Copenhagen Canals: The Water Route through Denmark’s Capital

Copenhagen is a great walking city – after all, it’s home to Strøget, the longest pedestrian shopping area in Europe, as well as countless squares, parks, and other places to wander. But you’ll be missing out if you keep your feet on solid ground for your whole visit. One of the best ways to get a feel for this dynamic city is to take a cruise along Copenhagen’s canals.

The Church of Our Saviour is known for its distinctive spire with an external spiral staircase.
The 17th-century Old Stock Exchange is topped by a spire shaped like four entwined dragon tails.

The hour-long tour loops through various canals and the harbor area, taking in many of Copenhagen’s main sights, including Nyhavn, the Opera House, the Little Mermaid, Amalienborg Palace, the Church of Our Savior (Vor Frelsers Kirke), the Royal Library (known as the Black Diamond), the National Museum, Christiansborg Palace, the Holmen Church (Holmens Kirke), the old Stock Exchange, and the National Bank. In between, you’ll pass through quiet residential neighborhoods where locals relax along the canal banks or on the many boats tied up alongside.

As you travel through the waterways, multilingual guides share stories about Copenhagen’s history and quirks. You may have to listen closely to avoid missing information since the guides switch frequently between languages – often, it seems, without pausing for breath. They also issue frequent warnings as the boat passes beneath low bridges spanning the canals, so make sure you’re paying attention and keep your head down when cautioned.

The Circle Bridge, opened in 2015, is open to pedestrian and bicycles. It consists of five circular platforms with masts designed to resemble a ship those of a ship.

Practical information:

Canal Tours Copenhagen has frequent daily departures year round from Nyhavn and Gammel Strand.

Netto-Bådene offers a similar tour, with departures from Nyhavn and Holmens Kirke.

Latest update: October 12, 2018

Related article:

Stockholm by Boat: Getting Out on the Water in the Venice of the North

Public Transportation in Copenhagen: Getting to and around Denmark’s Capital

4 thoughts on “Copenhagen Canals: The Water Route through Denmark’s Capital”

  1. Dear whomever is reading the message. I hope you’re doing well. This is Yousef Alsinan, I am a student I’m Arizona State University in the United States. I am contacting you regarding some information I need for a project I am working on about the Copenhagen Canals.

  2. What are the names of the canals? I’m especially looking for the main one that runs from the location of the Little Mermaid to the Royal Danish Library.

  3. Dears,
    I remember from a lady tour gide, while on a boat in Copenhagen during my younghood. She said there are 88 canals therein. I still remember the phrase as she said in Danish: Akhten khakhten khrakhten. Now a fiend of mine now living in Denmark says this phrase is not in Deutch. As such how is that then?
    All regards,
    Mashallah Ali-Ahyaie

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