See another side of the Danish Capital from the water
See another side of the Danish capital from the water
It’s midsummer here in Scandinavia. The light lingers late into the evening, fragrant with blossoming hyldeblomst, climbing roses and salt air. Sunrise peeks in our windows a bit too early with the chirping sing-song of birds reminding us how long these Danish summer days are for exploring. When the sun is shining and the weather warm, the whole Copenhagen harbor will be heaving with people enjoying the clean, clear water along the canals. While you can (and should) take a dip from the shore or at one of the beautiful area beaches, this year, may I suggest you see a different side of the city and captain a customizable canal cruise. Even if you don’t have your own boat, there are plenty of ways to experience this pretty city from the water.
Copenhagen prides itself on keeping the canals clean and safe enough to swim. But recent news about sewage systems dumping directly into the Øresund was cause for alarm. Check the water quality before you head out and are wanting to get more than your toes wet. Websites like badevand.dk will let you know where issues have arisen and there may be risks from a swim. Want to know what the water temperature will be? Check out the Danish Meteorologic Institute website or app. DMI lets you search the map for havtemperatur, sea temperature.
If commanding your own boat, go with the flow and keep to the right, as you would in your car or by bike. Within the main Copenhagen harbor, top speed is no more than 6 knots, keeping it safe for all who are sailing. Watch out for larger vessels like harbor busses or tourist canal boats and maintain distance when passing another vessel. And please, do your part to keep the canals clean by packing out all your trash.
Fashion a picnic or bring aboard some snacks. Chill the rosé for your group, but keep your captain sober. Take your pick of options depending on your boating prowess. Plot your course to catch all the Copenhagen icons or just slip along soaking in the city. It’s up to you. Design your own grand tour around Copenhagen aboard a boat.
Rent your own electric picnic boat
A perfect way to keep your cruising clean and sustainable this summer, plan ahead and book an electric picnic boat from one of these green operators in Copenhagen. Not super fast, but so very fun, enjoy the views with your tapas on the little picnic table set smack in the middle. These cute crafts allow a total of 8 including you and your friends. No boating license is required, but be prepared to show ID. And remember, you must be 18 years or older to captain a boat.
Christianshavn | Trangravsvej 1, 1436 København K, Denmark
Find Friendships across the Inner harbor bridge (or “Kissing Bridge”) from Nyhavn. Pass the street food at Broens Gadekøkken and head straight back to the end of the canal. Popular in summer, especially before sunset – be sure to book ahead online. Maps available and a quick driving course at the beginning. See more from our last summer sail aboard Friendships on my YouTube channel. Subscribe and get even more ideas for days out in Denmark. Prices for rentals are per boat and include up to 8 people with lifevests if needed.
1 hour | DKK 420-
2 hours | DKK 750-
3 hours | DKK 999-
Every additional hour | DKK 333-
Islands Brygge 10 | 2300 København S, Denmark
Explore the southern end of the Copenhagen Harbor by beginning your boat tour in Islands Brygge. The GoBoat dock is right near the popular harbor bath and public “beach” area. Sustainability is important here and these electric boats are solar-powered. Pick up some organic snacks at their cute outpost on the canal before your cruise. Check out GoBoat’s Facebook page for coordinated events like live music or pop-up food offerings that make your experience all the more magical.
1 hour | DKK 499-
2 hours | DKK 899-
3 hours | DKK 1199-
Discounts for multiple hours off-peak season of June, July, August. Prices for up to 8 people/boat and include lifevests if needed.
Sightseeing the canals by kayak
For those who prefer to make your time on the water a little more active, consider the view from the side of a kayak. So close to the surface, there is something so very unique about paddling yourself about town.
Børskaj 12 | 1221 København, Denmark
Not a certified sea kayaker? No problem. Kayak Republic offers sit-upon single and double kayaks for rent right from their center city spot on Holmens canal, below the Knippels Bridge. Take one for the hour or the whole day, the stable, easy to maneuver sit-upon kayaks are perfect for those without EEP 2 or BCU 2 sea-kayaking certification. Enjoy a meal and drinks post paddle at the Kayak Bar and floating “beach” right on the canal. Guided tours and kayak training courses also available on site, check the website (above) for details.
Single sit-upon kayak | DKK 195- per hour
Double sit-upon kayak | DKK 295- per hour (fits 2 adults + child in middle)
City tours | begin at DKK 395- per person
All rentals come with life vests and paddles.
NOTE: Everybody renting a kayak must meet the following requirements:
– Can swim at least 150 meters without a floatation device
– Must be 18 years of age or accompanied by a responsible adult.
