It’s an idyllic day out in Denmark paddling your own canoe with your people.
Photographs: Erin Gustafson / iStock
Text: Erin Gustafson
Come May, as the days grow warmer and the light stays on longer, you should consider spending an afternoon on the water. Picture this. Sunlight dapples the canopy of green trees overhead as baby ducks and coots scoot after their mamas near shore. The forest floor breathes lush and verdant, littered with tiny white wildflowers. The hint of late May lilac lingers, just as the hyldeblomst (elderflower) begin to fragrance the air. There are many spots across the country where you can rent a boat for exploring some of Denmark’s serene green spaces.
Meander the Mølleå - Historic Millstream near Kongens Lyngby
Just thirty minutes outside the capital Copenhagen, you can slip along the Mølleå, or mill stream, that connects the Furesø to Lyngby Sø and Bagsværd Sø. (Sø = lake in Danish, so you know.) This historic millstream was originally cut to connect the region’s lakes and assist mills and factories along the way. On the brilliant blue Lyngby lake, watch as dragonflies flit from lily pad to lily pad as you carefully paddle a path in between. Some lucky paddlers will see the yellow lotus-like flowers in bloom, grown-up straight from the deep.
Those who feel ever so adventurous and really plan ahead can follow the canal all the way out to the Øresund sea. Past Lyngby Sø, the Mølleå winds under freeways and through little local villages before depositing you and your canoe out to the ocean, in between Taarbæk and Skodsborg. If you’re so keen, plan on at least a two-day journey and plot a camping spot overnight. But for a simple afternoon, you can just float and putter between Lyngby Sø and back.
Frederiksdal Canoe & Kayak Center - kanokajakcenter.dk
Nybrovej 520, 2800 Lyngby
Nybro Boat & Canoe Rental - nybrokano.dk
Nybrovej v / ishuset 384, 2800 Lyngby
Near the top of Denmark, you can arrange ahead to paddle from the tiny village of Uggerby out to the beach near Tversted Strand. Order a custom picnic basket to enjoy on the sand. A one-way tour takes about an hour and a half, you must just coordinate the canoe’s collection at the end if you don’t feel like paddling back. It sounds like a dreamy way to get to the wide windswept beaches of the North Sea. Kiosk on site for eats and treats before you start. There are many other green and forested water routes you can reach from here for those not interested in sand on your feet.
Uggerby Kanofart - uggerby-kanofart.dk
Skagen Landevej 849, 9800 Hjørring
Silkeborg Lakes Regions and the Gudenå
In the middle of Jutland, the Silkeborg region is renowned for its lovely lakes and local streams. Beginning in Silkeborg Harbor, several routes lead you into Silkeborg Lake and then along the Gudenå river. Check their website for inspiration and plan your trip times online.
Silkeborg Kanocenter - silkeborgkanocenter.dk
Østergade 36, 8600 Silkeborg
Good to know:
Most canoes can hold three adults with one in the middle - or two adults and two small children under 11 years old. Life jackets and paddles are available at each site. Remember to pack out what you bring for your picnic and tread lightly in these scenic natural spaces. This list nowhere near exhaustive, so if these spots aren’t convenient – just do a quick search for “kanoudlejning” or canoe rentals near you. Best to call or book ahead or plan on arriving early to ensure a vessel for your day out on the water around Denmark. Especially when the Danish sun is shining.