Fredricksborg Cathedral - best day trips from Copenhagen Denmark

Best Day Trips From Copenhagen

When most tourists flying from the USA or outside Europe visit Denmark, they usually stick to just seeing Copenhagen but miss out on so much by not exploring further outside the city. The public transport system here is incredibly easy to navigate, but it also is very affordable to rent a car and take a day trip around Denmark and even to Sweden. Let me show you some of the best day trips from Copenhagen - ways to save money, time, and what I enjoyed and would have done differently. 

Fredricksborg Castle - best day trips from Copenhagen Denmark

Quick itinerary

We started out in Copenhagen, took the train to the airport where we picked up our rental car. My friend is an insurance adjuster in the states and always gives the argument that getting the full car insurance is worth it. Why? If you get in a wreck then it goes on your insurance - I know people argue credit cards will cover it - but there is ALWAYS a catch. We rented it for just the entire day with a late drop off and it cost less than a plane ticket to Stockholm. 

We stopped by a bakery on the way to Carlsberg brewery with plenty of parking, and then after the brewery headed to Fredricksborg Castle. It took a few hours to get all the way through Fredricksborg, then headed to Kronborg - at this point we were a little bit 'done' with museums, but Kronborg is an important castle, and we really wanted to see the Oiger statue in the cellar. 

Right outside Kronborg there was a random food court that we found, grabbed a quick lunch then headed to Malmo. We got a little lost wandering around Malmo, couldn't find a place to pee and were running out of daylight. Had a few youtube fans see me filming (they were so cute) and asked to subscribe because I guess they don't get a lot of us influencers in their city. 

I really wanted to get to Lund to do the ice bath and sauna and see the museums there - but alas, we missed sunset and had to get the car back across the bridge. 

Driving in Copenhagen is a bit hectic (for someone who drives all over in the USA) so I would suggest leaving early morning and arriving late in the evening to avoid peak traffic. Make sure to bring water, toilet paper (ya never know when a bathroom will be out), some snacks, a camera, batteries and don't forget your SD cards (lol, I do this more often then I care to admit). 

Anderson & Milliard Bakery

Andersen & Maillard

Address: Nørrebrogade 62, 2200 København N, Denmark

This pastry shop is quite busy, and suprisingly we heard A LOT of foreign speaking people there (meaning Non-Danish). The line was out the door around 9:30am but it is well worth the wait!

Located in the Morrebro neighborhood the chef here likes to play with different flavors in the famous Danish pastries. I got the cherry pistachio block criossant and it was DIVINE! It was crispy, flaky and didn't taste like I was biting into a stick of butter. The fusion of the cherry with the pistachio was so good.

If you aren't into a sweet breakfast, they also have savory options and plenty of coffee choices, complete with dairy free options.

Carlsberg Brewery - best day trips from Copenhagen Denmark

Carlsberg Brewery

Founded in 1847 by J.C. Jacobsen and his son Carl it remains an internationally renowned brewery just outside of Copenhagen city center. You may know their brand by other names such as Tuborg, Kronenbourg, Somersby Cider, Holsten, Neptun, Belgian Grimbergen and 500 other local beers. 

It isn't just the beer they are famous for, it is also the dedication to pursuing scientific research. Nearly 30% of the revenue from Carlsberg Brewery goes to scientific research. One scientific discovery was the yeast used to make a pale lager, Saccharomyces carlsbergensis, that was discovered in the Carlsberg labs in 1883. They also helped develop the concept of pH and made significant advances in protein chemistry. 

Carlsberg Brewery has several parking lots if you decide to drive yourself, and costs around $5-$10 that can be paid by card. Walk around the area, see the Elephant gate, the dedication plaques, and grab a burger at the famous Gasoline Grill. 

I personally didn't go on a tour of the brewery itself as we didn't have time with our itinerary that day, but if I could do it again - I would DEFINITELY take a guided tour of the brewery and the grounds. When we were walking around on our own, I genuinely felt we were missing so so many important facts. 

Here are some guided tours from Get Your Guide - I find they are a bit more affordable than the ones that Viator posts. 

Elephant Gate Copenhagen

Elephant Gate

Next to Carlsberg Brewery are four life-sized elephants with swastikas on two of them, and prior to WWII were used in their logo. Now before you freak out about it, the Elephants were built in 1901, way before WWII. The swastika comes from the Sanskrit word that means luck or auspicious object. 

After World War II the swastika was removed from the Carlsberg logo, but the remnants can still be seen on the sides of the Elephant sculptures here. 

Each elephant has the initials of one of Carl’s four remaining children who were still alive at the time this gate was built. The elephants were supposed to represent stability, vigor, and loyalty. 

The tower above the gate had a water tower, herb silo but is now empty with nothing in it. 

Fredricksborg Castle - best day trips from Copenhagen Denmark

Frederiksborg Castle

Visiting Fredericksborg Castle is certainly worth it, there are lavish decorations, an incredible cathedral, enchanting Baroque gardens and some of the most intricate ceilings I've ever seen (and I've been to A LOT of castles). I can't believe that the throne room and cathedral here aren't plastered all over Instagram and social media to be honest. 

