40km (25 miles) N of Copenhagen; 24km (15 miles) NE of Hillerød; 72km (45 miles) NE of Roskilde

Does it really matter to the pilgrims flocking to this town that Hamlet never existed? Or that William Shakespeare never visited Helsingør? To the pilgrims wanting to see "Hamlet's Castle," the power of legend is what really matters.

Don't be disappointed if you arrive by train or bus. Make your way through the noisy, congested crowds and the fast-food stalls and move deeper into Helsingør. Once you do that, you'll find that it has a certain charm, with a market square, medieval lanes, and old half-timbered and brick buildings, many constructed by ships' captains in the heyday of the 19th-century shipping industry.

In 1429, King Erik of Pomerania ruled that ships passing Helsingør had to pay a toll for sailing within local waters. The town quickly developed into the focal point for international shipping, bringing in a lot of revenue. King Erik also constructed the Castle of Krogen, later rebuilt by Christian IV as the Castle of Kronborg. For a while, Helsingør prospered and grew so much that it was the second-largest town in the country.

Today much of the town's prosperity depends on those free-spending Hamlet devotees and that sliver of water between Denmark and Sweden, with ferries leaving frequently for Helsingborg.