The beachy side of Copenhagen
Amager – also known as ‘Shit Island’ – might not be so shitty after all. Since the expansion of a new artificial island in 2005, which makes up the primary part of the beach area, Amager Strandpark (Amager Beach) is now one of Copenhagen’s most popular recreational areas.
The neighborhood covers a gigantic area in Copenhagen, primarily made up of residential areas with several neighborhoods within the neighborhood. Islands Brygge, the Beach, Ørestad and Eberts Villaby and several others are all part of Amager. We will cover the most central parts in this guide.
Amager is for you if…
- you want to stay close to the beach…
- … or Christianshavn and Refshaleøen
- you want to beat the crowds and hang out with the locals
- a quick 10 minute metro ride to the airport sounds appealing
Where is Amager?
Once your plane is on the ground you are in Amager. Stretching from the traditional Danish town of Dragør in the southern end of the island to Christianshavn, Holmen, Refshaleøen and Indre By in the north, this island is partly urban, partly suburban.
In this neighborhood guide we will cover the central parts of the island, which are what Copenhageners refer to, when talking about Amager.
What to do in Amager?
Amager is first and foremost a residential area, and while this may not be the place you go to experience the primary sights of Copenhagen, you should definitely not miss out on this giant but somewhat overlooked gem. In the summertime Amager Strandpark attracts a bunch of tourists as well as locals looking to cool down on a hot summer day. But Amager is way more than that.
If you choose to stay on here you get the pleasure of experiencing the everyday life, while you’re only a short walk or bike ride from Christianshavn, Reffen and Indre By.
5 things to do in and around the island
- Go to Reffen – Copenhagen’s biggest street food market in Refshaleøen – and have a taste of the whole world while enjoying the laidback, trashy-trendy lifestyle of this upcoming area.
- Jump on the metro and visit The Blue Planet Aquarium in Kastrup just a few stops away. An underwater adventure!
- Go to the beach. If the regular Amager Beach is too mainstream for you, check out Helgoland bathhouse where you are allowed to skip the bathing suit.
- If you’re staying on Amager you will most likely cross Amagerbrogade. This main street of the neighborhood recently had a makeover and is now even more attractive with less cars and plenty of shops, restaurants and coffee bars.
- Hang out by the water on Islands Brygge. A hip hotspot attracting the younger crowds in the summertime.
Why is it called Lorteøen or Shit Island
The name ‘Shit Island’ dates back to the 1800’s when the latrine buckets from all over Copenhagen were emptied at a cleaning station in Amager. Later the area was home to a junk yard and during the 1900’s a number of industrial factories were established, which obviously wasn’t something that attracted the upper class of Copenhagen. Throughout time, Amager has been a working class area and you can still to some extent feel the pride of the working class when walking the streets.
From ‘Shit Island’ to being the shit, Amager is really something when it comes to architectural wonders.
Tietgenkollegiet – dorm rooms reinvented
This award-winning masterpiece of a student residence is not just a circular beauty created by Lundgaard & Tranberg. The architecture allows everyone to connect by making common areas visible from across the courtyard as well as accessible for all residents. Everyone can see what’s going on – and everyone can join.
Gemini Residence – from soybeans to seaview
Two former seed silos today make up one of Copenhagen’s most iconic new residential buildings. After the soybean processing plant closed in the 90’s the area of Islands Brygge was redeveloped and the former soybean cake factory was turned into a residential piece of art, finished in 2005.
The Kastrup Sea Baths – Copenhagen’s prettiest cabana
Situated just a few meters off the coast, Kastrup Sea Baths is the place to go if you want a day at the beach without all the hassle. The round structure protects sunbathers from the wind and the deep waters offer great swimming conditions. An extended jetty that’s also pleasing to the eye!
CopenHill – go skiing on a power plant
Among architect Bjarke Ingels’ many masterpieces! CopenHill on Margretheholm is not just any power producing waste management center. It’s also a recreational area allowing Copenhageners and tourists alike to enjoy the view of the otherwise flat landscape from the top of this artificial hill. A hill that’s also a ski slope. Anything is possible according to the architectural superstar.
DR Concert Hall – it’s what’s on the inside that counts
Located at the DR (Danish Broadcasting Corporation) this concert hall by French architect Jean Nouvel may not look like much from the outside. But once you get into the big hall, sit down and listen, you will find yourself in a room without left, right, front, back or right angles. A beautiful, warm room with magnificent acoustics that allow you to focus fully on the music.
Neighborhoods in Amager
Amager is a lot of things. It’s trashy, it’s trendy, it’s new and it’s old. Let’s have a look at the difference between some of the neighborhoods within Amager.
Amager Beach – the Miami Beach of Copenhagen
On a good day you can almost fool yourself into thinking you’re hanging out on South Beach. Ok, not really but the beach vibes are strong and on sunny days the city feels far away. In the recent years Amager Beach has become a modern residential area facing the water. So if you like the beach, this might be the place for you!
With Amagerbrogade as its spine running through the entire neighborhood, East Amager is also what most locals consider to be the traditional Amager. Here you will find popular streets with plenty of shops and restaurants like Amagerbrogade, Holmbladsgade and Amagerfælledvej as well as Amager Centret – a small, local mall. East Amager is bordering Christianshavn and you will be in the city center in no time by bike or metro.
Eberts Villaby – an oasis in Amager
This hidden gem is located between the busy streets of Amagerbrogade and Englandsvej. However, this area is not like the rest of Amager. Spread over just a few streets, you will find beautiful historic houses where no two are alike. A tiny, quiet neighborhood in the middle of Amager.
Islands Brygge – luxury and summer vibes
Islands Brygge is the most posh part of Amager and most people living in Islands Brygge do not consider Islands Brygge to be Amager. The area is made up of the old part with buildings dating back to around 1900 located towards Langebro – and the new part centered around Bryggebroen (Brygge Bridge). This is the place to stay if you prioritize modern Airbnbs with balconies and convenience as well as relaxing by the waterfront. Besides the popular harbor baths Islands Brygge is also home to a small, artificial beach, which is ideal for families with younger children.