Kronborg Castle Tour: Day Trip from Copenhagen

Kronborg Castle Tour Kronborg Castle Tour : On way to the castle
A short train journey Northwards from Copenhagen brought us to Helsingør Station. The town was small but its standing was big, thanks to William Shakespeare and one of his most acclaimed play “Hamlet, The Prince of Denmark”.

Kronborg Castle Tour

The First Glimpse

Walking down from the station, as we came to the waterfront, the Kronborg castle or the Hamlet’s Castle, as it is fondly called, came into view. Even from this distance one could see the spectacular shape of the castle and our minds started visualizing the various scenes of the play.

After about 15 minutes we entered the red gates when a person dressed in a medieval regal costume said in a matching accent “But what is your affair in Elsinore?” Even as I replied “We are here as visitors?”, another voice behind me said “My lord, I came to see your father’s funeral”. Then it struck. Ha, that must be Horatio and the one in front of me was surely Hamlet.

Elsinore as referred in the play is generally believed by scholars, to be derived from Helsingør, and Kronborg was the setting for the play. In his remembrance, Shakespeare Festival takes place in Kronborg Castle each year in August and we were lucky to be right in the middle of it.

Kronborg Castle: The History

Kronborg was built in the early 15th century, by King Eric of Pomerania, on a promontory at the narrowest part of Øresund, which divides Zealand, Denmark and Scania, Sweden. This strategically located castle helped in completely controlling the sound and the merchant ships coming from the Baltic sea going south were charged heavy taxes. The castle also protected the Danish land from unwanted incursions.
The castle as it appears now was rebuilt in 1620 when the original castle was destroyed in a fire. This remarkable castle was also the home of the royalty till late 17th century. The collection of tolls continued right until 1857 when the King abolished the unpopular tax.

Kronborg Castle Tour : The terrace

The Courtyard

Kronborg Castle tour courtyard

After shaking off Hamlet and Horatio we entered the main courtyard and were at once transported back a few centuries. The renaissance architecture of the towers and the buildings and the outfits of the people (actors) made sure of that. The centre of the courtyard served as the stage for the play. Soon Hamlet too arrived and exclaimed “To be, or not to be, that’s the question”, and multi-act play continued, no question about that!

Stairs of a tower at one corner of the castle took us to the living quarters of the Royalty.
Every room was ornately decorated with artefacts of the Royalty as well as his army. The castle also included a private chapel, which was beautifully embellished with Religious objects.

The paintings on the wall, the chandeliers hanging from the ceiling, the fine wood furniture, all must have been mute spectators to the happenings within the castles walls. The ball room walls would have heard the finest music while the well-dressed gentry danced or developed sinister plans.

The Ghost

As we return to the courtyard, someone taps me on the shoulder and asks us if we wanted to see the Ghost of the King of Denmark. It was Horatio and we were game. We followed him and Hamlet into the clammy casemates of the castle where we saw a translucent apparition of the king and heard him say “I am thy father’s spirit”. The floor was wet and slippery and the surrounding dark and eerie. The ghost recounted the horrid tale how his wife, the Queen and his brother Claudius hatched a plot to kill him, the King of Denmark, while we watched spellbound. On hearing the spooky, screechy voice resounding on the walls of casemates, we got the goose bumps.

Kronborg Castle Tour: The ghost

This stunning castle, which has stood the test of time and the vagaries of weather is certainly worth a visit on your visit to Denmark, at least to experience the play in its original settings.

How to reach?

By train: During summer, there is a train every 20 minutes from Copenhagen to Helsingør and is probably the most convenient. The journey takes about 45 minutes.
By Car: Take E47 highway right upto Helsingør. The journey is about 40 minutes.
Opening hours – 10:00AM to 5:30PM in summer months.
Ticket price- 140 DKK (Danish Kroner)

Map of Kronborg Castle


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27 thoughts on “Kronborg Castle Tour: Day Trip from Copenhagen”

  1. Hmm… well though I’ve seen nicer castles I have to say these guys seem to really know how to put on a show! The actors in historic garb add a lot to the experience! Also the ghost show seems like a very cool touch to get people interested in and involved in an experience while also picking up a litte bit of history (albeit with considerable dramatic /artistic license!). Too bad more castles don’t put effort into the entertainment style education. I”d have loved to do something like this at Edinburgh castle for instance.

  2. Thanks for sharing so much history about the Kronborg Castle. We missed this when we were in Copenhagen. It seemed so cool to see the historical figures. But the ghost display looked like so much more fun! For our plan if we return to Copenhagen!

