Canal Boat Cruise in Copenhagen

Canal Boat Cruise in Copenhagen Denmark.jpg

So Many Sights On A Canal Boat Cruise in Copenhagen

When we researched things to do in Copenhagen, most people suggested a canal boat cruise in Copenhagen. But we really did not appreciate how many canals there were. We found it very different than the narrow canal city of Venice and the canals of Amsterdam.

As we walked about the older part of town, we continually crossed another canal. On our canal boat tour, we got a view of several different canals. The scenery varied greatly from one canal to the next.

There were a number of different canal boats to choose from. We bought a Copenhagen Card and got both the Canal Boats of Copenhagen and the Netto Boats cruises. The routes for both cruises were quite similar. There were a couple of different spots to catch the boats but they were not hop-on-hop-off. The start and end points were at the same spot.

Cruising Under the Bridges of Copenhagen

The first thing we learned on our canal boat cruise in Copenhagen was to stay seated in the boat. Many of the bridges we passed under were very low and we did not want to stand up. One of the bridges was barely high and wide enough for the boat to get through. Some of the bridges were decorated with artwork. Most of the bridges had people on them waving as we passed.

Low Bridges.jpg

Low Bridges.jpg

Most of the bridges were quite typical. But the most interesting bridge we saw was the pedestrian Circle Bridge. The bridge had five different sized circular platforms and each section had its own mast. Behind this bridge we got a great view of the Black Diamond waterfront building, an expansion to the Royal Library. This black granite building had glass panels at irregular angles that sparkled like black diamonds with reflections from the sun and water.

Circle Bridge and Black Diamond Building - Canal Boat Cruise in Copenhagen Denmark.jpg

Black Diamond Building.jpg

The biggest bridge we went under was the Inderhavnsbroen bridge that crossed the inner harbour. This was a combined pedestrian and bicycle bridge that joined the Nyhavn and Christianshavn neighbourhoods.

Inderhavnsbroen Bridge - Canal Boat Cruise in Copenhagen Denmark.jpg

Inderhavnsbroen Bridge.jpg

We loved bridges, so a canal boat cruise in Copenhagen gave us a very up close view of the many bridges around the water city.

Seeing the Sights Of Copenhagen

The canal boat cruise in Copenhagen took us past many sights. We got a great water level view of the Nyhavn Canal area. Brightly coloured buildings lined the sides of the canal. Ships of all sizes and types sat in the water. We walked the Nyhavn Canal on another day for a different perspective.

Nyhavn View - Canal Boat Cruise in Copenhagen Denmark.jpg

Nyhavn View.jpg

Nyhavn View - Canal Boat Cruise in Copenhagen Denmark.jpg

The Charlottenborg Gallery had an interesting colourful display on the outside. The art piece was called “Soleil Levant” by Ai Weiwei. It looked like a fall colour display from a distance. But we found it was made from 3,500 salvaged life jackets from refugees that arrived on the Greek Island of Lesbos. It was designed to put focus on the international refugee crisis.

Nyhavn Charlottenborg Gallery Soleil Levant.jpg

Nyhavn Charlottenborg Gallery Soleil Levant - Canal Boat Cruise in Copenhagen Denmark.jpg

Leaving the canal at Nyhavn we saw the very ornate building for the stock exchange. The spiral tower was the first of many towers we saw climbing into the sky in Copenhagen.

Stock Exchange Spiral Tower.jpg

The Royal Danish Playhouse was on the water just outside the Nyhavn canal. We also saw the Opera building from many different angles as we cruised up and down the inner harbour and into the canals.

Royal Danish Playhouse - Canal Boat Cruise in Copenhagen Denmark.jpg

Opera House - Canal Boat Cruise in Copenhagen Denmark.jpg

There was much to see as we cruised on the canals of Copenhagen.

Iconic Sights From A Canal Boat Cruise in Copenhagen

The boat stopped and gave us a view of the current residence of the royal house at Amalienborg. We looked through the fountain to the palace and Frederik’s church beyond. The canal route also took us past the Christianborg Palace. We later explored around both Amalienborg and Christianborg when we checked out the palaces of Copenhagen.