Lest I digress further, Frederiksborg Castle is located in Hillerød, Denmark. It was initially built as a royal residence for Christian IV, it burnt down in 1859 but was rebuilt meticulously based on drawings and is now officially the Danish Museum of National History. The only rooms that were really spared in the fire were the Chapel and Audience chamber (stunningly gilded gold ceilings here).

Frederick II used this as a hunting lodge and there was also a nearby bath house he liked to frequent. Fredericks II son then decided to rebuild the whole castle in the style of Dutch Flemish architecture with red brick and stepped gables. When you enter the courtyard after passing the serene moat, barracks and through the inner gate you are greeted by a gorgeous Neptune Fountain. 

It wasn't too crowded when we were there on a weekend, and tickets cost about 90 DKK or around $13. There is plenty of parking, but not really any place to grab snacks, the gift shop has a few sweets, but other than that make sure to bring your own.

Kronborg Castle - best day trips from Copenhagen Denmark

Kronborg Castle

Kronborg Castle is a bit of a drive from Copenhagen (1 hour) but I wanted to briefly mention it as it is a UNESCO site and considered one of the most important Renaissance castles in Northern Europe. It is also said to be the Castle that helped inspire Hamlet. 

The island it is on is called Zealand and is the narrowest point of the Oresund, and was also the area that controlled the Baltic Sea. 

  • Built by King Eric VII in 1420, King Frederick II made signifcant renovations to it in 1574 which gave it the embellished Renaissance look. It did burn down (partially) in 1629, but King Christian IV had it rebuilt quickly because it was so integral to the seafaring trade. The castle was ransacked by the Swedes in 1785, and much of the prized royal possessions inside were stolen. After such a devastating blow, the royals that stayed here left, and in 1785 was converted to Army barracks. After many years of service to the nation, the castle was then converted to a museum in 1923 and opened its doors to the public. 
Dane Giant in Kronborg Castle

The castle grounds and exterior are quite stunning, right on the coastline with a small farmers market, grocery store, and food court. Parking can be a bit confusing, but we just followed someone else to park in a stall near the food court and then checked to make sure there weren't any tickets or stickers on the other cars near us. In the end we didn't get ticketed, but just wanted to mention it. 

Tickets to get into the castle are 79 DKK (~$12), kids do get a discount but they may not like going inside anyway to be honest. The interior isn't as lavish as you will find in Fredericksborg Castle if I'm honest. They do have some interesting manniquins with period clothing, sparsely decorated rooms, and some informative explanations on each room on the wall. 

The highlight of this castle though, is its ties to Hamlet, as well as the giant statue in the basement - Oiger, a Dane - who is said will rise to defend Denmark if it is ever attacked. The statue was quite impressive & I like the story behind it. Overall I'm glad I visited the castle, and was able to hear about the different political ties and royalty that stayed in the castle over the hundreds of years. I don't know that I would personally pay upwards of $500 for a tour from Copenhagen though. If you ARE planning on renting a car anyway and already doing the loop through Sweden then it definitely is a place to stop for sure. 

Lund Cathedral and Library - best day trips from Copenhagen Denmark


There is a 1000-year Viking Age history here with vilalges and archeological evidence of villages dating back to the 1st century BC. The name of the city wasn't officially in the 'books' until around 300 years ago, founded by Sweyn I Forkbeard (what an AWESOME NAME) - or you might recognize this name - Canute the Great of Denmark. For those who are viking fans and like to watch the various viking series put out then you know this name at least. 

Beyond the incredible history there is plenty to see here in Lund. You have the Lund Cathedral with the gorgeous Lutheran Cathedral and astronomical clock. The interior looks stunning! Unfortunately we weren't there during its opening times (and couldn't stay) - but let me know in the comments below what you thought. 

Lund cathedral is a consecrated place for St Laurence and Mary. In the 12th century it was the residence of the archbishop. In 1387 Queen Margaret came with her son Olof in Skane, who unfortunately died at 17 years old. Margaret brought his remains to Soro abbey, but buried his heart in Lund cathedral in the floor. This church has more visitors than any church in Sweden. 

There is a forum outside that has a bookshop and some coffee, as well as a short film on the history of the cathedral. There is also a red 15th century building called the Liberiet taht was originally used as a library, but is now used for pilgrims who come through this area. 

Other places to visit here are Hjortgatan Street (this is the old part of Lund), the quaint Adelgatan street (the Nobility Street is the one pictured in all the photos), Lund University (gorgeous building founded in 1666), and the adorable Bosmåla cottage,

For those who like a bit of ghost story and mystery then look up the Locas Peccatorum murder in Lund (shivers). 

This was SUCH a fun city to get lost in, and they had so many cute little shops. It was a bit difficult to find a place to pee though, we were there during the off season. The pay for use toilets were closed up, and we tried to go into the grocery store to see if we could use their restrooms and nada. We raced back to the car, found the nearest petrol (gas station) and luckily I made it JUST in time. To be fair we were there in the evening, and the sun was setting. One thing I learned about visiting Sweden the last time I was there (for Christmas Markets) - they legit close everything down when the sun goes down. 


