Ghost of Hamlet & The Strait of Øresund

If you are in Copenhagen, an easy and enjoyable way to go to Sweden is to cross the strait of Øresund that divides the Danish islands from the Swedish mainland. Øresund bridge, which has the honour of being the longest rail and road bridge in Europe, connects the two countries. You can take a bus from central Copenhagen that will take you to Malmo (app. one hour) or you can take the quick train. I, however, opted for a ferry ride between the Danish coastal town of Helsingor (Elsinore in English) to the Swedish town of Helsingbor (don’t confuse the names!) from where you can go to Malmo and farther afield.

My reason for taking the ferry was to be in Helsingor to see Kronborg Castle, which is the fictional location of William Shakespeare’s drama “Hamlet.” Being an aficionado of literature, I wanted to relive from memory the tragic story of prince Hamlet by being inside the very walls in which Shakespeare had imagined it.

Palaces and castles in Scandinavian countries are quite modest by European standards and this one is no different. This is where the monarchs of Denmark would come to seek leisure during summertime and enjoy beautiful vistas of the strait and be able to see the coast of Sweden on a clear day, as did I on the day I was there.

Don’t miss to visit the dungeons below the castle – a dank and dark labyrinth of cells where prisoners were kept in subhuman conditions. There is a life-sized statue of Ogier the Dane at one end of the dungeons. Legend has it that one day he will wake up from his stony slumber and conquer all of Scandinavia and rule forever!