The Famous Nyhavn Canal
Nyhavn is a small cozy canal in the center of Copenhagen. Nyhavn in Danish means 'New Harbour'.
The canal is known for its many colorful buildings and buzzing atmosphere. It is a perfect place to end a long day with a cold beer on one of the many restaurants or bars along the canal.
In the 19th-century the famous danish author, known for his fairy tales, Hans Christian Andersen lived in Nyhavn for 18 years. You'll find his two former houses on the side of the canal.
From the beginning of November the Nyhavn Christmas market starts and turns one side of the canal into a winter wonderland.
Copenhagen are known for being a go-to place for foodies. Nyhavn is no exception. In Nyhavn you can find Apollo bar which is one of the coolest cafés in Copenhagen at the moment. You can also find a good pizza place - Gorm's pizza and the locals favorite sandwich place Chil-ee.
The History of Nyhavn
Nyhavn was established by King Christian V in 1670-1673 - as a gateway from the sea to the old inner city. At that time the canal reached right up to Kongens Nytorv (The New Kings Square) established around 1670 - where the ships unloaded and loaded their cargo - and the fishermen their daily catch.
The "sunny side" was once the "red light district" of Copenhagen. A lot of sailors and workers went to the bars on the sunny side and ladies of pleasure took advantage of the sailors lusts.
The red light district faded during the 60's and Nyhavn is now a top tourist attraction in Copenhagen
How to Discover Nyhavn
To explore Nyhavn can be a bit stressful. So prepare yourself on seeing more tourists gathered in one spot than you would see in any place in the rest of the city.
Everything in Nyhavn is also a bit more pricey than other places, so if you don't want to spend those extra 10kr on a cup of coffee then buy it beforehand.
Nyhavn can be discovered by simply walking down one of the sides of the canal. It's only a couple hundred meters long.
To get a good overview of Nyhavn and the rest of the city we recommend to take a canal tour. You can join the big hordes of tourists on the big canal tours departing from Nyhavn or go one block away and take the cozier and more exclusive Hey Captain tour.
We, in Hey Captain, are locals who have specialized in showing Copenhagen from the water. We know the city by heart and we take a genuine interest in showing what we believe are the most important places and things to see in Copenhagen.
Many of these are located around the water and below you’ll find some of our favorites.
See Copenhagen from the water
wCopenhagen has water all around the city, which is one of the main reasons why Copenhagen dates back to the Viking time. It was important for transportation of goods and for doing international business. This leads us to one of the most common misconception that Copenhagen was built for biking – it’s not – it’s build for sailing. Therefore, you’ll find most of Copenhagen’s landmarks around the water.
In newer time the harbor and water around the city has changed into an area that people can enjoy by being in the water - swimming, next to the water - hanging out or, our favorite, on the water - in a boat. Therefore, you’ll also find a lot of hidden gems around and landmarks as Nyhavn around the harbor. So do as the locals and see the city from the water!
Try #1 rated canal tour in Copenhagen
The by far best way to get a good overview of the city is to be on a boat and see the city from the water. In Copenhagen there are several canal tours and ways to do it. You can rent your own boat without a guide, book a tour on the huge boats departing from Nyhavn like all the other tourists or you can do it the local way on a smaller boat and with a more personalized tours. The Hey Captain boats are small, cozy and only have room for 12 guests. This makes the tours intimate, very comfortable, and you get a chance to have a dialogue with your captain. Our personalized style has given us the #1 ranking on Tripadvisor out of +200 tours in Copenhagen. So, if you need some more convictions, ask the almost 1000 other guests that has reviewed us. Learn more about our tours here.
We are also well prepared for the cold weather. We have a canapé for when it’s windy or rainy and blankets and hot drinks so you don’t get cold.
Get a taste for the beautiful inner part of the harbor where many of the historical sites and buildings are located. We will explore the main and iconic Copenhagen canals.
Hidden gems is about showing our own favorite spots, which are off the beaten track from the standard path. These are the places we go and hang out in our spare time.
Take a stroll in Christianshavn
In 1618 King Christian IV decided to build Christianshavn named after himself. What he probably didn’t know was, that this area would turn out to be one of the coolest and most cozy areas of Copenhagen 400 years later and one of the things to see when you’re exploring Copenhagen.
If you want to see a place like Nyhavn but with a much more local vibe - then Christianshavn is the place to go!
Take a stroll down the beautiful small cobbled stoned streets with the many colorful buildings. Buy a cup of coffee and sit down by the canals as the locals do, or go to some of the amazing restaurant, including 3 Michelin stared restaurants just in this small area. Christianshavn is without a doubt one of our favorite areas and one the best areas in Copenhagen.
Tired of walking in the footsteps of other tourists?
If you're the type of person that want to see the city in another way than the guy next to you, and see other things than the classics as Nyhavn, or just see the landmarks in a cooler way, you've come to the right place.
In Hey Captain we've specialized in giving the real local experience. All our tours are unique and personalized. So instead of going to the little mermaid with the hundreds of other tourists we can show you the sites with another perspective.
We have tours that covers the classic landmarks, but also tours that takes you to cool places, that even some locals don't know about. In other words - we're local experts and can show you things that you would never find yourself
So if you want your time in Copenhagen to be special - spend an hour or two with us!
Explore the Hidden Gems
Around the harbor of Copenhagen, you’ll find everything from the best places to hang out, the best restaurants and breweries, the gen-modified mermaid and the well known Nyhavn canal. All these things and places are located in buildings that looks like nothing or at locations off the beaten track. Places that the tourist next to you most likely won’t go to. All these places we, in Hey Captain, call ‘Hidden Gems’. We love the Hidden Gems and therefore we’ve made a Hidden Gem tour where our mission is to show tourists these places. If you want to know more about our Hidden Gem tour, watch the video or go to our experiences to read more about it.