There is plenty to do and see in Copenhagen proper, but I highly recommend taking a day trip about 30 miles north to see three uniquely fascinating sites: a 16th-century castle that shaped Nordic history, a renowned contemporary-art museum and the childhood home of “Out of Africa” author Karen Blixen.
An Andrew Harper travel advisor can arrange a car and driver, which will be the most efficient and easiest way to visit the attractions below. If you are feeling more adventurous and unhurried, taking the train is a less-expensive alternative. But keep in mind that more walking will be necessary.
At the narrowest point of Øresund strait, where Denmark nearly touches Sweden, stands Kronborg Slot, a hulking castle that provided the fictional setting for Shakespeare’s “Hamlet.” Now a UNESCO World Heritage site, the current structure was built by King Frederik II in the 1500s as a show of power, prestige and wealth — and a way to collect tolls on ships going from the North Sea to the Baltic. Transforming the medieval fortress into a four-winged castle for his new wife, Sophie of Mecklenburg, he added a copper roof, golden spires and a white sandstone exterior. It must have been an awe-inspiring sight, towering above the sound. The castle burned in 1629 and was later rebuilt, only to be plundered a few years later, but it remains an impressive edifice that visitors can tour from top to bottom. We enjoyed seeing the royal apartment; the intact Renaissance chapel, which survived the fire; the 203-foot ballroom, which hosted days-long events and 24-course dinners; and the haunting maze of underground casemates that could accommodate 350 men and enough supplies to weather a six-week siege. Guided tours are given daily in Danish and English.