Do you have a thing for castles? I do too. If you’re heading to Copenhagen, I want to tell you that the capital of Denmark has some of the most stunning castles in Northern Europe which will make you feel like you’re in a fairytale.

I visited Copenhagen solo in May 2024. On my last day here, I did a guided tour of the castles in Copenhagen and was in awe. Each castle offers a glimpse into the rich history and opulent lifestyle of the Danish monarchy.

Falling in love with the Castles of Copenhagen and around
Falling in love with the Castles of Copenhagen and around

Our tour guide’s stories of battles between Sweden and Denmark were more interesting (sometimes hilarious) than I had ever anticipated.

Whether you’re a history buff, a fan of architectural beauty, or someone seeking a fairy tale experience, the castles in Copenhagen are a must-visit. Here’s a detailed guide to the most famous castles and palaces you can explore in and around Copenhagen.

1) Frederiksborg Castle

Entry of the Frederiksborg Castle near Copenhagen
Entry of the Frederiksborg Castle near Copenhagen

If there’s just one castle in Denmark that you can visit, then let it be this one. Frederiksborg Castle is the most popular one for a reason.

It is a beautiful Renaissance castle in Hillerød, just a short trip from Copenhagen. So, technically this castle isn’t inside Copenhagen but it has to be mentioned on top of the list because it deserves the limelight.

Inside the Great Hall of Frederiksborg Castle near Copenhagen
Inside the Great Hall of Frederiksborg Castle near Copenhagen

The Fedriksborg Castle stands on three small islets in the Castle Lake or Slotssøen. The castle building is red, with a blue-green top.

Built in the early 17th century by King Christian IV, this castle is a prime example of Dutch Renaissance architecture. It was built to showcase King Christian IV’s status as a powerful monarch.

The Royal Bed inside Inside the Great Hall of Frederiksborg Castle
The Royal Bed inside Inside the Great Hall of Frederiksborg Castle

We must have spent more than an hour inside the Fedriksborg Castle and it felt like a maze with one room leading to another. One hour felt too short because there’s a lot to see here.

Chapel inside Frederiksborg Castle
Chapel inside Frederiksborg Castle

Highlights of Frederiksborg Castle

  • Museum of National History: Houses a vast collection of portraits, history paintings, and modern art.
  • Great Hall & Ballroom: Known for its impressive size and intricate decorations.
  • Chapel: A beautiful space that has been used for royal ceremonies.
  • King’s Garden: Denmark’s oldest royal garden, perfect for a leisurely stroll.

Tip for visiting Frederiksborg Castle

A visit to Frederiksborg Castle is best combined with Kronborg Castle.

Consider booking a day trip from Copenhagen that includes pick up and drop as well as a guided entry. If you have a Copenhagen Card, you can enter for free.

2) Amalienborg Palace

Amalienborg palace, Copenhagen
Amalienborg palace, Copenhagen via Pixabay

Amalienborg Palace is the royal residence of the Danish royal family. Located in the heart of Copenhagen, it comprises four identical palaces surrounding an octagonal courtyard. These four buildings are:

  • Christian VII’s Palace (Moltke’s Palace, used as a guest residence),
  • Frederik VIII’s Palace (Brockdorff’s Palace, home of His Majesty King Frederik X, Her Majesty Queen Mary, and their children),
  • Christian IX’s Palace (Schack’s Palace, home of Queen Margrethe II) and
  • Christian VIII’s Palace (Levetzau’s Palace, guest palace for Prince Joachim and Princess Benedikte)

Plan your visit to the Amalienborg Palace in a way that you can see the Changing of the Guard Ceremony which occurs at noon. It is accompanied by music and is a must-see for visitors. These guards march from Rosenborg Castle through the streets of Copenhagen to Amalienborg.

Changing of the Guards ceremony, Amalienborg Palace, Copenhagen
Changing of the Guards ceremony, Amalienborg Palace, Copenhagen via Pixabay

Highlights of Amalienborg Palace

  • Amalienborg Museum: Offers insights into the lives of Danish kings and queens over the centuries.
  • Changing of the Guard Ceremony: A daily spectacle at noon.
  • Royal Reception Rooms: Used for state visits and official events.
  • Frederik VIII’s Palace: One of the four palaces, housing the royal family.

Tip for visiting Amalienborg Palace

Amalienborg Palace is within walking distance of other main attractions in Copenhagen. Plan a short walk to nearby Kongens Have (King’s Garden) after your visit. Get the Copenhagen Card if you want to visit all the castles in Denmark because it includes entry and public transport.

3) Kronborg Castle

Day trip to day trip to Roskilde, Frederiksborg & Kronborg from Copenhagen
Kronborg Castle Entry – Day trip from Copenhagen

Located on a small island at the narrowest point of the Baltic SeaKronborg Castle is famously known as Hamlet’s Castle. This UNESCO World Heritage site is renowned for its stunning architecture and historical significance.

Kronborg Castle is super stunning
Kronborg Castle is super stunning

Even though the Frederiksborg Castle is the most famous one, for me Kronborg’s serene surroundings, location and stories charmed me the most.

Fun fact: William Shakespeare never visited the Kronborg Castle but it is described perfectly in detail in his longest play – Hamlet.

Our guide telling us about Shakespere's Hamlet and Kronborg
Our guide tells us about Shakespeare’s Hamlet and Kronborg

Denmark’s King Frederic the Second built the Kronborg Castle for his wife. It has the biggest ballroom in Europe.

