130km (81 miles) W of Copenhagen; 34km (21 miles) E of Odense

One of the oldest towns in Denmark, founded 7 centuries ago, Nyborg lies at the western terminus of the Storebælt bridge and is the easternmost town on the island of Funen. Local residents thought the opening of the bridge would boost tourism, but that has happened only marginally. Most motorists, especially foreigners, rush through town en route to Odense to pay their respects to the memory of Hans Christian Andersen.

That's a shame, really, because Nyborg is deserving of at least 2 hours of your time, which will allow you to visit its old Torvet (the market square in the center), the ruins of a medieval castle, and some cross-timbered old houses. Like so many other cities or towns of Denmark, Nyborg was more strategic in the Middle Ages than it is today.

Its location in the middle of the trade route between Zealand in the east and Jutland in the west helped boost its importance. In medieval times, about 1200 to 1413, Nyborg was the capital of Denmark. Medieval buildings and well-preserved ramparts are testaments to that era. Nyborg's town square, the Torvet, was created in 1540, when a block of houses was demolished to make room for the royal tournaments of Christian III.

In summer, Denmark's oldest open-air theater, Nyborg Voldspil, is the setting for musicals or operettas under the leafy beeches on the old castle ramparts. Throughout the summer, classical music concerts (featuring international soloists) are performed in the castle's Great Hall. Inquire at the tourist office for further details.

Dating from the mid-1600s, the "Tattoo" is an ancient military ceremony with musical accompaniment. This old custom has been revived to honor the corps who played an important role in the Schleswig wars in 1848 and again in 1864. In tribute to the old corps, the present-day Tattoo participants wear a green uniform with its characteristic cap, or chakot. The corps marches through the center of town at 9pm each year on June 30, thereafter every Tuesday in July and August.