Church of Our Lady dominates the skyline in Kalundborg, Denmark
Just as there are two sides to a coin, there are different sides to the Danish island of Zealand. On the eastern side, Copenhagen has turned into something of an icon for cruises in the Baltic Sea. With a range of attractions befitting a capital, Copenhagen attracts hundreds of cruise ships every year.
In many ways, things are different on the western side of Denmark’s largest island. More genuine, some would probably say. Be that as it may, the number of people is lower, and visiting cruise ships are fewer – resulting in the slower pace of life that can be experienced in the town of Kalundborg.
As a cruise passenger disembarking here, though, you might want to hurry up: the town and the surrounding area has much to offer travellers who have a day or so to spend in the region. Kalundborg’s beaches are among the best that Denmark has to offer, for example, and the town itself is worth exploring. With its five towers the Church of Our Lady has become something of a town symbol, but there is a lot more to be experienced. You will find a list of main attractions listed below, under Do Not Miss.
The foundation of Kalundborg is associated with the establishment of a castle at the innermost part of the Kalundborg fjord, close to where today’s town is situated. The warrior and chieftain Esbern Snare built the castle around the year 1170.
While the Church of Our Lady, was constructed in the early 13th century, not many other buildings remain from those days. The Højby area of the town, however, features a number of houses from the 15th and 16th centuries. Kalundborg, in fact, is considered one of Denmark’s best-preserved medieval towns.
There is a way to experience living history from as far back as Esbern Snare’s days, though. Around the year 1200, four years before Snare passed away, a Danish miller started to serve food to the farmers who were waiting for their barley to be turned into flour. Little did the miller know that the fledgling business would develop over the centuries, one day turning into Bromølle kro – now Denmark’s oldest inn. The inn is located some 16 miles/26 kilometres from Kalundborg.
Another possibility for cruise passengers visiting Kalundborg is to go on a shore excursion across Zealand to Denmark’s capital. By coach, it takes about 1.5 hours to reach Copenhagen’s many world-class attractions.
If you take in some of what Kalundborg has to offer after returning from a day in Copenhagen, you could argue that you have seen both sides of the island.
The port features two quays for cruise ships: one with an overall length of 1,082 feet/330 metres, and one with an overall length of 1,066 feet/325 metres. Tourist information is available on the quay. A free shuttle service from the port to the town is in operation when cruise ships call. Departure every 15 minutes.
Start your visit in this Danish destination with a stopover at the Kalundborg Museum, which features several different exhibitions covering regional developments from the Stone Age to the current day.
Close to the Kalundborg Museum, you will find Vor Frue Kirke. In many ways, the 13th century church has come to symbolise the town – not least due to its characteristic five-towered shape.
Bispegården is the logical next stop, after taking in Vor Frue Kirke. Once built for the bishop (as reflected by the name: bisp = bishop), the 15th century building now houses various art exhibitions. Arranged by Kalundborg’s Art Association, the exhibitions are free of entrance.
Located outside the town, Birkegårdens haver is an experience for anyone with an interest in gardening. Covering some 3 hectares/30,000 square metres, the area is divided into several different gardens, all with their own theme.
When in Kalundborg, take the opportunity to visit a vineyard. Located not far from the town, Dyrehøj Vingaard is Denmark’s largest winery.
At Kragerup Gods, get up in the treetops on a “high-wire forest adventure” where participants traverse routes along ropes and rope bridges.
Kalundborg and the surrounding area is ideal to experience on a bike. The Tourist Information Office can supply route suggestions. Once you’ve straddled the saddle, beaches, hotspots for bird watching, and more is within reach.
Don’t forget to visit some of the many shops that you will find in this town, offering everything from well-known brands to unique, local products.
A variety of shore excursions in and around Kalundborg can be available. Examples include:
Walking tours of Kalundborg. With its convenient size, this Danish town is best experienced on foot. The five towered Church of Our Lady is a natural stop, as is the town’s museum (see above under Do Not Miss).
Tours of the surrounding region can include the Røsnæs peninsula north-west of Kalundborg – an area rich in bird life and with a history of its own. Another interesting area is the land surrounding Lake Tissø – once a favourite among Vikings.
The Viking Ship Museum in Roskilde can be the destination for some excursions. Roskilde was once the capital of Denmark.
Lerchenborg Manor can be the goal on some excursions (see above under Do Not Miss).