Denmark is not a really big country. So if you’re in Copenhagen for one week or more, you should definitely think about making a day trip or two outside the capital. North, south, east or west. Either way you’ll find a highlight to check out. Here’s my personal 6 best day trips from Copenhagen.
Tip: if you are a Copenhagen Card holder, day trips number 1-3, 5 and 6 are free of charge, both public transport and access to the attractions described below.
1. Elsinore (Kronborg Castle)
Elsinor is a city located 31 miles (50 km) northeast from Copenhagen, with a population of around 61,500 inhabitants. Why is this place worth a visit? Because here’s where Shakespeare’s Hamlet happens, at Kronborg Castle, now part of UNESCO World Heritage since year 2000.
Kronborg Castle is located in a strategic place at the strait of Øresund, Denmark’s closest point to Sweden. Just 2.5 miles (4 km) of waves separate the two countries. It started off as a fortress, built by king Eric of Pomerania, that served as a toll for all the ships that wanted to enter the Baltic Sea. For the next 400 years, the king’s coffers were filled to bursting. Kronborg acquired its current name in 1585, when king Frederik II rebuilt it and made it look like the majestic castle that is it today.
Tip: included in the admission price, there’s a 30 minutes guided tour in English, everyday at 14:00h.
Everybody was talking about Kronborg, about the lavish and pompous life in Elsinore court, but after a devastating fire back in 1629, everything went downhill, the golden age was over. The castle was occupied and plundered by Swedish Carl Gustav. Along the years it was prison to the criminals and barracks for the military, and for the next 300 years Kronborg went back to its beginnings, being a fortress.
It is really a wonderful castle, big enough to spend from two to three hours checking it out. The staff offers various guided tours: two specifics only on Saturday and Sunday and another one on a daily basis which gives you a 30 minutes introduction of the castle.
Tip: in August you can see Hamlet performed in the courtyard by HamletScenen.
How to get to Kronborg Castle
In my opinion, if you didn’t rent a car, the train is the easiest option. Take the S-train to Helsingør St. at Copenhagen Central Station or Nørreport Station. The journey takes around 45-50 minutes and trains run every 20 minutes. Stop at Helsingør St. and from there it will take you just 15 minutes walking to the castle.
If you’re a Copenhagen Card holder this trip won’t cost you a thing: train round trip and access at Kronborg Castle included. If you don’t have a Copenhagen Card you can purchase a combined ticket at Danish State Railway.
1 November – 31 May
Adult: 90 DKK |
Children: free of charge under 18 |
Student: 80 DKK
Free with Copenhagen card
1 June – 31 August
Adult: 140 DKK |
Children: free of charge under 18 |
Student: 130 DKK
Free with Copenhagen card
2. Louisiana Museum of Modern Art
If you like modern art you must visit Louisiana Museum of Modern Art. Located in a whimsical spot, 22 miles (35 km) northeast of Copenhagen, the combination of sea, gardens and architecture makes the visit a very pleasant experience.
The museum holds a wide permanent exhibition of modern and contemporary art by Roy Lichtenstein, Andy Warhol, David Hockney and Pablo Picasso to mention a few. And my favourite, the Sculptures Park. You’ll find a sculpture in every corner of the gardens surrounding the museum. When you’re done with the museum, grab a beer at the bar, sit by the sea at the gardens’ grass and enjoy the ‘Sweden wallpaper’ displaying on the other side of the Øresund.
If you want to make the most of your day, wake up early to be at opening hour at Kronborg Castle (usually 11am) and after the visit head to Humlebæk (10 min by train) where you’ll still have time to visit Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, which closes at 18h in the summer.
How to get to Louisiana Museum of Modern Art
In my opinion, if you didn’t rent a car, the train is the easiest option. Take the S-train to Helsingør St. at Copenhagen Central Station or Nørreport Station. The journey takes around 35 minutes and trains run every 20 minutes. Stop at Humlebæk St. From there, it’s just a 2 minute walk to the museum.
Tuesday-Friday: 11h-22h | Saturday-Sunday: 11h-18h | Monday closed
Adult: 125 DKK | Children: free of charge under 18 | Student: 110 DKK
Free with Copenhagen card
3. Visit Roskilde
Roskilde, once capital of Denmark, is a city located 19 miles (30 km) west of Copenhagen, with a population of 50,000 inhabitants, well known for its Viking history.
While in Roskilde you can’t miss its most famous attractions. The Cathedral, final resting place to 39 Danish monarchs, listed on UNESCO World Heritage (free with Copenhagen Card). Also worth a visit, is the Viking Ship Museum, located right at the the end of Roskilde Fjord. Its main attraction is a collection of five original viking boats retrieved from excavations back in 1962. Like the ones Floki builds on the TV series Vikings!
If you’re interested in music visit the brand new attraction Ragnarock, inaugurated just in 2016, is a museum for pop, rock and youth culture. I haven’t had the chance to visit it yet since it’s so new, but I will, definitely.
Tip: if you like music festivals and you happen to visit Roskilde by the end of June you can’t miss Roskilde Music Festival.
How to get to Roskilde
In my opinion, if you didn’t rent a car, the train is the easiest and cheapest option. Take the S-train at Copenhagen Central Station or Nørreport Station to Roskilde and it’s a quick 25 minutes ride. From the train station it takes 10 minutes to walk to the Cathedral and 20 to the Viking Ship Museum.
4. Discover Malmö
How cool is to be able to visit another country in a short day trip? Malmö, located 27 miles (44 km) east of Copenhagen, is the third biggest city in Sweden after Stockholm and Göteborg, with a population of around 350,000.
Malmö is connected to Copenhagen through the Øresund Bridge. Have you watched the TV series The Bridge? Well this is the one! An architecture wonder with two train tracks and four car lanes, that will take you 2.5 miles (4 km) through the Drogden Tunnel, to then go up to the surface and hop on the bridge for 5 more miles (8 km).
