When you think of Denmark, you probably think of Copenhagen, shopping, fashionable people and bikes. You’re not wrong, Denmark is one of the most bike friendly countries in the world. It’s also filled with people dressed in Scandinavian minimalism. And the capital city and tourist hotspot is Copenhagen.
And though I LOVE Copenhagen, there’s a Danish city that I love even more…
Denmark’s second largest city, Aarhus is located on ‘mainland Europe’, 330kms north of the German city, Hamburg.
Aarhus has much the same Danish charm as Copenhagen, with cobblestoned streets, cosy cafes, colourful buildings and plenty to experience. All of this, without the insane amount of tourists that flock to Copenhagen.
So what is there to do in Aarhus?
ARoS Art Museum
I’m not normally one to go to art museums but this one is worth it, even if you have little interest in art.
Located in the centre of Aarhus, ARoS has 10 floors of art exhibitions. Each floor is very different with both modern and more traditional art styles. The exhibitions change often and cover a wide range of topics.
The highlight of the building though is the top floor where there is a rainbow tunnel that provides a panoramic view over the whole of Aarhus.
Aarhus Street Food
Yummm, this is my favourite place to eat in Aarhus.
The Aarhus Street Food market is open all year round and is a great place to go for lunch or dinner. There are over 30 kitchens selling different types of cuisines so you are guaranteed to find something for everyone.
The market has such a cool atmosphere and is often bustling with people. Though Denmark isn’t cheap, you will find affordable food here.
Cycling the city centre
Sustainability is second nature in Denmark and the easiest way to experience this yourself is cycling around the compact city centre.
The city is very bike friendly with specific cycle lanes and traffic signals for bikes. There are many bicycle hire stores, however, I prefer to use the Donkey Republic App. ‘Donkey Bikes’ are bright orange and are always in good condition.
The App is really simple to use, using your phone you ‘unlock’ one of the bikes which starts your rental period. You can lock and unlock that same bike as many times as you want using bluetooth on your phone. No one else is able to unlock your bike. When you are finished with the bike, you press ‘end rental’ and the app will charge you based on the amount of time that you had the bike. The longer you have the bike, the cheaper the rate is. You can use the bikes for as little as 15 minutes and as long as a few days.
Cycle around the Latin Quarter to find cosy cafes and niche shops.
The Aarhus Docklands peninsula is relatively new to the city and is home to many interestingly designed residential buildings. If you are in Aarhus in summer, ride out to Havnebadet (the Harbour pool). There is a free public swimming pool area with kiosk shops. On a hot day, the area is packed with locals taking a swim in the harbour and soaking up the sun.
Marselisborg Deer Park
A little ride south of the city is a beautiful nature park filled with deer. There is also a nice beach area with a ‘never ending’ (uendelige bro) jetty on the way to the park. If you are feeling a little adventurous or would like to step out of the city for a little while, head here.
Aarhus is one of my favourite cities that I have visited so far. I love the city’s proximity to the ocean, bike friendly compact city centre, cosy cafes and natural greenery all throughout the city.
In comparison to Copenhagen, Aarhus has a smaller town vibe and feels a lot less touristy. It is easy to feel like a local when visiting Aarhus.
Love Denmark? Read my blog post about cruising around the Fyn Island here.