There’s more to Denmark than the cosmopolitan capital city of, Copenhagen. So go beyond a city break and discover the region of North Zealand and its many attractions.
It’s a region that offers the holidaymaker fascinating castles, historic monasteries, world class museums, picturesque fishing villages and some of the country’s best sandy beaches, on the coastline known as the Danish Riviera.
And you can explore the area by train, on bikes or by car on quiet country roads. There are some new attractions in 2013 too, including the M/S Maritime Museum in Elsinore, which is just 45 minutes north of Copenhagen by train. The museum, which is between Kronborg Castle and the Cultural Wharf, has been designed using sloping bridges that spiral downwards in a seashell shape inside an old dry dock. At times, the underground museum makes visitors feel like they’re under the water as they learn about Danish maritime traditions. Enjoy exploring New Zealand, Denamark.
It features model ships, paintings and photographs, a workshop and interactive attractions, such as the opportunity to try navigating a ship using the stars. Next to the museum, the UNESCO-listed Kronborg Castle is rich in history – best known to the world as Hamlet’s Castle.
And each August it hosts HamletScenen, a festival dedicated to the works of William Shakespeare, with plays staged in the castle courtyard and performances by the Shakespeare Puppets – a production using puppets, music, mimicry and sound to tell one of the playwright’s stories. Half way between Elsinore and Copenhagen, the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art is an attraction for a different audience.
Combining art and architecture with parkland, its permanent collection is the largest in Scandinavia and includes works by Picasso, Warhol, Bourgeois and Jorn, among others. Every year, it hosts major international exhibitions of modern and contemporary art, photography and design. The building sits in a sculpture park with fine views of Øresund and the sea. More art is on show at the Renaissance Frederiksborg Castle, which sits in pretty Italianate Baroque gardens at Hillerød. This red-brick castle was built as a symbol of King Christian IV’s power and now houses the Museum of National History, featuring 500 years of Danish life with a large collection of royal portraits.
Within the collection are a number of contemporary pieces, such as an Andy Warhol portrait of Queen Margrethe II, and a portrait of Mary, Crown Princess of Denmark, that was woven from newspapers. On the banks of Lake Esrum, close to Frederiksborg, is the elegantFredensborg Palace. The new home of Crown Prince Frederik and Crown Princess Mary and their family is open to the public during the summer. If the family is in residence, a changing of the guard ceremony is also staged just before noon. In its history, the palace has hosted many heads of state – who were all encouraged to scratch their names in one of the palace windows with a diamond pen. The grounds regularly host summer events and concerts while it’s possible to sail from the palace garden across Esrum Sø, Denmark’s second largest lake.
Just north of the lake stands the Esrum Kloster & Møllegård abbey, dating back to the 12th century. It was an important Danish centre of monastic life for centuries and nowadays houses an exhibition on its history. A large garden produces much of the produce used in the production of beer, salt, vinegars and honey, which can be bought in the abbey’s shop and café. Regular events are held throughout the year, including a medieval market and fair.
And then there are the beaches. North Sealand has 1,700km of coastline billed as the Danish Riviera. Seaside towns includeTisvildeleje, where white sandy beaches are protected by the nearby forest of Tisvilde Hegn. Hidden among the sand dunes are hundreds of colourful beach huts, the symbols of the town. There are plenty of activities, such as crab fishing, kayaking, mountain biking and shopping, while accommodation is available in the Helenkilde Badehotel or the Tisvildeleje Strandhotel.
The neighbouring resort of Liseleje has shallow waters perfect for swimming, while August sees the annual Kattegat Kite Festival on the beach. Tourists can build and fly their own. In summer, several other towns hold their own harbour festivals, including the fishing town of Hornbæk.
The west side of the harbour is popular with sunbathers, while to the east there’s cycling, surfing, running and hunting for the amber that occasionally gets washed up along the shore. One of the best ways to see the the area is from a wooden carriage on the Veteran Train.
Linking many of the towns along the northern coast during the summer months, the restored steam service has some great views of the sea and the countryside. And for your Denmark travel arrangements… Travel by train to Denmark and around its key sites, with tickets from Rail Europe.
Feature image (on top): Frederiksborgs Castle
Written by our friends at Daily Travel Ideas.com