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Zealand's Castles Walk: From Copenhagen to Elsinore  The Natural Adventure Company 22

Walking the Fairytale Castles of Denmark

Overview

  • Wonderful Copenhagen
  • The impressive castles of Kronborg, Frederiksborg and Fredensborg
  • Crystal clear lakes Furesø, Sjælsø and Esrum sø
  • Hiking through royal parks

Copenhagen, the lively capital of Denmark, is situated on the island of Zealand, which also boasts large areas of untouched forest, as well as some of Denmark’s most idyllic lakes, pristine wetlands, and magnificent castles, all linked by amazing walking trails. The most famous castle you will be able to visit is for sure Hamlet’s Castle Kronborg. But you will have the chance to explore also the majestic Frederiksborg Castle in Hillerød, the largest Renaissance castle in Scandinavia, as well as Fredensborg, the Baroque-style palace, beautifully located on the shore of the serene Lake Esrum.

Click to view map

*This map is only for general reference and you should never use it for navigational purposes.

Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Copenhagen

If you arrive early enough, you can explore this magnificent city and its architectural and cultural highlights, including the castles of Rosenborg, Christiansborg and Amalienborg, the museum quarter, City Hall, the pretty harbourside houses of Nyhavn and of course the Little Mermaid! If you need an extra night in Copenhagen to explore the city more thoroughly, then we would, of course, be happy to arrange that for you.

Day 2: Klampenborg – Frederiksdal | 19 km

You begin the day by taking a short (20 min) train journey to Klampenborg, in Copenhagen’s green northern suburbs. The first part of your walk takes you through Dyrehaven (the royal deer park). The park was established by King Frederik III in 1670 and is home to the Ermitageslottet (royal hunting lodge) as well as the world’s oldest amusement park, Bakken. As the name suggests, the park is home to many grazing deer – keep an eye out for them as you stroll along the pleasant walking paths. As you exit the park via the northern gate, you turn westward to follow the course of the Mølleåen river, passing many historic water mills and dams. You will walk along quiet forest and lakeside paths in the Mølleå valley. Your walk ends at Frederiksdal, on the south-eastern shore of Lake Furesø.

It is possible to shorten today’s walking route to 14 km by taking a boat trip from Lyngby for the last section. Information about times and prices is available here.

Day 3: Frederiksdal – Rudersdal | 14.5 km

Today’s walk is a lovely scenic route around Denmark’s deepest lake, Furesøen. You begin by following a path through the forests of Frederiksdal Skov and Nørreskoven, which runs right along the southern and western shores of the lake. After about 5.5 km you come to the human-made beach of Furesøbad, where you can enjoy a refreshing swim. There is also a restaurant and ice-cream kiosk. From here, you turn back in a north-eastern direction. You follow a path high above Furesøen’s northern shore, with wonderful views over the lake. You briefly turn inland for a surprisingly rural stretch among cornfields, before the last section through the Vaserne wetlands, with excellent birdwatching opportunities.

  • Walking for the day: 14.5 km, 4 hours, ↑135 m ↓121 m
  • Accommodation: Comwell Hotel Holte or similar

Day 4: Rudersdal/Allerød – Hillerød | 21 km / 12 km

There are two options for today’s walk.

The longer option begins by following the Rudersdal Route through tranquil woodland to the shore of lake Sjælsø. You will find a quiet little beach and bathing area as you walk along the southern shore of the lake, followed by the charming, thatched Hunter’s Cottage restaurant (Jægerhytten). A short section of wooden boardwalk takes you through the marshlands at the western side of the lake. You then follow quiet country roads to the forest of Tokkekøb Hegn. Here, you will find the stone age Kongedysse dolmen, enclosed by 51 rocks. The last section of your walk takes you through another royal hunting park; the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Store Dyrehave. Finally, you arrive at the central square in the town of Hillerød. We recommend rewarding yourself with a well-earned drink or early dinner while enjoying the view across the lake to the magnificent Frederiksborg Castle.

If you prefer a shorter walk today, you can begin by taking a short bus trip from just outside your hotel to the nearby village of Allerød. From here, you follow quiet forest paths northwards through Tokkekøb Hegn, joining the longer route at the Kongedysse dolmen mentioned above.

  • Walking for the day: longer option – 21 km, 5 hours, ↑146 m ↓160 m; shorter option – 12 km, 3 hours, ↑78 m ↓92 m
  • Accommodation: Best Western Hotel Hillerød or similar

Day 5: Hillerød – Fredensborg | 20 km / 12 km

Again, you have a longer and shorter option for today’s walk. Both routes start by walking right through the courtyard and grounds of Frederiksborg Castle. Take your time to explore the stunning baroque gardens before continuing. The castle itself is home to the Museum of National History and an impressive art collection (ticket needed for entry). As you leave the castle grounds, you can take the short woodland route to Fredensborg, or the longer route that takes you via the southern shore of Lake Esrum and the Stenholt bird reserve.

