Elsinore, located on the northeast coast of the island of Zealand (Sjælland), is a cosmopolitan city with a rich history and many cultural attractions.
On Ferryhopper, you can find the best vacation tips for the seaside city of Elsinore, what to do and see, and how to get there by ferry! Find the crossing that suits you best and learn how to plan your ferry trip in Denmark!
View to Elsinore’s legendary Kronborg Castle
Vacation in Elsinore
The sturdy old town of Elsinore (or Helsingør) lies at the narrowest part of The Sound (Øresund), opposite Sweden’s Helsingborg, which can be reached by a short ferry ride. Elsinore is one of the ‘stars’ of Zealand’s northern region, also known as "the Danish Riviera," a favorite destination of the Danish elite that still preserves its beauty.
There's plenty of history and an endearing seaside feel about this city that inspired William Shakespeare to write his most famous spectacle play, Hamlet. Elsinore is now the cultural hub of the North Zealand region with plenty of upscale restaurants, stores and hotels set against the medieval scenery of the city.
This small coastal city is one of the most popular day trips from Copenhagen, but if you decide to stay overnight, 1 or 2 days are enough to see the main attractions.
How to get to Elsinore
Elsinore is easily reached by train, car and ferry. You can get to the city by train via the Coast Line (Kystbanen) from one of Copenhagen's 3 largest train stations, the Central Station, Nørreport or Østerport. You can also reach Helsingør by car by taking the E47 motorway from Copenhagen. Denmark's capital city is located less than 46 km from Elsinore and the trip takes around 40 minutes.
Elsinore is also accessible by ferry from Sweden’s Helsingborg. In fact, more than 7 million passengers make this annual trip across the water. If you’re also planning to travel by ferry you can find more information about ferry routes and schedules to Elsinore below.
What to do in Elsinore
When you visit Elsinore, your first stop will probably be Kronborg Castle, the city’s most famous landmark, with an incredible collection of masterpieces. In addition, the roof of this seaside castle offers a magnificent view to the Swedish coast and more specifically, the sister city of Helsingborg.
When you have finished exploring the castle's luxurious grounds, it’s time to head into the historical town center to stroll through the old cobbled streets. The medieval quarter is home to other fascinating buildings, such as the fortress-like Town Hall, the Carmelite Monastery and the early Renaissance St. Mary's Church. If you let go, you have the opportunity to really walk back in time. Elsinore isn't very big, so you won't have to worry about getting lost either.
A city break in Elsinore during the summertime is even better because you can leave the urban scenery behind and head to a beautiful beach in no time. The beaches north of Elsinore, such as Gilleleje and Tisvilde, are quite popular for their fabulous bathing opportunities. These are located around a 30-minute bus trip from Elsinore.
At this time of year, it’s also definitely worth visiting the Culture Yard which hosts Elsinore's biggest in- and outdoor events, including the Click festival, Saint John's Eve and even a children's festival week. Finally, nature lovers should not miss the opportunity to discover North Zealand's scenic surroundings. Visit the historic Hammermølle and then go on a beautiful hike on the Hammermøllen - Flynderupgård 15 km trail.
The Church of St. Mary and the magnificent Carmeliter monastery
Sightseeing in Elsinore
Elsinore is a city filled with many interesting sights and landmarks that are worth visiting. Here are some of the most popular attractions for sightseeing in Elsinore:
- The Kronborg Castle, a UNESCO World Heritage Site world renowned as the setting of Shakespeare's Hamlet
- The M/S Maritime Museum of Denmark, with interesting exhibits unraveling Denmark’s maritime past
- The Danish Museum of Science and Technology, a paradise for children and adults
- The Øresund Aquarium
- The Helsingør Town Museum, with collections of medieval and Renaissance artifacts
- St. Mary's Church, one of the few fully preserved monastic cloisters in Scandinavia
- St. Olaf's Church, a Gothic cathedral built in 1559
- The shiny Han Statue, a male counterpart to the Little Mermaid, Denmark's national icon
- The 17th century Frederiksborg Castle, 25 km from Elsinore
- The Fredensborg Palace, the spring and autumn residence of the Royal Family
Tip: one of the most famous attractions at Kronborg Castle is Holger the Dane, a statue that sits in the tunnels below the castle and one of Denmark's greatest legends.
