You’ll find many activities and attractions if you’re looking for things to do in Roskilde, Denmark.
From its vibrant cultural scene to its beautiful natural surroundings, there’s something for everyone in this charming city.
Here are the 20 best things to do in Roskilde, Denmark.
1) Have a good time at the Roskilde Festival.
The Roskilde Festival is one of Europe’s largest music festivals, with around 100 bands performing over five days.
It attracts more than 100,000 visitors annually and allows local residents to showcase their talents by running various cultural events throughout the city.
Thanks to its diverse line-up, the festival also has an international reputation, featuring artists from all genres.
The Roskilde Festival features international headliners and boasts Denmark’s largest camping area.
It’s an excellent opportunity to discover new bands and artists, drink craft beers and meet people worldwide.
2) Visit the Viking Museum in Roskilde.
In 1957, the Viking Museum was dedicated to Roskilde and Scandinavia’s ancient history.
It aims to bring visitors closer than ever before to the Vikings by focusing on their lives and experiences.
The museum features interactive displays that recreate life during the Bronze Age, Iron Age, Viking Period, and Middle Ages.
You can even experience what it was like to be tried at a court in the Middle Ages or participate in a reenactment of a 17th-century witch trial.
The Viking Museum hosts special exhibitions to learn more about Viking ships or traditional costumes.
Don’t forget to check out their library, which is open every day from 12 noon until 4 pm.
3) Explore Roskilde Cathedral.
Roskilde Cathedral is one of Denmark’s most visited attractions. It has the country’s most giant cathedral tower and some of Scandinavia’s finest examples of Romanesque architecture.
The cathedral was built between the 12th and 13th centuries after Bishop Absalon captured Roskilde from the Wends, a Slavic tribe that inhabited the area.
It stands where Roskilde’s first church was built by Ansgar, an Anglo-Saxon missionary who arrived in Denmark in 826 to spread Christianity.
The original wooden structure burned down three years later, but reconstruction began soon afterward under Bishop Albrik, who founded the city of Slagelse nearby.
Visitors can climb to the top of his bell tower for impressive city views. The church contains monuments to Denmark’s Monarchs, including Christian IV, buried here.
It also houses Roskilde’s shrine, which dates back to the 12th century and survived a fire in 1794 that destroyed most of the cathedral’s other treasures.
4) Take a guided walking tour of Roskilde.
Roskilde is a rich historical city, and there’s no better way to discover it than by taking advantage of the guided tours on offer.
Several different themed tours, including architectural tours, take you on a journey across the city through various periods of its history. You can also learn more about the Vikings and visit their ships, shops, and homes.
Every Friday at 3 pm from April until September, the City Walk tour provides an easy-to-follow insight into Roskilde’s architectural highlights.
It starts outside Den Gamle By restaurant, where the guide will share interesting facts about some of Roskilde’s most famous buildings, such as the Roskilde Museum, Havreholm Slot, and Frijsenborg Slot.
5) Take a boat trip on Roskilde Fjord.
Roskilde Fjord is a peaceful stretch of water that runs inland from the North Sea and separates Zealand from the smaller island of Funen.
It’s a great place to take a boat trip and explore some of Denmark’s most picturesque villages, particularly those that have been transformed into popular holiday resorts such as Gilleleje, Hornbæk, and Tisvildeleje.
The fjord is also famous for its oyster beds, supplying some of the country’s best restaurants with fresh seafood during summer.
In fact, it hosts several annual food festivals, including Smag på Fyn, Den Fynske Oysterfestival, and Ost & Fisk. The latter takes place in late April and uniquely celebrates all things to do with oysters.
6) Consider camping.
Camping is a popular activity in Denmark during the summer months, and there are plenty of campsites to choose from.
The closest to Roskilde city center is DK Camping & Hyttegård, which offers space for campers, mobile homes, and pitches for tents across its 13 hectares (32 acres) of land.
It’s home to several amenities that will make you stay more comfortable, including playgrounds, toilets, and showers, a kiosk where you can buy supplies, WiFi, internet access, and even entertainment such as bingo and discos.
7) Walk the town hall and tower of St. Laurence in Roskilde.
St. Laurence Church in Roskilde is the tallest building in the city and dates back to around 1160.
If you climb its tower, you’ll be rewarded with panoramic views across the surrounding landscape. There’s also a fascinating museum housed within its walls that explores many aspects of Denmark’s history.
8) The Old City Hall of Roskilde.
Most of Roskilde’s historical action took place on its open market square.
At the center of this is the tall, gilded spire of the Old City Hall. Towers above everything else are in quaint disrepair, like an aging medieval queen wearing her most pleasing crown for one last night at the ball.
It had survived several devastating fires throughout history and once housed a town hall where Danish monarchs were crowned when they visited the city.
9) Visit the royal palace in Roskilde.
Roskilde Royal Palace is another of the city’s great monuments that date back to around 1736 and is situated close to the cathedral and market square.
It was home to many Danish monarchs over the centuries, including King Christian IV and Queen Margrethe II.
It has been transformed into a museum where you can learn about their fascinating lives.
A guided tour will cost money, but you can also take a self-guided audio tour for free.
10) Take a boat trip from Roskilde Quay.
Roskilde Quay on the south side of town is lined with restaurants like Kong Hans Kælder, bars such as Cafe Biografen Riechers, and cafes that serve light meals, coffee, and cakes.
This is one of the best places in Denmark to sit outside with a cold drink and people-watch as you enjoy a scenic boat trip across Roskilde Fjord.
11) Explore The Land of Legends theme park.
Denmark is home to many myths and legends, such as those surrounding the characters of Hamlet and Mother Gerd, and this theme park brings these enchanting tales to life with a host of themed attractions that will delight children and adults alike.
You’ll be able to see model dinosaurs in Dino World, visit Little Red Riding Hood’s cottage, take a boat ride on Lake Arthur, meet Odin and Thor inside Valhalla Castle, fly like Jack Frost over winter wonderland, and much more.
12) Take a look at the Yellow Palace.
The Yellow Palace in the center of Roskilde is an art museum dedicated to modern Danish artists, including Jens Ferdinand Willumsen, Svend Wiig Hansen, and Berit Mathiesen.
It’s close to the cathedral, market square, and royal palace, so that you can visit all four monuments in one day.
13) Ledreborg Palace.
Located in Lejre, 25 miles west of Roskilde city center, Ledreborg Palace is another impressive royal property open to the public.
It was built in 1740-1745 and styled after a French chateau, but if you’re planning a visit, you’ll need to check its opening times first as they change quite frequently.
Events held here throughout the year may affect these times, so it’s best to check their website for updates.
14) Take a trip to Frederiksborg Palace.
Frederiksborg Palace was built in the early 17th century as a royal residence for King Christian IV but is currently known as one of Denmark’s most important art galleries.
The palace was home to Queen Margrethe II; it became a museum and UNESCO World Heritage Site.
It also hosts regular exhibitions related to the royal family.
You can enjoy up-close within its sumptuous interior spaces, each adorned with fine furnishings and artwork from different periods in Danish history.
The Royal Receptions Rooms contain some of the most important works of 17th-century Dutch and Danish art, including paintings by Rembrandt.
It also hosts the Royal Stables Museum, where you can see some of the coaches used by previous monarchs on official occasions.
Follow this up with a visit to the nearby Rosenborg Castle, home to an impressive treasury full of crown jewels and fine silverware.