You might see the ghost of Hamlet delivering a soliloquy in his castle if you climb the 146 steps here to a panoramic terrace that, on a clear day, gives you a grand view of Danish Helsingør across the sound. One of the most important medieval monuments in Sweden, and the symbol of Helsingborg, Kärnan rises from the crest of a rocky ridge in the city center. The origins of this 30m-tall (98-ft.) square tower -- built in the 11th century -- are mysterious; it adopted its present form in the 1300s. Its name translates as "the keep," a moniker related to its original position as the most central tower (and prison) of the once-mighty Helsingborg Castle. (The castle and its fortifications were demolished in 1679 after generations of bloody fighting between the Swedes and the Danes; only Kärnan, which was restored and rebuilt in 1894, remains.) The thickness of its walls (about 4m/13 ft.) make it the most solidly constructed building in the region.

The easiest way to reach Kärnan is to board the elevator, which departs from the terrasen (terrace) of the town's main street, the Stortorget. For 5SEK ($1/50p) per person, you'll be carried up the rocky hillside to the base of the tower. However, many visitors avoid the elevator, preferring instead to climb a winding set of flower-flanked steps as part of their exploration of the city.