Castles In Denmark

Best castles in Denmark: Our complete guide to the finest Danish castles

Denmark might be flat geographically — but as one of Europe’s oldest countries, it’s steeped in history; several Scandinavian kings have visited and lived here. And while the nation is among the most peaceful and prosperous in the world, it wasn’t always like that. Castles in Denmark are a stark reminder of the need to keep potential threats at bay, and you’ll find several throughout the country.

Danish castles and palaces come in all shapes and sizes, and they feature architecture from several eras. Some are still used today, and you can visit the majority of them — either for a small fee or to enjoy a free walk around their courtyards.

But what are the best castles in Denmark? How many will you find in the country, and what are the biggest and oldest? If you’re looking for the answer to any or all of those questions, read on, and we’ll reveal them to you.

Are there any castles in Denmark?

Yes — Denmark has an amazing selection of magnificent castles. You’ll find numerous examples in and around the capital, Copenhagen.

If you venture further afield, though, you can discover several grand castles on Fyn — the island between Sjælland and Jutland. If you venture all the way over to Jutland, you’ll similarly find numerous places worth exploring.

You’ll also find castles on some of Denmark’s many other islands, including Bornholm and Lolland.

How many castles are there in Denmark?

Denmark has over 100 castles in total, along with a handful of palaces. Many of these are still owned by the Danish royal family and are used several times throughout the year.

What is the biggest castle in Denmark?

Believe it or not, many Danish castles are actually quite small. But if you go to Copenhagen and its surrounding areas, you’ll notice that they’re somewhat larger in size than elsewhere.

Frederiksborg Castle is the country’s largest castle. Built in Dutch Renaissance style, it’s also the biggest renaissance castle in Scandinavia altogether. The castle is in Hillerød, a small town roughly 40 minutes from downtown Copenhagen by public transport.

Frederiksborg Castle’s construction was commissioned by King Frederik II and is one of Denmark’s most beautiful forms of architecture. You can walk around its exterior for free, enjoying the huge and wonderful gardens behind the building.

If you want to get across the moat in style, you can hop on a small boat.

Despite King Frederik II ordering the castle to be built, King Christian V was responsible for its modern-day look. You’re allowed to enter the building and marvel at its rooms, but you’ll need to pay a fee before doing so.

Tickets to the castle’s museum cost 90 Danish Kroner for adults and 70 DKK for students. Senior tickets cost 80 DKK, and children aged 6-15 go for 25 DKK.

Getting to Frederiksborg Castle from Copenhagen is easy. All you need to do is hop on an S-train to Hillerød; from there, it’s a signposted 15-minute walk.

What is the oldest castle in Denmark?

Identifying the oldest castle altogether in Denmark is tricky, but we can at least determine the oldest of those still family-owned. The award for that goes to Rosenholm Castle, which is roughly 25 kilometers north of Aarhus — Denmark’s second-largest city.

Rosenholm Castle dates back to the 16th century and — like Frederiksborg Castle — is built in renaissance style. Many parts of Denmark have taken inspiration from the Dutch, including Copenhagen’s bohemian Christianshavn district — but Rosenholm Castle isn’t one of them.

Instead, it’s built partly in Italian Renaissance style and partly based on the French equivalent.

To this day, Rosenholm Castle remains owned by the Rosenkrantz Family. The current generation’s predecessors featured in one of the most famous plays by William Shakespeare, which we’ll discuss in a little more detail soon.

You can gain entry to the castle through a guided tour, which operates year-round apart from on 15th August. Tickets cost is 110 DKK for adults; if you book in advance, you can enjoy tea and coffee for a small additional fee.

The building is between Aarhus and Randers, and the drive takes around 30 minutes from both cities. You can get here by public transport, but expect your journey to take longer if you make that choice.

What are the other best castles in Denmark?

Now that we’ve looked at the oldest family-owned castle in Denmark and the largest, we can identify the country’s other places of royalty worth visiting. Below are the rest of our picks for the best castles in Denmark.

Castles In Denmark

Kronborg Castle, Helsingør

Kronborg Castle is probably Denmark’s best-known castle, and that reputation has much to thank a certain Englishman for. You’ll probably know of it as Hamlet’s castle since the building is featured in Shakespeare’s globally-renowned Hamlet play.

