Since my family and I live just three hours from Copenhagen, we’ve made our fair share of trips to the city. We live in a small town called Billund (aka the home of LEGO) where we spend a lot of time exploring The LEGO House and LEGOland with all of the tourists visiting our town.
But when we are looking for a weekend getaway and want to eat some yummy food in Copenhagen, we head to the city, spend the night in one of our favorite Copenhagen hotels and explore for a day or two.
RELATED POST: The Only Itinerary You Need for One Day in Copenhagen
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One of our favorite experiences is to book one of the awesome canal tours in Copenhagen that wind through the colorful canals, tuck under ornate bridges, and cruise in the large open harbor. Whenever we have visitors, we are sure to take them on a canal tour in Copenhagen and it’s often one of their favorite experiences!
This post is to help you learn about each canal cruise in Copenhagen and hopefully help you choose the best one for you and your group! If you plan on purchasing a Copenhagen Card, you’ll be able to get free tickets to two of these canal cruises (more on that later).
Map of Copenhagens Canal Tours
*Use this interactive map to see the starting point of these 8 Copenhagen canal tours to help choose which one is best for you!*
This map will help you get acquainted with where you can board each of these Copenhagen boat tours. You will find two of the tours right next to each other in the colorful Nyhavn harbor and the six other tours dotted throughout the city along the harbor and canals.
One nice thing about Copenhagen is that while it’s a large city, it’s still quite manageable to walk, bike or take short trips on public transit to reach where you want to go. This means you will never be too far away from hopping onto a boat to cruise in the adorable canals of Copenhagen.
How to choose the best Copenhagen canal tour for you:
As you’ll see, there are many different types of boat tours in Copenhagen to choose from. However, one common denominator is they all pretty much cruise/can cruise in the same general areas. Since they all follow similar routes, this means that you won’t miss out on any cute, colorful canals or top sights just by choosing the wrong canal boat tour in Copenhagen😆.
I’m sure you heard of the Little Mermaid statue along the harbor in Copenhagen. Honestly, it’s just a small statue that probably no one would notice if it wasn’t so crazy popular for some reason. But, all of these tours do ride past the Little Mermaid so it’s a good way to see it and realize it may not be worth the hype 😅 (or maybe you’ll love it).
The main differences between each canal tour will be the size of the boat, the number of passengers, whether it is a guided tour with a narrator vs a self-guided tour, or if it’s a tour with a unique twist like it has a picnic table, is on a kayak (or get this… is a floating hot tub!).
We have personally taken three of these canal tours in Copenhagen: the Stromma canal tour, the Netto Bådene canal tour, and a GoBoat rental where you get to captain your own boat through the canals. I have great things to say about each of them (really, they were all awesome) and I look forward to taking a ride on the other boat tours in Copenhagen that we haven’t been able to yet (I’m looking at you floating hot tub).
1. Stromma canal tours in Copenhagen
- Live narration on most tours
- $15 per person
- Included in the Copenhagen Card
I would say the Stromma canal tour is probably the most well-known canal tour in Copenhagen as it’s located at the end of Nyhavn (pronounced ‘new-hown’) which is a very popular area to visit. This makes it the boat tour you’re most likely to stumble upon without doing any advance planning (which is neither a good or bad thing).
The Stromma canal tour is 1-hour boat ride on a large boat with multiple sailings every day. The Stromma boat tour usually includes a guided tour with a live narrator, but this does change depending on the season. If this is important to you, you’ll want to check in advance.
Stromma is also a very budget-friendly canal tour in Copenhagen with tickets only about $15 per person! The only less expensive option is the Stromma Canal Tours neighbor, Netto Bådene (more on them in the next point).
Our Stromma tour in June included a live narrator pointing out important landmarks along the route and we definitely learned a bit about Copenhagen. We saw Nyhavn along with colorful Christianshavn, modern landmarks, and even learned some history along the way.
We’ve taken both a Stromma Tour and a Netto Badene tour which are both very similar tour experiences. Stromma does cost slightly more than Netto and even though they were very similar, we did like our experience with Stromma slightly more and I’d say it was worth the little bit extra we paid.
However, if narration is important to you, be sure to check if they will have live narration on your tour with Stromma as it can differ. And remember, this boat tour is included for free with the Copenhagen Card!
2. Netto Badene Boat Tour
- Live narration
- $8 per person
- Included in the Copenhagen Card
The Netto Bådene tour is very similar to the above-mentioned Stromma tour but if you are on a tight budget it’s an even better option because it’s half the price at only $8 per person! Plus, don’t forget, both of these cruises are included for free with the Copenhagen Card.
The Netto cruises always include live narration which the Stromma tours don’t always offer on every cruise. The Netto Bådene tour was the first boat ride in Copenhagen that we took and we had a great time.
Again, we saw Nyhavn along with colorful Christianshavn, and modern buildings, plus learned a bit about everything along the way.
