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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Aarhus has a thriving food scene that takes much of its flavour from the New Nordic movement.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Couples on city breaks
Daytrips could include: Silkeborg Lakes, Ebeltoft
Destinations for combined stays could include: Samsø eco-island
Daytrips could include: Silkeborg, Ebeltoft
Destinations for combined stays could include: Billund (LEGOLAND®) and Djursland
- Aarhus Airport. An international airport 43km north of the city and offers an airport shuttle bus service (925X) taking approx. 53 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
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: