IntroThings to do

Travelling the Royal Paths

Arriving for the first time in Denmark and having read that it is a country with the oldest monarchy in Europe, my desire to visit its castles and palaces began to form. Find here my suggestions for the ones not to miss!

Evmorfia  Vasiliadis    Pictures:PR/Private/Visit Denmark

The Danish monarchy was founded by the Viking Kings Gorm the Old and Harald Bluetooth in the 10th century, making it over 1,000 years old.

It is the fourth oldest continuous monarchy in the world to still exist. That means there are plenty of castles and palaces for a “royal” visit.

Some of these castles and palaces were built for strategic purposes and others for residences.

But whatever the reason for their construction, they always manage to impress with their imposing quality, and they are sure to take you on a journey through a regal atmosphere and glorious times.

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Kronborg Castle - Hamlet’s Palace: "To visit or not to visit"?

That is the question, and of course the answer is to visit, as Kronborg is one of the most important Renaissance castles in the world. It is the castle where Shakespeare’s drama Hamlet unfolds.

Located in the town of Helsingør on the island of Zealand at the narrowest meeting point between Denmark and Sweden, it has been included on UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites list since 2000.

Due to its key position, Kronborg Castle played an important role from the 16th to the 18th century in Northern Europe. For about 400 years, the castle was the control point of the Øresund strait, where any ships wanting to pass through the Sound had to pay a toll.

Originally, it was built for strategic reasons by King Eric VII. In 1585, the castle took its impressive renaissance shape under the reign of King Frederick II.

Unfortunately, in 1629, a fire broke out and destroyed most of the castle, but it was rebuilt by King Christian IV.

Noteworthy is the fact that after the Danish-Swedish War (1658-1660), many valuable items from the castle were taken in connection with a Swedish occupation and remain missing to this day.

A special experience is entering the main yard of the castle through the dark underground passages. There, you will spot the legendary Holger Danske, who sleeps with sword in hand, always ready to awaken and save Denmark.

The main area of the castle includes the royal apartments, the chapel, and a ballroom, which is one of the largest halls in Northern Europe. Ιn one room, children can play and paint the figures of kings, queens, and many others, decorating the castle walls with their works of art.

At Kronborg Castle, various events about Hamlet take place, which are worth seeing. From June to August, the famous Hamlet characters will move around the magnificent castle, while every Saturday and Sunday, Horatio (Hamlet’s closest friend) offers guided tours (in English at 12:00)

Plan your visit and combine your tour of the castle with food or coffee in Café Krone B (inside the castle).

The castle is open throughout the year with different opening hours during each season.

Cost of Admission: Adults DKK 90 ( From 1 June it will be DKK 140) Children: Free until 17 years old. Group and student discounts available.

When planning your visit, please note the final admission is 30 minutes before closing time.

For more information visit their website: or call +45 49213078

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Frederiksborg Castle - The Nordic Versailles

If you want to see something even more impressive and magnificent, your best choice is Frederiksborg Castle.

Situated in Hillerød, north of Copenhagen, it is the largest Renaissance castle in Scandinavia. It was originally built in 1560 as a summer residence for King Frederick II, but was later demolished and rebuilt on a larger and more lavish scale for King Christian IV.

In 1859, a fire broke out, ruining most of the castle. Relying on public support and that of philanthropist brewer J.C. Jacobsen, the castle was fully reconstructed, and reopened in 1882 as the Danish Museum of National History.

You can visit the Rose Room, the Audience Chamber, the Valdemar Room, the Great Hall and the stunning Chapel, which, in 1995, was chosen for the wedding ceremony of the Danish Queen’s younger son, Prince Joachim, at his first marriage.

Walking through the astonishing and luxurious rooms of Frederiksborg Castle, you have a chance to admire the rich collection of royal furniture, paintings, and portraits, which takes you on a journey through the history of Denmark from the Middle Ages to the present. Note, too, that the Museum of National

History includes an exhibition of modern paintings on the 3rd floor and a gallery containing the works of famous photographers. You can visit the castle anytime of the year, with extended opening hours during the summer.

