Copenhagen/Northern suburbs

The Arne Jakobsen designed life guard tower on the Bellevue beach, is symbolic for the area

The Northern suburbs is a green suburban district north of Copenhagen. The ghetto of the wealthy, the Whiskey belt; the nicknames are many, and the Northern suburbs is indeed home to most of the city's well off population, but to casual visitors the difference may be subtle, due to the high income equality of Denmark and heavy taxation of the highest earners (up to 69%). The district does however have more than its fair share of royal mansions, meticulously kept parks and golf courses.

Understand

Originally heavily forested, a heritage still visible today with its many parks, lakes and forest, the area became a favourite excursion destination for city dwellers during the early days of Denmark's industrialization, where trams and trains would be full of people going to the entertainment areas north of the city on Sundays and other holidays - most of the places have since closed down, but the small but charming Dyrehavsbakken amusement park, the oldest still functioning in the world, and the nearby horse racing tracks and surrounding forest continues to draw hordes of city folk on public holidays and weekends, as will a trip on the hundred year old tour Baadfarten ferries sailing on the lakes and canals near Lyngby, will give you a taste of days gone by - these canals and lakes are actually remains of an elaborate defence for the city, where the canals would draw water of the lakes to flood the low-lying areas to thwart would-be invaders.

The industrialization had another lasting impact on the district, as the earliest factories in the country shot up around the Mølleå River using water power to power the mills producing paper, weapons and textiles. But since steam power was introduced only a short time after these factories were built, development turned to back the city, and the area has been superbly preserved and is still surrounded by green forests, and amazingly most of old mills and factories still stand as they did when they were closed down in 19th century.

In the 1970s the old villages were joined together by huge patches of suburbia, the old village houses turning into residences for the wealthiest, and the suburbia occupied by the upper middle class, and bar a couple of minor exceptions, the area have become notoriously well off. The most interesting areas are without doubt the old Lyngby and along the Øresund coast, whereas the rest is mainly residential with little interest to travellers.

Get in

Notes on geography

Locals tend to see this as a string of separate towns, usually called by the name of the nearest S-train station, but there wouldn't be much point in listing each of these separately in a travel guide, as each on its own has little to offer. Visitors should be aware though, that the suburban nature of this district means that the attractions are far between, and it could take up to an hour in public transportation traveling between Charlottenlund and Farum for instance, the names of the "towns" are listed behind the addresses in the listings

The area north of Copenhagen is served by 4 S-train lines, the western area which offer little in the way of attractions are served by lines H/C (towards Frederiksund) and A (Farum). The area to the east where the attractions are centred are served by lines E/B (Holte & Lyngby) and line C (Klampenborg) which runs parallel the coast. For access to the Dyrehaven forest and the amusement park it is also possible, and faster, to take regional kystbanen line (the coastal railway), as it has fewer stops - but be careful as some trains skip Klampenborg station.

All the S-train lines runs every 10 minutes throughout the day and every 20 minutes in the evening. the kystbanen runs every 6–14 minutes for most of the day, in the weekends and after 8PM the service is cut back to every 20 minutes. It takes approximately 15 minutes to get to Hellerup and 20 minutes to get to Klampenborg and Lyngby, the 3 main attraction areas.

By car

There are two highways leading north of city Helsingørmotorvejen (route 19) starts on Østerbro, and runs north roughly halfway between the E/B (Holte) and C (Klampenborg) S-Train lines, just west of the Dyrehaven park to Lyngby and onwards to Elsinore. Hillerødmotorvejen (route 16) starts on the outer part of Nørrebro and runs north approximately half way between the A (Farum) and H/C (Ballerup) S-Train lines to Farum, and onwards to Hillerød. Motorring 3 is an orbital highway around Copenhagen, and connects to the two highways. Strandvejen runs all the way along the Øresund coast to Charlottenlund, Klampenborg and further north.

Get around

Lyngby & Holte West: The area bordering the lake and riverland of the suburbs.
Klampenborg & Hellerup East: The area along the Øresund coast

The center of Lyngby is walkable. For a physically fit visitor it is also possible to walk to Frilandsmuseet by following the main street. Alternatively to walk to Sophienholm or Dyrehavsbakken. Though these are several kilometers away, you may walk in the green surroundings of the Dyrehaven forest, but it would much for feasible as an enjoyable bike trip. Unlike the central part of the city, it actually does make sense to have your own wheels in the northern suburbs, as some of the attractions, restaurants and hotels are a bit out of the way of bus transportation, which while perfectly feasible, has relatively infrequent departures in the district.

