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Discover the past of modern Denmark & Sweden

14th April 2007 Print
Sea Stallion

Looking at cool, stylish Denmark and Sweden today it is hard to remember that these are two of the oldest kingdoms in the world with a rich history stretching back thousands of years. Copenhagen means Traders’ Port, reflecting the city’s significance as a trading centre in Northern Europe, including southern Sweden.

Today the two neighbouring countries continue to enjoy a strong relationship, which in year 2000 was further reinforced by the building of the spectacular Oresund Bridge linking Denmark with Sweden.

The bridge also opens up the region for holidaymakers who want to discover the history of two countries in one short break. It is just a 25-minute train journey from Copenhagen airport over the bridge to Malmo and southern Sweden.

In Copenhagen, a typical visit should include a visit to the National Museum which traces the country’s history from the Ice Age and the Vikings to the Middle Ages and the Renaissance. Then take a brisk walk on the 17th century ramparts of the Kastellet, which form the backdrop to the statue of the Little Mermaid. For some of the best views of Old Copenhagen walk up the 209-metre long spiral ramp of the Rundetaarn (Round Tower). Dating from 1642, the tower houses an astronomical telescope and is also used for concerts and art exhibitions.

Roskilde, the former capital of Denmark is just 30kms from Copenhagen, has an interesting cathedral which is the resting place of 38 Danish monarchs. The town also has the Viking Ship Museum which houses five 11th century Viking ships rescued and resurrected from Roskilde Harbour in the 1960s. The five ships were all vastly different to each having a different builder, different purposes and were designed for different waters. Together they highlight the breadth of Viking shipbuilding. The museum also tells the story of the Viking period and underwater archaeology.

Cross the spectacular Oresund Bridge into Southern Sweden and you can continue to trace Viking history at the Museum of Foteviken near Malmo. Set on the Bay of Holleviken, the museum features a Viking village with a variety of buildings including the Valhalla great feast hall. The museum holds handicraft workshops and exhibits about Viking life and Norse mythology. For a few days each summer, the museum holds the biggest Viking market in Scandinavia selling high quality handicrafts.

Southern Sweden boasts beautiful and rugged countryside and a drive to Kaseberga, near Ystad, to see the Ales Stenar (Ales Stones) offers the chance to see some of the country and enjoy magnificent views of the Baltic.

Ales Stenar is Sweden’s largest tumulus featuring 58 standing stones in the shape of a ship. The stones present a mystery as no-one is certain of their original purpose with suggested explanations including a solar calendar, a memorial to the dead or a ritual meeting place.

Malmo, Sweden’s third largest city, is a great place to round off a trip. Head for Lilla Torg for a farewell drink or meal. Soak up views of the some of the city’s oldest buildings in the cobblestone square famous for its outdoor cafes, pubs, trendy bars and nightclubs.

Flights from the UK and Ireland are short and convenient and in less than 2 hours you can be there. SAS flies from Dublin, London Heathrow and city airports, Birmingham, Manchester, Newcastle and Aberdeen.

For flight information, visit

For Denmark and Sweden tourist information, visit and

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Sea Stallion