Amalienborg Palace Fredericks Church - Canal Boat Cruise in Copenhagen Denmark.jpg

Christiansborg Palace - Canal Boat Cruise in Copenhagen Denmark.jpg

We hovered just offshore from the famous statue of the Little Mermaid. The spot was crowded with tourists all trying for a selfie pic with the mermaid. We were amused when we visited Vancouver in Canada and saw a similar statue in Stanley Park.

Little Mermaid.jpg

Little Mermaid - Canal Boat Cruise in Copenhagen Denmark.jpg

At one point I saw David focusing his zoom lens on shore. When I looked closely, I saw he captured a replica of the famous statue of David. A reminder of our visit to Florence in Italy.

David Statue - Canal Boat Cruise in Copenhagen Denmark.jpg

A canal boat cruise in Copenhagen gave us a good overview of some of the main sights to visit.

The Neighbourhoods of Copenhagen

The boat moved through many different neighbourhoods along the canals. In the Christianshavn area we moved along a very busy canal filled with boats on all sides. There were shops and restaurants along the canal. We even met a family of swans out for a canal trip.

Christiansborg Neighbourhood.jpg

Christiansborg Neighbourhood.jpg

From the Christianshavn canal we got a glimpse of the Church of Our Saviour with its spiral stairway to the top. We saw this church up close when we walked around Copenhagen.

Christiansborg Neighbourhood - Canal Boat Cruise in Copenhagen Denmark.jpg

One of the canals was a largely residential area. The narration was stopped during this transit since the sound echoed into the houses. We saw some of the most expensive real estate in Copenhagen.

Marina Residence.jpg

The boat cruised past Paper Island and we saw the large street food area on the main waterway. We never made it back there to eat.

There were so many things to see as we cruised the canals of Copenhagen.

Interesting Boats Everywhere

As we moved along on the canal boat cruise in Copenhagen we saw a wide variety of vessels on the water. Canal cruise boats were everywhere.

Boat Halmo Sail.jpg

Boat Kobenhavn.jpg

Boat Tours - Canal Boat Cruise in Copenhagen Denmark.jpg

We circled the royal yacht and admired the lines and decoration. The private yacht seemed less impressive after we saw the royal yacht. But it was still a dream boat! Navy ships were docked in the inner harbour. The most colourful boats we saw were painted with graffiti.

Boat Royal Yacht - Canal Boat Cruise in Copenhagen Denmark.jpg

Boat Private Yacht.jpg

Boat Naval - Canal Boat Cruise in Copenhagen Denmark.jpg

Boat Houseboat Graffiti.jpg

We saw many different water craft on our canal cruise.

Take A Canal Boat Cruise In Copenhagen

For a good overview of this water city, we were happy we took a canal boat cruise in Copenhagen. We saw a number of different waterways. Many of the sights of Copenhagen were best seen from the water. We got up close with many of these tourist sites when we explored Copenhagen on foot.

Did you take a canal boat cruise in Copenhagen? What was your favourite view?

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90 Comments

  1. I have never been to Copenhagen, but I would love to visit it and go on one of those canal boat cruises 🙂 I am saving your post for the future.

  2. Copenhagen looks like such a fairy tale! I always love seeing pictures of it, but reading about the canal cruise was awesome too. I don’t think I will be there any time soon, but I’ve got it for my list!

    • We were glad we had a few days to enjoy Copenhagen. And with our Copenhagen Card we got to do two different canal cruises. A great way to enjoy the sights.

  3. Copenhagen is still on my must visit list. So many people at the mermaid statue. Will have to come there early to be able to take a decent photo of it. Love taking a cruise to see a city from the water. Just a different perspective.

  4. The artichitecture that you saw on this cruise was strikingly diverse! As were the all the different types of watercrafts. I never would have imagined that a Canal Cruise could be so visually engaging! Copenhagen just moved one notice higher on my Petsitting Bucket List, thanks to this article!

    • I hope you can find a pet sitting spot in Copenhagen one day. We too were amazed at the variety of things we saw in the different neighbourhoods. A good way to decide where we wanted to go back and wander.

