relaxing on a pristine stretch of white sand with the blue ocean beyond
Bellevue is north of the city, but worth the trip © Thomas Lutostanski / Shutterstock

There's some top Danish architecture near Bellevue Beach

Located 10km (6 miles) north of Copenhagen, Bellevue offers the best of the Danish Riviera beach experience on 700m (2300ft) of sand, and it's easy to get there on public transportation (take the train to Klampenborg station). 

While spending the day at the beach, keep an eye out for some important examples of Danish architecture. The nearby watchtowers and the apartment complex, Bellevista, were designed by Arne Jacobsen and built in the 1930s in the Danish Bauhaus style. For lunch, take a 1.5km (0.9 miles) stroll to Olivers Garage, a lovely cafe serving sandwiches and ice-cream in a unique gas station. This architectural gem was also designed by Arne Jacobsen.

Don't fancy traveling so far out of the city? No problem – Svanemøllen Beach is much closer to the center of Copenhagen and comes with a view of the Svanemølle Power Station.

Havnevigen's artificial beach and bathing area is ideal for families

Havnevigen is a wide sandy stretch of artificial beach located in the modern part of Islands Brygge. It perfectly epitomizes how Denmark values recreational activities for the city’s inhabitants due to its family-friendly nature.

At Havnevigen, you will find lots of local families hanging out with young children. The swimming lake is 2m (6ft) deep in places with kid-friendly shallow waters at the sandy edges. Top up your energy levels at Nöa’h, a cute little cafe nearby.

Chill out on a harbor cove at La Banchina

Located in the former industrial area of Christianshavn – now one of the most hip areas of the city – La Banchina is a cute shack right on the water with a delicious menu for every meal of the day and, of course, great coffee. "Banchina" means pier in Italian, and you'll find a hip crowd of Copenhagen locals hanging out on the pier here ready to take a plunge into the harbor. If the Scandinavian ocean is a little too cold for you, book in to use La Banchina's sauna.

Girl jumping from a high wooden tower in the inner harbour of Copenhagen
Brave a plunge into the harbor from one of the jumping points at Kalvebod Bølge © Alamy Stock Photo

Dive in to the harbor at Kalvebod Bølge

Directly opposite Islands Brygge, Kalvebod Bølge at Kalvebod Brygge is another good choice for a quick dip in the harbor waters. The promenade here has baths for kids and grownups to enjoy. Feeling like a daredevil? Try diving from different heights from the towers dotted around or get on the wooden roller-coaster nearby.  

Swim with a view of Sweden at Amager Strand

The huge beach park of Amager Strand is a haven for nature lovers with its sand dunes and grassy lawns. It's also a top spot for beach activities such as SUP and surfing, and is easily reached from central Copenhagen on the metro. The long beach stretches on for a few kilometers and offers views of Sweden and Øresundsbroen, the bridge that connects Denmark and Sweden.

Architecture lovers will want to swim at the Kastrup Sea Bath, which is shaped like a huge, curling wooden snail, and know by its Danish nickname, Sneglen (the snail). This is a popular hangout with several platforms at different heights to jump off or dive from into the big blue.

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