Canal & Harbour Tours, Copenhagen
The most comfortable way to visit the town is to take place in one of the low boats that navigate the canals, listening to the explanations of the most remarkable details of the monuments and public places.
If, in the beginning you may complaint for the low level of the boats, that sometimes impeaches a good sight of the buildings, but you will finally discover, passing under some bridges, that they have exactly the centimeters allowed by the space. And... mind your head...
The boat departs from Nyhavn or Gammel Strand 26. The first afternoon (in July) we had tried to catch the boat at Nyhavn around 2pm but it was very busy. So next morning we went to Gammel Strand at 10am and and bought the tickets, K75 each. Most trips have guides with Danish and English but others also speak Spanish or Italian or German, French or Portugese.
We then sailed through the city to scenic Nyhavn and past a couple of houses that Hans Christian Anderson lived at. Out past the Opera House and the Little Mermaid, then back through Christianshavn, past the library and National Museum to Gammel Strand.
Though the splendor of town is naturally enhanced by sunlight, in a good day, dusk softens the colours, and allows other sensations from the fading landscape.
Under the dimmed lights everything gets more intimacy, another life comes out of the buildings as artificial light changes their expression, and a sense of tranquility spreads over the city.
Who cares if, somewhere in the shadows, there's a little statue of a mermaid that...
Providing the weather is good, you just must go on a canal and harbour tour in Copenhagen.
You get a different view of the city, and they're really good value.
The tours leave from Nyhavn and there seems to be 2 Tour companies who operate.
We went with Canal Tours Copenhagen whose berth was at the end of Nyhavn dock.
They had tours every half an hour or so and the commentary is in different languages but most we saw included English.
The tour took us round some of the backwaters which you probably won't see simply by walking around, out into the harbour to circle past the Little Mermaid statue, back down to the pretty Christiania District, out across the Harbour again to the Main Canal which passes through the centre of Copenhagen and back round to Nyhavn. I think it lasted about an hour but was very good value for money at DKK75 and the commentary was very interesting.
By 4pm my feet are killing me and Im ready to pack it in but just before looking for a bus we spot the canal tours. Seemed like a perfect way to end our day.It cost about $15.00 each we enjoyed an hour tour ..in Engish and Danish .It gave us a look at much of the city from the water. We saw the Old Stock Exchange, the Church of Our Saviour, the Royal Palace , the Black Diamond ...which an interesting black library built in 2000...I thought it was rather ugly ...but hey that's me...the Sixtus Battery , and the strange hippy neighbor hood of Christana ..where we were treated by a guy swimming naked in the canal.
A "Kanalrundfart" (Canal Tour) is a must in Copenhagen. Especially on a sunny day it is great to be out on the water, but in case of bad weather there are some covered boats you can join.
There are two main canal tour operators: Canal Tours Copenhagen and Netto-Bådene. The blue Netto Boats start at Nyhavn or Holmens Church, and the Canal Tours start at Nyhavn or Gammel Strand.
There are guided tours (in Danish, English and German) and unguided tours - and tours of various durations, so check the route before you go. The most common tour is a 1 hour guided tour where you will pass Nyhavn, The Little Mermaid, Amalienborg Castle, Holmen, The Opera, The Royal Library (The Black Diamond), Christiansborg, The Stock Exchange, Langelinie, Christianshavn Canal and a few more sights…
If you decide to take the main tour (as mentioned above) you should go with the Netto Boats. The price at the Netto Boats is 40 DKK (adults) while the price at the Canal Tours is 75 DKK (adults) for a nearly similar tour (2013 prices).
One of "Must see" atractions. Canal Tours takes you through the old and the new parts of Copenhagen and will tell you about all the sights and moments of interest in Danish history. Tours are in Danish and English and also a third language which may be German, Italian, Portuguese, French and Spanish.
The classic harbour tour with departure from Nyhavn covers the folllowing: Operaen - Den Lille Havfrue - Amalienborg Slot - Amaliehaven - Christianshavn - Vor Frelsers Kirke - Den Sorte Diamant - Nationalmuseet - Gammel Strand - Christiansborg Slot - Holmens Kirke - Nationalbanken - Nyhavn
This will give you new perspective and as unique expirience f.e. you may see Den Sorte Diamant form wather side.
Ticket (Single Journey) Adults is DKK 70 and Children (3-11 years) DKK 40
Family Ticket 2 adults and max. 3 children (3-11 years) DKK 180
Full day pass valid for guided tours and the waterbus for Adults is DKK 85 and Children (3-11 years) DKK 50
When you go to Copenhagen for the first time I think that you should start with a canal tour.
There are two campanies(DFDS and Netto boats) covering the major sights of Copenhagen.
It gives you a great overview of Copenhagen from the waterside and you'll have a guide to tell you stuff about Copenhagen and it's beautifull buildings.