If these requirements can not be met, you are still able to go for a kayak ride, though you must be accompanied by one of our trained instructors. It is expected that you will be sober and respectful of our established safety regulations.
Please note that kayak groups larger than four kayaks are required to have an accompanying instructor. – Kayak Republic
@ Friendships | Trangravsvej 1, 1436 København K, Denmark
@ Kayak Republic | Børskaj 12, 1221 København, Denmark
@ Green Island | Kalvebod Brygge 9, 1560 København V, Denmark
@ Lavuk Nordhavn Svaneknoppen 7a, 2100 København Ø, Denmark
@ Kayakklubben Nordhavn | Göteborg Plads 2, 2150 København, Denmark
This social sustainability setup allows you free access to sit-upon kayaks to cruise the Copenhagen harbor in return for scooping up trash along your route. It’s a win-win-win – for you. For the city. And for the sea. Book a time online to pick up a kayak at one of their 5 above outposts around town. Your kayak will be outfitted with a bucket to fill and snatcher grabbers to pluck all the pollution you find while you paddle. Book a time online and have fun while helping keep the canals clean.
Little motorboats for hire
NEAR FISKETORVET ON THE CANAL | 1561 København, Denmark
“Buster” boat for 4 people (+1 child)
1 hour | DKK 35o-
3 hours | DKK 750-
6 hours | DKK 1300-
“Pioner” boat for 6 people (+1 child)
1 hour | DKK 45o-
3 hours | DKK 950-
6 hours | DKK 1800-
A few of the famous landmarks you’ll see along the Copenhagen Harbor
Den Lille Havfrue | Little Mermaid
Reffen Street Food and views of Amager Bakke
Skuespilhuset | Royal Danish Playhouse
Kulturtårnet | Culture Tower on Knippelsbro
Cirkelbroen or Circle Bridge
The “Black Diamond” or Danish Royal Library
Blox building home of Danish Architecture Center and views of City Hall
Grab a guided boat tour instead
For those who don’t feel comfortable navigating the waters on your own, try one of these curated tours of the town.
Ofelia Plads | Kvæsthusbroen 1, 1252 København, Denmark
Some of the best small boat tours in town, step aboard a Hey Captain cruise the happening public pier Ofelia Plads. See all the important landmarks in just one hour on the water. Get more in-depth local insight with their two-hour “Hidden Gems” tour. Included in your tour are non-alcoholic beverages, which can be upgraded to beer and wine for an additional cost. Check the website for current Corona guidelines and booking availability. Hey Captain vessels carry 12 people, so you can book a public tour or plan to fill the whole boat.
Public tour DKK 200- per person/hour
Private tour for 12 DKK 2000-/hour
Beer DKK 40- (max 2)
Glass of wine DKK 40- (max 2)
Refshalevej 163B | 1432 København K, Denmark
Want to keep it green, but don’t feel like being your own crew? Duffy boats offer swanky covered electric vessels for up to 8 or 11 people. Bring your own food and drinks or pre-order beverages only with Duffy. Pop on your ride near Reffen, or book a different pick up spot for an extra charge.
Small Duffy Boat for up to 8 people | DKK 2300- for 2 hours
Large Duffy Boat for up to 11 people | DKK 2800- for 2 hours
Optional guided tour | additional DKK 800-
Nyhavn 3 | 1051 København, Denmark
VED STRANDEN 26 | 1061 KØBENHAVN, DENMARK
Mainly for tourists coming to town, the large Stromma canal boats offer a perfect starter for experiencing Copenhagen. Guided in several languages, you’ll see all the iconic sites. 1-hour tours begin at the end of the Nyhavn canal near Kongens Nytorv or near the Strøget/Højbro Plads at Ved Stranden. At only DKK 99-, it’s the value option to see the city from the water.
1-hour Grand Tour | DKK 99-/person
Family ticket for Grand Tour | DKK 289- for 2 adults and 3 children (ages 6-15)
Go Canoeing in Greater Copenhagen
Frederiksdal Canoe and Kayak
Go a little further afield and rent a canoe, rowboat, kayak or stand up paddleboard and float along the mill stream between the Furesø, Lyngby Sø and Bagsværd Sø. A day along these lovely tree-lined lakes is an idyllic day out.
READ MORE HERE: DAY OUT IN DENMARK | CANOEING OUTSIDE COPENHAGEN
So many ways to get out on the water. This town is built for boats. And bicycles. But don’t miss exploring Copenhagen from the sea. Pin it for now, or save it for later. Cheers from here. Erin