  3. Wow! I like how creative they have been with the actors and the ghost projection. It does make learning about the castle much more interactive and pretty interesting!

  4. Reading this post and looking at the photos sure did bring back a lot of memories. I love this castle and on a clear day, love the views across the sea to take in Sweden. 😀

  5. Oh I love how that apparition recites the history of the castle, I think it’s a wonderful and unique idea! Its interesting to know that the town with Kronborg castle was also featured in Shakespeare’s Hamlet. I love visiting castles and the renaissance architecture of this one is fantastic.

  6. What a way to daydream. Visit a Danish Castle for the day! The view of Kronborg castle from the water is sensational! I’d love to sit in that courtyard and hear the stories and tales why does it seem that the family members always seem to plot to kill the reigning King or Queen. I like they brought you to see the ghost – what fun!

  7. I love it when staff are dressed in the period AND play out the part, so much fun. I hadn’t heard of Kronborg castle and will add it to my next Copenhagen itinerary

  8. What stunning views, it makes me wish I paid better attention in English class in high school! I love that there are actors playing the roles from the play as you took in the sights. The creepy ghost king really seals the deal. Thanks for sharing!

  9. That sounds like great fun with the live performance! It really helps to imagine what it was like before, when you have some the actors & ambience as well.

  10. To be or not to be! the immortal words seemed to come alive as I read your post. Kronborg castle looks beautiful, but I guess Shakespeare and Hamlet overshadow everything here. The ultimate experience must be the rendezvous with the spirit of Hamlet’s father.

  11. I wish I had known about this castle when I was in Copenhagen this summer. I love that they have such a wonderful homage to Shakespeare here. So creepy about the ghost, as well! I love having supernatural experiences like that!

  12. Kronborg Castle seems so mesmerizing and astonishing, Nisha. A day trip to this castle is an awesome idea and I’ll definitely do it when in Copenhagen. Such an exceptional homage to Shakespeare!

  13. It would have been a dream come true to be part of the Shakespeare Festival in Kronborg Castle. What a spectacular setting…the characters would have bloomed! Did you plan it like that or you just got lucky?

  14. The ghost telling the story must have given you so many goosebumps. I think it is a nice and creative way to share the tale of the place. Love the way the castle is so well maintained and those views are definitely amazing.

  15. We love castles especially ones where people dress in period clothing. Awesome detailed post. Adding this place to our bucket list. Thanks for the inspiration!

  16. Thanks Nisha for sharing this post.

    Spent my second day in Copenhagen visiting Frederiksborg and Kronborg castles. First, take S train to Hillerod to visit Frederiksborg. Then from Hillerod, take local train 930R to Helsingor. It is a 30 minute ride, but please take the train via Fredensborg. There is also a train from Hillerod to Helsingor via Gilleleje, but the ride takes more than an hour. Copenhagen card will cover all of your entrance fees and transportation costs.

    The castle itself is a grand architecture and shows itself its grand past. However, this castle is rather unique in that it gave me a feeling of negative energy when I were there. Thinking of Hamlet and other events that might happen here that I probably don’t know, it may not be difficult to explain.

    I recommend you to take a guided tour if you are not familiar with its history. I joined the free introduction guided tour and it was quite good. I am glad I did it as I learned quite some from the guide about the history of the castle and how Shakespeare had connections with it.

  17. I sure do love a good castle tour, and the Germans knew how to build them! Living in France, I’ve seen a million French châteaux, but it would be refreshing to see the Germanic style. I’d totally do the day trip to take Kronborg Castle tour, especially with Hamlet scenes.

  18. Nisha Ji,
    Your every travel post inspires me. Loved to read on Kronborg Castle Tour. It is spectacular with so much history. Loved the courtyard and awesome that they have a live scene from hamlet.

    Regards,
    Himanshu

  19. The Kronborg Castle makes me think of Castles in the UK – it’s a beautiful sight. Must be fun to see the setting of a Shakespeare play and festival, and all those period costume to enhance the visit.
    Denmark and Copenhagen are places on our bucket list, so I bookmarked your post for future review.

  20. Wow, here is some place I must go whenever I travel to Denmark. Thanks to Nisha n Vasu for giving such a detailed information about this castle. This place is added to my list.

  21. Kronborg Castle looks so grand! I love the row of cannons. I enjoy it when an attraction uses people in period dress to help bring the place to life – it really helps to imagine life here. I have visited Copenhagen, but never ventured to Kronborg sadly.

  22. Pingback: Magical Fairytale Castles in Europe You Can Actually Visit - Tales of a Backpacker

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