It’s crazy to me that tickets only cost $8 per person and kids are even cheaper at $3 per person (or free with the Copenhagen Card)! In my opinion, the experience is worth way more than that.
3. GoBoat Boat Rental
- 1-6 hour boat rentals
- $67 per boat/one hour
- Be your own captain with a map of the harbor and canals
- Picnic table on board
If you’re looking for a unique experience and want to join in on an activity full of hygge that the locals enjoy then check out GoBoat. GoBoat is a boat rental company where you rent a small boat and get to captain yourself through Copenhagen’s beautiful canals! We’ve personally booked a GoBoat and it’s one of our favorite memories in Copenhagen.
GoBoats are small, electric boats that can hold up to 8 passengers and you get to be the captain. Not only do you get to take the boat where you want to go, but the boat also has a picnic table in the middle so you can bring food and drinks and picnic on the water! How cool is that?
We saw locals with GoBoat rentals watching a Danish soccer match projected on a big screen near the water’s edge and I totally wanted in on the experience.
You can book a GoBoat for anywhere from one to six hours depending on how much water you want to explore and how long you want to sit on the water and relax.
My husband, toddler, and I booked a GoBoat one evening right around dusk and it was the perfect way to end the day. It was awesome to see the sun going down over the city lighting up the buildings and making everything golden.
One hour was the perfect amount of time for our toddler to enjoy the ride without getting fussy. Plus, it’s the perfect amount of time to hit the main highlights of the Copenhagen canals and harbor (like Nyhavn, Christianhavn, and the modern buildings along the harbor).
We were given a map of the harbor including where we were allowed to go and not go and the employee gave us a suggested route for how much time we had (which really was the perfect route).
4. FriendShips Boat Rental
- 1-6 hour boat rentals
- $65 per boat/one hour
- Be your own captain with a map of the harbor and canals
- Picnic table on board
If you are thinking that FriendShips sounds a lot like the above-mentioned GoBoat rentals then you’d be right. We have not experienced booking a FriendShips boat rental, but that’s only because we went with a GoBoats when we booked our picnic boat in Copenhagen. However, I don’t think you can go wrong with either boat rental company.
Similar to GoBoat, FriendShips is a small boat that can carry up to eight passengers, it has a picnic table in the center of the boat and you get to be your own captain! The prices are almost exactly similar to GoBoat as well.
The main difference I can see is that GoBoat and FriendShips are located in very different locations within the city meaning one may have a location that is more preferential for you and where you will be staying or exploring that day.
5. Hey Captain Boat Tour
- 1 hour, 2 hour or 5-hour guided tours
- $58 per person
- Narrated tour on a small boat of 12 passengers
- Picnic table on board
Hey Captain is like if you took one of the large Stromma or Netto Bådene boat tours and combined it with a boat rental like GoBoat or FriendShips. It’s a guided/narrated boat tour on a small boat of 12 passengers and a picnic table.
A Hey Captain boat tour is a perfect slower-paced tour in a more intimate setting than the large less expensive boat tours like Stromma or Netto. This is perfect if you love the idea of GoBoat or FriendShips but you don’t want to captain your own boat.
Since this boat cruise in Copenhagen is so much smaller than its rival boat tours, you’ll be sure to receive a more personalized experience and be able to ask questions and chat with the guide which isn’t really possible with the larger tours.
6. Kayak Republic Kayak Tour/Rentals
- 2-hour guided tour or rentals by the hour
- $60 per person for a 2-hour guided tour or $25 per person/per hour rental
- Guided tour paddling at a comfortable pace through the harbor and canals
A guided canal tour of Copenhagen via Kayak Republic is perfect for you if you want a more adventurous day out on the water. Kayak Republic offers slow-paced guided tours in small groups hitting all of the highlights that you’d expect on any guided canal tour in Copenhagen.
If you’d prefer to explore the harbor and canals without a guide you can book just a kayak rental for about half the price of a guided tour.
One fun thing about renting via Kayak Republic is they are connected to the Kayak Bar which is a chill, waterside restaurant and bar with good food and live music throughout the week. I haven’t been able to visit the Kayak Bar yet but it’s definitely on my list of things to experience in the city.
If you happen to be visiting Copenhagen at Christmastime, check for the dates of the Lucia kayak parade where kayaks lit up with Christmas lights paddle through the canals in a colorful display of lights. It’s usually held about mid-December.
7. Copenhot Sailing Hot Tubs
- 2-hour guided sailing
- $295 per sailing hot tub holds up to 5 people
- One of the most unique experiences in Copenhagen
Yes, you read that correctly- sailing hot tubs! Copenhot is a gem of a place that oozes all-things-hygge and provides one of the most unique experiences in Copenhagen. The main attractions at Copenhot are their sailing hot tubs ( I have no idea how a person creates a sailing hot tub- but they did).
