Munke Mose & Stryget Ball games, BBQs, and sunshine on the river bank… or art, ice cream, and sailing

Munke Mose & Stryget
Sights, Parks, Nature & Activities | Munke Mose, Odense C | Written by: My Rasmussen | 16 recommendations

Have your evening pilsner on the bank of Odense River with the sun on your face and surrounded by unbusy people on blankets. Leap between water lily petals on the Fairy tale playground, sail to the ZOO with a riverboat, or jump in the water on your last day of school.

The park is the southern bastion of the Latin quarter where the best of city and nature is gathered in one place; water, trees, grass, duck feeding, aafart (sailing), art exhibitions, sculptures, and playground. A nice place to hang with your friends, with disposable grill and beers in the summer time. And a place just as suited for swinging your ponytail and flashing your gravity-defying sporno body in a neon tracksuit.

On sunny days, there is always at leas tone silver ghettoblaster, releasing tunes from past decades. On the playground: kids. In the open lawn areas: drunken people. So, a good opportunity to hear a truth or two.

  • Mon - Sun: 0.00 - 24.00
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Stige Ø Former wasteyard — now green hills by the bay with a wealth of outdoor activities

Stige Ø
Sights, Parks, Nature & Activities | Østre Kanalvej 7, Odense C | Written by: Katarina Le Müller | 7 recommendations

Summer on a budget? Maybe you should go on a hike to the former wasteyard, now recreational area, Stige Ø. Pull the plug, take your tent, your camping stove and a (warm) sleeping bag on your back and go camping with your favorite bottle of booze on the top of Stige Ø, where the view over the city is quite good.

Stige Ø is Odense's Amager Fælled. Space and kilometers. A big and hilly recreational area. Here you can escape the city and enjoy the wildlife. This is where the good jogging happens. This is where the mountainbike-people do dirt jump. This is where we go out and lay in shelter and make bonfires and ride our bikes and run on the hills and fly kites and get wind in our hair and look out to the water - this is the good life. Whatever it is you might want to know about the island, you can find it here: http://www.stigeoe.dk (in Danish).

Have you used up your entire vacation budget buying ridiculously expensive cold beer at Roskilde, or do you just want to test your survival skills within a convenient (bike) radius, then I recommend that you pack your camping gear and take a trip to our own little "trash island". Here you will find free shelters and great outdoor experiences waiting for you - whether it's catching your own dinner on the island's fishing spots, pretending to be an amateur ornithologist looking for white-tailed eagles, patting the wild horses, or just enjoying the evening while the silence descends - there is plenty to see for those who think nature is awesome. And if you do not feel quite SO adventurous, or simply do not have the time, then you could still just spend a couple of hours exploring the hills and the many activities that the island has to offer.

But I have also just heard that Stige Ø is the place where junkies that can't pay their debts get their fingers cut off. "When a drug addict is told to get into a car, late at night, and driven out to Sige Ø, (s)he knows perfectly well what's going to happen."

This undeniably adds a little extra suspense to our shelter tour. This is - also - Odense. See you on Stige Ø.

  • Mon - Sun: 0.00 - 24.00
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Odense Zoo The best little zoo in Europe. Green and friendly with enough space (for humans)

Odense Zoo
Sights, Parks, Nature & Activities | Sdr. Boulevard 306, Odense C | Written by: My Rasmussen | 11 recommendations

In my younger days, I often strolled through the ZOO; potential lover in one hand and a flask of heartening spirits in the other. Now my visits are with my daughter and a self-indulgent ice cream.

But it is no less enjoyable. Because, even though Odense ZOO in 1930 was the tamest ZOO imaginable – a peacock, two monkeys, a deer, a mole, and some guinea pigs were what was on show – the attraction is now truly attractive and in both 2013 and 2015 it won the award for Best European ZOO in its category (with up to 500,000 annual visitors - only awarded every second year).

This is mainly because the ZOO has managed to make cages into more than crates of containment: The enclosures have become narratives. The rocks and roaring waterfall in the lions’ enclave eccho Pride Rock from The Lion King; the ring-tailed lemurs romp in an abandoned vanilla-warehouse; and the noise of wings whistles overhead in the largest aviary in Europe.

Still, the favourite is the manatee, which bobs about in its jungle swamp bassin with the appearance of an inept kid’s drawing – strange proportions and short of details. Yet, I find myself forgetting time and place watching this big, grey beast hovering in the water, chomping on lettuce. It is absolute, peaceful bliss.

Remember that Odense ZOO serves both very bad and very expensive food, so it is worthwhile preparing lunch befoerhand and enjoying it on the savannah with a view of grazing zebras.

  • Mon - Fri: 10.00 - 17.00
  • Sat - Sun: 10.00 - 18.00
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Davinde Sø Cool freshwater lakes for hot, happy summer days in the company of good people

Davinde Sø
Sights, Parks, Nature & Activities | Hudevad Byvej 20, Årslev | Written by: Anders Skovgaard | 5 recommendations

Is it still summer? Still sunny, still warm? Still time for cold beer, summer reading and skinny-dipping? Then there's nothing better than jumping in - whether it’s in beer, in literature, or in the water! 

