Summer tours | Going down…
Sun screen or sun burn, kids dripping ice cream on your toes as you queue for the next ride in the baking sunshine? Or endless summer showers with soggy sandals and no silver linings? Ready for a tour with a difference whatever the weather? It’s cool. It’s sublime. It’s subterranean. We’re going underground…
Vor Frue Kirke
The ancient crypt of Vor Frue Kirke (the Church of Our Lady). Located in the heart of Copenhagen, and rebuilt several times due to fires, this bright, airy church isn’t stuffed with historical coffins or their contents – they got cremated. Aboveground, you’ll find exhibitions, while the church, rebuilt in 1829, is itself revered for its neo-classical architecture. But our underground tour takes us well below the choir stalls where you can see a section of wall made of delicately handmade red ‘monk stones’ dating back to 1316.
Nørregade 8, 1165 Copenhagen K
Open: May 15–Nov 11
Mon-Thu 11-4, Fri and Sun 12-4, closed Sat
Museum of Modern Glass Art
After spending time with the saints – and maybe even some sinners – the next stop on the underground tour takes us into the heart of glass country. To Cisternerne. These huge underground tanks that once held enough water to supply a large part of the city above now house the Museum of Modern Glass Art. Look out for the angular glass structures in Søndermarken Park that mark the entrance to this unusual experience.
Roskildevej 25, 2000 Frederiksberg C
Open: Thu and Fri 2-6, Sat, Sun and holidays 11-5
Admission: adults 50kr, senior citizens and students 40kr, under 14 free
Underground glass museums are one thing, but if you ask a Dane about deep dark caverns, they’ll think of Holger Danske and Hamlet’s castle, Kronborg, in Elsinore – or Helsingør as the Danes call it. The casemates, as the dungeons are called, are inside the castle’s four bastions, dating from 1574 when the medieval castle of Krogen was given its present renaissance face-lift and became known as Kronborg. Legend has it that if Denmark ever is in danger, Holger Danske, a national hero, will awake from his sleep to repel the enemy. During the Nazi occupation, the largest resistance group named itself after the slumbering figure.
Open: Jun–Aug 10-5:30
Admission: full tour, covering the Royal Chambers, Ballroom, Casemates, Castle Chapel and Telegraph Tower adults 75kr, children (ages 6-17) 30kr
Cold War buffs that still haven’t had enough of the Danish underground can catch their own spy using your smartphone at the old military bunkers in Ejby, a part of the country’s Cold War defences. Hostilities between East and West may have ended, but the tension is kept alive here using digital installations that include a mission to stop World War III.
Jyllingevej 303, 2610 Rødovre
Open: Tue-Sun 11-4, closed Mon
Admission: adults 50kr, senior citizens and students 40kr, children (ages 4-15) 30kr, family card 240kr
West of Copenhagen this time, another cool military installation on our subterranean tour is Stevns Fort. Well, you don’t get much cooler than the Cold War, when Stevns Fort was built. Now a museum, you can take a guided tour of the echoing chambers, labyrinth of tunnels and vaults cut out of the chalk that were a closely guarded national secret for 40 years. Hear stories of spies, intrigues, and the day in 1978 when a cheeky Polish landing craft popped up on the Stevns coastline sneakily monitoring the Danish Navy on manoeuvres. It was escorted resolutely to international waters again in icy silence by two battleships.
Korsnæbsvej 60, 4673 Rødvig
Open: Mar-Oct daily 10-5, tours normally at 11, 1 and 3, turn up 15 min before
Admission: adults 110kr, pensioners and students 90kr, children 6-17 60kr, infants free
After all that underground action, what better place to chill out and end our underground tour than back in the heart of the city? Below street level once more, sipping a nice cold glass of Carlsberg beer at the Workers’ Museum, where you’ll find what is billed as Copenhagen’s only listed basement restaurant. The menu takes you back to 1900 with the beautifully restored opaque glass ceiling and polished brass trimmed interior reflecting the warmth and elegance of 1892. Later, if you feel the “fresh air and sunshine calling in your dark, underground burrow,” there’s the whole museum upstairs to explore. If you can be bothered. Or, when all’s said and done, there’s always another beer.
Rømersgade 22, 1362 Copenhagen K
Open: daily 10-4
Admission to museum: adults 65kr, senior citizens 55kr, students 55kr (with student ID), children under 18 free