Up the Alternative Alley: Wandering past wooden wonders by the water
In my first guidebook I suggested that you explore Amager by walking ‘To the Water’ – and this edition treads a similar path.
A roof like a wave
This walk will take you from Knippelsbro to Amager Beach with a little detour to one of my favourite spots: Det Maritime Ungdomshus (The Maritime Youth House).
Designed by Bjarke Ingels and Julien De Smedt (back then PLOT architects), this wooden structure was built 20 years ago to serve as a facility for water-related activities for kids – and to co-exist with the Sundby Sejlforening yacht club already in the area.
It provides both a large exterior play area for children, but also storage space for smaller boats and kayaks under the curving wooden roof rising playfully, inviting children (and adults) to explore and enjoy the view over Øresund.
Schools in the Copenhagen area can book a day of activities like kayaking, open water swimming or crab fishing at the Maritime Youth House.
From this roof, rising like a wave from the ground level, you can also contemplate Prøvestenen Syd, an artificially constructed area meant to house a new yacht club. These plans were abandoned in around 2008, but the area remained closed to the public until recently. It is now open for hikers, bird watchers and fishermen.
The only access to the Youth House is through the yacht club, which is open to the public from sunrise to sundown.
The turquoise wonder
Leaving the Maritime Youth House and the yacht club behind, continue your walk along the main road, Amager Strandvej.
We’re heading to Kastrup Søbad, which is also known as ‘Sneglen’ – the Snail. But first we’re going to take a look at the building you might have seen on the Amager posters published by ViSSEVASS.
Leave the main road and walk across the little bridge to the artificial island that Amager Strand is situated on. You’ll immediately see the characteristic turquoise blue of another wooden wonder: the Helgoland Bath.
This facility is open to the public for a couple of months in the summer, but to access it for the remaining part of the year, a membership is required. Off- season, it’s favoured by both winter bathers and nudists.
A spiralling hug
This is not the case for the wonderful Kastrup Søbad (well, maybe the nudist bit), which is open to everyone all year round. Just follow the pathway along the coast for a couple of kilometres. Once you approach the far end of the artificial island, you’ll already be able to see the wooden construction placed on the water a bit further south.
Kastrup Søbad was designed by White Architects and built between 2004 and 2005 to immediate success and acclaim. This curving, snail-like structure is such an inviting place, reaching out its hand for you to come and take a closer look.
If you visit on a winter’s morning, you’ll meet the winter dippers (again, expect nudity) who appreciate the wooden walls providing shelter from the icy ocean winds. If you turn up on a sunny summer’s day, you’ll see every square centimetre of the wooden deck is covered with people – so to really appreciate the lines of the structure I recommend you visit when it’s a bit cloudy and outside the summer holiday rush hours.
For the thrill-seekers among you looking for a steep dive into the ocean, there are platforms three and five metres above sea level. If you bring smaller children keep in mind that the water around the structure is deep, but the beach itself is shallow and perfect for safe splashing with little ones.
You can also stroll by in the evening and enjoy the sight of both the jetty and the structure all lit up. It’s quite a beautiful sight.
If a long walk is not to your fancy, you can reach the wooden wonders using public transportation – the nearest Metro station for the Maritime Youth House is Øresund and for Kastrup Søbad it’s Femøren.
The distance from the city centre is approximately 5 km for the Maritime Youth House and 7.5 km for the Kastrup Søbad.
If all this walking has made you hungry, try the café ‘Kystens Perle’ (cafekystensperle.dk) located in the old Kastrup Værk building from 1749 – formerly a glass and ceramics factory and a brewery, you’ll find it next to the little harbour just south of the aquarium ‘Den Blå Planet’.
Or, if you’re just looking for a cup of coffee or a beer on a roof terrace – try Kajakhotellet (kajakhotellet.dk) at the southern end of the main beach area, where you can also rent kayaks, SUP-boards and more.
Astrid Heise-Fjeldgren (email@example.com; @thecompanionsdk) is an Amager-based writer and translator. Always up for new adventures in and around Copenhagen, she is the author of the guidebooks ‘The Copenhagen Companion’ (2019) and ‘The Green Copenhagen Companion’ (2021) in which she shares some of her favourite spots and walks. Find out more at thecompanions.dk.