Yesterday I traveled to the Danish city of Helsingør, or Elsinore, the real-life setting of Shakespeare’s play Hamlet. The play takes place in a castle called Elsinore, though the real thing is called Kronborg Castle. It was an absolute blast, and I was thrilled to know that Denmark has a castle old enough that it was the setting of a play written over 400 years ago.
To get there, I first took a train to Helsingborg (Sweden) before boarding the 20-minute ferry to Helsingør (Denmark). The distance between Helsingborg and Helsingør is the shortest point between the two countries.
This year, 2016, is the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death. For the past two hundred years – since the 200th anniversary of his death – Kronberg Castle has held a Shakespeare Festival each August. So my timing was very lucky, especially since part of the festival includes live Hamlet reenactments in relevant areas of the castle throughout the day!
Walking through the castle, following ongoing scenes from one of my favorite plays, was the best way to explore the site (a little bit like Sleep No More in New York City, but more light-hearted and with a better set!). I spent two hours in the castle and had lots of fun, making the $20 admission fee totally worth it.
Well, that’s enough photos of the actors. The castle also had a small exhibit on the other renditions of Hamlet that have taken place on-site, including plays staged at the castle and movies filmed there. Staged renditions still occur as part of the Hamlet Festival every year.
I barely spent any time in the city Helsingør – after all, it really is known for the castle – or in Helsingborg, which is really only known for the ferry to Helsingør! Helsingborg seemed like a sweet harbor town, though, as I walked around there while waiting for the train back to Malmö. The town has a couple incredible churches and a beautiful city hall building.