While we would normally take a trip out to Hasmark, Kerteminde or - if anything - a lazy swim in the open-air pool, I’m going to suggest a somewhat obscure and definitely overlooked alternative: Davinde lake! 

The lake has long been one of Odense’s hidden gems and I myself have only recently found out about it. The area is a former gravel pit, which has been transformed into a series of lakes surrounded by the purest nature - green and leafy. 

More precisely, the area is called Tarup-Davinde and it’s situated on the road to Ørbæk. You can easily ride your bike there, but if the kids are not totally bike-ripe yet, or you have packed all 24 volumes of Grimberg’s world history in your backpack, then it might be a little too far. Odense Kommune has prepared an info-page about the area with various route suggestions, so it’s easy to plan the trip in advance.  

Read more about the lakes here.

  • Mon - Sun: 0.00 - 24.00
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Eventyrhaven Riverside gardens with room for promenaders, kids, and a mid-morning beer with the white noise of the city above

Eventyrhaven
Sights, Parks, Nature & Activities | Eventyrhaven, Odense C | Written by: Pil Lindgreen | Translated by: Pil Lindgreen | Photo: Hannibal-Bach | 7 recommendations

Don’t be fooled by its name – at Eventyrhaven (literally, The Fairytale Garden) there is neither amusement park nor tourist trap in sight; instead, you’ll find a green slice of heaven perfect for sunbathing in the middle of the city. Its official name might be H.C. Andersen’s Garden and sure enough the poet himself stands tall in superhuman size on its hills, yet this river valley park is never called by any other name than Eventyrhaven, and old H.C. is nothing but a dash in the mind of dreamers (and the occasional tourist) here. Instead, the key figures of the place are the soulful nymph Echo on the hill (Aksel Hansen, 1888) and the waterborne iron sculpture Papirbåden/Paper Boat (Erik Heide, 1985), each stirring the imagination of grown-ups and children in their own way.

Despite a playground and a salsa corner with a small café, Eventyrhaven maintains a rather more refined, even secret aura than any other park in the city. Perhaps it stems from the fact that the park is really an island in the Odense River; perhaps because of its history – once a convent garden, it was later turned into an exclusive haven for the bourgeois patrons of the city’s Reading Society and it remained so until 1942, when the whole area was opened to the public, including the herb garden of the cloisters.

Today its gentle hills are open all year round to promenaders, sunbathers and playing children. Yes, hills – in Odense! The steps leading down towards the river are steep and veritably beg for a death-defying bicycle dash. But if you turn around halfway down and look back up, you’ll see the cathedral and the city hall take on unexpected grandeur and height above you. Even after the nearby Albanigade has been closed for traffic, you can always hear the hum of city in the park, but it is white noise under the sound quacking ducks and the reggae music that a group of school kids are sure to be playing at any given sunny day as they set up camp with blankets on the lawns.

Watch the changing seasons in the circular flower garden, surrounded by an overgrown archway providing shade for lovers and beer drinkers alike, no matter the time of day.

  • Mon - Sun: 0.00 - 24.00
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Kulturbotanisk Have Natural wonder with nine thousand plants numbered and named. Lush botanical hideaway

Kulturbotanisk Have
Sights, Parks, Nature & Activities | Kulturbotanisk Have, Odense SØ | Written by: Mira Erik | Translated by: Fabio Trecca | 2 recommendations

At the cheap end of the river lies a botanical garden, which with its 9000 species is Denmark's largest collection of living plants. 

I recommend biking to Kulturbotanisk Have and swallow in the gorgeousness of nature. And if you can't resist making the experience into a cultural one, then you can couple nature with some knowledge and categories — we humans are so good at classifying! — by reading all the thousands of signs about what the different species are called, how old they are, which other plants they are related to etc. etc. You can book a guided tour by calling this number: 66102723.

But you can also just lay down in the middle of everything. Flowers are too cool. If everyone looked at flowers, the world wouldn't be in flames.

Address: Ejbygade 75, 5220 Odense SØ

Always open.

  • Mon - Sun: 00.00 - 24.00
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Atletikbanen SDU World-class track and field facilities. A playground for grownups

Atletikbanen SDU
Sights, Parks, Nature & Activities | Moseskovvej, Odense M | Written by: Anders Skovgaard | Photo: Hannibal-Bach

Run, dammit, run! I myself never run for the sake of running, but I know that a lot of people do. So why not do it on a prize-winning track?!

The University of Southern Denmark's athletics facility are the best in the world. The International Olympic Committee has, together with the Association for Sports and Leisure Facilities, nominated the facility as world's best outdoors sports center.

