Kronborg Castle | A Royal Day-trip

Kronborg Castle | A Royal Day-trip

Rebecca Aller
Rebecca Aller
May 24, 2024
Thomas Rafn-Larsen, Visit Copenhagen

Kronborg Castle in Elsinore, the real-life inspiration for Shakespeare's "Hamlet," is a UNESCO World Heritage Site packed with royal history and famous stories. It's a great place for a day trip from Copenhagen. Renowned as one of Copenhagen's most captivating castles, Kronborg is must-visit. Find opening hours, ticket price and address below. If you do not have time for a day-trip, you can still find magnificent Royal Palaces and Castles within Copenhagen's city center

Discovering Kronborg Castle: A Day-Trip to Hamlet's Home

Just a 40-minute train ride from Copenhagen Central Station takes you to Kronborg Castle. A visit to Kronborg Castle typically requires about half a day. Here, you can explore the halls where Danish Kings and Queens once roamed and enjoy the beautiful town of Elsinore. The site is extensive, so plan to spend a few hours exploring. The castle grounds are open from sunrise to sunset without a fee, offering ample time to immerse in its history and beauty. Find prices and information about tickets and guided tours on Kronborg's site.

Did Shakespare ever visit Kronborg?

The accounts of the lavish Kronborg Castle reached all the way to England and inspired Shakespeare to use the castle as the setting for his drama about Hamlet.

While William Shakespeare immortalized Kronborg Castle in his play "Hamlet," the question of whether the playwright ever visited the castle himself remains a mystery. Shakespeare famously set his play about Prince Hamlet in Kronborg, which has led to the castle being widely known as "Hamlet's Castle." There is no concrete evidence to confirm that Shakespeare visited Kronborg, but it is well-documented that British actors performed at the castle during his time. The connection between Shakespeare and Kronborg is celebrated annually at the castle with the Shakespeare Festival, featuring open-air theater performances against the backdrop of this historic castle .

Royal castle Kronborg
Ty Stange, Visit Copenhagen

The History of Kronborg Castle (Elsinore)

Starting as the fortress Krogen in 1420, Kronborg was later transformed by Frederik II into a grand Renaissance castle, marking Denmark's power. Despite facing challenges like fires and invasions, the castle has been beautifully restored, preserving its rich history.

Originally designed to control the Oresund entrance and collect Sound Dues, Kronborg significantly enriched Elsinore for over 400 years funded by these dues!. The Sound Dues (or Sound Tolls; Danish: Øresundstolden) were a toll on the use of the Øresund, a strait separating the modern-day borders of Denmark and Sweden. Introduced by King Eric of Pomerania in 1429, these tolls were crucial for Denmark's economy, constituting up to two-thirds of its state income in the 16th and 17th centuries, until the Copenhagen Convention of 1857 ended the practice.

Between 1574 and 1585, Frederik II transformed it into a lavish Renaissance castle, symbolizing wealth and power. Despite a major fire in 1629 and Swedish occupation in 1658, Kronborg was further fortified in 1690 but eventually ceased to be a royal residence.

Used by the military until 1923, it was ultimately restored to its former glory, celebrating the eras of Frederik II and Christian IV. This history is deeply intertwined with the Sound Dues, illustrating the strategic and economic significance of Kronborg Castle and its impact on the region's prosperity.

Note: When visiting, do not miss the fascinating casemates beneath the castle, where Holger the Dane rests.

Holger the Dane (Holger Danske)

Kronborg Castle Holger the Dane

Beneath the castle lies the statue of Holger the Dane, a figure from Danish folklore representing the nation's strength. This intriguing statue adds a sense of legend and intrigue to the Kronborg experience.

Shakespeare Festival at Hamlet’s Castle

Each summer, Kronborg Castle becomes a hub for theatre with the Shakespeare Festival. This event brings to life Shakespeare's works right in the place that inspired them, drawing audiences from all over the world. There are Shakespeare events for all the family at Shakespeare Festival at Kronborg Castle.

Is Kronborg Castle Worth the Visit?

Absolutely! Kronborg Castle is not only a UNESCO World Heritage site but also a cornerstone of Danish cultural identity. Its connection to Shakespeare's "Hamlet" adds a unique literary significance, making it an intriguing destination for both history buffs and literature lovers. The castle's architectural grandeur and the scenic views of the Øresund strait further enhance its appeal, making it a rewarding experience.

Tip: Dyrehaven, also known as The Deer Park, is another UNESCO World Heritage site in Copenhagen. This natural park surrounds the landscape around the Royal Hunting Lodge, The Hermitage.

Kronborg royal castle
Embrace the local lifestyle: Enhance your Kronborg experience with a delightful culinary stop at Elsinore’s Værftets Madmarked - a bustling street food market. Here, you can indulge in a variety of local and international delicacies, offering a perfect way to refuel after exploring the castle. The market's vibrant atmosphere and diverse food options provide an authentic taste of Danish culture.

Kronborg food market
Daniel Rasmussen, Visit Copenhagen

The Town of Helsingør- Coastal nature and maritime cultural history.

The 800-year-old market town of Helsingør, also known as Elsinore, is brimming with a unique maritime cultural history that you won't find anywhere else. Here, you can step into a piece of Danish history, wander through the old cobblestone streets, stand on the bulwark with your gaze across the Øresund, and feel the whisper of the past. Visiting towns outside Copenhagen on a day trip can be an exciting experience, offering a different slice of Danish life beyond the cityscape and showcasing the everyday Danish town life. Another wonderful town for a day-trip is Fredensborg, home to Fredensborg Castle, which is definitely worth a visit!

Helsingør, Eloise town
Martin Auchenberg, Visit Copenhagen

Discover Royal Denmark Beyond Copenhagen

For additional day-trip ideas, consider exploring Fredensborg Palace, The Hermitage and Frederiksborg Castle. Each one of these royal palaces and castles offers something different. Watch our video about palaces and castle in and around Copenhagen for a quick comparative overview of the attractions.

Opening hours and directions

Openings hours for (updated today)
  • Monday: Closed
  • Tuesday: Closed
  • Wednesday: Closed
  • Thursday: Closed
  • Friday: Closed
  • Saturday: Closed
  • Sunday: Closed
Address: - directions
Website: official site

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