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If it’s possible to drag yourself away from wonderful Copenhagen for a day trip, then Helsingor is a good choice.
While Helsingor may not be familiar to international travellers, thespians will be very familiar with the Danish town as it is home to Shakespeare’s fictional character, Hamlet. Elsinore is the town’s name in the English language.
In the play, Elsinore is the name of the royal castle where Hamlet and family live. It is believed that Shakespeare based Elsinore on Kronborg Castle and is one of the main reasons people visit Helsingor for.
WHERE IS HELSINGOR?
Helsingor is located in the north east coast of Zealand, the island in Denmark that Copenhagen is located on. Helsingor is 40-50km north of Copenhagen and is written as Helsingør in Danish.
Denmark and Sweden are separated by the Oresund Strait and Helsingor is located at the narrowest point of the strait. More information on Denmark can be found in my Facts about Denmark post.
THINGS TO SEE IN HELSINGOR
Built in the 15th century during the European Renaissance, Kronborg Castle is a UNESCO World Heritage site. It began life as a tollhouse for boats passing through the Oresund Strait. It subsequently served as a royal residence, a prison, and an army barracks.
Town Centre and Axeltorv
The streets of Helsingor are incredible quaint so meandering around the town will be an absolute pleasure. Most of the streets are pedestrianised. While cafes and restaurants are dotted along every street, the atmospheric Axeltorv town square is lined with eateries.
Helsingor’s former shipyard has been transformed into a cultural hub hosting concerts, exhibitions and conferences.
Maritime Museum of Denmark
Shipping has made Denmark a wealthy country and this museum, located in a cutting-edge building, charts the country’s rich seafaring history. This is an excellent place to bring children as the multimedia and interactive presentations are engaging.
Other museums in Helsingor include the Shipyard Museum, the History Museum, and the Helsingor City Museum.
Sankt Mariae Kirke/St. Mary’s Church
Even though St. Olaf’s Church is the cathedral church of Helsingor, St. Mary’s was the one recommended by locals. St. Mary’s Church has both a red brick interior and exterior. The pews are decorated with the most elaborate candle-holders on the aisle side. Next door to the church is a Carmelite monastery dating back to the medieval times.
Yes, really! The Swedish city of Helsingborg is a 20 minute ferry trip across the Oresund Strait. Helsingborg is a much larger urban area than Helsingor and could be added on as a day trip from Helsingor if staying overnight.
VISIT HELSINGOR – TRAVEL ESSENTIALS
Is Helsingor worth visiting?
To be or not to be in Helsingor? Hamlet is a tragedy but that’s something you cannot say about delightful Helsingor. As Hamlet is considered one of Shakespeare’s greatest plays, visiting Helsingor is a must for theatre lovers. As a port town, it has quite an international buzz.
Getting to Helsingor
The best way to visit Helsingor from Copenhagen is by train. The journey is 46 minutes. On the DSB website, Copenhagen Central Station is known as Kobenhavn H. Helsingor train station is located beside the ferry terminal.
From Sweden there are two ferries: the large ForSea car/truck ferry and a smaller ferry for foot passengers.
Staying in Helsingor
For accommodation in Helsingor, check out booking.com.