Heading NorthSide: Seaplanes, Trains and Automobiles

How many different ways can you commute from Copenhagen to Aarhus?

It was a question that Creative Director Freya McOmish and I first decided to tackle last year, when planning our trip to NorthSide Festival in Denmark’s second-largest city. For the 2016 festival, we opted to cycle from Copenhagen on an exhilarating, but equally exhausting adventure.

This year, we were determined to scheme up a new transport method. Rollerblades? Scooter? Sail?

As the festival approached and we still hadn’t planned anything or acquired rollerblades, we knew we needed a shortcut. But we couldn’t just sell-out and take the bus.

So we settled on seaplane.



As a chronic, Jung-style aerophobe, I would have preferred we cycle the 100-plus kilometres again instead. But not one to shirk my journalistic duty to investigate travelling to Aarhus via as many ingenious transportation methods as possible, I sucked this one up.

It’s amazing what a complimentary coffee and chocolate can do to ease the nerves. Chilling in the Nordic Seaplanes lounge, lunchboxes in tow, was a welcome change from straining a bike uphill.

Freya and I excitedly captured the whole affair on Instagram Stories, while fellow passengers in business suits peered over their newspapers, bemused – for them, this is nothing more than a daily commute, an easy way to arrive at a meeting in Aarhus within the hour.


Our small group was led to our seaplane floating on the water. Boarding tends to be when my sweaty palms kick in, but the whole affair felt deceptively like not catching a plane – no long airport queues, security pat-downs, or waiting. Just a brisk stroll down to the water on an exquisitely sunny June day.

For a small plane, the interior was roomy, with noise-cancelling headphones provided to block out the loud engine roar. “Remember Lena, you’re doing this for Thom Yorke,” said Freya, preemptively trying to soothe what she probably imagined was my impending panic attack. (It’s a testament to what a great friend Freya is that she had googled “strategies to calm down your aerophobe friend” ahead of the journey – and decided Radiohead was probably the most effective tranquilizer.)



To my surprise, I felt powerfully nerve-free, probably because I felt more like I was on a boat as the plane coasted the water for what seemed like an age, offering pretty views of Kastellet outside.

Suddenly the engines kicked up speed, splashing water on the windows as it took to the skies, offering a 360-degree view of the wind farm below. Turns out, seaplanes fly just low enough to allow a proper birds-eye view of Denmark below, and I was too distracted by the sights to feel the nerves that usually accompany takeoff. As we flew across Zealand and over the Roskilde Fjord, Freya and I could trace out last year’s cycle route, rounding in minutes a trip which had taken two days of sheer thigh power and sweat. Countryside stretched below us like a patchwork quilt, offering a charming, aerial perspective on lighthouses and Danish seaside towns dotted along the coast.

The whole affair flew by (pun most definetly intended) in just 45 minutes. In less than an hour we were perched outside the port of Aarhus, trying to hitch rides into town from trucks loaded with cargo.



Want to experience a seaplane for yourself? Check out Nordic Seaplanes!