Getting Out of Copenhagen: a Royal Birthday and a Danish Vacation

On Saturday, May 26th, Denmark was celebrating two birthdays – Crown Prince Frederik’s 50th and my 21st! Danish flags, the traditional signs of a birthday celebration in Denmark, were everywhere, from our kitchen table to the city buses. It was so sweet of my flatmates (and the rest of Denmark) to decorate!

My flatmates surprised me with Danish flags and breakfast together on my birthday.

My floormates and I decided we’d celebrate the day with a trip to Kronborg Castle, a UNESCO World Heritage site north of Copenhagen. While Danes know Kronborg as the Renaissance-era abode of King Frederik II and other royals, most people throughout the world recognize it as the setting of Shakespeare’s Hamlet.

Again utilizing Denmark’s incredible public transit, we took the regional train north for less than an hour to Helsingør, a quaint harbor city. Our day in Helsingør was picturesque!

One of my Danish flatmates told me that, according to tradition, the weather on your birthday is said to reflect how you’ve behaved over the past year. I’m not sure if it had to do with my deeds, but the weather in Helsingør was perfect! (Hopefully, the downpour in Copenhagen that day wasn’t related to the Crown Prince’s past year decisions.)

The storm blowing through Copenhagen missed us, but the clouds were appropriately ominous for the moment as we approached “Hamlet’s Castle”.

“Hamlet’s Castle” was starkly beautiful. Horatio himself guided us through some haunting underground corridors and elegant Renaissance-style rooms, telling the fateful tale of Hamlet as we went. My floormate who majors in English was in literary heaven.

Horatio recounts the tragic tale of his best friend, Hamlet.
After climbing a long spiral staircase, we were rewarded with a beautiful view of Helsingør from the top of Kronborg.

In Helsingør, we found a neat food market, colorful streets, a lively town square, and some tempting sweet shops. We didn’t have time to see the famous Louisiana Museum nearby, but we did catch a work of art and sustainability outside the food market – a giant fish made of retrieved ocean plastic!

The ocean-plastic fish outside of the food market in Helsingør.

Our day trip to Kronborg was short but a great way to get out of the hustle and bustle of Copenhagen! The following weekend, we were able to have another perfect retreat from the city on a trip to Bornholm.

Bornholm is a Danish island in the Baltic Sea and family vacation hotspot. The landscape is shockingly varied, from rocky shoreline to dense forest, and sandy beach to rolling farmland. It was incredible to take in all of the stunning views from my bike seat.

One of my floormates was especially excited to see the beach!
Hiking around on one of Bornholm’s rocky coastlines.


We couldn’t resist taking a biking break for “Chris and Mario’s” delicious homemade ice cream.

A perfect sunset from right outside of our hostel.

Sufficiently worn out from our weekend of biking, I was ready to return to Copenhagen for a good night’s rest. Session 1 comes to a close this week, but there’s still lots to see and do in and outside of Copenhagen!

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