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The Zealand (Sealand) Loop

Last Tuesday we had perhaps our most action-packed day of our adventure so far. We traveled what I will call the “Zealand Loop.” I highly recommend this trip if you are planning on being in Copenhagen for more than a few days. In fact, I probably recommend the Zealand Loop even if you are only going to be in Copenhagen for two or three days if you enjoy castles and/or the beach.

from copenhagen around zealand denmark in a day

We were a bit concerned by the weather forecast which called for clouds and rain, but we lucked out and had a mostly sunny, warm day with no rain.

I took over 200 pictures in one day so I’ll break this entry down into four parts with today being the overview and the next three entries being the three places we went. I won’t bore you with all of my photographs either.

If you were to go to each of these areas from Copenhagen by train they would cost 115 DKK each round trip (about US$25). By doing them all in one day you only have to pay the 115 kroners once (with a 24 hour unlimited pass). As importantly, you get to see the wonderful areas in between the three locations, making a loop, rather than just treading the same path to and from Copenhagen.

We started off by going from Copenhagen to Helsingor (Elsinore).

(Don’t forget to have your train ticket punched at the Copenhagen station. The guy who sold us ours didn’t mention that fact and we got chewed out on the train. The lady didn’t fine us though which could have been as steep as 600 DKK (about US$130).)

The train line ends at Helsingor and you’ll want to get off anyway. A short walk of under half a mile takes you to Kronborg Castle, the setting for Shakespeare’s Hamlet

Shakespeare\'s Hamlet

From Helsingor train station (which looks like a castle itself) you hop on a train for Gilleleje. Gilleleje has an awesome beach and tons of cute, Danish, summer cottages. We spent most of the day here.


If you want to see the inside of Frederiksborg Castle you’ll need to get there before it closes at 5. If you prefer beaches, or if you’d like to take pictures of Frederiksborg Castle at dusk or after dark, then hang out at Gilleleje until 7 or later.

From Gilleleje train station take the train to Hillerod. You’ll go through forests and see lakes along the way. The scenery was excellent and the windows on the train were huge.

You can walk to Frederiksborg Castle from the train station, but we took a bus, being rather tired by this point. Be sure to walk the grounds behind the castle. They are, in many ways, as impressive as the castle itself. We were there several hours after the castle had closed so there were virtually no tourists there which was nice. You can still walk the grounds and enter the courtyard even after the interior of the castle is closed so don’t worry about arriving late (unless you really want to pay to see the interior).

Denmark famous castle

Finally, take the train from Hillerod to Copenhagen to complete the loop. Arriving back in Copenhagen was almost a shock. Even though we had been away for only 12 hours or so, Copenhagen seemed to have changed into a big city. I suppose it always was, but I didn’t realize it so much while living here everyday. It took a trip to the countryside and the relaxing feeling that came with it to wake me up to my Copenhagen surroundings.

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