The town's historical and academic soul is shaded with tall oaks and throws together buildings old and new, pretty and banal, though it's nowhere near as grand as you might imagine from the history. Once one of Denmark's richest monasteries (founded in 1142 and much expanded after 1161), post-Reformation it became a school, and from 1623 developed under King Christian IV the elite Sorø Academy of Knights, educating sons of the nobility in the arts of hunting, behaviour and manners.
Although its intake is a little less exclusive these days, Sorø Akademi remains a prominent Danish school. Visitors are welcome to stroll through the extensive lakeside grounds.
The main buildings were entirely rebuilt in the mid-18th century and again after an 1813 fire, but near the Klosterporten, the former monastery's medieval gatehouse, are 17th-century Renaissance structures including the Boldhuset (today's library) and the Ridehuset, originally built to stable horses and hunting dogs. Picturesque walking trails lead west to the Sorø Sø waterside, passing a statue of Ludvig Holberg, the school's great 18th-century playwright-benefactor.