The town’s great tourist draw is Kronborg Castle, principally because of its literary associations as Elsinore Castle, the setting for Shakespeare’s Hamlet. There’s no evidence Shakespeare ever visited Helsingør, and the tenth-century character Amleth on whom his hero was based long predates the castle. Nevertheless, the Hamlet souvenir business continues to thrive here. The present castle dates from the sixteenth century when it jutted into the sound as a formidable warning to passing ships not to consider dodging the toll, and it remains a grand affair, enhanced immeasurably by its setting; the interior, particularly the royal chapel, is spectacularly ornate. Beneath the castle are the casemates, gloomy cavernous rooms that served as soldiers’ quarters during times of war.

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