When you think of a city trip to Denmark, you most likely think of Copenhagen, right? But the country actually has many more fascinating cities that you should add to your bucket list. First of which is Aarhus.
Aarhus is Denmark’s second-largest, and it is pretty cool! Here, cobblestone alleyways meet modern architecture, and street food meets pub culture, and a colorful rainbow hovers above it all. Denmark’s second-largest city is located on the Baltic Sea and has so much to offer.
What many people don’t know is that Aarhus was named the European Capital of Culture in 2017 alongside Paphos. So, Aarhus is not as provincial as you might think at first. What are the best things to do in Aarhus, and where to go? Let’s find out!
Walking Through The Rainbow At Aros Art Museum
The Aarhus Art Museum ARoS should be high on your to-do list. The Aarhus Art Museum ARoS is one of the largest art museums in Northern Europe. The focus at ARoS is on contemporary art, and the permanent exhibition is also regularly supplemented by temporary exhibitions. On the museum’s nine floors, you will have the chance to admire pretty much everything that has to do with contemporary art.
There are also changing exhibitions that provide a diverse variety. A highlight at the museum is the rainbow panorama on the roof of the building, which you should not miss. The striking rainbow construction on the roof of the ARoS Art Museum can be seen throughout the city.
You can end your trip with a delicious piece of cake and a cup of coffee in the museum’s own café. We recommend planning a whole day for the museum. There is so much to see, discover and absorb. ARos Art Museum is undoubtedly one of the most important sights in Aarhus.
Den Gamle By: Strolling Through The City Within The City
Just like the ARoS Art Museum, a visit to the open-air museum “Den Gamle By” is a must. Here you will travel 400 years through Denmark’s history and experience it first-hand. This is where you can immerse yourself in times long past and travel back in time to the years 1864, 1927 and 1974.
In Den Gamle By, you will find historic buildings from all over Denmark. There are so many things to do here; you can stand by the old village pond, take a ride in a carriage over the cobblestones, take a look at the old pharmacy, or buy treats from the baker according to the original recipe.
In this street, you can dive deep into the 70s, browse through a corner store or an old electronics store and stroll through originally furnished apartments in some apartment buildings. It feels like a trip back in time. Den Gamle By is one of the best places to visit in Aarhus.
Møllestien: The MOST Beautiful Alley in the City
You rarely find so much idyll on city trips, but in Aarhus, there sure is. Welcome to Møllestien, which is probably the prettiest street in the city. Here, hollyhocks stand by the roadside, and you walk over cobblestones along with the cute little houses.
Møllestien Street is located in the historic district of Indre By, and most of the houses here date from around 1750, but the street itself is even older. During archaeological excavations in 2003, pottery shards from the late Viking Age were found here! Make sure to take a stroll in Møllestien; it is like stepping into another world!
Experience The Modern Aarhus Ø
If the ancient world is not really your vibe, then you should check the absolute contrast to Møllestien, which can be found in the newly built Aarhus Docklands, AKA Aarhus Ø district. Here, famous architectural firms let their imagination run wild, creating some bedazzling buildings!
One of the biggest attractions of the district is the well-known iceberg complex. The iceberg residential complex shows what modern living looks like, it is simply marvelous, and it will definitely leave you in awe!
Latin Quarter: Shopping Meets Café Scene
One of the best things to do in Aarhus is to stroll in the alleys of the Latin Quarter, look at Danish design, do some shopping in the small shops or get one of the sweet cinnamon buns for coffee at the next bakery.
You can get good coffee at La Cabra Coffee Roasters, for example, and cinnamon buns on the way to the city center at Emmerys or Lagkagehuset, among others, of course. Don’t overeat, though; leave enough room for our next stop: the Aarhus Street Food.
Aarhus Street Food: A Bite From Around The World
If you think that the street food movement is on the decline, you will be proven wrong in Aarhus. The Aarhus Street Food Hall is always packed. Here, people sit together at large tables and enjoy freshly prepared food.
Since 2016, the former bus garage directly across from the bus station has been transformed into a cool street food spot. In summer you can sit outside, in winter and on rainy days you make yourself comfortable at the long tables in the large hall.
At the Aarhus Street Food Hall, you’ll find more than 30 street kitchens from all over the world, from Danish home cooking to French crêpes or Italian pasta to falafel and Japanese ramen and Nepalese cuisine. Aarhus Street Food is also a good alternative if the much higher prices in the typical restaurant are too expensive for you.
There’s also a fantastic mix of container atmosphere and street art. Make sure not to miss the cheesecake or the ice cream on a stick right in the entrance area; it is really calorie-rich, but also really delicious!
Enjoy A Relaxed Evening At The Infinite Bridge
The Infinite Bridge is located directly on the beach of Varna. The work of art by architects Johan Gjøde and Niels Povlsgaard takes you over 188 meters in a circle across the Baltic Sea. If you arrive early enough, you can also pay a visit to Marselisborg Castle.
The Infinite Bridge is especially beautiful at dusk when the blue hour makes the sea shimmer, and you can dangle your feet above the water. However, the walk on the Infinite Bridge is only possible from April to October. If you are in the town around this time, make sure not to miss it!
Dokk1: Modern Parking Meets Library
After so much history and history, it’s time to come back to the modern age, and there’s a pretty excellent example on the way. Right at the beginning of the new harbor front is Dokk1, a mixture of a public library and cultural center.
The basement is where it gets really cool: There, you’ll find the largest automatic parking garage in Europe. Parking in Aarhus is a unique experience. There’s room for almost 1,000 cars, and all you have to do is put your car in the elevator. The parking garage takes care of the rest!
While you’re there, you should also take a look at the library. You will be impressed by the Oodi in Helsinki. Here, there are not only books, but also a lot of technology and new media in a place that is open to all.
Dome OF Visions: Sustainable Eye-Catcher in the Harbor
In the Viking Age, Aarhus was already an important port city. Today it is the second-largest port and the largest container port in Denmark. Just like in many other cities, however, parts of the port are being developed for new usage concepts. Construction has been going on here for a good ten years.
Between the city center and the new Aarhus Ø district, the Dome of Visions is sure to catch your eye. The unique wooden construction, reminiscent of a glass sphere, relies on energy efficiency and minimal use of materials and is intended as a temporary intermediate location.
The Dome of Visions in the harbor is not only an eyeful but also an example of sustainable, alternative construction.
Treat Yourself to a Smørrebrød at Kähler Spisesalon
If you ever want to treat yourself to something really good, then you must try the smørrebrød at Kähler Spisesalon. The small store at M. P. Bruuns Gade 33 is an offshoot of the award-winning Villa Kähler. The smørrebrød at Spisesalon was included in the Michelin Guide for Northern Europe a few years ago, and it is simply divine!
Stopping by the famous Kähler Spisesalon is a unique eating experience where you get to enjoy the food being served on the most beautiful Kähler ceramics. Also, the weekend brunch is heavenly; make sure not to miss it!
Tip: reserve a table in advance. The restaurant is relatively small, and so you can be sure to get a seat.
Aarhus is a beautiful city with many different facets, and it is absolutely worth seeing. The city has so much to offer; in Aarhus, you can just relax and enjoy an unforgettable short vacation.