  5. That canal boat cruise looks fun, Linda. How cool they’ve got an Ai Weiwei piece on display at the moment. I think Circle Bridge would be my favourite bridge too. Quite possibly Ellie & I never really gave the city the credit it deserves (and we even got married in Denmark). Except for a short stroll around Nyhavn and the city centre we’ve never really done much sightseeing there. Will earmark your post for when we return. Might be soon as it will be a stopover for one of the trips we have planned (and which got cancelled last year).

    • I am glad to show you a broader view of Copenhagen. We sure saw far more than we thought we would. Hope you get to go back and explore more. Maybe for a wedding anniversary!

  6. I always love to do river cruising in cities as it gives you a completely different perspective of the place. Copenhagen cruise sounds like a lot of fun, I have to definitely try it once I visit the city. Thanks for this inspiring article.

    • We too like to get out on the water for a different perspective. There were so many different areas of Copenhagen we might have missed if we just wandered in the old city.

  7. What a great way to experience Copenhagen! The Pedestrian Circle Bridge is an interesting piece of architecture indeed. Also fascinated by “Soleil Levant”, such a unique way to shed light on an international crisis!

  8. Beautiful pictures! I wish I’d have taken more photos like then when I did the Copenhagen boat tour. Looks like you were luckier with the weather than I was though.

    • It was a good thing we actually did two different canal boat tours in Copenhagen as the weather was different on the two days. So much to see in the different areas.

  9. I think exploring Copenhagen from the canals is a great way to see the city, it looks so interesting and very different to the canals in Amsterdam indeed.

  10. We were in Copenhagen for the day on a cruise a couple of summers ago, and decided to do the HOHO bus to get a feel for the city. But after reading your post, I’m kicking myself that we didn’t go for the canal cruise! If we go back, I’m definitely going to book tickets for it 🙂

    • It is always hard to pick just one excursion on a cruise day. We were happy we went to Copenhagen a few days in advance of our cruise starting. The canal cruise was definitely a great way to get a broad view of the city. A good choice if you get back to Copenhagen.

  11. I love boats and cruises in general and canal cruise seems like a great way to explore the sights of Copenhagen. I’d love to walk around as well but like you say, you end up exploring a lot more when on the cruise so I’d mix the two – explore on the cruise first and then choose which area to walk around in. Copenhagen seems like such a lovely city!

    • It certainly was a good choice to mix the canal boat tour and some wandering around. The boat showed us some of the sights we definitely wanted to spend some more time at.

  12. Oh i would love to do this. We are going here on a stop over before heading to lapland next year, i may need to add this to my to do list. I love the buildings, they are so colourful.

    • I hope you do get enough time on your stopover in Copenhagen to explore a bit. We did love the canal boat cruise to see so many different areas that you might miss if you spend your time just in the Old Town.

  13. This is so interesting! Sounds like a great experience so certainly want to do it once I get to visit this beautiful country 😍

  14. I enjoy these types of experiences, Your commentary and photos are excellent. Seeing things from the water certainly offers a different perspective and would be something to do early in the visit and then returning to explore items of interest revealed on the cruise.

    • The canal cruise in Copenhagen was a great surprise. We love to see cities from the water. But on this one we saw so much more than we expected. And showed us some fun new spots to re-visit.

  15. I loved my trip to Copenhagen, but I visited everywhere on foot. After reading your post I wish I had taken a boat cruise – definitely something to do next time!

    • We were definitely glad we did the canal cruise in Copenhagen early on our visit. Otherwise we too would have missed so many things we saw from the cruise. A great one for a return visit.

  16. It sounds like a great way to visit the city! Copenhagen is still on my list of cities to visit soon, and your post inspired me to think about seeing it (at least some of it) from a boat. The canals seem to offer a great perspective.

  17. Canal boat looks like the perfect way to see Copenhagen! What a relaxing way to site back and enjoy the sights! One of those bridges look like a bit of a squeeze though! Thanks for the great guide!

    • The low bridges were certainly a treat. There were some I was really not sure how we made it through. But they added to the fun of the canal boat tour in Copenhagen.

