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Overview

Just 45 minutes north along the coast from Copenhagen, the small, historic town of Helsingor sits at the narrow entrance to the Øresund – the strait connecting the North Sea to the Baltic Sea, which was, for centuries, a major trading route between the Baltic and Western Europe. This strategic position proved the key to the town’s fortunes as from 1425 to 1857 money flowed in from a toll levied on every foreign ship that passed through. From the 1420s a fortress of some kind guarded the entrance to the strait and served the dual function of defense against pirate ships and collection of the Sound Toll. Since the reign of the enigmatic ...

Just 45 minutes north along the coast from Copenhagen, the small, historic town of Helsingor sits at the narrow entrance to the Øresund – the strait connecting the North Sea to the Baltic Sea, which was, for centuries, a major trading route between the Baltic and Western Europe. This strategic position proved the key to the town’s fortunes as from 1425 to 1857 money flowed in from a toll levied on every foreign ship that passed through. From the 1420s a fortress of some kind guarded the entrance to the strait and served the dual function of defense against pirate ships and collection of the Sound Toll. Since the reign of the enigmatic Christian IV (1588–1648), the fabulously moody, Renaissance-style Kronborg Slot, the Elsinore Castle of Hamlet fame, has stood on the site and, though the toll has long since gone, the slot is still the source of much of the town’s income as tourists flock to take in its stately baroque interiors and windswept vistas across the strait to Sweden. Though little else in the town can compete, the cozy network of old, largely pedestrianized streets are great for a wander and offer some cozy cafes, restaurants and bars – particularly lively in summer with hordes of Swedish day-trippers – and there are a few other historical sights to keep you here an extra day.

Caroline Osborne
About the Expert

Caroline Osborne is coauthor of the Rough Guides to Copenhagen and Denmark.

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Caroline Osborne for Triporati

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Facts at a Glance

  • Location: Northeast of the island of Zealand; 28 miles North of Copenhagen
  • Language: Danish and English
  • Currency: Danish Krone
  • Research: Elsinore | Wikipedia
  • Weather: Daylight | Rainfall
  • Current Time:

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    Spring, summer, early fall