The lovely Dancer's Fountain sculpture seen at night
Nightlife in Elsinore
It is easy to get caught up in Elsinore's unique atmosphere, especially during the weekend nights. There are many wonderful cafes, restaurants and bars where you can enjoy the ambiance and street life. Elsinore's Axeltorv central square is where you’ll find most options.
For the younger crowd, there are many discos, as well as pubs and venues with live music such as jazz, country and 60s rock. There are times when stand-up comedy and theater are also performed. However, most locals still prefer to travel to Copenhagen for a night out and trains run all night.
Food in Elsinore
Being a seaside city, Helsingør is known for its traditional seafood-based cuisine. Dishes like locally smoked fish (typically herring, cod or garfish) as well as traditional Danish dishes are very popular. Some regional dishes and delicacies that you should try during your trip to Elsinore are:
- leverpostej (one of the most common Danish spreads made with pork or veal liver)
- sol over gudhjem (buttered rye bread topped with herring and vegetables)
- mycella (a traditional Danish blue cheese made from cow's milk)
- aebleskiver (Danish snacks made from fried batter)
Tip: for the best open-faced Danish sandwiches head to Café Kaiser and for dessert, visit the renowned, century-old Brostræde ice cream shop.
Here are 4 tips for your stay in Elsinore:
- The Shakespeare Festival takes place at Hamlet’s Castle, Kronborg, in August and is a must-visit for theater fans. It claims to be the longest-standing continuous Shakespeare performance tradition in the world, dating back to 1816.
- Axeltorv square, the bustling hub of Elsinore, hosts markets on Wednesdays and Sundays in addition to a Friday antique market from May to October.
- Stengade (Stone Street), the main pedestrian street in the medieval town center of Elsinore, is where visitors can locate fashion boutiques, Denmark’s oldest patisserie, wine stores, and most restaurants.
- Purchase the Copenhagen Card for unlimited public transport by train, bus, metro, and harbor bus throughout the entire capital region.
A typical colorful Danish alley in Elsinore
Useful information about Elsinore
In Elsinore, you can find everything you might need for a pleasant, smooth holiday trip. Regarding accommodation, even though most visitors take day trips to Elsinore, there are several options if you decide to stay here for a day or so. You’ll find hotels, hostels, apartments, and Bed & Breakfast options, though camping certainly steals the spotlight! For a cultural stay, try to find a hotel in central Elsinore. If you want something more luxurious, keep in mind that the northern area of Elsinore is the wealthiest.
As for medical services, most health centers, clinics and pharmacies are found in the center of Elsinore. There’s also a private hospital here.
Important phone numbers for your stay in Elsinore
Below, we have listed some useful phone numbers for your trip to Elsinore:
- Elsinore Havne Port Authority: +4549281080
- Tourist information center: +4549281080
- Police of Elsinore: +4549271448
- Public medical center: +4548294060
- European emergency number: 112
Transportation in Elsinore
While the city is relatively large, most of its famous attractions are located within its compact central area, making walking your best option for getting around. Alternatively, there is a network of local bus lines in the city. Trains also run locally. The 2 small local railways are Little North (Lille Nord) and the Hornbæk Line (Hornbækbanen), and both end in Hillerød.
For flexibly getting around Elsinore, another great option is to bring along your car or rent one upon arrival. There are plenty of free parking spaces available in the city.
Elsinore’s elegant railway station in renaissance style
Ports in Elsinore
The port of Elsinore is a convenient gateway between Denmark and Sweden. It is one of the oldest in the country, with a history dating back to the Middle Ages. It has been a major trading port since the 14th century and has played an important role in the development of the city and its economy.
The ferry terminal is directly connected to the city’s main railway station. Alternatively, it’s a 10 minute drive or a 20 minute walk to the city center.
Elsinore ferry: schedules and tickets
The port of Elsinore operates ferry routes from/to Helsingborg in Sweden. The ferry route to Elsinore is operated by ForSea and Sundbusserne. Specifically:
- Helsingborg - Elsinore ferry: ferries from Helsingborg to Elsinore are available year-round, with up to 35 daily crossings. The ferry journey to Elsinore lasts around 20 minutes, with tickets starting at around €35.
The picturesque port of Elsinore on a sunny day
Book ferry tickets to Elsinore online
Currently, booking ferry tickets to/from Elsinore is not available on Ferryhopper. As we focus on including more ferry routes, head over to our interactive Map of ferries, discover all the ways to travel to/from Denmark and book ferry tickets hassle-free!