Boom. We can't help but recommend something so big. It's also really cool to run on it. It's not as you imagine/fear. It's a track for both competitions and play. And the latter is particularly important. Running should be fun, otherwise there's a whole lot of other disciplines that inspire more fantasy and amusement.

But running is definitely a sport of the people. Unbelievably many people run. Either for health reasons, or to win something — maybe even to win on themselves. It's all good. There is a perfect running track for all this — and it's right in Odense.

So on with your shoes, down to the University of Souther Denmark, take your kids with (if you have any) and run! Run so that you sweat it all off, and your legs rejoice in acid and oxygen!

  • Mon - Sun: 00.00 - 24.00
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Sankt Jørgens Parken Skate or die. Haven for the old and the young alike — with or without wheels

Sankt Jørgens Parken
Sights, Parks, Nature & Activities | Sankt Jørgens Park, Odense C | Written by: Mira Erik | Translated by: Laura Malahovska | 2 recommendations

Sankt Jørgens Park is the shit. Still. Even though it has become a scooter inferno in the daytime - but more about that later.

A skate area located at the poor end of the creek. Weed (illegal), beer, sun, fire, asphalt, curbs, hips, banks, eurogabs, ledges, flatbars, big host, manual pads, rails ... it's a bit of a lie, you must go to Fælledparken in Copenhagen, if you want it all. But Sankt Jørgens Park forever. Skate or Die.

'Skate or Die' is more than a poem for teens to ride on board. Skateboarding is an existential choice. It's To Be or Not to Be. It's a way to use the world. Where the surroundings are not limitations, but possibilities. To get results you must believe in yourself and keep on until you succeed. Each fall is just one step closer to the goal. Slam, hard! There is only one restriction and it’s your own ability. It’s human condition, The Human Condition.

About the scooters: Who would have thought it was going to be cool to have a scooter?! Big boys running around on these children's toys?? I have a theory why: this generation is obsessed with the thought that nothing must hurt. Skateboarding hurts. Scooters don’t. It's easy. It works from the start. See how easy I can get up and down and over ramps, I'm cool right away ... No. You are not cool. No Pain No Gain. You cannot achieve anything without paying a price.

Odense has some skateboard legends. First this guy, from the time of the VHS, a flying Silas Eriksen with alias Kill, from the Wrong Team's Make It Or Break It: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dQR66UGinms.

And from the next generation, an even wilder dancer, Flex Sebastian O'Connor: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CbeRBtQHv98. No one has surpassed him since, he is a European phenomenon.

Once you have thrown your scooter in the harbor, bought a skateboard and hurt yourself 10,000 times at Sankt Jørgens Parken, and in the wintertime in the indoor-hall on Grønløkkevej, and you have become skilful, you may get to Fucke's secret pool.

"Use the City", "Odense plays" - and all those terrible municipality slogans - nobody listens to those better than the skaters. But nobody is as excluded from municipality's 'Leisure and Culture' budgets as much: Odense's outdoor skate areas are under-financed like nowhere else. From Skagen to Bornholm, municipalities are buying setups for large concrete-bowls. And it is only because the owner of the skate-concrete company FSR, Claus Hermansen, an old skater from Odense, financially supported his childhood hobby, that now one-tenth of Sankt Jørgens Park is now worth skating.

  • Mon - Sun: 00.00 - 24.00
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Kunstnerisk Klatrevæg An artistic climbing wall at the back of the brewery is an oasis by the riverside.

Kunstnerisk Klatrevæg
Culture | Frederiksgade 3, Odense C | Written by: Jens Krog | Translated by: Francois Picard

The Albani brewery is located between Albanigade and Frederiksgade, like a massive uncompromising giant enclosed by tall red walls. Undoubtedly, they ensure the whole city’s pilsner supply, but the building has not given much back to Odense – at least until recently.

Since 2016, the Albani brewery has exposed one of its corner, the furthest one down to the river. And, on the high wall next to the brick arches – old inheritance from bygone days – one can meet five high forms, composed by white and black triangular tiles. Once in a while, the triangles somehow stick out into the air, from the underlying insipid brick wall. These small grips run in zigzag through the five large panels, and if you are standing up in front of the artwork, you can actually grab some of them.

The installation on the back of the Albani brewery is indeed both a sculpture and a climbing wall. The artist behind this climbing wall, Jacob Skov, has developed the different wall elements in collaboration with local climbers, thus creating an artwork, on which you can have fun.

In addition to opening the back wall of the brewery for artists and climbing enthusiasts, the small green area beside the wall has also been cleared, and a small playground has been added. The enormous brewery organism opens up beautifully for other urban creatures, and the little green area between the walls and the river has become a tiny oasis in the middle of the city.

The next step could be to tear down the wall underneath one of the arches and open a small bar that sells bottles with manufacturing defects to young people, who relax in pallet-based furniture in the sunshine. Hear me now, Albani!

  • Mon - Sun: 00:00 - 24:00
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This Is Odense