Roskilde: A day trip from Copenhagen blog post was first published on Culture Tourist on 27th September 2016 and updated on 7th April 2023.
If you are looking for a fun trip while visiting the Danish capital, consider visiting Roskilde from Copenhagen. Located only 30 minutes by train from Copenhagen, it’s a lovely idea for a day trip outside the Danish capital. Filled with rich history, a Gothic cathedral with the tombs of Danish monarchs, the Viking Ship Museum and a beautiful seashore, it is absolutely worth visiting.
Roskilde: A day trip from Copenhagen
During my trip to Denmark, I especially enjoyed travelling by train. It was so fascinating seeing its beautiful scenery and lovely small towns and villages along the way. If you’re considering taking a day trip from Copenhagen during your visit, my advice is, visit Roskilde. It’s a beautiful historic town that will give you a glimpse into the fascinating Danish history.
How to get from Copenhagen to Roskilde
It’s easy to travel to Roskilde from Copenhagen. The distance between the two places is around 35 kilometres (22 miles). You can travel between Roskilde and Copenhagen by using public transport or by renting a car.
Visiting Roskilde from Copenhagen by train
My advice is to visit Roskilde from Copenhagen by train. You can buy a train ticket at any train station. You’ll pay for the return ticket around 25 euros (190 DKK). The journey lasts for less than 30 minutes. And the trains depart approximately every ten minutes from Copenhagen Central Station.
When you arrive at Roskilde Train Station from Copenhagen, you’ll need only to walk for around ten minutes to get to the historical centre.
Visiting Roskilde from Copenhagen by car
You can also travel from Copenhagen to Roskilde by car, which could be a good option if you travel to Denmark in your own car. It will take you a bit longer, some 40 minutes, to get there.
However, if you won’t have your own car, then a better option is definitely to travel to Roskilde from Copenhagen by train.
Visiting Roskilde from Copenhagen on a tour
Although my first option is always to organise my own day trips when I’m travelling, sometimes you just don’t feel like doing that on your own. In that case, joining an organised tour from Copenhagen to Roskilde could be an option. Here is a day trip from Copenhagen, during which you’ll visit Roskilde and some other beautiful sites close to the Danish capital.
Things to do in Roskilde
Stroll around the Stændertorvet Square in Roskilde
The Stændertorvet Square in Roskilde is a great place to start your day trip to Roskilde. It’s a lovely historical square in the centre of Roskilde.
A market is organised there each Wednesday and Saturday from 8 am until 3 pm. You’ll find so many different goods at it: from local food, fruit and vegetables to antiques and typical blue Danish ceramics. Visiting it will give you a glimpse into local life and a chance to mingle among the locals.
Roskilde Old Town Hall
Many beautiful historic buildings give Stændertorvet Square a traditional Scandinavian appearance. The old Town Hall located on it is especially impressive. Its robust step-shaped tower once belonged to the medieval Saint Laurence Church. The rest of the building was created during the 19th century in the neo-Gothic style by architect O. Momme.
Roskilde Royal Palace
Another fascinating place you should visit in Roskilde is its former Royal Palace, also known as the Yellow Palace. Located just a few steps from the old Town Hall, it was built in Baroque style from 1733 to 1736. The palace was home to the royals when they were visiting Roskilde. Being home to the Museum of Contemporary Art and the Palace Wing, it’s a lovely cultural spot to visit in Roskilde today.
Viking Ship Museum in Roskilde
Like the rest of Denmark, Roskilde is filled with large parks and lots of beautiful nature. Walking from the market square and all the historical buildings towards the seashore, you’ll walk through the massive park filled with flowers. At the end of it, you’ll find one of the most famous sites in Roskilde, the Viking Ship Museum.
It’s one of the best museums I visited in Denmark and a place you shouldn’t miss in Roskilde. The main exhibits are five 11th-century Viking ships found at Roskilde Fjord in the 1960s. They were scuttled at the entrance of the bay as a way of protecting it. Seeing those old boats and learning so much about how they were made is fascinating. Their excavation and restoration are well explained in a short movie at the museum.
A small shipyard outside the museum is its integral part. It’s a great place to learn about the traditional medieval way of building ships and join some of the workshops organised there. Sailing in one of the Viking ships’ replicas is even possible.
The museum’s location at the seashore of the Roskilde Fjord, with Viking ships replicas sailing at it, gives the whole site a magical atmosphere.
Traditional lunch with a view in Roskilde
After exploring the fascinating history at the Viking Ship Museum, you’ll definitely be up for some lunch. At least, I was!
I’m sharing a recommendation for the excellent restaurant in Roskilde I got from a lovely lady working at the museum. It’s a restaurant in a beautiful park above the museum with a fantastic sea view. Its name is Pipers Hus, and I loved both the delicious food and its great location.
I tried some typical Danish food there, like rye bread with different toppings such as salmon, salads and veggies. It was a nice light lunch with very different flavours combined together. I loved it!
Saint Luke Cathedral in Roskilde
After a lunch break, I visited another must-see place in Roskilde, the Saint Luke Cathedral. A monumental Gothic building is listed on UNESCO’s heritage list. It’s the first Gothic cathedral in Scandinavia made of bricks and home to 39 tombs of Danish queens and kings. It serves as the burial site for the Danish royal family until this day.
The entrance ticket to the cathedral is 60 DKK (around 8 euros), which includes a guide to the cathedral museum and a very informative cathedral guide booklet. Both the architecture and the royal history of the place are unique. So be sure to put that beautiful site on your list of things to see in Roskilde.
What is Roskilde famous for
The old capital of Denmark – Roskilde is one of the oldest cities in Denmark. It was also crucial during history, serving as the country’s capital between the 11th century and 1443.
The oldest school in Denmark – Roskilde may be home to the oldest school in Denmark. Roskilde Cathedral School was founded in 1020 to educate priests at the cathedral. Although not at its original location anymore, it still operated today.
Roskilde Festival – The town is home to the biggest music festival in Scandinavia, happening annually in early summer. All profits from it are donated to charities. In 2016, the Ragnarock Museum was opened, highlighting the history of Rock music from the 1950s until the present day.
After visiting the cathedral, I just wandered around that gorgeous Danish town, soaked in its atmosphere and enjoyed the lovely combination of fascinating history and beautiful nature. Roskilde is filled with many exciting sites, coffee shops, restaurants and great shops with Danish design. So, if you’ll get a chance, go on a day trip from Copenhagen to Roskilde.
Have you visited Roskilde? What was your favourite location there? Let me know in the comments!