As the second largest city in Denmark Aarhus is a thriving hot-spot of Danish life, with a collection of some of the finest museums in the country and a social scene positively teeming with cosmopolitan energy.
For centuries Aarhus has captivated the imagination of travellers from across the world with its picturesque surroundings of sweeping green landscape, ancient woodland and gorgeous beaches. This closeness with its natural surroundings lends Aarhus a fairy tale charm, but you won’t find any gingerbread house here, instead the culinary offerings are based around fresh, seasonal produce grown locally and to great effect in the huge variety of local restaurants and bars.
There is a range of high quality accommodation to suit all budgets from back-packers upwards, and not forgetting the bustling fashion-focused Latin Quarter, where the winding cobble-stone lanes yield boutique stores and quirky independent merchants.
Whether in the heart of the city or touching nature on the outskirts, Aarhus has a range of accommodation to suit all tastes. The attractions of the city are mere footsteps from the sleek Scandic Aarhus City (Østergade 10), which features panoramic city views. Nearby, the striking Radisson Blu Scandinavia Hotel (Margrethepladsen 1) may be peppered with suited types, but its top-class facilities and location make it a perfect base from which to explore. Those on a budget could do far worse than Cabinn Aarhus (Kannikegade 14), a convenient hotel alongside the pretty Aarhus River. For more peaceful surrounds, head out to Helnan Marselis Hotel (Strandvejen 25), a forest-fringed four-star on a beautiful white-sand beach.
Aarhus’ bustling Latin Quarter is bursting with independent shops where you can pick up unique nick-nacks and specialist gifts. Its winding cobblestone lanes, flanked by colourful houses and boutiques, are also a rich hunting ground for fashionistas looking for unique items from lesser-known local designers. If labels are more your thing, head to the all-encompassing Salling (Søndergade 27) just off Strøget, the main pedestrianised shopping street. As well as designer threads, the latest in modern Danish homeware items can be found just across the river in the imposing five-storey Magasin (Immervad 2-8) department store.
The culinary offering in Aarhus is largely based around seasonal, locally produced ingredients that are assembled in sophisticated Scandinavian style. The lavish Miro (Marstrandsgade 2) typifies this approach and its creative French-influenced menu has helped to attract visiting foodies and celebrating locals for over 20 years. For a typical Danish smørrebrød, try Kähler Spisesalon (M. P. Bruunsgade 33), an artsy eatery with long, shared tables and distinctive pottery. The Latin Quarter contains a wealth of more affordable options, with Mefisto (Volden 28) among the best. Boasting an atmospheric courtyard garden with exposed weathered brick walls, this cosy Aarhus restaurant specialises in meat and fish dishes.
Classic Race Aarhus
One of Denmark’s most popular motorsports occasions, iconic cars from the 1950s to 1980s battle it out in a number of street races winding through leafy Mindeparken. Dress up in the fashion of the era, explore the numerous stalls and picnic in the park’s many secluded spots.
A fixture on Denmark’s contemporary music scene since 2010, this festival in Ådalen attracts some of the biggest names in rock and pop, and is also the launch pad for up-and-coming Danish bands.
Aarhus Jazz Festival
The distinctive tones of saxophones and trumpets have been floating through Aarhus’ narrow streets in earnest since 1989, when the Aarhus Jazz Festival first started. Today, the eight-day extravaganza in numerous cafés, bars and stages attracts performers and visitors from far afield.
A feast of culture, the Aarhus Festival follows a set theme each year and encompasses performances and work from local and international artists. This long-running event boasts 10 days of eclectic events in streets, galleries and theatres across the city, so you’ll never be far away from the action.
The Old Town Museum’s Christmas Exhibition
Aarhus is big on Christmas, and the annual Christmas Exhibition at The Old Town Museum is at the heart of this love affair with the festive season. Here, you’ll discover how Christmas has been celebrated throughout the centuries and have the chance to explore the popular Christmas market.