The castle is in Helsingør, a pretty town just 45 minutes north of Copenhagen. It dates back to the 15th century, and it’s right at the tip of Northeast Sjælland; the Swedish city Helsingborg is only four kilometers away and visible from the shore on a clear day.

In the olden days, Kronborg Castle’s position was of huge importance in terms of entry in and out of the Baltic Sea. Today, Shakespeare’s significance is still evident; you can enjoy Hamlet performances here during the summer.

Kronborg Castle is a UNESCO World Heritage site, but the building you see today isn’t the original. The first version suffered a fire in 1574 before its rebuilt version was finished 55 years later.

Walking around the exterior of Kronborg Castle is free, and you’ll often notice several people fishing on the Øresund if you go to the small beach outside. However, you can also go inside if you want.

If you plan to visit the Maritime Museum in Helsingør, you can enjoy a discount by purchasing both together.

To get to Kronborg Castle, you can take the S-train to Helsingør from Copenhagen. From the station, it’s around 10 minutes by foot. From Sweden, the ferry from Helsingborg takes 20 minutes; the ferry terminal is right next to the train station.

Castles In Denmark

Rosenborg Castle, Copenhagen

If you’re looking to take in some Danish royalty, you don’t even need to leave the capital. Rosenborg Castle is one of Denmark’s most famous castles, and it’s in the heart of Copenhagen’s Indre By district.

Rosenborg Castle was built by King Christian V and has striking resemblances to nearby Frederiksborg Castle. Like its counterpart in Hillerød, the building features a distinctive Dutch Renaissance style and is surrounded by a moat — albeit much smaller.

Rosenborg Castle is surrounded by Kongens Have, which is one of the most popular parks in Copenhagen. Its location in the capital gives it a key role in Danish history, but unlike many buildings in the country, it was used more for luxury than a form of defense.

In addition to walking around Kongens Have and marveling at its exterior from all corners, you can go inside Rosenborg Castle and enjoy its well-preserved interiors. Tickets cost 125 DKK for adults and 80 DKK for students; entry is free with a Copenhagen Card.

Getting to Rosenborg Castle couldn’t be easier; it’s right next to the iconic Nyhavn harbor. Nørreport is the closest train and metro station, and from there, you only need to walk for a couple of minutes.

Castles In Denmark

Egeskov Castle, Fyn

Fyn often doesn’t get the attention it deserves. Sure, people often take a day trip to Odense and soak in the Hans-Christian Andersen-themed of Denmark’s third-largest city. Other than that, though, many individuals see the island as a passover on the way from Copenhagen to Jutland (and vice-versa).

That’s a shame, really, because they’re missing out on several hidden gems — the most impressive of which is Egeskov Castle.

Egeskov Castle dates back to the 16th century and is yet another example of renaissance-style architecture in Denmark. The castle is open throughout the year, and you can enjoy its beautiful natural surroundings even if you have no interest in actually going to the building itself.

If you would like to enter the castle, prices differ depending on the time of year that you travel. Summer tickets cost 245 DKK for adults and 140 DKK for children aged 4-12; you get access to the park, castle, and exhibitions.

Comparatively, winter is less expensive — but you don’t get as much in your ticket fee. Adult tickets cost 110 DKK, and children’s ones are priced at 65 DKK; you can enjoy the exhibitions and plays with these.

Egeskov Castle is just over 30 minutes away from Odense by car; from Copenhagen, the drive takes just over two hours. Again, you can get public transport — but your journey times will increase.

Castles In Denmark

Christiansborg Palace, Copenhagen

Arguably Copenhagen’s most iconic building is Christiansborg Palace, which is close to where the capital originated and began growing into the dynamic city that it is today. Located in Central Copenhagen, Christiansborg Palace has a rich history and today operates as the Prime Minister’s office.

Christiansborg Palace is one of the most famous castles in Denmark, and you might have noticed that it featured multiple times in the award-winning political drama Borgen — which aired in Northern Europe and several other corners of the globe.

Its outside areas are interesting enough to walk around, but you can also go indoors if you fancy.

In addition to being where the Prime Minister does their daily work, Christiansborg Palace is also home to Denmark’s Supreme Court.

