Commonly referred to as Hamlet’s Castle, Kronborg is a famous castle and stronghold located in Helsingør and overlooking the Øresund, which separates Denmark and Sweden. Made famous by William Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Kronborg has quickly developed a reputation as a must-see in Denmark, and has even been added to UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites list.
Step one: Do your research
Kronborg is not exactly what I’d call close to downtown Copenhagen. In fact, it’s about a 30-minute journey from Copenhagen Central station to Helsingør. It’s absolutely do-able as a day, even a half-day, trip, but make sure you’re prepared to make the short journey via train or bus. It’s also helpful to note the schedule of guided tours in English. There’s even a Hamlet-inspired theatrical tour guided by none other than Hamlet’s best friend Horatio.
Step Two: Pick the Perfect Day
Kronborg is best-enjoyed in all its grandeur on a clear day, but, of course, nice weather days in Copenhagen are about as common as flying unicorns. If you have the chance to plan ahead, though, definitely schedule your visit to Kronborg on a sunny day. The sight of the castle set against a perfect coastal background is absolutely stunning, especially on a clear day.
Step Three: Climb the Stairs
Kronborg is divided into four or five major exhibits that present different cultural aspects of the castle. Almost like a museum, you can choose which sections of the castle you’d like to visit, whether that may be the church, the tapestries, etc. Though I walked through all the exhibits, the Cannon Tower was quite awarning: there are over 100 stairs to master before reaching the top of this beauty, but the view is absolutely breathtaking. The coolest part? You can practically wave to your Swedish neighbors! The girl next to me even received a message from her mobile provider welcoming her to Sweden. How fun!
Step Four: Check Out the Casemates
A relic from Kronborg’s long history as a military stronghold, the Casemates are underground passageways that used to hold soldiers under attack from enemy forces. These dank cellars are definitely not lacking in the creepy department (some even believe them to be haunted), but I found them strangely comforting. Kronborg offers free guided tours of the Casemates (in English!) every day, but I opted to explore on my own. However you choose to explore, these passageways are not to be missed.
Step Five: Explore Helsingør
On my way out, I took the opportunity to walk the streets of Helsingør, and I was so happy I did! If you’re looking for a break from the hustle and bustle of Copenhagen, Helsingør is a breath of fresh air. This is a great place to visit if you’re looking to experience Nordic influences straight out of Frozen but with a modern twist. An added bonus is the plethora of adorable shops and cafes littered throughout the town. I’ll definitely be back to spend more time in Helsingør!
In summary, I’d definitely check out Kronborg if you’re planning a visit to Copenhagen. Though not centrally located, it’s a great way to enjoy both the scenery of the northeastern coast and a castle straight out of a medieval classic. Makes the perfect day trip!
For ticket information and operating hours visit here.
This post originally appeared on the A Coffee Girl in Copenhagen blog.