If you get to Malmö early, you can see pretty much all the top sights there are to see. I would start by walking from the train station towards the Old Town (Gamla Staden). Wander the streets nearby the City Hall, Lilla Torg and Stortorget. It’s a very lively area full of shops, bars and restaurants. Pay special attention to Gamla Väster, a street full of cute little colourful houses. To me, the prettiest street in Malmö.
Continue to Kungsparken, visit the Malmöhus Castle if you wish. Grab a bite at the modern open market Malmö Saluhall. Admire the modern architecture at Västra Hamnen, by the promenade. Take a coffee while enjoying the view of the Øresund Bridge and Denmark on the background. Take a closer look at the Turning Torso.
How to get to Malmö
In my opinion, if you didn’t rent a car, the train is the easiest and more comfortable option. Take the S-train at Copenhagen Central Station or Nørreport Station to Malmö. Trains run every 20 minutes and it’s a 45 minutes ride to get there. Once at Malmö Station, it’s a 5 min walk into the Old Town.
There’s a few bus companies that will take you back and forth from Malmö. Check Flixbus. The last bus, which leaves Malmö at 22:25h, costs 5€!
You have to pay a pretty expensive toll to cross the bridge (61$ (50€) one way!!!). So I wouldn’t consider going by car unless you’re sharing expenses. Check prices here.
5. Hillerød (Frederiksborg Castle)
Hillerød is a town located 18.6 miles (30 km) northwest from Copenhagen, with a population of about 31,500. Its main attraction is Frederiksborg Castle, which has nothing to envy Kronborg’s.
Frederiksborg, which was first acquired by Frederik II as a royal residence, was tore down and totally rebuilt by his son, the King Christian IV in the early 17th century. He sure did a good job, the castle does not disappoint its visitors. The surroundings are my favourite part. Built on three little islets in the Slotssøen (the castle lake) it has an amazing and colourful adjoint garden. To me, this is the best view of the castle.
Tip: if you happen to be there by the 24th of February, they celebrate the Gardens of Light, an event where they create a lighting displays on the castle and gardens.
After a serious fire back in 1859, (what’s with fires?? every castle!!) the castle was rebuilt thanks to J.C. Jacobsen, the Carlsberg founder, and public support. It was reopened as the Danish Museum of National History, which houses a wide collection of portrait paintings.
How to get to Hillerød
Take the S-train at Copenhagen Central Station or Norreport Station to Hillerød (line E). Trains run every 20 minutes and it takes about 45 minutes to get there. Once you get to the Hillerød the castle is within a 20 minutes walk.
1 April – 31 October
1 November – 30 March
Adult: 75 DKK | Children (6-15): 20 DKK | Student: 60 DKK
Free with Copenhagen card
6. Møn Island and Cliffs
Møn is an island located 87 miles (140 km) south of Copenhagen and with a population of about 9,300, best known for its beautiful white cliffs. If you’re tired of castles, this is a nice day trip out in the nature by the sea.
Tip: rent a car if you decide to visit Møn Island! It’s possible to go by public transport but it will take too long.
When you reach Møn you can start your visit at the GeoCenter where you’ll learn about the natural rocky surroundings. After that it’s walking time. There is a walking path along the 3.7 miles stretch (6 km) of cliffs, which will lead you down to the shore through some staircases in several points. Some cliffs are 394 feet high (120m). It’s a great spot to have a nice picnic. Another point of interest in the Møn east coast is Liselund Park. I haven’t been there but seems a really nice park with 17th century little houses.
I would only recommend you to visit Møn Island if you’re in Copenhagen for more than a week. I also recommend you to rent a car to get here, otherwise you’ll spend almost 6 hours on the road for a round trip if you attempt to go by public transport.
How to get to Møn Island and Cliffs
Take the E20, then continue on E47 until you reach exit 41-Vordingborg. Take road 59 to Vordingborg/Møn and within 40 minutes you’ll reach the GeoCenter parking lot. The whole drive takes an hour and a half.
By train / bus
Take the train to Vordingborg from Copenhagen Central Station. Once you get there, take the bus 660R to Stege and here take bus 678. The one way journey takes around 2 hours and 45 minutes.
BONUS Day trips near Copenhagen
7. Legoland – Billund Resort
If you are part of the Millennial generation, you surely have played with Lego’s as a child. Well, Denmark is the mother of Lego (Ole Kirk Christiansen, a carpenter from Billund to be precise) and they have dedicated a whole amusement park to these colourful bricks.
Legoland is the perfect place to go with children, but also adults will enjoy themselves as if they were kids again. The park is beautiful, full of famous world sights and Denmarks sight all built with Lego bricks. Up tp 50 different rides suitable for young and grown-ups, fun is assured for the whole family.
If you don’t want to drive back to Copenhagen after a long journey, you have a wide range of places to stay to choose from within the Legoland complex. From a 3-star campsite, motels and cabins (500 metres from Legoland), to 4 and 5 stars hotels (Hotel Legoland and Castle Hotel respectively) right within the park itself. For more information and prices check the website below.
How to get to Legoland
Take the E20 and follow signs for E45s/Flensborg/Esbjerg/Kolding. Take exit 62-Kolding Ø to merge onto Route 170/Route 176. Continue to Bredsten and then follow the Legoland signs. The whole drive takes about 2 hours and 40 minutes (265 km).
Legoland Admission 1 Day
Adults (13-64): 395 DKK
Children (3-12) and Seniors (+65): 375 DKK
Legoland Admission 2 Days
Adults (13-64): 494 DKK
Children (3-12) and Seniors (+65): 474 DKK
For more detailed information please check the website below.