Cost of Admission: Adults DKK 75; Children (6-15 years) DKK 20.

More information can be found at www.dnm.dk

P.S. Don’t forget to walk around the royal gardens of the castle

Take time to walk around the gardens, since it is one of the most beautiful things about the castle, especially during spring and summer.

You can enjoy your walk through the impressive baroque gardens with their canals, fountains, and bridges, while getting a magnificent view of the entire castle.

After that, you can relax with coffee or a meal in the restaurant Leonora, situated on the castle grounds (next to bridge crossing the moat). You can visit their website for opening hours, menu, and making a reservation.

There is also a lovely café in the park – however, it is only open on weekdays at selected hours and not on weekends/bank holidays.

A great option is to take the S train from Copenhagen Central Station, Østerport, Hellerup or Lyngby station with your bicycles until Hillerød Station – and visit Frederiksborg Castle and Fredensborg Castle described below. It is an easy bicycle ride of  9 km from one town to the next – see the route here

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Fredensborg Palace - The Queen’s favourite

One of the official residences of the Danish Royal Family is Fredensborg Palace. Located in the town of Fredensborg (on the island of Zealand), on the eastern shore of Lake Esrum, it is mainly used as a spring and autumn residence for the Royal Family.

The beautiful baroque palace is often selected as the setting for celebrating anniversaries, birthdays and even for significant state visits.

Architect J.C. Krieger built the baroque-style palace to satisfy the desire of King Frederick IV, and it was at first used as a hunting lodge.

Strolls around the palace gardens are highly recommended since they are some of the largest gardens ever established in Denmark, spread across nearly 300 acres.

Walking through the floral paths, you will be attracted by the colours, the sculptures, and especially by the sandstone figures of farmers and fishermen in the Valley of the Norsemen.

You can visit the gardens all year round  (except for the private section reserved for the Royal Family’s use) and whatever the season it is a lovely experience, allowing one to enjoy the beauty of the changing seasons. Of course, the season of full bloom is the most spectacular.

Furthermore, you can combine your royal visit with a boat trip around Lake Esrum. Visit the website for the marina in the village Sørup (on the south side of the palace gardens) to get information about boat trips.

The inside of Fredensborg Palace and the private gardens are only open to the public from July until the beginning of August with guided tours only. The exact dates and guide tours are not yet public.

A tip: Whenever the Queen or a member of the Royal Family is in the palace, the royal guards with their recognisable bearskin caps, march in front of the residence. You can visit the website www.kongeligeslotte.dk for further details or for buying tickets.

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Other ideas for nice bicycle excursions

Ever been cycling around Frederiksberg? Our expat reporter guides you through here.

Rosenborg Castle - must be the most visited and photographed castle

Located in the centre of Copenhagen, Rosenborg Castle attracts thousands of tourists annually.

Although it was originally built as a summerhouse in 1606 by Christian IV, it soon became his favourite residence. Until 1710, Rosenborg was continuously used as a residence by the Danish Kings, but only twice used for that purpose after King Frederick IV’s reign.

On the ground, first, and second floors, you can browse the castle’s rooms, and in the great variety of furniture, royal items, and paintings, you can imagine how the daily life of a king and his family must have been.

Touring the impressive chambers and the King’s Hall, with the coronation chairs, you can definitely feel a royal aura. The basement of Rosenborg Castle is especially worthwhile, since the royal treasures are kept there.

You can admire the precious jewels, sceptres, clothes, gowns, swords, weapons and, of course, crowns of the Danish Kingdom.

Rosenborg Gardens, the oldest royal gardens in Denmark, are a daily famous haven for walks, picnics, and—notably during the summer months—Vitamin D intake.

The castle is open to the public all year round. Ticket price is DKK 105 for adults (children have free admission). Otherwise, you can buy the “café ticket” (DKK 150), and get coffee and cake from the Garden Café with your castle admission.

Visit www.kongernessamling.dk for opening hours and other information.

Would you like to feel the royal ambiance?

Take your camera, your excitement, and start exploring!

We have posted it before - but it remains our favourite!

Copenhagen bicycle tour – find our guide here.