North Sjælland and its Islands Tours, Denmark
Sjælland is the largest of the Danish islands. From Copenhagen, almost any point on it can be reached in an hour and a half, making it the most traveled portions of the country. To the north of the capital, the ritzy beach towns line up between Hellerup and Humlebæk. Helsingør’s Kronborg which Shakespeare immortalized in Hamlet, and Hillerød’s stronghold of Frederiksborg, considered one of the most magnificent Renaissance castles in Europe, are also north. To the west of Copenhagen is Roskilde, medieval Denmark’s most important town, which boasts an eclectic cathedral that was northern Europe’s spiritual center 1,000 years ago.
West and south, rural towns and farms edge up beach communities and fine white beaches, often surrounded by forests. Even more unspoiled are the lilliputian islands around southern Sjælland virtuall unchanged over the past century.
Rungstedlund is located between Copenhagen and Helsingør . It was the former manor of Baroness Karen Blixen. The author of Out of Africa and several accounts of aristocratic Danish life, Blixen wrote under the pen name Isak Dinesen. The manor, where she lived as a child and returned in 1931, recently opened as a museum and includes manuscripts, photographs, and memorabilia documenting her years in Africa and Denmark. Rungstedlund, tel. 42/57-10-57. Admission : DKr 30 for adults, free for children. ( For combined train-and-admission tickets, call DSB at 33/14-17-01).
Another 10 kilometers (6 miles) northward is Humlebæk and the must-see Louisiana museum. Housed in a pearly 19th –century villa, surrounded by dramatic view of the Øresund waters, the permanent collection includes modern American paintings and Danish painting from the COBRA (a trend in northern European painting that took its name from its location: Copenhagen, Brussels, Amsterdam) and Deconstructivism movements. Be sure to see the haunting collection of Giacomettis backdropped by picture window overlooking the sound. Gammel Strandvej 13, tel 42/19-07-19. Admission : DKr45 for adults, DKr35 for senior citizens and students, children under 16 free. (For combined train-and-admission tickets, call DSB at 33/14-17-01). It opens daily from 10 am to 5 pm. Wednesday until 10.
You can visit Kronborg Slot in this town. This castle was built in the late 16th century as Renaissance tollbooth. You can enjoy the 200-foot-long dining hall and the dungeons, where a brooding statue of Holger Danske sits. According to legend, the Viking chief sleeps, but will awaken to defend Denmark when it is in danger. ( The largest Danish resistance group during World War II called itself Holger Danske.) Helsingør, tel. 49/21-30-78. Admission : DKr20 adults,DKr10 children 6-14 years old. It opens daily 10.30-5 in May to September; October and April : Tuesday to Sunday 11am to 4 pm; November to March : Tuesday to Sunday from 11 am to 3 pm.
Fredensborg and Fredensborg Slot
Fredensborg is located 15 kilometers ( 9 miles ) southwest from Helsingør. The castle itself was built by Frederik IV to commemorate the 1720 peace treaty with Sweden. The Castle of Peace was originally inspired by French and Italian castles, with a towering domed hall in the center. It became a favorite of Frederik V, who lined the marble gardens with sculptures of ordinary people. It is now the summer residence of the royal family. Interiors are closed except during July. The neatly trimmed park around the palace, connecting with Lake Esrum, is a lovely spot for a stroll. Telephone : 42/28-00-25. This palace opens in July daily from 1 to 4 pm. Park opens year round.
Hillerød and Frederiksborg Slot ( castle ) is situated another 10 kilometers south. Rebuilt by Frederik II, the fortress was demolished by his son, king-cum-architect Christian IV, and rebuilt as one of Scandinavia’s most wonderful castles. With three wings and a low entrance portal, the moated Dutch-Renaissance structure covers three island. It is peaked with dozens of gables, spires, and turrets. The interiors include a two-storied marble gallery know as the Great Hall. Audaciously festooned with drapery, painting, and reliefs, it’s atop the vaulted chapel, where 17th- to 19th-century monarchs were crowned. Devastated by a fire in 1859, the castle was reconstructed with the support of the Carlsberg Foundation, and it now includes a museum of Danish history . Tel. 42/26-04-39. Admission : DKr30 adults, DKr5 children. It opens : April And Oct., daily from 10 am to 4 pm; May to September daily from 10 am to 5 pm; November to March daily from 11am to 3 pm.
Roskilde is located forty kilometers (24 miles) south of Hillerød and 32 kilometers (20 miles) west of Copenhagen.Over a weekend at the end of June, Roskilde is filled iwth the rock music of the Roskilde Festival. It is said to be the largest outdoor concert in northern Europe, attracting 75,000 people.
Roskilde was the royal residence in the 10th century and became the sipritual capital of Denmark and northern Europe in 1170, when Bishop Absalon built the Roskilde Domkirke ( Roskilde Cathedral) on the site of a church erected 200 years earlier by Harald Bluetooth.
About a kilometer north of the cathedral, on the fjord, is the Vikingeskibshallen (Viking Ship Museum), a modern museum that contain five Viking ships sunk in the fjord 1,000 years ago to block enemy ships. They were discovered in 1957. Stradengen telephone 42/35-65-55. Admission : DKr 30 adults, DKr20 children. It opens daily in April – October from 9 am to 5 pm, in November to March from 10 am to 4 pm.
Another 10 kilometers (6 miles) west of Roskilde in Lejre is the Lejre ForsØgscenter (lejre Archaeological Research Center). Within the 50-acre compound, a village dating from the iron Age and two 19th century farmhouses have been reconstructed and during the summer are inhabited by a handful of hardy Danish families. Under the observation of researchers, the inhabitants go about their daily routine grinding grain, herding goats, wearing skins and give a clearer picture of ancient ways of life. In bodalen (the fire Valley ), visitors (especially children) can grind corn, file an ax, and sail in a dugout canoe. Slangæleen , tel . 46/48-08-78 Admission: DKr45adults, DKr25 children. It opens daily from May to September 10 am -5 pm.
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