I love castles! Before going to Copenhagen I had no idea how many Copenhagen castles there were in the greater Copenhagen area. From the castles in the city such as Rosenborg and Christiansborg to those that you have to take a train to such as Frederiksborg and Kronburg, there are so many things to see for a castle lover in Copenhagen! In this guide we round up the most beautiful fairytale Copenhagen castles and give you the best Copenhagen itinerary for visiting them.
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What Fairytale Copenhagen Castles can you visit with the Copenhagen Card
We decided to purchase a Copenhagen Card for our time in Copenhagen. This was a great option as it meant entrance to all the Copenhagen castles and also all our transportation costs in the Greater Copenhagen area were included in the cost. This was a great cost saver to us but be sure to plan out your itinerary before purchasing to make sure it is worthwhile for you.
How many Copenhagen Castles can you visit in 48 hours?
With having to get trains to go and visit some of the castles included on the Copenhagen card you may think you may not be able to cover many castles in a 48 hour period but with our itinerary you are guaranteed to visit at least four!
Best Fairtytale Copenhagen Castles
Frederiksborg Castle -one of the best castles in Copenhagen
Frederiksborg Castle is a day trip from Copenhagen. We set out early from Copenhagen to arrive at the castle for its opening. The castle is in the town of Hillerod and took about 45 minutes by train from the central Copenhagen Station.
The caste was a royal residence and was built by Christian IV of Denmark in the 17th Century and today also serves as the National Museum of Denmark.
A beautiful castle, we decided to take a guided tour to ensure we got the full experience and did not regret it. I don’t think I would have learnt as much about the architecture, paintings or history of Denmark without this. Highlights of the tour for me included the Chapel and the Great Hall.
Unfortunately the castle was largely destroyed by fire in 1859 but the castle was refurbished by grant and then reopened to the public as the Danish Museum of National History. The castle is a tour de force of Danish history. To make the most out of your visit to Frederiksborg Castle we recommend joining a free guided tour.
Highlights of Frederiksborg Castle:
- The Chapel
- The Great Hall
Once you have finished touring the interiors, you should head into the gardens. The gardens are extensive and are in the baroque style and are a gem in themselves. But the real highlight for me was taking the small boat around the lake and viewing the beautiful castle and grounds from this vantage point!
However please note that the ferry is only small so if you are travelling in peak time such as summer the queues for the ferry can get very long so be prepared to wait.
Kronburg Castle – one of the best castles near Copenhagen
For our itinerary we decide to hit both Frederiksborg and Kronburg castle in the same day. We hoped on the train to Helsinore but if you are only wanting to do one Copenhagen Castle then you can catch a train directly from Copehagen to Helsingor too as this is one of the best castles near Copenhagen. From Copenhagen it is only a 45 minute train journey – which is quite a beautiful journey as it skirts the coast and also passes the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art which is also worth adding to your Copenhagen itinerary if you have time.
Fun Fact – Kronborg Castle is perhaps most well known as the castle made famous by Shakespeare as the castle of Hamlet, Elsinore (in real life known as Kronborg) but often colloquially referred to as Hamlet’s Castle and has achieved UNSECO World Heritage Status as one of the most important Renaissance Castles in Europe. For morefun facts about Copenhagen check out this post.
On top of the Shakespeare connection, Kronborg is perhaps one of the best places to learn about the Maritime History of Denmark. One of the roles of Kronborg was in the control of the sound (the stretch of water that separates Denmark and Sweden) and how an important role it played was in controlling the duties that needed to be levied for all ships wanting to enter or leave the Baltic Sea via the Sound and the countries rivalry with Sweden which you can see from the castle on the other side of the water.
Once you have finished exploring the inside of the castle then be sure to spend some time in the grounds. We walked the entire perimeter of the castle and are rewarded with great views of Malmo (the Swedish city on the opposite side of the sound and stopped at one of the lovely cafes inside the castle walls for a drink.
If you are traveling to Kronborg over summer then be sure to check out one of the performances they hold here of Hamlet.
Kronborg Castle is commonly called Hamlet’s Castle as the Shakespeare creation of Elsinore was based on this castle! The castle
Highlights of Kronborg Castle:
- The Crypts
- The Chapel
- The Ramparts
Other Things to Do Near Kronborg Castle
Outside of the castle, much effort has been made to make Helsinore a cultural centre. In 2013, the Kulturhavn Kronburg was made to encourage tourism and includes the National Maritime Museum amongst other things. As we had decided to visit both Kronborg and Frederiksborg Castle in the same day we didn’t have time to go in but I am definitely putting this on my next Copenhagen itinerary.
After we had finished at Kronburg we headed back to Copenhagen. If we had a more leisurely timetable we would have stopped at Louisiana, a beautiful modern art gallery set on the sealine which even from the train I can tell you offered great views across the Sound. Its definitely a must when we return.
Day Two of our Copenhagen Castles Itinerary
Christiansborg Castle – one of the best castles in Copenhagen
The next day, because we hadn’t had enough of Danish castles we went to Christiansborg, now the home of the Danish Parliament. A castle in Copenhagen itself.
Otherwise known as the State Palace of Copenhagen. This is a great one to visit as it is right in central Copenhagen. It is definitely the easiest castle to visit in Copenhagen and if you are short on time this is the castle you should be adding to your Copenhagen itinerary. It is both a seat of government and was a royal residence and is truly breathtaking. Today it is not used as a royal residence however it is still used for some royal functions and receptions.
Highlights of Christiansborg Castle:
- Royal Reception rooms.
- Throne Room
- The Royal Kitchen
- The Stables
It also has a Tower which boasts great views of Copenhagen (so I’m told – we were too lazy to walk up!).
Looking for somewhere to stay in Copenhagen then check out this post
Rosenburg Castle –
The next stop on our palace Tour de Force was Rosenburg, home of the crown jewels. While beautiful this was perhaps my least favourite of the castles as it was by far the busiest probably due to its central Copenhagen location and appeal of the crown jewels.
Built by Christian IV as a hermitage in the early 17th century this castle was often used for royal hunts. Although very busy, this castle is perfect for those who want to see the crown jewels and exquisite interiors. There is also a great park for those visiting Copenhagen with family.
Highlights of Rosenborg Castle:
- Crown Jewels Exhibit
Another highlight at Rosenborg is the changing of the guard. At 11:30 you can watch the start of the changing of the guard who go all the way from Rosenborg to Amalienborg, the final stop on our trip and the residence of the Danish Royal Family.
Amalienborg Castle is actually the current royal residence so can be harder to visit than some of the other great Copenhagen Castles. The main attraction to visiting Amalienborg Castle is to watch the changing of the guard which occurs at 12pm. The parade starts at the rbarracks in 100 Gothersgade by Rosenborg Castle through the streets of Copenhagen and ends up at Amalienborg at 12pm.
Once you have seen the changing of the guard why not head inside the castle. The access to the castle is obviously restricted given its contemporary function of royal residence but inside you can still visit the museum which gives an insight into royal life over the centuries in Denmark.
Overall Copenhagen Castles Itinerary
Overall I think Copenhagen may be the greatest city on earth for Castle lovers! The trains are efficient and easy to use so it means you can even travel outside of the city to get your castle fix. If I was doing this with children, which next time we definitely will be we would obviously take this at a much more leisurely pace and would recommend a carrier – these castles aren’t made for prams!
Looking for over things to do in Copenhagen then check out his handy guide