Handpicked City Guide: 14 of the best things to do in Aarhus, Denmark

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Walking around the Latin Quarter is just one of many things to do in Aarhus

Denmark’s second city, Aarhus is often overlooked in favour of Copenhagen, but the vibrant Danish city is one that deserves attention and makes for a wonderful city break. It’s filled with culture, interesting shops, pretty architecture, and some truly fabulous food. This post is a run-down of the best things to do in Aarhus, Denmark, including museums, restaurants, hotels and shops.

Things to do in Aarhus, Denmark

Bridges and Balloons favourites

  • Get the perfect photo at the My Rainbow Panorama installation at ARoS Museum of Modern Art.
  • Be charmed by the cute houses on Mollestein
  • Experience Danish hygge at the cute restuarant Langhoff and Juul
  • Try some local specialities and food from around the world at the Aarhus street food market.

1. Get the ultimate Instagram at the ARoS Museum of Modern Art

Your rainbow panorama Aarhus - pinks and purples

Don’t miss the ARoS museum of modern art, and specifically the Your rainbow panorama and Out of the Darkness exhibitions. All together there are nine different spaces, featuring Danish works from the Golden Age to the present day. The temporary exhibitions focus on international artworks, including film, sculpture, architecture and more. This is our number one pick of what to do in Aarhus.

2. Visit the Moesgaard Museum (MOMU)

Moesgaard Museum Aarhus

The newly opened Moesgaard Museum (MOMU) is a fantastic state-of-the-art anthropology museum, which feature world-class temporary exhibitions as well as an impressive permanent collection. One of the highlights is coming to face-to-face with a series of hominins, an example of early human beings. The sleek architecture of the museum building makes it worth a visit in itself.

3. Wander the Latin Quarter

Shopping street, Aarhus

The Latin Quarter is a charming, cobblestoned part of the city with plenty of cosy cafes, restaurants and artisan shops. It’s the ideal place to take a wander, stop for coffee and a pastry, and soak up local life.

4. Take some photos of the cutest street in Aarhus

Cute street in Aarhus

If you’re looking for the perfect Instagram shot, Mollestein is a cute little street with lots of picturesque houses, perfect for taking photos.

5. Explore Aarhus Ø

Aarhus marina

Aarhus Ø is a brand new ‘area of the city that has arisen out of the expansion of the waterfront, providing a contrast to the old Latin Quarter. It’s home to the Strandbaren beach bar, which is popular in the summer months.

6. Delve in the city’s creative scene at Godsbanden

Godsbanen, Aarhus

Godsbanen is a creative hub for the arts with open workshops, studios, project rooms, theatre stages, auditoriums and dance halls. It’s an interesting place to visit and take a peek into Aarhus’s creative cultural scene. It’s housed in what was once one of Denmark’s largest train freight yards.

7. Uncover Denmark’s history at Den Gamle By

Aarhus horse and carriage

Den Gamle By old town is a living museum where you can experience life in Denmark in the 1700s, 1800s and 1900s. It’s really well done and we particularly loved the 1970s building, which captures a time when Danes were starting to live in communes and women were becoming more independent.

8. Take a boat trip around the harbour

Take a trip around the Aarhus Harbour with the Aarhus SeaRangers. They offer a range of different guided tours, including ‘Aarhus from the seaside’, which tells the story of the vikings of Aros and the new Aarhus island. If you’re lucky, you might spot some marine life, including seals and porpoises. Another option is a trip to Tunø Island where you also get to explore and have dinner on the island.

9. Take a day trip to Samso or the Mols Bjerge National Park

Located in East Jutland, the Mols Bjerge National Park is a beautiful place to visit as day trips from Aarhus. Head 25 minutes out of the city to Djursland where you’ll find 250km of coastline where you can hike, or visit the amusement park, zoo or glass museum. Samso. Another day trip option is Samsø island where you’ll find  beautiful nature, family-friendly beaches, and the perfect place to relax.

10. Do some local shopping

Shopping for vintage clothes is a great thing to do in Aarhus

Aarhus is one of the best shopping cities in Scandinavia and is particularly good for independent boutiques and vintage stores. The best place to go first is Strøget, a pedestrian street filled with shops of every type.

11. Get your kicks at Tivoli Friheden

Tivoli Friheden is an amusement park in the city centre, including the Sky Tower freefall ride, which combine bungee jumping and sky diving. It’s not for the feint of heart!

12. Ride around the city

Do like the Danes and hop on a bike to get around the city. Aarhus is a bike-friendly city, and you can hire one or book a bike tour at Cycling Aarhus.

