Copenhagen was originally founded as a Viking fishing village in the 10th century, and continues to enjoy a close affiliation with the sea to this day. The Danish capital’s harbour spans out across a network of canals which weave their way into the heart of the city. Some of Copenhagen’s most famous landmarks line the sea front; making canal boat tours a great way to take in the city’s sights.
Take in the city from the water
Copenhagen’s mix of charming canals and famous landmarks attracts tourists from all corners of the globe. As well as visiting attractions such as the Tivoli Gardens or the hippy commune of Christiania, visitors can also enjoy some of the city’s top landmarks from the water.
If you’re travelling as part of a group, it can often be tricky deciding which parts of the city to see. This is when a boat tour comes in handy, offering a relaxing cruise along the city’s picturesque canals and harbour. It’s a great way for your entire group to see some of the capital’s most iconic landmarks from the water.
Tours depart from various points in the city, all within easy reach of our Radisson Blu Scandinavia Hotel.
One of the most popular tour companies is Netto Boats. Their cruises depart regularly from morning until early evening from just outside the beautiful Holmens Church. The boats sail with glass roofs and heating during the colder months, whilst groups of 15 or more are entitled to a 20 per cent discount throughout the year.
What to look out for from the water
Upon departure from Holmens Church, you’ll make your way along to the idyllic Nyhavn. Restaurants and bars line the quay of one of the oldest and liveliest parts of Copenhagen harbour, which is popular with locals and visitors both day and night.
As you exit Nyhavn you’ll sail past the large Memorial Anchor; a tribute to the 1600 Danish sailors who lost their lives in the Second World War.
Audio guides are available in a range of languages and will alert you to the key sights along the way, including the area of Holmen which served as the city’s naval headquarters for over 300 years. Today it is home to a naval college, as well as several prominent art schools.
As you continue along Holmen you can’t fail to notice the large mast crane; an impressive structure which has marked the entrance to Copenhagen harbour since 1748.
The Little Mermaid
From there the journey continues on to Copenhagen’s most famous attraction; the iconic Little Mermaid statue. She is the main character in one of the classic fairy tales by Danish author Hans Christian Andersen, and has guarded Copenhagen’s waters since 1913.
Next up you’ll get a fabulous rear side view of Amalienborg Palace, the residence of the Danish royal family since 1794. Once you’re back on land, it’s well worth returning for a tour of the Palace museum or to witness the changing of the guards.
The cruise then makes its way in to the beautiful Christianshavn Canal, a yacht-lined waterway which stretches through residential areas. It is also home to Our Saviour’s Church, famed for its unique corkscrew-like spire and external staircase which follows it to the top.
Then, as you enter Fredriksholm’s Canal, keep an eye out for the National Museum building and the Old Fishmarket.
With the tour nearing its end, you’ll pass by the majestic Danish parliament building. Christianborg Palace has been the home of the country’s ruling bodies for 800 years. Fans of Scandinavian TV dramas, meanwhile, may recognise it as one of the main locations from the hit political series ‘Borgen’.
Grab a bite to eat before hitting the water
In recent years, Copenhagen has become renowned for its world class restaurants and creative cuisine. Before heading off on your leisurely canal cruise, why not sample some of the city’s best dishes for yourself.
Denmark’s most traditional culinary delight, the Danish hot dog, can be sampled from street vendors throughout the city. The most loved variant is the long, thin and distinctively red coloured hot dog. One of the city’s most loved hot dog stalls is known simply as ‘Døp’ – short for ‘The Organic Hot Dog Man’. Locals have previously voted it as Copenhagen’s best eatery, so why not visit this humble stand next to the Round Tower in the city centre.
Alternatively, and seeing as you’re about to head on the water, head to Fiskebaren (The Fish Bar) for a delicious seafood feast. The menu features fish and shellfish from the surrounding waters, including oysters, clams, king crab and halibut. And with an exquisite wine list to match, Fiskebaren is the perfect place for your pre-boat tour lunch.