Despite its status as a busy ferry port, Helsingør is a quiet, likeable town with some major historical attractions. Its position on the narrow strip of water linking the North Sea and the Baltic brought the town prosperity when, in 1429, the Sound Toll was imposed on passing vessels. Today it remains an important waterway, with ferries to Swedish Helsingborg accounting for most of Helsingør’s through-traffic and innumerable cheap booze shops.
Helsingør’s well-preserved medieval quarter is dominated by Stengade, the main shopping street, linked by a number of narrow alleyways to Axeltorv, the town’s small market square and a nice place to enjoy a beer. Near the corner of Stengade and Skt. Annagade is Helsingør’s cathedral, Skt. Olai’s Kirke, while beyond is Skt. Mariæ Kirke, whose Karmeliterklostret, built circa 1400, is now the best-preserved medieval monastery in Scandinavia (guided tours only; arrange via the church office). Its former hospital now contains the Town Museum, which displays an unnerving selection of surgical tools used in early brain operations.