DENMARK DIARIES: 2 DAYS IN BEAUTIFUL AARHUS
As the second largest city in Denmark, Aarhus is a city that we’ve been wanting to visit for some time. Named the Capital of Culture in 2017, Aarhus has grown rapidly in the last few years and is now home to amazing architecture, great restaurants, shopping, and other activities. With recommendations from friends along with our own research, we were able to make the most of our short time in the city and ended up having so much fun exploring. This was the last big stop on our Danish excursion, and the perfect way to end a wonderful trip!
If you want to see what we got up to during our two days in Aarhus, keep scrolling!
WHEN TO GO
We arrived in Aarhus at the beginning of August, and had amazing weather! It was hot, and we definitely took advantage of the city’s amazing location right on the Baltic Sea. We were also lucky in that we were in Denmark during the last few days that most museums/attractions offered summer discounts on admission – many places were half price!
HOW LONG TO VISIT
As Denmark’s largest city after Copenhagen, there was plenty to see and experience. We were in Aarhus about a day and a half, and were able to see almost everything we wanted to without feeling rushed!
WHERE TO STAY
Because of it’s great location right in the heart of the city, we opted to stay in Cabinn Aarhus. Our hotel was right along the canal that ran through the city, and gave us amazing access to restaurants, shops, and museums close by.
HOW TO GET AROUND
As with most cities in Denmark, the easiest way to get around Aarhus is by bike or foot. Since most of the things we wanted to do in the city were pretty central, we opted to walk. Though Aarhus is the second biggest city in Denmark, it is very friendly towards pedestrians, and we had no trouble at all walking to all the food, shops, and attractions we wanted to!
WHAT TO DO IN AARHUS
STROLL ALONG THE LATIN QUARTER
With hundreds of shops, restaurants, and pretty streets to explore, the Latin Quarter is the oldest and most charming quarter in Aarhus. Filled with cozy cafes and quirky and chic interior design shops, we loved spending the morning wandering around this vibrant part of town.
TRANSPORT BACK IN TIME IN DEN GAMLE BY
We know I love a good open-air museum, and with over 75 historic buildings depicting urban history and culture from 1700-1980, Den Gamle By was an immersive and interesting experience. In addition to historic houses and apartments, there are workshops, shops, pharmacy, school, and post office for guests to wander and explore. We spent about 3 hours here, and could have easily spent more!
WALK ALONG THE PRETTIEST STREET, MØLLESTIEN LANE.
Tucked away amongst the hustle and bustle in the heart of Aarhus, Møllestien Lane is known as the prettiest street in the city. Small old half-timbered houses line this picturesque street, while hollyhocks and roses shoot up from the cobbled stones. Walk along this street and you’ll feel like you’ve been whisked back to a time where the iPhone and the takeaway coffee cup in your hand didn’t exist. While most of the houses were built in the 1700s, the streets itself has history dating back to Middle Ages and possibly even the time of the Vikings.
Quick tip: After picking up a coffee and croissant from Briançon on our first morning in Aarhus, we walked across the bridge and over to this idyllic street. The street can get a bit crowded with tourists during the day, but when we arrived around 9 am, we had the whole street to ourselves (well, except for the lucky families that actually live in these houses!).
EXPERIENCE LIFE IN COLOUR AT ARoS
Spend an afternoon wandering the beautiful and colourful ARoS, Denmark’s largest collection of art outside of Copenhagen. Regardless of whether you’re fan of modern art (or art in general) or not, trust me, ARoS is definitely worth a visit! With over 10 floors to experience, we loved how interactive and interesting the collections were. Don’t forget to make your way to the top for a spectacular rainbow panorama view of the city!
GET YOUR GREEN ON IN THE BOTANICAL GARDEN
Is there anything better than walking through a beautifully manicured botanical garden? Just a short walk away from Den Gamle By, wandering the botanical garden and greenhouse was the perfect way to end a busy day. As a plant lover, one of my favourite things to do when visiting a city is to meander through their botanical garden. Most major cities in Scandinavia have amazing ones, and it’s usually the perfect spot to take a bit of a rest after a long day of travel and to get in touch with nature. We visited on a particularly hot day, and it seemed like many people had the same idea. The perfect place for a picnic on a summer’s eve!
ADMIRE THE ARCHITECTURE AROUND AARHUS Ø
Aarhus Ø is a recently revitalised harbour area that has been built in the last ten years and is known for their trendy, modern architecture. While much of the area is still under construction, we had a great evening wandering around the neighbourhood, admiring the apartments, checking out the cafes and shops lining the promenade, watching water-skiers, and stumbling upon a greenhouse meant for collaborations and meet-ups. We would love to come back in a few years when the neighbourhood is more complete and their main attraction, the Lighthouse is open!
WHERE TO EAT
Aarhus has an amazing variety of places to eat, and it was impossible to try all of the amazing restaurants recommended to us. With options ranging from local Danish fare to spicy Mexican takeaway, we tried as much as was feasible in 2 days. Here are our top picks!
We started our first day in Aarhus sitting along the water with coffee and croissants from Briançon, and I couldn’t have asked for a more blissful welcome to the city. Make sure to try the marzipan croissant- with just a hint of flavour, this might be the best I’ve tasted!
Original, tasty, and with new dishes every day, OliNico was a place we were very excited to try and I’m so glad we did! Together MacKenzie and I shared the special of the day in addition to a sausage dish with homemade fries. Our meal also came with fresh bread, and we were left feeling stuffed but so satisfied!
For an afternoon boost, we headed to La Cabra and I treated myself to an iced oat milk latte. Really great coffee and exactly what I needed on this hot day!
If you’re in the mood for a local, sustainable, typically Danish restaurant, Restaurant Domestic is the way to go. In the heart of the city, the interior was beautiful, and their menu had healthy options to balance out the pastries we’d been consuming!
We’re always on the hunt for tasty Mexican food, and VACA did not disappoint! Take your order to go, and sit on a bench outside for some great people-watching at rush hour.
In the mood for pizza? Mackie’s Pizza & Cantina is a popular spot, right in the centre of the city. After traveling for the better part of a day, this pizza was so tasty and exactly what we needed.
Of course it isn’t summer without gelato, and Aarhus had many great options. We loved Mammis for all their tasty, creamy flavours!
We had such a lovely time in Aarhus, definitely a must-see if you’re looking to explore more of Denmark outside of the typical trip to Copenhagen!
Have you been to Aarhus? Do you have any favourite places we may have missed? Let me know below!