A pretty little spot in Djursland is the old castle ruin of Kalø. It is located on a small peninsula which is connected to the main land only with a tiny narrow strip of land. You can go out along this small stretch of land to explore the small peninsula. On a sunny day it seemed like a great idea so we went – unfortunately we were not the only ones who had gotten this amazing idea – it seemed like everybody from Aarhus had ventured out here to get some son on this day off.
So it wasn’t a particular quite visit to the peninsula – but we did manage to keep some distance to the other people and wonder out on the peninsula. There are some great views of the area from the peninsula so it is well worth getting out there.
Not much remains of the original castle but there is one tower which you can go up to the top for free. This is very rewarding since you will have the best view from the peninsula from the top of this tower. You can see for far over the area of the rolling hills called Mols Bjerge which has been turned into a national park in Denmark. There are also some great views of a nearby small harbor which seems pretty busy with a lot of small pleasure boats.
The castle actually has a very long history. The first castle was built at this location around 1313 as one of four royal castles in Jutland. The purpose of these royal castles was to force the people living in the surrounding area to be obedient to the king. Obviously this meant the castles were widely unpopular. And when the new king Christopher should take over the thrown in 1320 he was forced to tear down these castles as part of the conditions for him to become king. So the castle was torn down less than a decade after it was completed – but quite a bit remained.
It is uncertain if Christopher actually rebuilt the castle or if it was his son Valdemar which rebuilt the castle. But the fact remains the castle was rebuilt relatively shortly after it were torn down.
The castle remained as a royal possession through the following centuries. But when the absolute monarchy was adopted in 1660 the castle no longer had any purpose as a royal castle. The castle had been neglected and was pretty run down so no king would use it any more. For the following decade it went in and out of the royal possessions a couple of times until it was finally given to an illegitimate son of a king. The castle was so run down it was torn down and the rubbles were transported to Copenhagen where they were used to build Charlottenborg which is located in the center of Copenhagen right at the most beautiful square Kongens Nytorv.
The area around the castle ruin was used for grassing of cattle and sheep’s which also is the case today. But now the ruin has been transferred into government ownership and it is free for everybody to go out and enjoy the area around the ruin for a day.