How to spend a magical day in Copenhagen that doesn’t involve spending time in Copenhagen

What if I told you one of the best ways to spend a day in Copenhagen is to leave the city altogether? Though the Copenhagen municipality is beautiful and has plenty of incredible experiences just waiting to be discovered within its bounds, there’s also at least a day’s worth of activities to do that lie just a little bit north! If you’ve got the time, take a break from the occasionally hectic city proper and venture up the coast—you won’t regret it.

Stop 1

A perfect start to the day is the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art:

Sam Lincoln | Lets Go

Situated right on the coast (with a bonus view of Sweden across the water!), the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art is one of the world’s great art museums, and it’s just thirty minutes north of Copenhagen on the 029 train. Hop on at Copenhagen Central, Nørreport, or Østerport, and ride to Humlebæk Station. The museum is a ten to fifteen minute walk from there, and it’s more than worth the trip. Situated in an old, ivy-covered country house that’s grown a number of modern, zig-zagging gallery space additions. Wander through the halls and find a massive collection of modern art including your standard fare of big names—Picasso, Warhol, etc.—and a large number of artists both local and international you might not have discovered yet. Should you get hungry, a beautiful café sits on a knoll right above the water (just expect to pay everybody’s favorite museum-mark-up for the grub). As you head from exhibit to exhibit, you’ll wind up spending a fair amount of time outdoors—the grounds are covered with paths connecting the different wings of the museum, and they lead you right through the outdoor sculpture garden (think chunks of rock on monolithic steel pillars, white underwear on clothing lines, that sort of thing—it’s a modern art museum, after all!) that covers most of the grounds. Just make sure you grab a map of the place before you dive in—it’s easy to find yourself walking in circles around the labyrinthine exhibits!

Stop 2

Your next stop is the majestic Kronborg Castle, which sits right at the closest point between Sweden and Denmark and commands a breathtaking impressive view of the Øresund.

view of castle in denmark
Sam Lincoln | Lets Go

From the Louisiana Museum, just walk right down the road to the stop for the 288 bus—it’ll take you straight up to Helsingør, the town where Kronborg sits. The stop that gets you the closest to Kronborg’s entrance is Kulturværftet (Allegade), conveniently located right next to a café should you need some food or drink to recharge before storming the castle. Once you’re ready, just head for Kronborg—you can’t miss it! (It’s the one with the enormous walls, towering spires, and strategically placed cannons.) Head on in and explore the grounds to your heart’s content. Particularly worth seeing are the Casemates, a network of mysterious underground passages that lie just beneath the castle. They feature myriad pitch-black hallways (bring a flashlight!) and a large statue of a hunched over Holger Danske (a mythical hero). Don’t miss the 143 breathtaking steps to the highest accessible point of the castle, either—that’s the best place to get a view of the sea, the town, the castle, and Sweden.

If you visit Kronborg in the summer months, you’re in for an additional treat: Kronborg is the very same as the Castle Elsinore (Helsingør = Elsinore) in which Shakespeare’s Hamlet takes place. Fittingly, productions of Hamlet are staged all summer long from. You may have seen it on stage, but there’s nothing quite like witnessing the dramatic unravelling of Hamlet’s family dynamic on display in the grand chambers, halls, and courtyards where Shakespeare envisioned the action taking place.

Stop 3

The last stop of the day is the Jaegersborg Dyrehave, otherwise known as Dyrehaven, a beautiful 1000 acre expanse of meadow and forest that does double duty as both park and deer sanctuary (dyre + haven, get it?). It’s accessible right off the commuter rail from Helsingør, at the Klampenborg stop.

view of a meadow in denmark
Sam Lincoln | Lets Go

The park is chock-full of adorable deer, and you’ll have a hard time making your way through any stretch of trail without stopping and seeing them graze in the grass or prance around in the trees. The best viewing point is in the center of the park, right where the forest thins and the beautiful palace built for the royal family’s hunts looks out on the clearing. Deer seem to love the wide open space, and you’ll probably spot a herd or two munching away. Behind the hunting palace is a clear shot to the sea, past which you can get one last little glimpse of Sweden before you head back to the city for the night. When you’re ready to return to Copenhagen, just take the metro from Klampenborg Station to one of the centrally located ones throughout the city. Thus concludes your wonderful caper up and down the coast.

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