The king was very proud of the castle and spent a lot of money on it. He also generated a lot of money through this castle because it is just 4 km away from Sweden’s Helsingborg. So, it allowed the Danish king to collect taxes from Swedish boats.

Kronborg Castle in Denmark
Kronborg Castle in Denmark

The Kronborg Castle also served as a Military stronghold. You can walk to the viewpoint near the cannons and see Sweden from there.

Our guide mentioned that in summer, some Swedes swim this 4-kilometer water stretch to enter Denmark from Helsingborg in Sweden to Helsingør in Denmark.

Kronborg Castle cannons and Sweden across the water
Kronborg Castle cannons and Sweden across the water

Highlights of Kronborg Castle

  • Shakespeare’s Hamlet: The castle is the setting for Shakespeare’s famous play.
  • Royal Apartments and Audience Chamber: Explore the luxurious rooms used by the Danish monarchy.
  • Knights’ Hall: One of the largest banqueting halls in Northern Europe.
  • Great Hall: Another impressive room known for its grandeur.

Tip for visiting Kronborg Castle

Kronborg Castle is ideal for a day trip from Copenhagen. I did a day trip which included a visit to Kronborg and Frederiksborg. I highly recommend this guided day trip.

The castle often hosts events and performances, so check the schedule for any upcoming events.

4) Christiansborg Palace

Christiansborg Palace in Copenhagen at night
Christiansborg Palace in Copenhagen at night

Christiansborg Palace is a significant building in Copenhagen, housing the Danish Parliament, the Supreme Court, and the Prime Minister’s Office. It’s a hub of Danish political life and royal history.

The most famous part of Christiansborg is the Great Hall. It contains Queen Margrethe II’s tapestries. Painted by the artist Bjørn Nørgaard, these tapestries showcase 1000 years of Danish history.

The High Tower of Christiansborg Palace, Copenhagen
The High Tower of Christiansborg Palace, Copenhagen

Don’t miss Christiansborg Palace’s ruins, that were discovered underneath the palace. These ruins also have a wall that dates back to the Middle Ages!

Highlights of Christiansborg Palace

  • Royal Reception Rooms: Used for public audiences and official events.
  • Throne Room and Gala Hall: Highlights of the palace’s interior.
  • Royal Stables and Kitchens: Offer a glimpse into the royal household’s daily operations.
  • Changing of the Royal Danish Guard: A ceremony worth witnessing.

Tip for visiting Christiansborg Palace

Combine your visit to Christiansborg Palace with a guided tour of the Round Tower for great views of the city. For me, the Round Tower was the most amazing experience I had in this city and I mentioned it at the top of my Copenhagen itinerary.

5) Rosenborg Castle

Rosenborg Castle in Copenhagen from its gardens
Rosenborg Castle in Copenhagen from its gardens

Built in 1606-34, Rosenborg Castle is a fairy tale castle in Copenhagen. The castle was built by Christian IV as a “pleasure palace”. Like many other castles of Denmark, Rosenborg also depicts the Dutch Renaissance style.

Rosenborg Castle houses the Danish crown jewels, 400 years of royal treasures, and royal regalia in the basement. You can also see the portrait of the scandal where Queen Caroline Mathilde who was married to King Christian VII, had a love affair with his physician Johan. I heard about this story when I was in a guided tour in Roskilde.

The Throne Chair of Denmark is located inside Rosenborg castle
The Throne Chair of Denmark is located inside Rosenborg castle

The most famous aspect of Rosenborg is the King’s Garden (Kongens Have), Denmark’s oldest royal garden.

Highlights of Rosenborg Castle

  • Danish Crown Jewels: The castle’s collection includes the diamond set, ruby set, and more.
  • Coronation Thrones: Historically used during royal coronations.
  • Beautiful Gardens: The Rosenborg Castle Gardens are perfect for a relaxing walk.

Tip for visiting Rosenborg Castle

Rosenborg Castle is located near central Copenhagen, making it easy to visit along with other attractions like Tivoli Gardens.

Other Notable Castles in Copenhagen & Around

Egeskov Castle

A beautiful Renaissance castle, Egeskov is known for its picturesque setting and well-preserved interiors. Although a bit farther from Copenhagen, it’s worth a visit for its gardens and fairy-tale ambiance.

Fredensborg Palace

Primarily used as the spring and autumn residence of the Danish royal family, Fredensborg Palace is known for its baroque style and serene surroundings.

Exploring with the Copenhagen Card

The Copenhagen Card is a valuable resource for tourists, offering free admission to many of these castles and other attractions. It also covers public transport, making it easy to explore all the royal wonders that Copenhagen has to offer.

Best Time to Visit the Castles in Copenhagen

The best time to visit Copenhagen’s castles is during the late spring and summer months when the weather is pleasant, and the gardens are in full bloom.

It is good to know that the castles are open year-round, and each season offers its unique charm. But Scandinavian cold isn’t for everyone, certainly not for me. So if you’d like to stay comfortable then pick the late spring or summer months for visiting Copenhagen.

Where to Stay in Copenhagen

Here are a few places that you can consider booking in Copenhagen depending on the budget. The first is where I stayed but I am giving you a few more curated options as well:

Conclusion

Copenhagen’s castles are not just historical landmarks; they are gateways to the rich history and cultural heritage of Denmark. From the opulent interiors of Amalienborg Palace to the literary fame of Kronborg Castle, each site offers a unique story and a glimpse into the lives of Danish kings and queens. Whether you’re on a summer vacation or a day trip, these castles are among the best places to visit in Copenhagen.


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