The great things about museums is that they tend to have good views.
After all, many like the Palace Museum in Beijing and the Museum of the History of France near Paris are located in former palaces – the Forbidden City and Versailles respectively – and the royals weren’t going to settle for a vista spoilt by squalour, smoke or Slough city centre.
Most of Denmark’s palaces are occupied, unfortunately (maybe not for arch-royalists), but the country still manages to offer many museums with mesmerising views.
Behold the rooftops of the capital, and the masterly art of Mother Nature.
A Shakespearean sight
Kronborg Castle, Kronborg 2C, Helsingør; open daily 11:00-16:00, no admission in final 30 mins; 90kr, under-18s free adm; kongeligeslotte.dk
Take a train from Copenhagen along Zealand’s beautiful coastline to one of Europe’s most important renaissance castles, Kronborg Castle. Home to Shakespeare’s Hamlet and Danish legend Holger Danske, the castle in Helsingør has deep roots in Danish and international culture. From the castle’s many windows visitors can see the seas Kattegat and Øresund and all the way to Sweden’s coast. The train ride also offers an idyllic sea view and a great opportunity to enjoy a snack and a cup of coffee.
A hidden gem
Hirschsprung Collection, Stockholmsgade 20, Cph Ø; open Tue-Sun 11:00-16;00, closed Mon; 95kr, concessions available; hirschsprung.dk
Adjacent to Østre Anlæg park, a romantic rendezvous established on the twisted roads and hilly terrain on the old ramparts, you will find the collection put together by tobacco manufacturer Heinrich Hirschsprung. He started his collection in the mid-1860s and continued it up until his death in 1908. The beautiful museum houses a great collection of Danish art from the 19th century with masterworks by Vilhelm Hammershøi, Theodor Philipsen and Danish Golden Age master CW Eckersberg. In the museum you will also find many works by the Danish Skagen painters, who were known for their special understanding of light and nature.
On top of Copenhagen
Christansborg Palace, Jørgens Gård, Cph K; open Tue-Sun 10:00-17:00, closed Mon; 150kr, under-18s free adm; christiansborg.dk
The palace is located in the heart of Copenhagen and houses, the Danish Parliament Folketinget. Built over three periods, the current neo-baroque palace is from 1928, replacing the first baroque structure from 1738. The palace was built upon the ruins of Absalon’s Castle from 1167, which can still be seen today in the subterranean excavations. The largest and oldest ruin is the curtain wall that protected the castle from pirate attacks. In 2014, a viewing platform in The Tower was opened to the public with free entrance. The Tower is the tallest viewing platform in Copenhagen and from here you can see most of the capital’s landmarks, such as the Marble Church, the Tivoli Gardens and the Round Tower. Take a trip through the rich history of Copenhagen from down below to high up in the sky.
The Viking view
Viking Ship Museum, Vindeboder 12, Roskilde; open daily 10:00-16:00; 130kr, free adm for under-18s; vikingeskibsmuseet.dk
The Vikings from Scandinavia are world famous for their barbaric raids and use of advanced ship technology. The Viking Ship Museum in Roskilde, 30 minutes from Copenhagen, contains the remains of five original Viking ships. The museum focuses on everything related to ships and seafaring from the times of Vikings. Built in a controversial architectural style in 1962, the aesthetic judgement will differ from visitor to visitor, but one thing that will definitely please the eyes of everyone is the great window frame that opens up onto the waters of Roskilde Fjord. Should the theme of Vikings and seafaring inspire you, it is possible to go sailing in the fjord in the museum’s reconstruction of a real Viking ship and see the museum from the sea as well as the idyllic area of Roskilde.
A royal room with a view
Frederiksborg Castle, Hillerød; open Mon-Sun 10:00-17:00 from Nov-March 11:00-15:00; tours for 1,000kr, until mid-October, free guided tours every Sat and Sun at 11:30; over-15s: 75kr, under-15s: 20kr, under-6s: free adm; dnm.dk
If Kronborg has evoked your interest in renaissance castles, the Museum of National History, Frederiksborg Castle is definitely worth a visit. A tour of Frederiksborg Castle’s many beautiful rooms is a journey through 500 years of Danish history. The story is told through portraits, paintings, furniture and decorative arts, and on the way you will meet kings, queens, nobles amd the bourgeoisie – all of which have helped to shape Denmark’s history and development from the Middle Ages to the 21st century. The castle also has two stunning gardens representing two different perceptions of nature: the baroque and the romantic. The baroque garden with its linear lines and deep desire to control nature offers a spectacular infinite view of a carefully curated and constructed park. For more uncontrolled and unpredictable nature, the romantic garden is worth a visit. It is also possible to sail on the mesmerising lake in a small boat or hike around the stunning castle area. At any rate, a visit to Frederiksborg encourages visitors to let their eyes wander through history, nature and culture.