By train

The main mode of transport for locals is the S-trains, and while they are useful getting to and from the city center, they are not that useful to tourists as a way to get around, as they mainly cater to commuters going downtown.

Nærumbanen is a modern light rail line between Lyngby & Nærum, but it wasn't always so. It was originally build to serve the booming industries along the Mølleå river, at the turn of the 20th century. Besides being the best most of transport to reach Frilandsmuseets eastern entrance, Brede Works (at Brede station) and the other mills along the river, it is quite scenic as it runs along the river in a forested area. It is colloquially known as "Grisen" or The Pig in English, from the loud squeaky horn the old trains used to use frequently when crossing paths and roads.

By bus

In the Copenhagen suburbs public transportation is build around the railway network. Almost every bus line begins at a Station, and will usually also end at one. Due to Copenhagen's finger based structure, transportation is centred around lines going to and from the inner city, and jumping between the fingers can be an unusually cumbersome. Below is a section of the most useful buslines in the area.

By boat

Baadfarten. has been sailing passengers on the Mølleå canal as well as Furesø, Bagsværd and Lyngby lakes, in their famous and charming white boats, for more than 100 years and besides being an excellent way too see the sights in Frederiksdal and Nybro, it is a popular excursion in itself. The oldest of the 6 ferries currently sailing; Princes Alexandrine and Prince Christian was build in between 1896-1896, and thus dating back to the early beginnings, was originally driven by steam but has been modified several times and now uses a diesel engine.

The usual starting point is from the pier in Lyngby, not to far from the station and departs approx. every 40 minutes between 10AM-5PM during summer (early June - mid August), from May to the end of September there is also services on weekends on the stretch between Frederiksdal and Sorgenfrivej. There are 3 regular routes.

On Sundays there are also an additional service connecting Frederiksdal, Birkerød and Holte on the Furesø lake. Tickets are between 35-40 Kr, and a full day ticket can be bought for 110 Kr. The routes are plotted on the map.

See

The sights in this district is mainly suitable for warm summer days, and for visitors with a historical interest, but if those two prerequisites are met a visit here can be incredibly rewarding. Bring your bike on the train though, or bring your patience as the main attractions are located far apart, and public transportation links in the area leaves a bit to be desired. And in the not unlikely event of poor weather, there is still a world class art museum to browse through without getting wet.

Nice House on Frilandsmuseet
Sophienholm

See also Lyngby Tourist Information, Lyngby Torv 5, 45 88 66 16, .

Do

The old wooden roller coaster on Dyrehavsbakken
The annual Hubertus hunt is a great spectacle these days.

to Krathusvej stop),  +45 39 96 02 13. One of the most beautiful gallop runways in the world. Right at the border, and with great views over, the Dyrehaven park. A few restaurants, a grill with excellent fresh grilled sausages etc., and a picnic area. When there are races on Fridays, it is a good place to go for some beers while watching the races.

Paddling down Mølleå river

Mølleåen is small 30 km river, cutting through the northern suburbs of Copenhagen, and offers a unique urban escape, flowing almost entirely through quite forests and parks, but also entirely within the Greater Copenhagen city proper.

Prepare

It is a good idea to call one of the rental places ahead as there is regulations in place limiting the number of canoes available for rent, it is also mandated to have life jackets for everyone on the canoe - your rental place will supply these for free. It is a good idea to wear rubber boots, flip flops or other footwear that can stand getting wet. Remember to bring plenty of liquids, snacks and food as there are few places to stuck up supplies on route, and remember to bring one of the brochures with a map available for free at the rental place. Since you have to carry the canoe over a few roads at the old dams - you might want to shell out the 20 Kr extra for a set of wheels for the canoe.

Route

After Fursø lake, right next to Frederiksdal's canoe rental outfit, the first stop is the old Frederiksdal mill, the romantic yellow brick buildings, was a paper mill build in 1880. If this is your starting point, you will be paddling down the fortification canal; a part of a string of canals that were designed to flood the low lying areas north of Copenhagen, with water from Furesø lake if Copenhagen ever was to become besieged. On the northern side of the canal, Lyngby marshes is a protected area due to the unique natural environment. After crossing the large Lyngby lake and sailing under the train tracks, you will have to transport the canoe over a piece of land past the cute yellow Lyngby Mills.

Heading north you will have a nice view over Sorgenfri Palace on your left, before another carry at Fuglevad. Onwards you will sail along the Open Air Museum on your left, and a local railway on your right, which used to carry workers to the mills. Next stop is Brede with the impressive Brede Works towering above the dammed lake. Here you once again need to carry the Canoe over the dam. Next dams (and carries) is at Ørholm and Nymølle, the long red building in Ørholm dates back to 1886, and along with mill in Nymølle, it was the centre of the Danish paper industry in the early days of Industrialisation. The forest towering on both sides of the river is nicknamed The Danish Switzerland due to the unusually hilly and steep terrain.

