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 day when walking the Stroget we took a little detour from that interesting street and wandered around and down until we came upon a canal. We were very weary at this point and longed to sit down for awhile when we saw the departure point for the DFDS Canal Cruises. Our tour was given by a nice young woman in English, Danish and German. She pointed out the Little Mermaid statue, Amalienborg Slot, the National Bank and Maersk Shipping Headquarters, the Stock Exchange and other notable buildings while giving us a little history or fact about each.
The skies were sunny when we departed on our cruise/tour lasted which was supposed to last about 50 minutes. Close to the end and just when we were entering the Nyhavn Canal, the skies burst forth in a drenching, cold rain! Of course, we didn't have one of the covered tour boats!! The 4 of us tried to stay dry under the one, lone umbrella I had brought but that was impossible! We were all soaked!! ADVICE: Always carry an umbrella in Copenhagen!! You never know when the weather will change!
We had planned at some point to take one of these canal tours, but with a less expensive company than DFDS. While it was nice to see some of Copenhagen from the water, we felt this canal tour was overpriced. Tickets for adults were DKK 50; Children DKK 20. The first boat from Gammel Strand leaves about 10:00 am with departures every half hour during the summer. Check the DFDS sight for Winter timetables.
This tip will probably break the travel purist's code for sight-seeing, but I would recommend taking the DFDS Canal Tour of Copenhagen.
The boat sets out from Nyhavn near Kongens Nytorv and cost approx 50 DKK. The one hour guided tour cruises the canals around Slotsholmen, Christianshavn and also takes you out for a sea view of the Little Mermaid.
I went on the second day of my trip and found it useful for getting an idea of places that I wanted to get a closer look at later on my own.
Not only were the views great and the information interesting, the fact that they allow you (encourage really) to bring your beer on board, makes this tour a must for any travel rookie! (or veteran, I think)
As part of our well organised VT meet we all took a hop on hop off canal tour
The first stop was champagne at the Opera house which is a cool piece of architecture also you get stunning views of the palace across the water.
A short stop at the very little mermaid
Then onto Copenhagen's Beach club which seems to be a very trendy spot, we induldged in some sun & sol
The cost was DKK 50
You have to watch out for your boat back otherwise you may be stranded & have to call a cab
We were very fortunate to get the last boat back
A nice way to see a new city is hop on hop off tours, you get to see the main attractions in an easy way. Copenhagen has several options: Three different routes with double deck London buses, and the canal and harbour tours by boat. We had too little info before we started looking for the bus tour: According to our map there were several stops downtown Copenhagen, and we walked from one to the other without finding them. Not an easy task with a four year old with shorter legs than us! Finally we agreed to take a taxi to the Little Mermaid, and once there we found one of the buses! We entered it, and bought part paid tickets at a cost of DKK 100 each. The little one and the moose went for free. This way we got to see the mermaid twice, cause we took it all the way round :-) In fact we saw her four times, cause it was a stop on the harbour tour by boat, too, that we took with the whole VT group the next day, both to and from the beach club (see TLs).
Backpackermoose has a TL with pictures from the bus tour on his Copenhagen page.
- A two day ticket costs DKK 150 and is valid on all three routes.
- All three routes start from Town Hall Square, the easiest place to find them.
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.
In Copenhagen two companies makes canal tours of the canals and harbour. The trips are very similar, they take 1 hour and the guides tell the same about the places in Danish, English, German and sometimes French.
Nettobådene have the cheapest trip. The price is 30 kr. You can get on the boat either at Holmens Kirke (Holmens Church) opposite Børsen (Stock Exchange) or at Nyhavn (At Heibergsgade, walk up 100 meters on the right side of the canal, opposite the colourfull houses). No matter where you get on, the trip is the same. The qualities of the boats are good, but the plastic of the seats is a little sticky to sit on, on warm days.
DFDS Canaltours have the most expensive trips. The price is 60 kr. You can get on at Gl. Strand (opposite Christiansborg Slot – Christiansborg Castle) or at Nyhavn (Where the canal begins). The two trips differ a little. The one from Gl. Strand goes around the island where the opera house is located, the one from Nyhavn just passes by the opera house. The one from Gl. Strand goes to The Little Mermaid and the returns, the one from Nyhavn sails on further to Langelinje, where it turns around.
The quality of the boat is a little better that nettobådene and they also have boats with roofs to rainy days.
Although Copenhagen is unique and has it own nature and sights, there are times when it is reminiscent of Amsterdam. One of these is when you tour the beautiful canals. There are several canal cruises available. I would suggest you check them out and take the least expensive. They all seem to follow a similiar tour. You go up into Nyhavn, then out into the harbor to see the new opera house, and eventually up the coast to the Little Mermaid. Its a pleasant way to spend an hour on a sunny day.
We chose a one day (blue) ticket costing 50 DKK per person (about £5) enabling you to hop on and hop off at whatever stop you require. The route we took travelled along Nyhavn out into open water toward the Opera House. Here we stopped to enjoy a few beers and champagnes before carrying along the route, past the Fortress and the Little Mermaid to the Copenhagen Beach Club where we relaxed for the rest of the day drinking Sol from an ice bucket in the sun. Luckily we just managed to catch the last boat back, otherwise it would have been a cab back to the Centre of Copenhagen!
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.
DFDS Canal Tours
There are several ways to travel through Copenhagen one of them is by boat.
You have a choice of a waterbus hop-on hop-off system or a guided tour of approx. 50 mins. through the canals and the harbour of Copenhagen.
We took the guided tour, because of the great deal of extra inside information on the town.
There are two places to get on the boat at Gammel Strand and Nyhavn. We started the tour at Gammel Strand.
There are a lot of low bridges so mind your head.
Adults DKK 50.00
Children DKK 20.00
First and last boat
First at 10.00 hrs. then every 0.5 hrs until the last departure at 17.00 hrs.
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
One of the most interesting parts of my stay in Copenhagen was the tour in the noumerous canals of the city. One can get on a boat in Nyhavn and have an excellent tour of the city from inside the canals. The trips usually take about an hour and are sure worth the time spent. There are 2 companies offering canal touring services. One of them is private - which means more expensive ticket but better boats - whereas the other one belongs to the city of Copenhagen - which means cheaper ticket but a bit older boats. Personally i chose the second one -the tour was great and the tour guide spoke 3 languages simultaneously, including Japanese.
The boats have 3 different routes and a number of stops. There are no guides, but the great things about these boats are that they allow you to get off and explore the places and get back on when you are done.
The prices are 30 kr for one trip and 50 kr for a day-ticket. On the homepage you can see the different routes, but here I will point out that the green route allows you to get of at Trekroner Fortress just outside the harbour. It is a nice place and it shows how Copenhagen used to defence itself against enemies arriving from the sea. You can also get off at The Little Mermaid or the opera house.
The orange route is more or less the same route as the guided canal tours, here you can get of at Christianshavn and explore the many cafés, Nyhavn or Gl. Strand, where you can see Chritiansborg Castle.
The blue route also takes you to Nyhavn and Gl. Strand, but also to Islands Brygge, where there is a swimming area in the harbour or to Fisketorvet, which is a shopping centre.
The routes are open from 25. May – 3 Sep. 2006 and runs from around 10 – 17 with a stop once an hour at each location.
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.