Tourist’s guide to Roskilde, Denmark – sights and festivals of the city

The city of Roskilde (Denmark) attracts tourists with its thousand-year history, an impressive cathedral and royal palace, picturesque views and a noisy annual rock festival. About everything that may interest you in Roskilde, about the sights, accommodation, trip details, we will tell in this article.

Roskilde City

General information

Roskilde is located on the hills in the depths of the fjord of the same name in the northeast of the island of Zealand. This is a small port with a population of about 50 thousand people. In Danish, the name of the city sounds – Roskilde. It means “the sacred springs of King Ro”. The city is not only rich in attractions, but is of great importance in Denmark as a transport hub. Roskilde has a regional airport, tunnels under the straits to Germany and Sweden.


The history of Roskilde dates back more than a thousand years. Under the Vikings, it was the seat of the king and the government of Denmark (from 1020 to 1416). During the reformation period, it was an important religious center. The well-known Roskill Chronicle was written here. From those times in the city there were many memorable places. You can see the sights of Roskilde on foot, and there will be plenty of impressions from it.

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Roskilde Cathedral
Roskilde Cathedral

This monumental and graceful temple is a striking example of brick Gothic. Roskilde Cathedral is the main church of Denmark and at the same time the tomb of the royal family. 39 kings and queens are buried in the mausoleum and on the territory of the cathedral. Some graves are very ancient, for example, the sarcophagus of Margrethe I, who ruled until 1396. There is a museum at the cathedral, where the clothes of the monarchs, personal items, and weapons are stored and exhibited.

In Roskilde Cathedral

It is known that the first wooden church on the site of the Roskilde Cathedral in Denmark was built by Harald Sinezub in 980. In its present form, the cathedral has existed since 1280, but it has been rebuilt and updated every century.

  • The cathedral is open for visitors daily after 13.00.
  • Entrance costs 60 CZK (DKK).
  • Free parking is available nearby.
Viking Ship Museum

In this complex, located northeast of the cathedral, you can see the remains of nine dragrakars and small Viking boats, once flooded in the Roskild fjord. Ancient ships are displayed in a covered pavilion, and there is a museum area in the open air. More precisely, this is a museum peninsula south of the fjord. On it, tourists can participate in the construction of Knorr or a warship, see the reconstructed Viking ships afloat. Or even ride them on the fjord. You can independently paint the shield, try yourself in the minting of coins and weaving ropes.

At the Viking Ship Museum
In the carpentry workshop

In the carpentry workshop and in the real forge, you can familiarize yourself with the process of building maneuverable and formidable Scandinavian ships. And in the museum’s souvenir shop, buy a model of the ship, the flag of Denmark, or runes for fortune telling.

  • The Viking Ship Museum address is Vindeboder 12.
  • Tours are free , conducted in English at 12 and 15 hours (August and July), at 12 hours (May, June, September). From May to September, the entrance costs 120 DKK, and the rest of the time – 85.
  • In winter, the museum peninsula is closed, but you can visit the indoor pavilion.

Roskilde is home to Denmark’s largest rock and pop museum. And no wonder, because the city hosts one of the largest and most odious music festivals in Europe. RAGNAROCK opened in 2016 and became a new landmark of the city. It is located at Rabalderstræde 16, in the creative district of Musicon, which contrasts sharply with the old streets of the cathedral. Above the pompous museum building of architects COBE and MVRDV are abandoned factories and garages. The exposition is interactive and covers the period of development of modern music from the 50s to the present day.

A visit costs 90 DKK.

Royal Palace in Roskilde
Royal Palace in Roskilde

After a tour of the Roskill Cathedral, you should visit the royal residence. Although the capital was moved from Roskilde to Copenhagen six hundred years ago, the Danish kings lived on the estate for a long time. It was built in the XVIII century. designed by architect de Thure. In this residence, not only various members of the royal family lived, but also meetings of representatives of the estates were organized before democratic reforms were carried out in the middle of the 19th century. The exposition contains many magnificent pieces of art, including contemporary. This tour will complement those impressions that remained after visiting the cathedral.

