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80km (50 miles) SW of Copenhagen; 25km (16 miles) S of Ringsted; 35km (22 miles) SE of Slagelse

As your car roars on through rolling farmland and undiscovered villages, you come to the largest town in South Zealand, at the mouth of the Suså River, which made it a major Hanseatic port back in medieval times. The Danes themselves come here to enjoy the series of lakes and woodland that lie to the west and south of the town. Some visitors also like to go boating on the Karrebæk Fjord, forming a waterway linking Næstved with the scenic Karrebæksminde Bay.

Although there is industry here that sprouted up when the railway line came through in the 19th century, there is much of historic charm as well. The average foreign visitor can spend 2 to 3 hours exploring the historic core, with its Gothic churches, before setting out to take in the treasures of the environs.

Næstved sprouted up around a Benedictine monastery, whose buildings today house Herlufen, Denmark's most famous boarding school, similar in prestige to Eton in Britain. Today it's a garrison town and home to the Gardehussar Regiment or Hussars of the Household Calvary. The best time to catch these guards is on Wednesday morning when they ride through the center of town amid much fanfare.

Today much of the outlying area of the town is industrial, devoted to such businesses as timber, paper, engineering, and even ceramics. But in the immediate surroundings, beyond the fringe of town, lie a number of charming places to visit, ranging from manors to mansions, and from abbeys to beautiful parks.