Canoe in Silkeborg at river Gudenå

A Guide to Canoe Trips in Silkeborg – by Line Wagener

Photo: Jesper Maagaard

Would you like to go canoeing on the Gudenåen stream but are not sure how to go about it? These are outdoor blogger Line Wagener’s best tips, recommendations, and advice on what you can and must be aware of before as well as when you are on the water.

✍️ By Line Wagener
Djursland by locals

Best Travel Tips

Line's five tips for a great start

  1. Always wear a life jacket.
  2. Remember your sunglasses and your sunscreen. The water reflects the sun, and what was supposed to be a wonderful and carefree day, can easily become the exact opposite if you get a sunburn or have to squint the entire time. And always bring a bottle of water.
  3. Check the weather forecast before you go. The windier it is, the more dangerous it is to be out on the water. And needless to say – going canoeing in a thunderstorm is an absolute no-go.
  4. Put your mobile phone and a dry change of clothes in a waterproof dry-bag. No matter how careful you are, water will get in your canoe. Some canoe rentals let out waterproof barrels or dry-bags.
  5. Ask for advice at the canoe rental on good spots to go ashore along your route. You will need to stretch your legs once in a while and perhaps answer the call of nature.

Line's Guide: Let's go!

1. Can everyone go canoeing?

You are safe and dry on the surface of the water, nature gliding serenely past you. Perhaps you will spot a fish in the water or an animal on the bank. Canoeing is an incredible outdoor experience. Families with children, groups of friends, and people of all ages. Most people can go canoeing. Your excitement about going is the most important thing along with choosing a stretch that matches your skills and level of experience.

2. What do I need to know if I am new at canoeing?

When it is your very first time in a canoe, I recommend that you rent a canoe on an hourly basis for two, perhaps three hours. This way, you can find out if you like it or not.

Do not head out for several days if you have no canoeing experience.

The canoe is stable as long as you sit down in it – do not stand up once you are on the water.

If you are worried about going out on your own, canoes including instructors are available at, telephone +45 61 67 62 23 or at

1. How do we steer the canoe? 

A canoe has two seats. The cox is in the back. When the cox lowers the paddle into the water on the left side of the canoe and pulls back, the canoe turns right – and vice versa. The cox stops the canoe by sticking the paddle in the water behind him/her and pulling it forward. The speed of your canoe is determined by the teamwork between the two persons in it.

Some canoes have a third seat in the middle. This is perfect for younger children. Older children, who can take part in the paddling, can very well sit in the front of the canoe.

4. Where can we try sailing in a canoe if we have never tried it before?

Begin your canoeing adventure at Silkeborg harbour. Here, Silkeborg Kanocenter lets out canoes on an hourly basis. Go south on Gudenåen to Avnsø.

Avnsø is a small, calm, and idyllic lake. In order to get to the lake, you have to sail through the shallow and incredibly beautiful canal, Klüvers Kanal. It can be difficult to spot, so ask them to show you the place on a map at the canoe rental. Two hours should do it, even with breaks and perhaps a bit of zigzagging around the water while you get the hang of it.

Kyst- & Fjordcentret near Randers inlet lets out canoes on an hourly basis, as well.

5. Which route should we choose if we want to go for several days?

Gudenåen is Denmark’s longest stream and immensely popular for canoe trips that last several days. Out of the stream’s total of 160 km, it is possible to go down 140 km of them in a canoe.

You will find a large number of tent- and campsites along the banks of the stream and the lakes where you can spend the night. The canoe rental companies offer transportation of your canoe in order for you to be able to begin your journey in one place and end it at another. Look into what they have got at Silkeborg Kanocenter and find suggestions for trips that last several days.

Along with the weather, your physique, your experience, and your preferences determine how far you can sail in a day. As a rule of thumb, you should expect a speed of 3-4 km/h. Experienced canoers manage to sail 12-18 km in a day. Plan shorter stretches per day if you bring children.

Be aware that paddling across the bigger lakes can be quite challenging, and when it is windy in particular. And that sitting in the canoe for quite a few hours every day can be hard on your back and your knees.

6. Is it possible for me to go canoeing if I have a handicap or a disability?

If you – or anyone in your group – have a disability or a handicap, reach out to DitFriluftsliv. This is a company that specialises in making outdoor experiences accessible for everyone, and that has the necessary equipment and qualifications, so that everyone can have a fantastic canoeing experience.

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