  • Royal Residence Address: Stændertorvet 3D.
  • You can visit it from 11 to 16 hours.
  • Entrance costs 50 DKK.
City Museum
Roskilde City Museum

Do not disregard the city museum. It has a lot of archaeological finds, dating back to prehistoric times. Especially interesting are the halls dedicated to the Danish Vikings and their legendary king Harald Sinezubom.

  • Where to find: Sankt Ols Straede 3.
  • The cost of visiting is 25 kroons.
Roskilles Monastery

Another local attraction is an old monastery located at Sankt Peders Straede 8. It has a collection of paintings and furniture. But excursions are conducted only by organized groups and in Danish.

Shopping yard
Shopping yard

Not far from the cathedral, on Ringstedgade 6, you can visit the interesting themed Lutzhofts Kobmandsgard. It is a closed courtyard, where the shops are “antique”, there is an exposition with details of the merchant life. If you carefully examined all the sights and took excellent photos of Roskilde, then in a quiet merchant yard among the mallow and wisteria, you can drink coffee and taste local sweets.

RoS Gallery
RoS Gallery

Very close to the museum peninsula and the cathedral on Vindeboder 1a, the RoS Gallery is located. In one of its wings objects of contemporary art are exhibited, and in the other there is a glass-blowing workshop and various glass products are sold.


Of the interesting art objects in Roskilde, the most popular is Roskildekrukkerne. A composition of three massive stone vases with unique decor is a real business card of the city. They adorn the square at the train station.



The Rock Festival in Roskilde competes in scale with the English Glastonbury. It has been held since 1971, and it was visited by: Bob Marley, Radiohead, Nirvana, Metallica, U2 and other world-famous bands. About a hundred thousand people come to the fest annually, and life in the provincial Roskilde, peacefully sleeping near the walls of the cathedral, literally explodes.

Open Air is held in late June or early June. Lasts 8 days: 4 days of warming up and 4 days of the main. Camping is open 4 days before the announced start. The bands perform on 8 stages. The main one, Orange, simultaneously receives 60 thousand people.

Nude Run

The “chip” and landmark of ROCKILDE in Denmark is Nude Run, a naked run. Participants fight for the right to get free tickets to the next festival. There are two winners – a woman and a man.

Those who just want to buy a ticket to the event need to pay out 1900 kroons. For this money, you will see the performance of not only all significant Danish groups, but also 150 foreign groups. The festival also hosts film screenings, workshops, theater performances, performances and more.

Video: how the Roskilde festival went in 2016.

Where to stay

Room at the Comwell Roskilde Hotel
Comwell roskilde

Roskilde offers a variety of accommodation options. The four-star Comwell Roskilde Hotel offers seasonly double room for DKK 1,300. You will pay the same price at the Scandic, but breakfast is included. Hotel Zleep, respectable and popular, offers rooms for 1530 CZK. These are great hotels near the cathedral and other city attractions.

At Hos Tina Hotel
Hos tina

In Roskilde and the surrounding area you can find cheaper accommodation. For hostels and hotels Hos Tina, Danhostel, Roskilde Camping & Cottages, Roskilde B&B, the price for a double room is 500 – 600 CZK per night. The farther the distance from the center, the better living conditions can be obtained for little money. For example, in Hotel Viby Kro 3 * you can stay together for 795 kroons. But the hotel is in the village of Vibi, 11 km from Roskilde.

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Prices on the page are for May 2018.

How to get to Roskilde from Copenhagen

Trains on Roskilde

The best way to get there is by rail from the Copenhagen train station. Trains on Roskilde depart during the daytime every 5 to 15 minutes. Travel time is 26 minutes. A ticket worth 84 kroons can be bought at the box office.

Also, if you have a driver’s license, you can rent a car. You should go along the Rte 21 highway. But there are sometimes traffic jams at the exit from Copenhagen, so a 35 km journey will take at least 40 minutes.

It’s easier, faster and cheaper to travel by rail. But, having a car at your disposal, you can see more sights in Roskilde (Denmark) and cheaper to settle.

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