Fangirling about Elsinore
I’m a bit of a literary nerd (yes, as well as being a history nerd …), and so I love to visit places that feature in famous novels (and plays). Fortunately for me, Europe is stuffed full of these wonderful places to see, and fortunately for you I plan to make it my mission to tell you all about them!
When I was recently in Denmark I grabbed the chance to visit “Castle Elsinore” as it’s known in Shakespeare’s Hamlet. In real life it is Kronborg Castle in Helsingør, situated at the head of Øresund Sound.
Kronborg is UNESCO World Heritage listed and during the summer they hold a Shakespeare Festival.
The castle is situated right by the sea and is surrounded by beautiful walking paths.
You can do guided tours of the castle and the catacombs beneath and learn all about its complicated history.
There is also a link to Arthurian legends to be found beneath the castle; a statue of the Danish king known as Holger Dansk lies there. According to legends, he was taken to Avalon by Morgan le Fay. He returned to rescue France from danger, then travelled to Kronborg castle. Legend has it that he will sleep beneath Kronborg awaiting the day he is needed to save Denmark.
For those more interested in art than history or literature, there is also a nice gallery next to the castle. Something for everyone in this tiny town.
Helsingør is super easy to get to from Copenhagen, making it the perfect day trip. You just hop on a train at central station (Kobenhavn H) that heads towards Helsingør. They depart regularly and the journey takes 57 minutes.
Once you arrive in Helsingør, just follow the signs to Kronborg Castle – it is about a 10 minute walk and you will see it out on the headland from the moment you leave the station.
If you have a Copenhagen Card, the whole day (train and entrance to the Castle) will be included. Paying separately, the train is about 150DKK return, and the Castle entrance is 90DKK for an adult.
To plan your public transport within Denmark, use www.rejseplanen.dk
Complete your experience
The Lion King. Surprised? It is basically Hamlet in musical form (and with lions instead of people). The king (Mufasa) is killed ‘accidentally’ by his evil, power-hungry brother (Scar), and after a time away, the prince and heir (Simba) returns to claim his rightful place. The Lion King even includes the ghost of Mufasa, and Hamlet’s fast-talking friends Timon and Pumbaa (Rosencrantz and Guildenstern). Love it.
“Drink vinegar? Eat a crocodile? I’ll do all that.” – Hamlet
Quite honestly, I didn’t eat anything while I was there.