Wind blowing in the sails. The board slips across the waves and, for a while, nothing seems to matter except water, wind and sun. Valby Park is popular with windsurfers, who have their own small boathouse leading directly onto Kalveboderne. They come here almost all year round – except in winter, when surfing is prohibited because Kalveboderne is a bird sanctuary and attracts large numbers pf resting waterfowl during the cold season.
Valby Park is Copenhagen’s second-biggest park and its most varied, surpassed in size only by Copenhagen Common. A lot of people know it only by name, which is a shame.
Once you get to know it, Valby Park may well become your favourite, because it has so many faces and so much to offer all year round. Its delights range from small, intimate gardens to large, open spaces with plenty of room for kites and ball games – and, uniquely among Copenhagen parks, direct access to the water.
The water in Kalveboderne isn’t yet clean enough for swimming, but the City of Copenhagen and neighbouring local authorities are working together to change that. There are also plans for a big sandy beach here in the next few years.
But you don’t need to be a water lover to find something to do in the park. It is home to Denmark’s biggest nature playground, complete with hills, bridges and climbing walls, football pitches, cycle paths and beach volleyball – it’s all here, not to mention the ‘bonfire house’ where you can build a fire as long as you arrange it in advance with the playground staff.
Among Valby Park’s highlights are its gardens. The oldest, the Rose Garden, contains 12,000 rose bushes. In high summer, the sights and scents here are overwhelming. The themed gardens are small green spaces inspired by diverse garden styles, including the Islamic Garden, Hans Christian Andersen’s Oriental Garden, the Low-pH Garden, the Water Garden and a garden designed specifically for vision-impaired people and wheelchair users.
Photo: Scanpix/Mads Nissen
DATA & LINKSValbyparken
2350 Copenhagen SV
- Running, walking, inspiration for gardeners, picnics, barbecues, playground, ball games, kites, frisbee-golf course, windsurfing, kayaking, bird-watching, peace and quiet, sunbathing, relaxation.
- Skating on the lake during cold winters.
- Area where dogs are allowed off the leash.
- Occasional cultural events, including the Tuborg Green Concert.
- Valby Park is on an old landfill site, and only opened to the public in 1939. Its conversion to a park was the City of Copenhagen’s first job-creation project for the unemployed.
- Many birds and animals have their habitats here. In winter, large numbers of birds rest in the Kalveboderne bird sanctuary.
- There is even a ‘frog park’ – four small waterholes designed to give frogs the best possible living conditions. The diversity of flora attracts insects and butterflies, which are particularly fond of the flowering beds.
- The most prominent tree in the park is the Lombardy poplar. The kilometre-long poplar avenue is an impressive sight. The trees here are already tall, despite being only about 20 years old. Lombardy poplars grow very rapidly!
- Special garden for vision-impaired visitors and wheelchair users.
- Most areas easily accessible; the nature playground also has wheelchair access.
- Café Rosenhaven is located in the middle of the garden (note that it is not open all year round).
- Lots of places to enjoy a packed lunch or barbecue.