Basically, a small hot tub that can hold five guests, and a skipper sails at water level through Copenhagen’s harbor for a couple of hours while the skipper tells you about the places you are passing and about the people of the city.
We haven’t been able to get away sans kids long enough to experience the sailing hot tubs- but my goodness it’s at the top of my list for things to do when we get a chance (aka grandparents come to visit).
The sailing hot tubs do cost a pretty penny (about $295 per sailing) but you can split the cost between five people in your group. But if that’s not quite in your price range, don’t worry! Copenhot also offers waterfront hot tubs and saunas you can book for a MUCH more affordable price (starting at about $35 per person).
Copenhot is a perfect thing to do on a cold, dreary day in the city (and bonus points if it’s drizzling or snowing).
8. United Sailing Ships Harbor Cruise
- 2-hour narrated harbor cruise
- Sail on a wooden schooner from the early 1900s
- $53 per person
- Option to help hoist the sails
- Fruit and drinks included
With United Sailing Ships, you can hop on a classic, wooden schooner with huge, white sails from the early 1900s for a relaxing 2-hour cruise in the Copenhagen harbor. When else can you get a chance like that?
On one of the United Sailing Ships harbor cruises, you’ll see the main Copenhagen harbor sights that the other cruises pass but just not get to go down the small, colorful canals (for obvious reasons). However, you will get the amazing, unique experience of sailing on a traditional schooner on the water and relaxing without the noise of an engine once the sails are hoisted.
You can choose between a sailing cruise (where you can help with the sails) or the harbor cruise (where you get to see the bridges lift). Plus, you’ll get fruit and drinks while on your cruise as a nice added bonus.
Are any of these canal tours in Copenhagen included in the Copenhagen Card?
Yes! If you haven’t heard, the Copenhagen Card is a great way to save money on experiences in Copenhagen if you plan to visit multiple attractions. You can purchase a card valid for one day or multiple-day increments to receive free entrance to 89 attractions and ride for free on public transit!
Which tour is the best canal tour in Copenhagen?
All of these canal tours are great in their own unique way! Choose a canal tour based on what is important to you. For example, do you want a narrated tour or a self-guided tour? Which tour fits your budget? Do you have a lot of time or just a short amount of time?
And if you aren’t sure if you want to take a tour or not, if you have the Copenhagen Card you can always decide to hop on one for free at the last minute.
Are Copenhagen canal tours kid-friendly?
Definitely! We have taken our toddler on all three of the boat tours we have taken in Copenhagen. Just be sure to check the specific tour’s website before you book in case you have any questions.
For example, you must be 18 years old for the floating hot tub and there may a minimum age for the kayak tour.
Are any of these a Nyhavn boat tour?
Nyhavn is famous for being an idyllic canal lined with colorful buildings and old sailboats so I’m sure you’re wondering if you’ll get to see Nyhavn on your boat tour (rightly so). And the answer is yes!
Two of the tours’ loading docks (Stromma and Netto Bådene) are located directly in Nyhavn harbor (so obviously you’ll ride through Nyhavn) and the other tours will all pass by Nyhavn even if they don’t go directly down the canal.
Nyhavn is a very short offshoot of the main harbor canal so even if you don’t load your boat in the canal, you’ll be able to pass by and see it. Plus, Nyhavn isn’t the only colorful, cute area lining the canals in Copenhagen. Christianshavn is just as cute but less crowded, lined with even more boats, and another awesome stop on these canal tour routes.
Can I take a canal cruise in Copenhagen if it’s raining?
Let’s be honest, it rains a lot in Copenhagen… like, a lot. So it’s very possible you may run into rain during your canal cruise. But no worries, in the winter months when you are most likely to run into drizzly weather (October-March) the two large canal tours (Stromma and Netto Bådene) provide covered boats with windows to help keep you warm and out of the rain.
Even the smaller and more intimate boat tour, Hey Captain, provides a convertible roof and blankets to help keep you cozy and warm. However, if you are booking a boat rental via GoBoat, or a kayak tour via Kayak Republic, it will be more up to you to keep dry during your time on the water.
Just be sure to check the website of the canal tour you decide to book to know what to expect in case of inclement weather.
Check out these other posts, I know you’ll love them:
- The Ultimate Cheaps Eats Copenhagen Food Guide
- 24 Things You Need to Know Before Visiting Copenhagen Denmark
- The Only Itinerary You Need for One Day in Copenhagen
- 8 Incredible and Budget-Friendly Copenhagen Hotels
- The Best Double Stroller for Travel to Europe From Personal Experience
- Viking Ship Museum Denmark: Everything You Need to Know!
- Explore a Beautiful Viking Burial Site in Denmark
- Aarhus, Denmark: 8 amazing things to do, see, and eat
And those are the 8 unique canal cruises in Copenhagen that I recommend! Please let me know in the comments if you have any questions about Copenhagen or Denmark as we are residents here and I’d love to help you out.