Canoe on Gudenåen

A day trip canoeing on the Gudenå: Vestbirk-Klostermølle

Photo: Mathilde B Pedersen

The most beautiful part of the Danish river Gudenå for a day trip? The stretch between Vestbirk and Klostermølle in the hilly and enthralling nature of Bakkelandet is a good bet. Rent a canoe and look forward to a great experience together.  

Time for immersion in the jungle

Okay, jungle might be a bit of a stretch, but this lovely canoe trip on Denmark's only river does have a certain Amazonas vibe. Between the hills, forests, and lakes of the Danish Lakelands, you will wiggle your way through the peaceful stream - often with nature towering up on both sides. 

It is a visually stunning and peaceful trip - and it is easily accessible. Because canoeing is neither difficult, nor expensive.It takes approx. 4-4,5 hours to paddle the 14-kilometre distance.

We will guide you to a great and safe day in the canoe on the river Gudenå. 

Step 1: Book your canoe(s)

It is not very difficult to book the canoes for today's trip. Contact Vestbirk Camping to book the canoe. They have all the practical stuff covered - and they will even pick up the canoe at the final destination, Klostermølle. 

We recommend that you rent the canoe some time in advance if possible. There are limitations to how many people can sail on the Gudenå per day - and annually. Therefore, you risk that it is not possible to rent a canoe if you try to book last minute.

On this southern part of the Gudenå river, you are only allowed to sail from June 16 to December 31 - the reason for this is to protect an important nature area. 

Step 2: Off to Vestbirk

Vestbirk is located in a picturesque nature area with many nature attractions, northwest of Horsens. If you wish to arrive in Vestbirk by car, set the GPS to Vestbirk Camping on Møllevej 4, 8752 Østbirk, and park on their parking lot. You can leave the car here until you return. If you want to use public transportation, bus 112 from Horsens goes all the way to Vestbirk. You can find departures via Rejseplanen

Before putting the canoe in the water, you might want to visit Vestbirk's biggest attraction, The Uncovered Bridge. But keep an eye out for the time, as you will likely want to catch a ride back to Vestbirk with the Gudenå Bus, later today. The Gudenå Bus has one daily departure - we will get back to that later. 

You are allowed to sail on the Gudenå from 8 a.m. until 6 p.m.

Step 3: Get in the canoe

Start by reporting to the reception at Vestbirk Camping. They are ready to inform you about safety and techniques, and will gladly give you tips and tricks. If you never tried canoeing before, then this is a fairly beginner-friendly choise of stretch with calm water and safe conditions. But please note that you start today's trip in a lake. For an even more beginner- and child-friendly stretch, we recommend Tørring-Åstedbro

Get the canoe in the water at Bredvad Lake. The personnel will instruct you. At first, you will be sailing through Bredvad Lake and Vestbirk Lake - the most open, wide and deep section of today's trip. The lakes are not so big though, that you will experience trouble with waves. Shortly after, you will get to Vestbirk Hydroelectric Plant where you have to get out of the canoe. There is a portage point here. You can transport your canoe on carts, so you do not have to drag it too far. Here, at the hydroelectric plant you have assess to drinking water and a toilet.

You will now continue northwards to the charming village of Voervadsbro where you can enjoy lunch at the local camp site. You will find the camp site on your right hand, seven kilometres after the hydroelectric plant.  Now continue for the last, peaceful section of today's trip towards Klostermølle.You will be surrounded by forest and sailing next to the Gudenå Trail, so here you can greet hikers on your right hand side. 

Ultimately, you will make your way around the big forest-clad hill The Sugar Loaf, and arrive at historic Klostermølle(The Monastery Mill). A sign will inform that you have arrived.

Step 4: Back to Vestbirk 

Pull the canoe ashore at the landing site which is well signposted. The canoe rental will pick up the canoe here, so make sure that you ask them in advance where they prefer that you leave it. Klostermølle is a big nature attraction, and it is tempting to go for a walk in the former benedictine monastery and paper factory, where there are several iconic buildings. Enjoy the view of the big lake Mossø from the shore. And if you have time, walk on the Gudenå Trail to the top of The Sugar Loaf, which offers one of the best views in Denmark. The hike to the top is approx. two kilometres.

But remember the time! The options for public transportation at Klostermølle are limited. But during the summer holiday (June 29-August 11 and all weekend days in August) the Gudenå Bus has one daily departure, and picks up canoeists for free and drives them back to the start of the trip. You can get off the bus at Vestbirk Camping.

The bus departs at 4:00 pm. There is a bus sign at the parking lot where you can get on.

The alternative is private transportation, or a fairly long hike to Brædstrup, Ry or Vestbirk where you can find public transportation.

Frequently asked questions about canoeing

Kurser og guidede ture med Outdoor Connection
Outdoor Connection

Would you rather start with a canoe course?

Some feel safest in the company of an experienced guide when they go canoeing for the first time. Outdoor Connection offers courses, tours, and fun activities in the canoe on Gudenåen. 

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