You can enjoy a guided tour of the building, including:

  • The Royal Stables.
  • The Royal Reception Rooms.
  • The Ruins.
  • The Royal Kitchen.

If you buy a ticket combining all of these, you’ll pay 160 DKK as an adult and 140 DKK if you’re a student. Children go free of charge, and groups of 10 people or more cost 140 DKK per person.

Alternatively, you can purchase individual tickets if you only want to see one thing in particular. Prices vary depending on the experience you choose.

You can also enjoy a view of Copenhagen, with some of its beautiful castles and other wonderful structures in sight. Going to the top of the tower at Christiansborg Palace is free.

To get to Christiansborg Palace, take the metro to Gammel Strand and walk.

Castles In Denmark

Amalienborg Palace, Copenhagen

Another of Copenhagen’s most iconic buildings is Amalienborg Palace, which is the home of Queen Margarethe II and the Danish Royal Family. The building is right next to Marmorkirken and just across the water from the Royal Danish Opera House.

Amalienborg Palace has been the home of the Danish Royal Family for over 400 years; you can tell which family members are there today because the Danish flag flies if they are. Every day at midday, you can watch the changing of the guards in the square for free.

Although the palace is enjoyable to walk around outside, you can also check out its interiors if you’re interested in learning more about Danish royalty. Like Christiansborg Palace and Rosenborg Castle, the museum is free to enter if you have a Copenhagen Card.

If you don’t, you can purchase a single adult ticket for 125 DKK. Students cost 80 DKK, and children under 18 years go for free. You can get various discount types for groups and combine your ticket with Rosenborg Castle to enjoy a lower fee.

To get to Amalienborg Palace, you can take the metro to Marmorkirken station. The palace is right outside.

Castles In Denmark

Dragsholm Castle, Sjælland

If you venture out of Copenhagen and across Sjælland, you’ll find several pretty castles that are sometimes easy to miss when driving. One of those is Dragsholm Castle, which is in Northwest Sjælland and close to Sjællands Odde — from which you can take the ferry to Aarhus.

Dragsholm Castle is one of the oldest castles in Denmark, dating back to the 13th century. These days, it’s a high-end hotel with exclusive rooms, exquisite food, and much more.

At Dragsholm Castle, you can find rooms that range from around 1,500 DKK per night to well over 5,000 DKK for the most expensive ones. The surrounding areas are popular summer vacation areas for Danes, with nearby Kalundborg being one such destination for that.

Dragsholm Castle is just under 100 kilometers from Copenhagen; you can get there in just over an hour.

Castles In Denmark

Fredensborg Castle, Fredensborg

Closer to Copenhagen is Fredensborg Slot, another place frequented by Denmark’s Royal Family. The castle is in Fredensborg, a small town of around 40,000 people.

The Danish Royal Family uses Fredensborg Castle during the spring and autumn, and the residence is built in a Dutch baroque style. Construction finished in 1753, and it has been an important place for royalty in the country ever since.

Fredensborg Castle is well worth a visit during the summer when Lake Ersum is particularly scenic. The areas around the lake are full of luscious green spaces and also worth some of your time.

You can get a tour of the private grounds and inside the house during July, and daily tours are conducted in both English and Danish. Tickets cost 100 DKK for adults and are half-price for children.

Fredensborg Castle is 40 minutes from Copenhagen by car. You can also take public transport, and the journey is just over an hour if you do so.

Castles In Denmark

Nyborg Castle, Nyborg

Nyborg is a small town on Fyn and one of Denmark’s oldest settlements. And in the town center, you’ll find one of the most picturesque castles in Denmark.

Nyborg Castle is a medieval castle dating back to the 13th century. It has a significant place in Danish history; the country’s first constitution was signed here, and its first-ever parliament was also here rather than at Christiansborg Palace.

At the time of writing, Nyborg Castle is undergoing restoration and will open again in 2023. It’s a 15-minute walk from the town’s main train station, which itself is around 75 minutes from Copenhagen; you can get a direct regional or intercity train.

Castles In Denmark

Marselisborg Castle, Aarhus

You won’t find as many dominant castles and palaces in and around Denmark’s second-largest city compared to Copenhagen. However, you’ll still find a couple worth visiting — and Marselisborg Castle is one of those.

