In this series, Lonely Planet’s team of writers and editors answers your travel problems and provides tips and hacks to help you plan a hassle-free trip. We turned to local expert Caroline Sølver to address this Copenhagen-related query.
Question: I am going to Copenhagen and I want to see the giant wooden statues I have seen on social media. What are they, and can I rent a bike and get around to see some of them in a few hours? Or is there another way to see them?
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Caroline Sølver: These giant wooden statues have an official name, the Six Forgotten Giants – and they are truly amazing. Created by Danish artist Thomas Dambo, these wooden sculptures are located in six different areas of the Copenhagen suburbs: Rødovre, Hvidovre, Vallensbæk, Ishøj, Albertslund and Høje Taastrup. Each is made of recycled wood and materials, and has a distinct personality and characteristics. They even have individual names, such as Teddy Friendly and Sleeping Louis.
The idea behind the project? To bring art out of the museum and give curious-minded people an exciting and different experience as they go hunting to find the Giants – all while enjoying the beautiful and often overlooked natural landscapes in which they’re sited.
Can you visit all 6 Giants in one day?
With a bit of planning and a lot of determination, you can indeed visit all six Giants in one day. If you’re up for a ride of two-plus hours, you can see them all on a bike; renting a car is perhaps an easier option. Public transportation can get you to train stations close to the Giants – yet you’ll need to walk a fair distance to reach the Giants’ hiding spots.
More recently, Dambo has expanded the map, creating a batch of Trolls all within Copenhagen’s city limits, making them much easier to reach. One of them, Kaptajn Nalle, lives in Nordhavn – and he’s easy to get to via a 3km walk from the metro or S-train station. While in Nordhavn, you should make sure you visit this newly developed neighborhood. The former harbor area now offers tons of nice spots, such as an Andersen & Maillard bakery; if the weather allows it, you can even join the Copenhageners going for a swim.
Another centrally located Troll is Green George of Freetown Christiania; in the Sydhavn neighborhood, you can visit Ivan Evigvår. If you wish to go on the full Troll hunt, follow Dambo’s own Troll map. If you wish to visit all four Copenhagen Trolls, biking is the best idea, as Copenhagen is a cyclist’s paradise.
The Giants and Trolls are far from your typical tourist attractions, making them perfect for visitors who want to go beyond the usual sights and explore delightful, even spectacular pieces of art in sylvan settings.