A Week in Copenhagen: Taking a Liking to Vikings in Roskilde
Welcome to København! Often recognized as being one of the most environmentally-friendly cities in Europe with the best quality of life, Copenhagen is no-brainer. Sure it may be a tad expensive, but there's reason after reason for that. This week, Lilit Marcus will be sharing the must-hit spots, whether you have three days or over a week.
Read the whole series here
Think for a moment, The name Roskilde may already be familiar to you because of the city's most famous event, the annual music festival. But there’s much more to this cool town than one rollicking week every summer. Just a short train ride outside of Copenhagen (you’ll need to buy a regular ticket for zone eight), there are several attractions within a pretty short walking distance of the train station.
Our recommendation for a good overview of Roskilde is to start far away and come back the way you came. This means go along Algade, the main shopping street in town, and then hang a left onto Fredriksborgvej. After about 20 minutes, you’ll encounter a gorgeous fjord with several buildings in front of it. A team of scientists discovered Viking ships in excellent condition at the bottom of this fjord, and the Viking Ship Museum holds the reassembled boats along with all the juicy details on how such an excavation was accomplished, what we know about Vikings and the history of Denmark, and a room where kids (and grownups!) can play dress-up with Viking outfits.
Pick up some “Viking’s Blood,” a strong locally-made port, at the museum gift shop. Next door, re-created Viking ships go on daily fjord trips so that you can see the magnificent view from other angles; there’s usually one a day during the week, and only in the warmer months, so be sure to take a look online and plan accordingly.
Once you’re all Viking-ed out, head to the jewel of town: the Roskilde Domkirke (aka Roskilde Cathedral), a UNESCO world heritage site. Once upon a time, Roskilde was the ancient capital of Denmark, and this cathedral is testament to its awesomeness. Many of the country’s monarchs are buried here, and there’s even a plot all set for the current Queen Margarethe II and her husband. Totally not creepy at all.
The helpful guide from the reception desk will point out all the important parts of the cathedral, but it can still be a pretty overwhelming place. Our suggestion is to check out the smaller side rooms one at a time, then tackle the central area, nave, and pulpit last.
Once you’ve exhausted the place and need a bite to eat, both the excellent Raadhuskaelderen (which serves traditional Danish and Scandinavian food) and the more casual Café Vivaldi are both close by. In the afternoon during the summer, you can also peruse the farmer’s market in the square outside of the Domkirke and sample everything from coffee and tea to apples and homemade jam. (Seriously, guys, get the homemade jam.)
After lunch, you have a couple of options: the Roskilde Museum and Museum for Contemporary Art, both of which are pretty solid. It's an easy decision if you focus on what you enjoy most: history or modern times?
On the way back to the train station, stop in at Kirkegaard cemetery (no connection to the Danish philosopher – this word just means “Church Garden”), and snap some photos of the three huge vases arranged in a row just outside the garden entrance. Those jars commemorate the thousandthyeah, you read that rightanniversary of Roskilde. It’s a good thing the train back to Copenhagen is just across the street, or the weight of all that history might just crush you.
Inside the Domkirke
Monday: even more Copenhagen!
[Photos: sunfox & khoogheem]