Some people say that it wasn't a good experiance but that is something that I really don't get!
Some of the boats are covered but it is highly recommended to take the ones who's not covered but it has to be a sunny day then!
Some practical information about DFDS tours:
Price: 40/70 DKK
Departure from Nyhavn and Gammel Strand
Opening hours at Nyhavn: From 9.30(oct.31 till Dec 31 at 10:15). The closing time are varying. In the summer they close at 20:00 and there are 6 departues per hour.
The opening hours at Gammel Strand are different!
Some practical information abour Netto boat tours:
Netto boats start at Nyhavn and Holmens Church.
Price: 20/40 DKK
Doesn't compare with Amsterdam's canal maze, but definitely worth it. It is also a good way to get to know your whereabouts before you do your sightseeing on land. The typical canal tour takes in some key sights that you may choose to take a closer look at later; like the Little Mermaid, the Opera etc. There are a number of tours, most of them start at Nyhavn. You can also drop off on your way, especially good option if you have the Copenhagen Freedom Ticket. DFDS Canal Tours have 8-10 different options. Check the program for each season.
Single ticket around DKK 70, family ticket DKK 180.
There are a number of canal tours available. Varying in length and whether you use the boat to hop on and off.
It is the perfect way to way to see CPH. As the city has an enormous connection to the sea the perspective form the canals offers some of the finer views of the buildings and settings.
Also, this is the only way to see why the Black Diamond is thus named (as the water erflections twinkles, shines and shimmers on it).
Hop-on hop-off waterbuses (organized by DFDS) have three different routes and with a one-day ticket (50 DKK/adult) you can hop on and off the boat as many times as you like at various sights. You can also switch to another route when you have the one-day ticket. These tours aren't guided.
Very convenient and a good way to see more of the city than just by foot. For more information on different routes and prices go to DFDS website.
Great way to see CPH from a different angle is taking a canal tour. The biggest company offering the tours is DFDS. The have both guided tours and hop-on hop-off waterbuses that aren't guided.
The guided tours leave from Nyhavn and Gammel strand, departure every ½ hour. The duration of the tour is approx. 60 mins. Both tours are basically the same so it doesn't matter whether you choose Nyhavn or Gammel strand.
I took a boat from Gammel strand and really liked the tour. The city looks different from the water and I especially enjoyed seeing all the boats docked in Christianshavn and going under the low and narrow bridges. It does geet quite chilly on the boat, so be sure to bring your jacket. DFDS has boats with roofs so you can sit inside where it's warmer, but I chose to sit outside at the back so I was able to see as much as possible.
The tours are guided in Danish and English, the one that I took was also in Spanish. Ticket for the guided tour was 60 DKK (~8 EUR) adults, 30 DKK children.
This gem of a tour gives you a great view of Copenhagen and I highly recommend it. The first part of the tour is in a coach (one of the Hop-on Hop-off) varieties which takes you through the diplomatic north of centre quarter to the first stop which is the Amalienborg Plads. This is the sight of the royal palace, and we were lucky as it was close to mid-day which allowed us to see the changing of the guard.
Once the guards have been changed and a number of pictures taken, the coach takes you to up to the Kastellet or fort which was built to protect the city from invaders (most notably the Swedes) where the Little Mermaid is also located. You of course are let out of the coach to take more pictures. My friend refused to take part in what seemed like a tacky tourist trick, but I couldn't resist getting Andersen's inspired sea maiden on digital! The coach then takes you back to Hojbro Plads passing by the Rosenborg Have and Copenhagen's 'latin quarter'.
You then board a boat which takes you first through the harbour where you get some fantastic views of Copenhagen's (post)modern architecture, and it is sublime. The buildings you get to see include the Operaen (Opera house) and Den Sorte Diamant (extension of the Royal Library). It then takes you into the Frederiksholm which used to be the base for the Danish navy. This spot is great as it shows how well the Danes have been able to convert, yet preserve buildings from the past. All of the buildings were navy structures before, but now have been transformed into beautiful flats or offices. I especially admired the old torpedo hall which was transformed into modern appartments. Finally, the boat takes you through the 17th century Christianshavn which was built under the reign of Christian IV and built in the Dutch style - very reminiscent of Amsterdam.
It then takes you back to Hojbro Plads, where I suggest getting off, walking up the Stroget (main shopping street) to Nyhavn for lunch.
Check out the site below and if interested, book the City & Harbour Tour (175 Kr = approx. £19.00)
I don't remember which company I went with, but you'll see the various tour boats in the canal. I found the canal tour to be a very enjoyable way to get an overview of the city. It also allows you to photos from a different perspective than when you are on land.
We did this boat tour as part of our excursion from the ship and we had truely wonderful trip. THis tour was specific for our ship but you can have similar harbour tours and ones were you can hop on and off.