Kronborg Castle is something extraordinary. Explore the home of Hamlet and see the Danish mythical hero Holger Danske in the casemates. The renaissance castle stands majestically with its spires, towers, and columns, and is a designated UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 2000. Free with Copenhagen City Pass.
Whether visiting Copenhagen or travelling the entire country, a visit to Kronborg has to be on top of every list of things to see and do while in Denmark!
The castle that William Shakespeare famously set his Hamlet in ranks among Denmark’s most famous and important sites and was even added to the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites in 2000.
Located some 60 kilometers north of the Danish capital, the castle overlooks the narrowest point of the Øresund where the sound separating Denmark from Sweden is only about four kilometers wide. From this position of supreme strategic importance, the castle’s fortifications and batteries allowed the Danish rulers to fully control the passage of every vessel going into or coming out of the Baltic sea. Collecting sound dues, a fee every ship had to pay in order to pass through the sound with its cargo, allowed the Danish kings to amass riches beyond their wildest dreams. Although its military relevance is long gone, this spot still offers visitors a truly spectacular view of the sound.
In 1574, king Frederick II began to use these funds to turn the relatively humble medieval fortress into a grandiose Renaissance castle whose enormous size and opulence were unheard of throughout all of Europe. Throughout the centuries, the castle remained in a constant state of architectural change. Fires, wars, and changing tastes cause the destruction, remodeling, or entirely new construction of entire sections; an entire floor was added to accommodate a ballroom later ravaged during the Swedish occupation, a copper roof was installed, engulfing the castle in a delicate golden glow in the sunlight, and magnificent stone masonry was added to adorn the walls.
Today, the castle is overflowing with large sights and little secrets waiting to be discovered. Among those is the ballroom, whose enormous dimensions and intricate decoration brings back memories of kings and queens, dukes and duchesses swaying across the wide expanse of the marble floor.
More than 43 tapestries commemorating more than 1,000 years of Danish history and mythology once hung here, seven of which are still left at Kronborg. From this display of royal splendor, visitors can then go on a tour of the casemates. These winding and gloomy underground passageway below the castle served as a last resort fortification during attacks and sieges where soldiers and even horses could find shelter. And this is only a small taste of what the castle holds in store! Also, Kronborg just might be the safest place in all of Denmark; as legend has it, the mythical national hero Holger Danske has been asleep in the casemates for centuries, ready to rise up should Denmark find itself threatened