Copenhagen – Day Trip to Helsingor and Helsingborg

Today we had lots of potential plans but nothing concrete and so after waking up later than planned we decided a bakery pastry breakfast treat was in order to help decipher a plan. Meyer’s Bakery is a 3 minute walk from the apartment and after a traditional custard Danish and some fresh orange we were refreshed enough to come up with the epic plan of visiting Helsingor and Helsinborg in a day (the initial plan also included Malmo but we soon realised how over-ambitious we were being).

We finished off breakfast and made the short walk to Osterport Station where we would catch the train to Helsingor. The town itself is most famous for being home to Hamlet’s Castle or Kronborg Slot. While Shakespeare’s tale is of course a work of fiction and there is no evidence to show that the great playwright even visited the castle his depiction of Elsinore in Hamlet had such a likeness to Kronborg that the castle became known as the setting for one of the Bard’s most famous works. As a result, for the last 100 years or so during the summer months, the castle has been host to some famous faces playing both Hamlet, such as Laurence Olivier and Jude Law, and Ophelia. The depictions of the play take place in the castle and are a true social occasion with everyone including the Danish royal family being in attendance. However, for those commoners such as myself, they have a jam packed programme on every summer whereby local actors play the famous parts and act out scenes in the different rooms of the castle as well as in the main courtyard. The Kronborg complex also has a few galleries and an army barracks for those wishing to make a day of it and the national Maritime Museum is just next to the castle. We were only here for one thing though and after buying our tickets we entered. The structure of the building is very striking, sitting right on the coast it immediately grabs your attention as you leave the train station a 5 minute walk away. The castle still has its original moats as despite being famous due to Hamlet was actually a working castle for the Danish Monarchy and a key strategic settlement for charging taxes from passing ships wishing to enter the Baltic regions. We wandered through each of the rooms which are set out with original furniture learning how King Frederick and Queen Sophie had separate rooms, how Sophie was an excellent Queen and managed the royal household splendidly, throwing the most lavish parties that would often go on for up to 4 days. She also had a parrot!

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In comparison to the grandeur of the castles and palaces in Austria, the interior of this was a little underwhelming. However, the live theatre springing up as you were walking through the rooms, coupled with the dramatic exterior and coastal location definitely makes it a must visit. If you come during the winter months when there is no theatre on I would recommend saving the money on an entrance ticket and instead wandering around the outside of the castle and into the courtyard (you can only enter the courtyard for free in winter). After we had climbed up the roof tower for spectacular views, all the way to Sweden, we took a lovely coastal walk around the beach that edges the castle before making our way back into town. We just had time for a quick lunch stop at Spisehuset, a food truck stationed right next to the Culture Yard, where we got fish and chips to eat right on the harbour in comfy chairs. The only downside was the pesky seagulls who were definitely eyeing up our food throughout!

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Feeling very full, we waddled to the ferry terminal to catch the 30 minute ferry to Sweden! Unfortunately, the journey was marred by us sitting next to not one, but three children who chose to cry/scream for the entire trip. I have never been so happy to get off a boat in my life! Again, we didn’t really have much of a plan for Sweden and we were met by blustery winds which we had not dressed for having left 20 degree heat in Denmark. We decided to take refuge in Sweden’s most famous coffee house to warm up, although I ordered a Snapple iced tea which didn’t really meet the warming up brief. We wandered round taking in the Karnan, a tower like structure with great views even from the bottom platform, the Church of St Mary and then finally the Town Hall building. It was nice to just nip in and out of shops as well as to see the sights and the lovely coastline of the small town. By this point it was almost 5 o’clock and our plan to fit in Malmo before going back to Copenhagen while possible did not seem fun. So we headed back to the ferry terminal and bought another single ticket (we could have saved money by getting a return), back to Helsingor. I got my change in Swedish Krone and so I treated myself to an awful ferry wine on the way back to Denmark, talk about living life on the edge!

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When we got back we jumped on the next train and we back in Osterport by just after 6. This gave us enough time to head back to the apartment before managing to get a reservation at Hos Fischer. We both fancied Italian and so opted for this tiny place where they have a small but fantastic menu. We were seated outside but within 5 minutes the waiter took pity on us and moved us inside to the warmth. We ordered a mozzarella and prosciutto sharing platter with bread to start which was absolutely sublime and I had the pork cheek and courgette fettucine for main. It was a perfect size and both courses worked well with the orange wine – Semplicementa Bellotti Blanco that the waitress recommended to match. For a last minute plan the food was fantastic and we left yet again feeling full and content before falling into blissful sleep.

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