  • Walking for the day: longer option – 20 km, 5 hours, ↑152 m ↓148 m; shorter option – 12 km, 3 hours, ↑102 m ↓90 m
  • Accommodation: Fredensborg Store Kro or similar

Day 6: Fredensborg – Elsinore (Helsingør) | 25 km

After breakfast, a short stroll takes you from your hotel to the grounds of the royal palace. Fredensborg Palace is home to the Danish Crown Prince and his family. It is open for public tours during the summer months. The royal gardens stretch down to the shore of Lake Esrum and are dotted with numerous obelisks and statues, including a circular formation of life-sized statues of Norwegian and Faroese folk characters. A short roadside stretch takes you out of Fredensborg to the woodlands of Danstrup Hegn. From here, you follow tranquil forest paths all the way to Zealand’s north coast, where you find yourself suddenly looking across the narrow strait to Sweden. You finally turn south-eastwards on a ridgetop forest path with wonderful views over the sea, before descending to follow a path along the beach and marina of Elsinore to Kronborg Castle. This Renaissance masterpiece is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is best known as the Elsinore Castle of Shakespeare’s Hamlet. You will stay at a hotel in the centre of town, just a short distance from the castle.

Today’s route can be shortened by taking a train at the beginning of the walk fromFredensborg to Mørdrup station or walking the first half to Mørdrup and taking the train from there to Elsinore.

  • Walking for the day: 25 km, 6 hours, ↑169 m ↓199 m (shorter option by taking a train: 13 km)
  • Accommodation: Hotel Hamlet or similar

Day 7: Departure

Your walking holiday in North Zealand comes to an end after breakfast. You can catch a direct train to Copenhagen city or airport from Helsingør station.

What to Expect

Accommodation

You will stay in comfortable 3-star and 4-star hotels throughout the trip; 2-star centrally located hotel in Copenhagen. All rooms have en-suite facilities. We have tried to choose accommodations that offer friendly service, clean and comfortable rooms and local flavour. Upgrade to a 4-star hotel in Copenhagen is possible at a supplement.

Click to view our default hotels for this trip

Upgraded hotel in Copenhagen – Copenhagen Strand 4*

*Hotels are subject to availability. In case a hotel is fully booked for your desired dates, we will replace it with a property of equal standard. We will provide full accommodation details upon booking confirmation.

Meals

Breakfast is included. When no restaurant location is available on route lunches and snacks can either be bought from local shops or ordered at your accommodation the day before. Dinner is available either from the restaurant in your accommodation or restaurants in the village near your hotel.

Difficulty & terrain

This holiday is appropriate for walkers with limited experience and requires a basic level of fitness. Walks have a relaxed pace with time to take in the views and surroundings (read more about difficulty grades). The trails are very well marked and easy to follow. We will provide you with detailed road notes and maps, and you can call our 24/7 local assistance phone number anytime. More detailed info on route navigation will be included in your holiday information pack.

When to go

This trip is available from the beginning of April until the end of October. The flexibility of self-guided holidays means that there are no fixed dates and you can start your trip on any date within the season. Denmark’s weather is mild in the summer and cold in the winter, with western winds blowing warm air across most of the country. The warmest month is July with an average temperature of 17-18 degrees Celsius.

Travel

FCO up-to-date travel advice

Click to view travel options and route planner

By plane

Recommended airport: Copenhagen

By train or bus
  • There are regular metro and train services from the airport to Copenhagen city centre (20 min)
  • There are regular direct trains from Helsingør to Copenhagen Central Station (~45 min) and Copenhagen Airport (~ 1 hour).
  • Up to date train schedules can be checked here: https://www.dsb.dk/en/ or use the Omio planner above

Inclusions

Included

  • Pre-departure pack and detailed road notes and maps
  • GPS tracks
  • 6 nights accommodation in private ensuite rooms
  • 6 breakfasts
  • Luggage transfers from hotel to hotel on all walking days (1 piece up to 20 kg per person)
  • 24/7 phone assistance by our local representative

Excluded

  • Airfare and connecting land transfers
  • Lunches, dinners, drinks and snacks
  • Travel insurance (required – get a quote online)
  • Personal expenses
  • Local tourist taxes and entry fees (payable on-site)
  • Any items not specifically mentioned as included in the programme

Options, extras & supplements

  • Upgrade to a 4-star hotel in Copenhagen
  • Single room supplement for members of a group
  • This holiday is available for solo travellers; a supplement will be charged as accommodation and luggage transfer costs are not shared (we never mix and match – solo travellers will be accommodated in single rooms)
  • Extra nights along the way can be booked on request

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