Aarhus

City guide: Aarhus

Denmark’s second-largest city, Aarhus is a historic university town of human scale, which in recent years has rapidly evolved with new waterfront developments, leading new museums and a thriving Nordic-inspired culinary scene.  

A city break in Aarhus can easily be combined with visits to nearby family attractions, including Europe’s largest LEGOLAND® in Billund and green stays on an eco-island, in national parks and by sandy beaches.

 

Your Rainbow Panorama

ARoS Museum of Modern Art

The ARoS Museum of Modern Art is truly worth a visit. With special exhitibitons and a unique view of the city through the rainbow panorama on top of the museum, there is something to see and do for anyone. 

 

Jazz Festival

Aarhus Jazz Festival

The annual citywide festival features jazz concerts at indoor and outdoor venues, many which are free. The festival is one of Scandinavia’s largest such annual events, drawing major names to the city. 

Aarhus Festival

Aarhus Festival

The Aarhus Festival is the city’s annual arts festival with a wide program of events. Events take place citywide at outdoor locations and indoor venues. 

Great urban experiences to explore in Aarhus

Latin Quarter Aarhus

Latin Quarter

The city’s Latin Quarter is not to be missed. With riverside eateries, laidback cafés and boutique shopping, the walkable city centre makes Aarhus an inspiring urban experience. For design stores, head down the streets of Badstuegade and Volden.

Iceberg Aarhus

Designer docklands

The harbourfront in Aarhus is undergoing major regeneration and is today one of Scandinavia’s largest dockland redevelopment projects. A highlight is the Iceberg residential complex. The area can be explored by bicycle. Guided tours are operated by Cycling Aarhus.

Children cycling

Urban cycling

Aarhus is a bikeable city. Freewheel down the city’s bike-only street, Mejlgade, towards the city’s university, often hailed among the world’s finest 1930s campuses. Click here for information on planning and booking urban cycling experiences in Aarhus.

Godsbanen

Alternative scene

For the rough and tumble of the alternative arts scene, head to the city’s converted freight yard, Godsbanen. Concert halls, studios for creative businesses and outdoor activities make the old railway area worth visiting year-round.

Tivoli Friheden

Aarhus for kids

The city’s highlight experiences are all family-friendly. You can also head to Kvindemuseet (The Woman’s Museum) for hands-on educational fun. And to the city’s new waterside library DOKK1. Here there are terrace playgrounds – and a large indoor gong that sounds every time a new Aarhus citizen is born. The city also has a leafy amusement park, Tivoli Friheden, located in the woods 2km south of the city.

Marseliesborg Castle

The green city

Aarhus has many parks and woods, including the hilltop Aarhus Botanical Garden and Greenhouses that sits next to the science museum in the heart of town. In the woodlands just south of the city you can also visit the parklands of Marselisborg Palace, the Queen’s royal residence when residing in Aarhus. There are designated bike paths in the woods, which are mainly used by mountain bikers.

Read more about highlights in Aarhus

Aarhus has a thriving food scene that takes much of its flavour from the New Nordic movement.

Kahler

Bruuns Gade – the foodie street

One of the culinary hotspots of Aarhus is Bruuns Gade, a downtown street lined with eateries and delicatessen. Danish houseware and ceramic company Kähler also has a store, a showcase eatery and a cafe on the street.

Blå kop

The Food Walk

Guided tours of the city’s food experiences are organised by The Food Walk, which often lends a fun-loving spirit to their culinary walkabouts.

Gastronome

Michelin-rated dining

The Michelin Guide awarded four restaurants in Aarhus a star each. Two restaurants were awarded a Bib Gourmand – and a number of eateries received a special mention.

The top three:

  • Restaurant SUBSTANS serves Nordic-inspired cuisine and is certified 90-100% organic.
  • Gastromé elevates classic Danish country cooking to new stardom. Tables can be booked online.
  • Frederikshøj is located in the woodlands south of the city and is rated among Denmark’s top eateries by local critics.
  • Domestic is an elegant rustic restaurant using only Danish ingredients. Menus offer 4 or 8 set courses; the fish dishes are a highlight.

