There are numerous canal tours in Copenhagen and I could not recommend doing one highly enough. Having walked the length and breadth of the city and hopping on and off the site-seeing buses to our hearts content it was great to see the city from another perspective, from the water. There are two places in Copenhagen that you can board one of the cruises, the colourful Nyhavn and where we started from, Gammel Strand. I had pre booked our tickets via Viator for £7.50 each which in my opinion is a bargain. Of course you don’t need to pre book tickets as both ports, for want of a better word, have ticket booths. They run every hour starting at 9.30am from Nyhavn and 10.00am from Gammel Strand and early August when we visited many of them looked full or nearly full. So I’d advise not simply rocking up at the last-minute as you may be left disappoint.
01 May – 26 June: 1 to 4 departures per hour from 10:00 – 18:00
27 June – 16 August: up to 6 departures per hours from 10:00 – 20:30
17 August – 13 September: 1 to 4 departures per hour from 10:00 – 18:00
14 September – 11 March: departures at 09:30, 11:00, 12:20, 14:40 and 15:00
12 March – 30 April: 1 to 4 departures per hour from 09:30 – 18:00
The canal tours run all year round even in the winter months. If you do chose to take a canal tour in Copenhagen when the weather isn’t that great you don’t need to worry as in winter the boats have glass roofs and are heated so you still get to see the sights without freezing although of course your photograph opportunities may be hindered.
On board you will find the captain, of course, together with a tour guide. Ours was the lovely and multi lingual Louise who constantly reminded us to sit down as the bridges are very low that we passed under and when I say low I mean really low, I was ducking and holding my breath each time we went under one. You are also given a set of headphones to listen to the audio guide which is available at every seat and gives you great information about where you are and the buildings you are seeing. We were lucky enough to visit Copenhagen during a mini heat wave so as the boat made its way along the canals it was nice to feel the breeze in our faces. We were also lucky as we did the 10.00am – 11.00pm and by 12.30pm it started raining. Our boat was open-topped which was great for taking photograph but would have been rubbish if the rain had come whilst we were on it.
The canals are very busy with sightseeing boats, private little boats, row boats, kayaks and even swimmers. Yes swimmers, there are many properties that line the canals and the water is apparently so clean people swim in them on hot days. We were fortunate to see the royal yacht which was anchored just off the coast and was being cleaned/worked on. Louise informed us that it was rarely there, perhaps the Queen was planning a holiday or a royal trip? We also saw many of Copenhagen’s iconic buildings and monuments including the Black Diamond and the Little Mermaid, albeit from the back. We did of course revisit the Little Mermaid so we could see her from the front too. As one of the most popular attractions in Copenhagen she always pulls in a crowd.
We then sailed through Holmen which was the naval base of Copenhagen for more than 300 years. Holmen is situated on 4 islands. Here you will see The Danish Film School, The Drama School, The Academy Of Rhythmic Music and The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts Architect School. Together with a number of funky glass fronted offices where you can see people hard at work. As the boat passes under the last bridge before arriving back at its original starting point be sure to look under the water on the left hand side of the boat and you will see the sculpture of the Merman with 7 Sons. A canal cruise is a great way of spending 60 minutes in this fascinating city either as an introduction or as a farewell.