Denmark is one of the world’s flattest countries, but as of last week it’s got its own ski spot...on top of a power plant. Copenhagen’s CopenHill, also known as Amager Bakke, is a green energy facility-slash-recreation area. It’s got hiking trails, the world's tallest artificial climbing wall at a dizzying 279 feet, a roof garden and, the pièce de résistance, an artificial ski and snowboard slope. Visitors can actually descend four trails, a slalom course and a freestyle park before hoisting a pilsner at the après-ski bar.
Designed by BIG, the firm of Danish starchitect Bjarke Ingels, the plant is “waste-to-energy,” meaning it burns waste instead of fossil fuel to generate heat and electricity. Capable of heating and powering 150,000 Danish homes, it’s part of Copenhagen’s plan of becoming the world’s first carbon-neutral capital by 2025. Ingels calls his design an example of "hedonistic sustainability," but CopenHill is not the world’s only power plant with a fun side. You can hike, bike, and even go fishing in these eco-friendly energy facilities.
Bathe beneath Iceland's midnight sun at Svartsengi Geothermal Power Station’s Blue Lagoon
It may look natural, but Iceland’s famous Blue Lagoon is actually the runoff from Svartsengi Geothermal Power Station. When the plant was built in the 1970s, the runoff accumulated in a nearby lava field, forming milky aqua pools. Curious locals began bathing there and discovered the high mineral content of the water was good for skin conditions like psoriasis. Today the pools are one of Iceland’s most popular attractions, with hundreds of thousands of visitors lounging in the steamy water, white mud smeared on their faces each year. The Svartsengi facility heats water for more than 20,000 local homes; it's one of a half-dozen geothermal plants in the volcanic island nation.