Do your Copenhagen tours by boat
There are all kinds of Copenhagen tours you can do - and sailing on the canals is one of the best, if you wanna see the inner city from the water. The typical long flat tour boats will take you anywhere ... almost. The major boat hub is Nyhavn "New Harbour". Most of the boats start from there or have it as a stop on their routes.
Taking the "Kanalrundfart" is not necessarily something Copenhageners do all the time. The thing is - when you live here, you don't consider how great it actually is.
I was surprised.. well truth be told.. I didn‘t take any of all the Copenhagen tours available, until fairly late in my adult years when I had to show my friends from abroad the waterside of the city. I was amazed how much I enjoyed it. A pity I waited that long, for it's a beautiful ride and it's fun – not only for tourists.
I made a little video so you can get an impression from the harbour area. Check it out..
Main harbour canal
Doing one of the Copenhagen tours by boat is just the right place to be on a sunny day. It‘s quite a sight when the long boat slides out in the middle of the main canal, giving you an amazing view to all sides. In the background you see the New Opera House .. and right across that (not in the picture), they just finished the brand new Royal Danish Theatre.
Passing the New Opera House ..
There are two major boat companies: "Canal Tours" and "Nettobådene". Both provide good service and there‘s no difference in price. Both have English websites (see below). I tried them both and liked both.. suit yourself. Try out their different routes.
Some boats are almost .. toooo "broad for their bridges".
Keep your head down
Keep in mind that when you're passing under the lower bridges on the oldest canals of the inner city .. it's time to duck. Many people underestimate this fact, but don't worry - the captain will let you know if you should be standing up taking a photo, etc .. they take good care.
Since the dimensions of the canals are rather narrow, the tour companies have realized that the boats can only be up to a certain size - limited by the 16th and 17th century architecture.
The boats are 20 meters (65 feet) long and 5,5 meters (16 feet) wide, so sailing through the old canals of Copenhagen is a challenge at some points.Particularly at one place where the turn is especially sharp - "the devils curve" - a vicious 90 degree turn. Only a very experienced captain can manouver the boat through "with harm to none". This takes skill.
I mean look at that.. are these guys good or what?
Copenhagen was made for what we call "Kanalrundfart". Copenhagen tours on the canals will take you almost anywhere around the old part of town - presenting you with views of the city from the water side. It‘s a great way to experience Copenhagen.
People actually live on the canals..
Coming through the inner, more quiet canals you will see the house boats that have become a trend in the last decades. Many people live here.. on their boats and you will understand them when you visit. I've known several people who had their own boat here and they wouldn't trade for anything.
It's a life that combines living literally on the water, connected to the ocean which is only 20 minutes of sailing away, with the quietness of the canals. The boats offering the Copenhagen tours are of course passing by every once in a while - but since they are the only real "traffic" here, the tranquility is not seriously disturbed.
Canal Tours - DFDS
Yes.. one of the companies is in fact called Canal Tours so there you go. They have their start from Nyhavn "New Harbour" and Gammel Strand next to Højbro Plads (below) with guided tours of approx. 1 hour. In the summer they depart every half hour. Schedule applies also in the winter season - however only on Saturdays.
Højbro Plads is a very central stop/start point
Canal Tours have 5 different lines each with its own colour and route. Each line takes you to yet another area, although they overlap some. Get an overview -
check this map of the five routes.
Season goes from 15th March until 21st December 2008.
"Nettobådene" - the "Netto" boats
This is the other boat company which provides Copenhagen tours on the water. They basically offer the same deal as the competition - only starting from Holmens Church opposite The Old Stock Exchange "Børsen" and with slightly different routes.
Comparing with Canal Tours can pay off in terms of where you wanna go. It's helpful to see where you can get on and off, to suit your needs.For some routes prices are in comparison slightly cheaper. You can recognize them by their colour. While the other company has mostly white coloured boats, the "Netto Boats" are light blue.
Their season is shorter than Canal Tours. Boats sail from 15th March until 19th October. They do however also have departures from Nyhavn where the street of Heibergsgade meets Nyhavn.
In general - don't be shy to ask. People speak excellent English so you'll have all the help you need.
Have a nice trip!
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