13. Visit the tropical houses at the botanical garden

Botanical gardens are always one of my favourite attractions and Aarhus has a beautiful one with four different climate zones, featuring plants from all over the world. Find out more here.

14. Enjoy some local food

Hærværk restauarnt is highly recommended. It was awarded a Bib Gourmand by the Michelin guide, and we enjoyed a fantastic meal there. They focus on unusual ingredients and catered well for vegetarians. Another restaurant we highly recommend is Langhoff and Juul, which focuses on organic food in a cosy setting filled with antiques and Danish design. It does hygge very well. And also pay a visit to theAarhus Central Food Market and  Aarhus Street Food Market, which are open all year round.

Top Aarhus travel tips

Where to stay in Aarhus

Comwell Hotel Aarhus

We stayed at a very stylish design hotel called Comwell Hotel Aarhus. The corner rooms have fantastic views, and there’s also a great gin bar.

Rooms start at $125. Find the best deals and book now.

Hotel Oasia

Hotel Oasia is charming hotel in the heart of the city, close to the train station and City Hall.

Rooms start at $120. Find the best deals and book now.

Marselis Hotel-Aarhus

Marselis Hotel-Aarhus is situated close to the bay of Aarhus with views to the beach, city and forests. It’s next to the Moesgaard Museum.

Rooms start at $110. Find the best deals and book now.

Scandic Aarhus City

For a cool option in the city, try Scandic Aarhus City, which is just minutes from many of the best attractions including the picturesque Latin Quarter.

Rooms start at . Find the best deals and book now.

Radisson BLU Scandinavia Hotel

To be close in ARos, stay at Radisson Blu Scandinavian Hotel, a high-end hotel close to the city’s main attractions.

Rooms start at $129. Find the best deals and book now.

AirBnB

Aarhus has some beautiful AirBnB properties, showcasing gorgeous Danish design. Use this link to get £20 off your first booking.

How to get to Aarhus

Aarhus is just 1 hour and 40 minutes from London. Ryanair do cheap flights from Stansted Airport.

You could also combine your trip to Aarhus with a visit to Copenhagen, which is 3.5 hours driving, or 2 hours 50 mins by train. We visited Copenhagen in January and loved it so much, we can’t wait to go back. We spent our time there in search of special places to stay, eat and drink and we’ve written a guide about all the best and  hygge things to do in Copenhagen, as well as a reviews of a Copenhagen boutique hotel and a trendy hostel. Copenhagen is a very photogenic city so we’ve also posted a photo essay of our best Copenhagen instagrams. Let us know if you visit. We’d love to know how you like it.

Don’t forget your travel insurance

Don’t forget your travel insurance! We recommend World Nomads or True Travellerwho both offer reliable, comprehensive cover, including medical, evacuation, baggage and a range of adventure sports and activities. You can buy both True Traveller and World Nomads insurance even when you’ve left home, which is unusual for travel insurance companies.

If you decide to hire a car, book with Rentalcars.com. We find they always have the best deals.

Some photo inspiration for Aarhus

The Latin Quarter

Street art in Aarhus is one the things that make it a great cultural city break

Denmark has red postboxes like England!

Market in Aarhus

ARoS Art Museum

Ron Mueck's art at Aros is an unmissable thing to see in Aarhus

Aarhus art museum is a great reason to visit Aarhus in Denmark

Your Rainbow Panorama at ARoS in Aarhus

Godsbanen

Godsbanen has great views of Aarhus

Aarhus-5

Den Gamle By

Den Gamle By is a top museum in Aarhus

Den Gamle By is a historic look at Danish life

Den Gamle By is a popular thing to do in Aarhus

Den Gamle By is a popular museum to visit in Aarhus

Den Gamle By is one of the top attractions in Aarhus

Den Gamle By, Aarhus

View at Den Gamle By, a museum in Aarhus

Horse at Den Gamle By, a fun thing to see in Aarhus

Geese at Den Gamle By

We also have posts that are specifically dedicated to the incredible Your Rainbow Panorama by Olafur Eliasson at ARoS museum of modern art, and the Sculpture by the Sea exhibition on Aarhus’s seafront. It’s a great city to visit for its own merits, but would also be good to combine with a trip to Copenhagen.

We went to Aarhus as guests of Visit Denmark, but as always all opinions are our own.

7 thoughts on “Handpicked City Guide: 14 of the best things to do in Aarhus, Denmark”

  1. Ohhh, seeing all these pictures makes me miss it so much! I visited last year and I fell in love with Aarhus, such an underrated city. 🙂

    Reply

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