Where to stay: Guldsmeden hotel
This sustainable hotel is tucked away in the historic old town on a cobbled street called Guldsmedgade. With only 27 rooms it offers a warm and homely atmosphere in a truly bohemian style. Beds boast four-poster frames and are decorated with mosquito nests and ornamental throws which add up to its dreaminess. I mean, I didn’t even expect to find a nomadic heaven like this in Aarhus. If you’re not in a hurry to get exploring, enjoy a coffee in the secluded back garden, full of verdant flowers and trees. The restaurant serves fresh organic foods from locally sourced farmers and suppliers. From delicious brekkie panini and fried calamari to lasagne and ice-cold pale ales, the restaurant has got you covered.
What to do: City stroll
While it’s quite obvious, the city itself boasts many unusual architectural buildings, like the ultra-modern DOKK1– the 301.000 square feet culture and multimedia house located by the waterside. Aarhus city hall and Theatre are on the other hand a part of the rustic Old town soaked in rich history and culture. While the theatre dates back to 19th century and is the largest provincial theatre in Denmark, the city hall is 75 years old and presents an epicentre of Dutch design and architecture. Walking around the city will take you to magical narrow streets and cobbled pathways leading to old churches and courtyards, which shouldn’t be missed.
What to do: Hit the beach
Yes, you heard right. A beach. Plunging into the icy water might not be the best idea, even though many locals get their swimming trunks on whenever the sun comes out, but you can stroll around the coast and soak up the salty atmosphere. Den Permanente is the ultimate city hotspot and it’s only a 10-minute bike ride away. Not exactly a Medditearan oasis, but serves its purpose. In winter it becomes a training ground for the private winter bathing club. Yup, Danish people like their cold weather.
What to do: Shop like a local
It’s safe to say that Danes have some of the best well-known design shops. The best type of souvenir you can bring with you back home is a contemporary piece of furniture or a funky little decoration that will cheer up any space. Coupling great design with remarkable experiences is also a thing here. Boutique stores offer homeware and clothes from local designers in a comfort of a cosy coffee shop. So grab an almond latte and browse away.
What to see: Old town museum
An open-air urban history centre Den Gamle By from the Medieval times is located near the Botanical Gardens and it’s unmissable. Walk around the picturesque houses and visit the local bakery for some traditional sweet treats. At the craftsmen street, you can find traditional craft workshops and learn about the traditional crafts that once played an important part in the history of the city. Walk around and enjoy the atmosphere or visit one of the additional exhibitions or events like for example exhibition of watches and silverware.
What to see: Aarhus Botanical Gardens
Aarhus Botanical Gardens are a must do, at least for me as I visit gardens in every city I go to. This one is relatively small so you can easily fit it into a day full of other fun activities. One of the greenhouses is full of sky-high palm trees, huge leafy banana trees, and butterflies flying around. It makes you feel like you’re in a tropical jungle and a butterfly might even sit on your nose if you’re lucky. You can enjoy light lunch or coffee in the little bistro, which roof is made out of glass, letting a lot of natural light to come in and making you feel like you’re spending time outdoors.
What to see: Aros Museum
This ten-storey building is a lovechild between contemporary art and stunning minimalistic architecture. The 20,700 square feet of space hosts exhibitions of local and international artists, featuring artworks like the supersize boy squatting in a cramped space or ceramics of every-day things like toothpaste and packs of cigarettes. The rainbow panorama where you can see the whole city in funky neon colours is also a must.
Where to eat: Aarhus street food hall
As every city in the world, Aarhus has to have its own foodie street heaven. Due to its low temperatures and mild summers, the street-food is indoors, with a little outside area to sit and mingle around on a sunny day. This big hall is full of bars, stalls, and pop-ups serving yummy food and drinks. I made my way straight to the craft beer stall where sampled local pale ales and dark (Guinness like) beers. We’ve also tried some grilled cheese, fresh Mexican burritos and ramen soup. If you’re still not full after this gustatory experience, head to the back where you can find unique home-made cheesecakes like orange and chocolate or passionfruit and mango.
Where to eat: Mackies pizza & cantina
If you’re looking for a wallet-friendly place with exceptional food and atmosphere, Mackies will do just fine. Located in the city centre next to all the shops and bars, this what looks like a tiny place is always buzzing with life, and is actually much bigger inside. Their pizzas are amazing, as well as salads (the Greek salad was twice the size of my head) and burgers. Decorated with banjos, rustic lanterns and chandeliers as well as colourful wall tiles, it’s sure to capture your imagination.
Where to eat: Mahalo poké bowls
Poké bowl frenzy is at its peek and Aarhus is not excluded. This tiny place is not too far from the Botanical garden and it’s easy to find thanks to the colourful Hawaiian drawings on the walls. Get the Big Shrimpin with avocado and pomegranate or simply create your own.
Where to drink: Gedult
For mouth-watering boozy heaven in a beautiful contemporary interior, head to Gedult. Sit down by the bar with never-ending liquor display under intimate lights and enjoy a frozen cocktail in a copper pineapple glass. Every drink comes in a different shaped glass or goblet such as bathtub, pear or a high heel shoe. Not to add that the scenery of marble tables and tealights is perfect for every Instagrammer.
I hope you liked my guide on what to do in Aarhus, share or comment below!
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With Love, Domi.