Gay Travel: Copenhagen, Progressive and Free

Published Date Author: , October 7th, 2011

Copenhagen was recently chosen as the third most liveable city in the world after Helsinki and Zurich by Monocle magazine. That might have been based on principles that benefit the inhabitants more than visitors, but eagle-eyed tourists will spot what makes Copenhagen such a success as a city. Most obvious is the prevalence of bicycles: imagine the number ridden in Cambridge quadrupled and you’ll still be far off the total here. As a short break destination, Copenhagen has a lot going for it.

The city aims to be carbon-neutral by 2025. There is a passion for good quality food: a ‘fat tax’ was recently introduced on ingredients like butter, but there are bargains to be had when eating or drinking. It is an attractive city with a wonderful waterfront location. Public transport runs like a dream – even if it is costly – and the whole city seems to cater for people, rather than being as stressful and unyielding as London can be. Danish design is another reason to visit, with beautiful design stores in abundance, such as Royal Copenhagen’s ceramics.

For these clearly positive sides to Copenhagen there are also oddities. For example, smoking is permitted in bars of less than 40 square metres, but it seems the law is left unchallenged in larger bars. This approach is presumably part of a liberal agenda where people are free to do as they wish, but it also seems quite regressive when many other countries have passed successful anti-smoking laws that attempt to accommodate everyone. We saw one man unzip and urinate wildly on the escalators of a busy metro station. It was unexpected and disappointing to see this in the middle of the city centre.

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