I went to CPH to visit a friend for New Years, but there are many reasons why CPH is such a great city. For starters, it’s the capital of Denmark. There is a lot of history and things to do because of that. CPH sits along the coast and is surrounded by water, making it a beautiful harbour scene. I always wanted to go to a Scandinavian country because I heard how nice their cities were. I was picturing a clean and friendly city with great food and design – and that’s exactly what it was. Another reason to go to CPH is the city is full of parks and is fairly easy to get around. It’s a flat city making it perfect for those who use wheelchairs. Finally, CPH offers a lot of history, including Hans Christian Anderson’s grave and many exhibits honoring him.
In general, the city is very easy to manage if you’re outside and seeing sights. Restaurants and shops are hit and miss and may just need some planning if you can’t do the one step in a manual chair. CPH is a lovely city that can be managed in 3 or 4 days! Check out their tourist for disability access for even more info.
CPH has a beautiful and fancy Metro System. The train comes right to the platform with no step or gap. It also can take you from the airport right downtown. Almost every station has an elevator, making it the best mode of transport. The Metro is also continuously expanding so I imagine in a few years it will have even more stops. There is also something called ‘The Tog.’ This is a commuter train that also runs downtown and throughout town. The times I used it, I noticed there was a step into the train. This was OK as I had my manual chair. I do believe there may be a ramp system but we didn’t look into that. Buses were also accessible and had ramps that the driver or someone could pull out. The buses tended to be a bit crowded and there is only 2 spaces for wheelchairs. These spaces are sometimes taken up by strollers as well. Avoiding peak times on the bus would be good. Find all transport options here.
Sidewalks in Copenhagen are fairly flat. As with all European cities, there is bound to be some cobble stones. But, I didn’t run across any that were too big. Most street have slabbed sidewalks. The one annoying this is there are like upside down speed bumps on the sidewalks. These are drains. You can get over it easy enough in the chair, but just causes a little bump. Almost all sidewalks in the main part of the city have curb cuts. I found the sidewalks extremely manageable.
Finding a bathroom is always my biggest challenge. I’ve been lucky enough to travel with people who don’t mind carrying me if need be. CPH does have public toilets. I didn’t see them as frequently as I would have liked, but they are there. I’m sure the city visitor’s center may have a map.
According the Copenhagen Tourism Dept., there are accessible public bathrooms but not many. Areas that have been reported to have accessible bathrooms are the Tivoli Gardens, the big government owned museums, City Hall as well as the Central and Nørreport train stations.
Many, many restaurants have at least one step. Even in the more touristy areas of town. In addition, they most likely won’t have an accessible toilet. If you’re using a manual chair, one step can be completely manageable. One perk would be to also go in the summer when all the restaurants have tables outside. I recommend booking a hotel downtown to always have the option to head back there for a bathroom break.
The Round Tower was built by Christian IV between 1637 and 1642. It was the first part of the Trinitatis Complex, which combined church, library and observatory in a single building. Now, the best part about the tower is the ramp that takes you almost all the way to the top. Along the way you can get a great view of the city out the wall windows. The ramp is pretty steep, but if you have someone helping push or a power chair should be fine. There is a rooftop part but can only be accessed by about 30 steps. Also, about ¾ of the way up there is a museum and gift shop. It even has an accessible bathroom. The tower is in a central part of town, so for sure worth a look.
The small, bronze Little Mermaid Statue is about 100 years old and was in memorium of Hans Christian Anderson. Somewhat of a CPH staple. Easy accessible along a boardwalk. This boardwalk takes you by the Kastellet – Copenhagen original fortress. It is now basically a park, that has a path all the way around. This is also flat and has ramps up to the different levels. A pretty cool site and worth a visit.
Paper Island is a little island across the canal and can be accessed by bus. It’s set in a sort of factory setting along the water. Tons of restaurants that had accessible entrances. It’s a great place to go for lunch to get a picture of the ‘hip’ part of the food scene.
CPH is full of parks! Many of these parks have castles, palaces, gardens and ponds. I was there in the winter and even still it was beautiful! The city is actually fairly small, so in a days time you could see a lot just by walking around. In addition there are some awesome graveyards. Again all flat and worth a stroll. I even saw Hans Christian’s grave – somehow we found it even after it was dark and spooky. My favorite part of the city is walking around because all the buildings have fabulous architecture!
I know the city has tons of museums that are also accessible. We didn’t have time to visit too many, but it would be a great start.