Smorrebrod

Smørrebrød

No visit to Denmark is complete without trying an open-faced sandwich – Smørrebrød. Two of the city’s finest lunch restaurants serving Smørrebrød are both located on the foodie street Bruunsgade: Kählers Spisesalon (table reservations here) and Huj, a delicatessen run by the Michelin-rated restaurant Frederikshøj (no table reservation available). Click here for further Smørrebrød restaurant options in Aarhus.

Old Town Museum

Museum restaurants

The major museum attractions in Aarhus offer enjoyable dining in inspiring settings. The ARoS Museum of Art has a rooftop restaurant ARoS Food Hall serving local organic cuisine. Den Gamle By open-air museum features several eateries and tea gardens in romantic settings. 

Couple

Couples on city breaks

Day one

  • Visit Den Gamle By Open-Air Museum, including the new exhibition area relating the history of the city
  • Lunch at ARoS Food Hall – a rooftop culinary experience at the ARoS Museum of Art
  • Walk the “Your rainbow panorama” atop the museum and visit the exhibitions
  • Browse the design stores in the Latin Quarter
  • Dine at a Michelin-rated restaurant

Day two

  • Rent a bike and head down Mejlgade to explore the city’s new dockland developments, including the Iceberg
  • Lunch in the Latin Quarter
  • Catch bus 18 to Moesgaard Museum from the central station
  • Opt for easy evening dining by the riverside in Aarhus

Suitable hotels include: City Hotel Oasia AarhusComwell AarhusScandic, Hotel Ritz AarhusWakeup Aarhus

Daytrips could include: Silkeborg Lakes, Ebeltoft

Destinations for combined stays could include: Samsø eco-island

Family holiday

Family holiday

Day one

  • Visit Den Gamle By Open-Air Museum
  • Enjoy lunch at one of the garden eateries at the museum
  • Burn some energy on the playgrounds at DOKK1 or walk the rooftop rainbow skywalk at the ARoS Museum of Modern Art
  • Enjoy easy dining by the riverside

Day two

  • Take bus 18 to Moesgaard Museum from the central station – a hands-on experience
  • Enjoy lunch at the museum
  • Teach the kids urban biking in the Latin Quarter and visit the Woman’s Museum
  • Enjoy easy dining in the Latin Quarter

Suitable hotels include: City Hotel Oasia AarhusComwell AarhusScandicHotel Ritz AarhusWakeup Aarhus 

Daytrips could include: Silkeborg, Ebeltoft

Destinations for combined stays could include: Billund (LEGOLAND®) and Djursland 

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Aarhus

Inspirational reading

For further inspiration, read the travel articles on Aarhus by leading magazines and guides.

Travel + Leisure

Lonely Planet

The Guardian

More articles about Aarhus 

Getting to and from


Nearest airports
:

- Aarhus Airport. An international airport 43km north of the city and offers an airport shuttle bus service (925X) taking approx. 53 min.

- Billund Airport. Denmarks second largest airport is found 96km south-west of the city and offers a direct airport shuttle bus service, 912X (85 min).

National travel planner: Tickets for bus and trains can be purchased online using rejseplanen.dk or using their app.

Ferries: Aarhus is connected to Zealand via the Mols-Linien ferry service. Samsø is connected to Aarhus directly via ferry (Danish website). A service is also available from Hou south of the city. Find ferry routes at www.faerge.dk 

Coach operators: Abildskov and Eurolines offer regular coach service between Copenhagen and Aarhus. The travel time is around 4 hours. 

Reaching Aarhus from Copenhagen: The city of Aarhus can be reached from Copenhagen by a direct rail connection (around 3 hours).

Domestic flights from Copenhagen Airport to Aarhus Airport take about 45 min. 

Nordic seaplanes (Danish website) is a direct 45 min seaplane connection from Copenhagen Harbour to Aarhus Harbour (city centre to city centre) with 5 departures a day. Departs from Nordre Toldbod 29 in Copenhagen and Østhavnvej 37 in Aarhus.

Other tourism websites:

VisitAarhus

Bryggebroen - Copenhagen

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