Roskilde, Festival City

Events, Things to Do — By Jane Graham on June 25, 2010 at 9:15 pm

Next week, Danish city Roskilde will brace itself for the busiest week of the year, as hoards of festival goers descend on the town for a week of music and partying. And though Roskilde Festival doesn’t officially start until Thursday July 1st, the campsite opens to the public on Saturday, June 26 at 6pm, with plenty of warm-up acts to get the party started before big-name bands like Gorillaz, Muse and Prince perform at the weekend.

With the weather forecast looking good, festival goers can expect plenty of sun: and the on-site lake is always a popular spot on sunny days (see pic). For those who want to see more of the city, a special train service has been laid on especially for the festival, starting just before 6pm on Saturday afternoon with regular services throughout next week.

Whether you’re coming for the festival or planning a visit to Copenhagen later in the summer, a day-trip to Roskilde comes highly recommended! This historical city, found just 20 miles west of Copenhagen, was once the capital of Denmark and is the final resting place of a long line of monarchs. Below is a run-down of the city’s other attractions.

  • For those who crave a little more luxury than a tent and a Porta Potty, a stay at Hotel Prindsen offers a touch of elegance and luxury, and can be found in the heart of Roskilde on Algade.
  • Skomagergade, Algade and Stændertorvet. During festival week, the compact and attractive walking streets of Algade and Skomagergade are filled with market stalls selling all kinds of wares, from flip-flops to ethnic jewelry. The two streets meet in the old square of Stændertorvet (in front of City Hall), a market place since the Middle Ages. These days, a lively market takes place on Saturdays and Wednesdays; specialities include fresh fish, cheese and fruit.
  • Roskilde Domkirke. The city’s biggest attraction outside of festival week, the cathedral holds the earthly remains of no less than 39 members of Danish royalty, and has a history that dates back as far as the 1400s. During festival week, all those who show their festival armband are offered free entry. For guided tours in English, contact the local tourist bureau:

  • Viking Ship Museum. Enjoy the walk from the cathedral down to the museum, through the local park and affording great views of Roskilde Fjord below.  The museum is the home of a number of meticulously reconstructed Viking boats that were discovered in the fjord during the ‘60s. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to go for a sail around the bay on one of the replicas; these 50-minute tours are offered by the museum during summer months.
  • Land of Legends Lejre. This ‘historical experiment’ offers everyone, regardless of age, to enjoy unspoiled nature and the chance to experience life in the past at a camp that recreates 10,000 years of Danish history. Children will enjoy the chance to learn about ancient weaponry, food preparation and meet the various farm animals found over the 43-hectare site.

Photo of festival-goers relaxing by the lake by Christian Hjorth (top); photo of Viking Ship Museum courtesy of Christian Alsing.

Tags: history tour, music festival, Roskilde, royal Denmark, Vikings


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