Gamle Færgestræde - Atlas Obscura

Gamle Færgestræde

Just off the city’s central station hides a quaint lamp-lit alley into medieval Elsinore. 

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Helsingør, commonly known as Elsinore in English thanks to its fame as the main setting of Shakespeare’s Hamlet, is a port city about 30 miles north of the Danish capital Copenhagen. Founded in the 1420s, it flourished from the tolls it collected from passing ships, which would make up two-thirds of Denmark’s income by the 16th century.

Many of the visitors to the city today (who do not need to pay the toll, thankfully), often flock to see the UNESCO-listed site of Kronborg Castle, take a train from Copenhagen and arrive at Helsingør Station. Towards the castle of Hamlet fame, Helsingør offers a lovely promenade along the waters of the Øresund with a view of the Swedish coast beyond, but stray a little and you will find a quaint lamp-lit street frozen in time.

Gl. Færgestræde, or Ferry Street, was one of the city’s medieval paths connecting the main street of Stengade to the harbor, but at one point in history, some time before the 18th century, the alley became part of a private farming property and was closed off at both ends.

Because of this, Det luktede Stræde, as it was known back then, was left untouched by the development of the city around it. It was finally reopened to pedestrians in 1911, restored to its historic glory with lamps, cobblestone pavings and an open gutter in the middle. Narrow and flanked by old tilted townhouses, the hidden alley is a perfect detour for lovers of quaint vibes off the tourist path.

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February 15, 2024

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