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We were only able to do a quick drive by of Malmo unfortunately, I was really gutted about this - because they have a traditional Open Air Swedish Bath we were going to visit for sunset. It costs about 80 SEK ($7.24) but closes at 6pm and you want to give yourself at least 2 hours to really enjoy it and do a few rounds of ice bathing and sauna to really get the full effect. 

If you aren't one for cold plunges they also have: 

  • St Peter's Church - has a fantastic Organ, Ancient (1480-1510) murals in a chapel not to miss. 
  • Malmo Castle - once the prison to James Hepburn, 4th Earl of Bothwell and third husband of Mary Queen of Scots (shout out to all my Scottish kin out there) - it was just for 5 years until he was moved to Dragsholm Castle where he died. 
  • Pildammsparken - a massive park with a lake that is a great spot for a picnic or some downtime from sight seeing. 
  • Turning Torso - a 1.8SEK ($170mil) costly neo-futuristic building that is now a residential building, it is a definitive landmark and turns about 90 degrees in total.  
  • Oresund Bridge - this is the motorway and railway that connects Denmark to Sweden, it costs around $65 to pass on it one way. We personally took a car ferry one way, and then drove the bridge on the way back to maximize our time outside of Copenhagen (see full experience in Youtube video)
  • Malmo Museum - largest museum in southern Sweden, oldest preserved Nordic Renaissance castle, and very family friendly place to see. 
  • Lilla Torg - a 16th century square with shops, cafes, and restaurants. 
  • Disgusting Food Museum - I found on Atlas Obscura Article, for a comical break from all the history and because I like to see weird things sometimes, lol. 
  • Folkets Park - a rose shaped fountain, playgrounds, eateries, a gathering place for summer concerts and great for family fun. 
  • Ribersborgsstrand beach - where you can do kayak tour, pedal boat and have some outdoorsy fun.
Helsingor best day trips from Copenhagen Denmark


This is the oldest city in what is now Sweden, formally founded in 1085. It was often used as the city that controlled the narrowest part of Øresund. It is about a 45 minute train ride on the coast of North Zealand. With the rich 600 year maritime history, a stop into the Maritime Museum is a must for those who love to be at sea (like me). It is located right near Kronborg Castle in the dry harbor. You can also see the 15th century Olaf's cathedral, but this does require a pre-booked tour. 

Old town sweden with colorful houses


If you want to visit the coastal towns of Sweden (like Malmo, Lund etc...) then it is a simple 1 hour train ride from the center of Copenhagen. If you want to visit Stockholm, then you are looking at a 4-5 hour train ride if you get the direct train. 

Stockholm means “log island” which there are several islands that make up this city. Sigtuna was what the city was named about 1000 years ago. According to legend the leaders of this city had trouble with armed gangs attacking the city, so they took a log, hollowed it out filled it with gold and said that wherever it landed would be their new city. The log allegedly landed where it is today and that is how Stockholm came about. You can find a statue commemorating this log inside city hall.

In the center of Sweden you have the actively used Royal Palace with so many different areas to see and visit it gets a little confusing to be honest. They have different entrances, and each requires a different ticket, it wasn't super straightforward trying to figure out which ticket goes to which area. I didn't have much time so I just chose the main palace and where the crown jewels were kept. They also have an armory with old carriages, the cathedral, the museum of three crowns, and the antiquities museum. 

You can also see a viking stone embedded into one of the walls in the oldest street in Stockholm, home to the Nobel prize, Stockholm Cathedral, the VASA museum with one of the BEST preserved 17th century 64 gun ship (that sunk as soon as it set sail), the interactive ABBA Museum, and my favorite the Viking Museum all over on Museum Island. There are plenty of boutique shops, cafes, eateries to browse as well. I found the CUTEST dress for my Birthday dinner I was planning on having in Luxembourg here :) It wasn't cheap, but it was fun to finally get a 'more affordable' designer dress that was quirky and also very comfortable (especially as a plus size gal, you appreciate how rare it is to find something like this). 

I LOVED visiting Stockholm and the smaller coastal towns immensely and would definitely return again, and again. 

Gardens of Fredricksborg castle - best day trips from Copenhagen Denmark

My Takeaway Of Day Trips From Copenhagen

I'm personally obsessed with Vikings, Medieval times and castles - while I know this isn't for everyone - I highly enjoyed seeing these day trips from Copenhagen. The coastal towns were so peaceful, so unique and really gives you a taste of what the 'real' parts of the country look like - not just the parts made up for tourists. If I could do it all over again, I would give myself at least 2-3 days to explore the areas I mentioned here, I'm still gutted I missed the sauna and ice bath place. 

I would NOT skip Fredricksborg, but to be honest - I wish I would have skipped Kronborg if I just had one day to visit everything. 

Let me know if you would add anything to this list or have any questions in the comments below. 

Never stop exploring. 

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