Just before reaching the Motorway bridge, the first sleeping option is the commercial camping grounds of Nærum Camping due north of the river. Continuing you will have around 30 minutes of sailing, before reaching the free rudimentary camping grounds of Stampen start looking for a parking lot on your right, a couple of bends after the water treatment plant. Onwards there is a short carry over Svenskevej road, before you reach the idyllic village of Raadvad in the middle of the Dyrehaven forest. Another industrial centre with an old inn that offers excellent dining (see Rådvad Kro), and a secluded hostel.

From here it is smooth sailing through the beautiful park or forest, until you reach Strandmøllen, a picturesque mill, and the only of the old mills that still houses production. Just north of the damn is another rudimentary camping ground, and right after the mill, you have reached the end of your journey, the water turns salty, as you have reached the Øresund coast.

Sleep

While it’s possible to sail the entire route in a day if you’re physically fit and hurried, It’s possible to overnight at several locations along the river, the offers range from primitive free campgrounds to hostels, and allow you to discover the river at more leisurely pace.

  • Furesøens Teltplads – Primitive free campgrounds with a bonfire space.
  • Nærum Campingplads see entry in sleep section
  • Stampens Teltplads - Primitive free campgrounds with a bonfire space.
  • Rådvad Vandrehjem see entry in sleep section
  • Strandmøllens Teltplads Primitive free campgrounds with a bonfire space and running water

Mølleå River

The small river Mølleåen (literally Mill river) runs through the center of Lyngby near the church. It is possible to follow the river on foot or bike from Lyngby all the way to the sea (Øresund) through park and forest. But an even better option is to rent a Canoe or Kayak from one of places below and sail down the estuary from Frederiksdal or Nybro near Lyngby to the sea in Øresund.

Beaches

While the fancy new beaches in the inner harbour of downtown Copenhagen, are definitely more unique and conveniently located - The beaches along the Øresund coast dotted north along the Strandvejen road, following the coast, are where Copenhagerners used to make their escape from hot summer days in the city. And still on warm summer days you see hordes of cyclists making their way north, with towels sticking out their bags, as the inner city "beaches" doesn't quite offer the great green surroundings the northern beaches does.

Events & Festivals

A couple quietly paddling down the Mølleå river in early spring.

Sports

Since you are in the posh suburbs anyway, might as well go "all in" and head for a game of golf. They are all excellent options.

Or if you are more into spectator sports, Football, or soccer as it would be for North Americans, Australians and Kiwis, are by far the most popular - Farum is host to the premier division club FC Nordsjælland.

Learn

Buy

Malls

Shops

Eat

Northern Copenhagen offers some stellar options for dining. While the listings below can be a bit cumbersome to get to, they have been selected because they offer a unique atmosphere special to the district, many back from the day when the area was covered by forest and dotted by small villages. Check their websites and you will discover that most of these restaurants are old inns, housed in white chalked buildings, thatched roofs, and green surroundings. It is certainly not cheap - even though basic dishes on many of the listings below often hovers around 150 Kr, expect the final bill to be much higher. Even then, the quality food, and unique environments, should make the extra cost and transportation time worthwhile.

Splurge


Ice cream

The suburbs north of Copenhagen have many great ice cream stores. The most well-known is probably Lydolph's Isbar on Strandvejen (Beach Road) which has big ice creams and long queues in the summertime. There are also many Paradis outlets in this district.

Drink

If you headed north of downtown to drink in this district, you would be heading in the opposite direction of everyone else who crowd the late trains, to head for the nightlife in the center - or to put it a bit more bluntly, do not! If you are based in the Northern suburbs there are night buses once an hour on weekends to take bring you home safely from the watering holes of the inner districts. However, usually, in weekends and on Thursdays, many events and parties are held various places on the Technical University of Denmark (DTU) campus.

Another option in the summer is to head in the direction of Dyrehavsbakken (see listing in the do section), or stay there for eating if you're in the area. There are quite a lot of options; Ølgod is a Tyrolean style bierhalle, a bit tacky, but a potential for a lot of fun if you do not take yourself to seriously. Bakkens Hvile is a veritable institution in Danish culture, where the Bakken girls have been entertaining the crowd with singing, flirting and dancing in Danish cabaret style for as long as anyone can remember. Any of the other options are easy to find on weekends, when the crowd can get a bit rowdy, but usually in an innocent and hugely entertaining way.

Sleep

Budget

Mid-range

Splurge

Camping

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