  18. I’m actually in Copenhagen now! I love the canal boats! I also recommend renting a Go Boat too if you want to drive it yourself

    • Next time we visit Copenhagen we would definitely want to try the Go Boats. Fun to be able to poke around at your own pace and see different things. Enjoy your stay!

  19. I love how much you were able to see on these canal boat cruise in Copenhagen. Glad though that I am not a taller feller cause those bridges come pretty close to some people’s heads! Personally, we love taking city boat cruises cause you get to see the city in so many unique angles. Plus you can see so many hidden gems like that art display of the 3500 life jackets by Ai Weiwei along your canal boat cruise in Copenhagen.

    • We were so amazed at how the boats made it through some of the low bridges. We certainly were not tempted to stand up. The canal boat cruise brought us to so many spots and gave us such a better understanding of the city. Hope you get to visit one day.

  20. I love canal boat rides. What a great and different way to see a city. I love that you got the pass and were able to go on two tours. I haven’t been to Denmark, but I would totally do these tours!

  21. This looks like a lot of fun! Some kind of cruise/boat tour is always on my list when visiting a new destination, and it seems like the perfect way to explore a city like Copenhagen with all the canals. Those bridges look like a tight fit! But the scenery is beautiful, I would love to see all the colorful houses/buildings and the boats!

  22. Copenhagen looks like such a lovely place to visit! And what a fun way to explore the city. I would love to see the Little Mermaid statue! Thanks for sharing.

  23. Cruising the canals looks like a great time. What a great way to see the variety of architecture. I can’t believe the bridge clearances (and the boats built to suit.

    • The low bridges were fascinating. I worried a bit about tide levels but I am sure that is all factored in. We sure were not tempted to stand up. But seated we still got amazing views of Copenhagen.

  24. I think you got the absolute best view of the Little Mermaid. The crowds make it hard to see from shore. I visited Copenhagen in the spring, but we didn’t think of a canal cruise. It is a great idea to see the city from the water.

    • We always love the different perspective you get in a city from the water. And Copenhagen was so much larger than we expected. Loved we got better views of things like the Little Mermaid than the view from land.

  25. Wowza! The canals are so, so wide in Copenhagen! It is mad to think how tough it must have been to excavate that much land! I love seeing all the bridges and the various boats on the water!

    Also (this is a super random thought…) but the top of the ornate building for the stock exchange totally looks like the horn of a narwhal to me!

  26. I didn’t do the canal cruise the last time I visited Venice, cause I couldn’t afford it. But I did the river cruise in Porto and I do agree you’ll get a very different perspective from the waters. Love the though provoking artwork by Ai weiwei. Will definitely check this out when I visit Copenhagen!

  27. I was supposed to go to Copenhagen in 2017 but had the trip cancelled because of a work trip (luckily, that was in Milan so it wasn’t a total loss). However, I’d really like go to someday to check out what I missed! I love the idea of exploring by boat to be able to capture all these beautiful shots from the water. The Inderhavnsbroen has an interesting modern vibe, and I really like that piece of art you found by Ai Weiwei.

    • I hope you do get to visit Copenhagen. We were certainly happy we came in early for our cruise and got to explore the city. The canal boat trip was certainly a treat.

  28. I love Copenhagen and have taken a boat out but never gone on one of the cruises. Next time I am there I will definitely go on one.

    • We knew seeing the Mermaid would not be the solo experience we wanted. So at least from the boat we got a different view. A great reason for a canal boat tour in Copenhagen.

  29. Wow! I never thought of doing a canal cruise in Copenhagen, but I’ll be sure to next time. Great post- very thorough.

  30. Judging from the Ai Wai Wai installation with the life vests, we must have been in Copenhagen approximately at the same time. I also did the canal cruise, and although it was like April or May, there was not only rain, there was hail! Well, that’s what you get when travelling Scandinavia. I really like the different church towers and the many wonderful art museums. What I don’t like, though, are the prices…

    • We were glad we got the different perspective from the canal cruise. I too remember the high prices. But we did find a few cafeteria like options to balance out the more expensive meals. Sadly much of the Scandinavian countries we visited during our fall trip had rain. So I got a less beautiful view than I expected.

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