The historic city of Roskilde (48,721) in the southwest is often included in North Zealand, especially in guide books.
The second largest city Hillerød, in the centre of the region, is famous for Frederiksborg Palace built in the Renaissance style for Christrian IV in the early 17th century.The city is not only a tourist attraction but a thriving industrial centre thanks to a number of recently established firms in the biotechnology sector.The lively city of Helsingør also has a cathedral church built in the 16th century.Its redeveloped harbour area known as Kulturhavn Kronborg now houses the Danish Maritime Museum while Kulturværftet is a large venue for concerts and exhibitions.The city also attracts thousands to the four-day Roskilde Music Festival held annually at the beginning of July.
The region has a history dating back at least to the 13th century as in 1231 Helsingør was mentioned in Valdemar's Census Book before obtaining privileges as a market town under Eric of Pomerania in 1426.
One of the major attractions in the area is the UNESCO-listed Kronborg Castle in Helsingør to the north-east.
It is not only the site of William Shakespeare's play Hamlet but is one of the most important Renaissance castles in northern Europe.
The Danish tourist authorities have recently introduced the term Danish Riviera to cover the area in view of its increasing importance for tourism.
The largest urban centres in the region are Helsingør (population 61,519), Hørsholm (46,229), Hillerød (31,181), Birkerød (20,041), Farum (18,335), Frederikssund (15,725) and Frederiksværk (12,029).
Fredensborg Palace, another royal castle, was built by Frederick IV in 1722 in the Baroque style and was extended later in the 18th century.