I think the castles in Copenhagen are some of the prettiest in Europe! There are a variety of castles, from Medieval fortresses to ornate Renaissance palaces, and when you visit Copenhagen, you should try to see as many of the castles as you can 🙂
Gorgeous castles in Copenhagen
Christiansborg is definitely one of my favorite castles in Copenhagen! I think the tour is awesome because there are so many gorgeous rooms (including my dream library!), AND you can go to the top of the tower for views of the city- for free! It’s also one of the view castles still in use, and it’s used by Denmark’s Parliament.
Christiansborg is one of the newest palaces, and it was built in 1907. But there have been many other castles built on that site, and the first castle was built in 1167. The royal family lived in that palace until 1794, and it became the seat of parliament in 1849 and it’s home to the three supreme powers now. Even though it’s used for the government now, Christiansborg was built with Royal Reception Rooms for the royal family to use, which you can see on the tour.
You can go to the top of the tower for views of the city for free (which I highly recommend), but the tours of the rest of the castle are not free. You can do a tour of the Royal Reception Rooms for 90 krone or you can do tours of everything in the palace for 150 krone, which includes seeing the ruins of the previous castles.
There is an elevator you can take to the top of the tower, so you don’t have to climb!
I want this library in my home!
Amalienborg is the home of the royal family, and you can see the changing of the Royal Guard! It was designed in the 1750s, and it has four identical buildings in a circle with a courtyard in the middle and the Marble Church lined up to the center (which is pictured above). You can tour the museum to see the history of the palace, but most of the palace isn’t open to the public since it’s still used by the royal family.
Some parts of the palace are open to the public at different points in the year, so check the Amalienborg website to see if it will be open when you’re there! And you can always see the changing of the Royal Guard for free every day at noon.
Rosenborg is another one of my favorites because it’s right in downtown Copenhagen and it has a beautiful garden that is open to the public! I featured it in my top parks in Copenhagen post 🙂 Rosenborg was built by Christian IV, one of the most famous Scandinavian kings (and you can see his symbol all over the city), in the 17th century.
Rosenborg is known for housing the crown jewels, which is the only set of crown jewels that is still used by the royal family in Europe! I did go on the tour and see the jewels when I was studying in Copenhagen in college, but I couldn’t find my photos from then, I’m sorry! But I do recommend taking the tour if you have the time, and tickets are 115 krone.
Frederiksborg is known as the Versailles of Denmark! It’s a very ornate Renaissance castle like Versailles, but it is actually a little older. It is outside the center of the city, so you’ll need to take an S train to Hillerød.
Frederiksborg Castle was built for King Christian IV in the 17th century (he built so much!), and it was the largest Renaissance castle in Scandinavia. The castle’s chapel was the place for coronations of Danish rulers (except Christian VI) from 1671 to 1840. There was a serious fire in the 1800s, but the castle was restored to its original look. To visit the castle, it costs 75 krone, and I highly recommend touring it!
Frederiksberg is different from Frederiksborg! I know, the similar names can be confusing. Frederiksberg is closer to the center of Copenhagen in the Vesterbro neighborhood. It was built in the 18th century in by King Frederik IV, and it was built in the Baroque style.
Frederiksberg is much smaller than the other castles, and they only offer tours at specific times so I wasn’t able to see inside. But the gardens outside are beautiful and you can walk around or have a picnic! The gardens sit right next to the zoo, so you can also peek in and see the flamingos.
Sneak peek of the Copenhagen Zoo
Kronborg is Hamlet’s Castle! Shakespeare actually used Kronborg as the setting of Hamlet, so it’s known as Hamlet’s Castle in the area. It’s located outside Copenhagen in Helsingør (which is a short ride via regional train from Copenhagen), and Shakespeare renamed it as Elsinore in Hamlet.
Kronborg was built as a fortress instead of a castle in the 1400s, but it was renovated and built up into a Renaissance castle in the 1500s by King Frederick II. They would hold feasts there for foreign diplomats, which is likely how Shakespeare learned about Kronborg (it hasn’t been confirmed that Shakespeare traveled to Kronborg). If you’re able to visit during the summer, actors actually perform live performances of “Hamlet” throughout the castle! We got to see a few scenes and talk with some of the actors.
Kronborg is also known for being the home of Holger Dankse, or Holger the Dane. In the tales of King Arthur, Holger was a king in Denmark, and he was taken by Morgan le Fay and escaped to rescue France from danger. He returned to Kronborg, and he will sleep until Denmark needs him to save them.
You can see Sweden across the water!
You can’t go wrong with visiting any of these castles in Copenhagen 🙂 If you’re short on time or on a budget, make sure you at least visit the gardens and see the outside of the castles because they’re all gorgeous!