Although the Danish Royal Family spends most of its time in and around Copenhagen, it retreats to Marselisborg Palace in the summer and at Christmas. The grounds are pretty close to Aarhus’ city center, and with a pleasant beach nearby, it’s an excellent day or half-day trip.

When the Royal Family isn’t at the palace, you can roam the private grounds. When they are there, you can watch the changing of the guards each day at noon.

To get to Marselisborg Palace, you can walk for 30 minutes from downtown Aarhus. Alternatively, the bike ride is around 10 minutes.

Castles In Denmark

Koldinghus, Kolding

While much of Denmark is flat, Kolding is a little different. Overlooking the town is Koldinghus, one of the country’s oldest buildings.

Koldinghus dates back to the 13th century and was once on the border of Denmark and the Duchy of Schleswig. Inside the building, you’ll find a museum and several activities for children.

Outside Koldinghus, you can enjoy tranquil surroundings and a walk around the nearby lake. Getting here is easy; you only need to walk for six minutes from the main station, which is an hour and a half from Aarhus and around two hours from Copenhagen.

Castles In Denmark

Hammershus Castle Ruins, Bornholm

Bornholm is arguably Denmark’s most beautiful island, and countless Danes take their summer trip here to enjoy the peaceful nature and wonderful food. Another reason to visit is for the Hammershus Castle Ruins.

Hammershus Castle Ruins are the oldest of their kind in Northern Europe. The original castle dates back to the 13th century, but its use was discontinued in 1745.

Until 1822, Bornholmers were allowed to take whatever material they wanted. However, it’s now protected on the national register. You can check out the ruins for free.

Hammershus is in the north of Bornholm, and the drive from Rønne — the island’s largest town — takes around an hour.

Castles In Denmark

Vallø Castle, Køge

Just because we didn’t think that we had listed enough castles built in renaissance style in this article, we felt that it was only fair to mention one more. Vallø Castle is one of the most beautiful castles in Denmark, and it’s pretty easy to reach from the capital.

Vallø Castle is just outside of Køge, a picturesque market town not far from Copenhagen. It’s also close to Stevns Klint, a UNESCO World Heritage site popular with archaeologists and tourists alike.

Vallø Castle is pretty interesting because it’s now the home of noblewomen without a partner due to not being married — or being divorced or widowed. You can’t enter the building, but walking around the outer part is possible. To visit more of the palace grounds, you can book a tour.

To get to Vallø Castle, you can drive from Køge for around 15 minutes. From Copenhagen, the journey takes roughly an hour.

Castles In Denmark

Holckenhavn Castle, Fyn

Holckenhavn Castle is another castle on Fyn that makes our list, and it’s just outside of Nyborg. The building is close to the Great Belt Bridge, which connects Fyn with Sjælland and is frequented by traffic traveling from Copenhagen to other parts of Denmark (and vice versa).

Today, Holckenhavn Castle operates as a hotel and conference center — so if you’re looking for a wedding gift, this might be the perfect place to spend a night. Alternatively, you can hold your wedding here altogether.

Holckenhavn Castle is an hour and 45 minutes from Copenhagen by car.

Castles In Denmark

Jægerspris Castle, Jægerspris

The final entry on our list of castles in Denmark is Jægerspris Castle, which is close to the Roskilde Fjord on Sjælland. The building was given to King Frederik VII in 1854, but it has been around for much longer than that.

In 1867, Louise Danner — King Frederik VII’s wife — set up an orphanage at the castle. Today, you can see an exhibition about this — plus much more.

Jægerspris Castle is just under an hour from Copenhagen by car. Public transport takes just over an hour; hop on the train to Frederikssund before changing for a local bus.

Denmark has several amazing castles, and you’re never too far from one

So, there you have it — that’s our list of the best castles in Denmark. You’ll find plenty of royal buildings throughout the country that are well worth a visit, and you don’t even need to travel far from Copenhagen if you don’t want to.

Palaces and castles of Denmark span across Jutland and its many islands, and many are free if you want to walk around the outside. You’ll usually need to pay if you want to enter, but the fee is usually worth it — and in some cases, you can get discounts by combining your tickets with other attractions.

Once you’ve explored all of the castles on our list, you’ll probably want to enjoy a little R&R. Why not read our article about the best beaches in Denmark?

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