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Aarhus – a Lively City of Culture

If you’ve considered studying abroad or visiting somewhere cultural and cozy, we’ve got you covered. In this article, we’ll introduce you to the fascinating city of Aarhus – a lively city of culture. With only 280,000 residents, this tiny city is ideal for vacationing, studying, and more!

Most people have only heard of Copenhagen, but did you know that Aarhus is Denmark’s second-biggest city? It is right by the sea and has always been a popular destination for vacation homes and weekend escapes. Aarhus has so much to offer its visitors. Read on to learn about the many sights and attractions in this city.

Good to Know

Before getting to the attractions, let’s learn a bit about the history of the city. Aarhus is one of the oldest cities in Europe. It was founded by the Vikings in around 770 and was first mentioned in official documents almost 170 years later, in 946, as the seat of a bishop.

From the 19th century onwards, the city gained prominence as an economic center of the vacation region following the development of a new railroad. Today, the city is a center of naval trade, rather than rail trade: Aarhus is Denmark’s biggest container port, making the city economically important and stable. But Aarhus is much more than an industrial and humdrum city. This article will show you the sights and attractions that won this city the title of Europe’s Capital of Culture in 2017.

Aarhus’ Attractions

As Aarhus is a lively city of culture, it offers many tourist options that are the perfect mix of culture and entertainment. Find out more below, you will certainly be interested in Aarhus’ attractions.

ARoS Aarhus Art Museum

Aarhus houses a fascinating number of cultural institutions, like museums, concert halls, and theaters. The first museum we’ll write about is the fantastic ARoS Art Museum. Although it only opened a few years ago, the museum has rapidly become Scandinavia’s most visited art museum and is one of the largest in Northern Europe. Over a million visitors flock there annually to browse the art collections, which range from 19th century art capturing daily life during that time, to contemporary works. It also has many regularly changing exhibitions. For this reason, we recommend you keep an eye on which installations are taking place during your visit.

One spectacle found at the museum is the “Rainbow Panorama”: a platform that grants you an impressive view of the entire city. The platform is named after the rainbow glass sculpture that surrounds it.

Den Gamle By Open Air Museum

The literal translation for this museum’s name is “The Old City”. You should definitely stop by to learn more about Danish history and the different eras of the country’s development during the last century. The museum has reconstructed buildings for all over Denmark, making it a truly authentic experience.

For example, the museum has a 1920s “city neighborhood”, where you can wander around and visit a post office, an iron foundry or a car repair shop. The car repair shop even has authentic car parts from the time period that you can see and learn more about!

Another neighborhood focuses on the economic boom of the 1970s. There, you can see the life of a typical family during that time. This leads us to another fascinating part of the museum’s experience: Den Gamle By is a living museum, meaning it doesn’t just display buildings and streets from historical eras, but also actors dressed in period-appropriate costumes! This way, the museum truly brings history to life.

Tivoli Friheden

Similar to other big and renowned European cities like Vienna, Aarhus also has its own amusement park. The Tivoli Friheden offers, among other things, a 65-meter-high free-fall tower and a roller coaster that will make you feel like you’re inside a fighter jet! If you’re looking for a bit less adrenaline and more coziness, visit the park in July. That’s when Denmark’s largest flower festival takes place, and the public can explore colorful flowers arranged by theme. If you get hungry or want a refreshing drink, the park boasts an exceptional variety of culinary delicacies. Feel free to bring your own grilling equipment if you feel like having a nice barbecue and picnic in the park.

The Botanical Garden

If you have a green thumb or are simply interested in plants, then head over to Aarhus’ Botanical Garden. It’s worth taking your time at the green houses, as they are home to many plants that wouldn’t be able to survive more than a day outside in the Danish climate. Observe jungles flourishing right next to desert plants and read more about each species as you walk by. Overall, the garden explores the relationship between mankind and nature.

If it gets too hot in the green houses, you can take a break on the field outside, one typical of the Danish landscape. For a break and a snack, visit the café in the botanical garden.

Restaurant Flammen

Upon reading this header, you’re probably wondering why we’re adding a restaurant to a list of city attractions – it can’t be all that unique or special, can it? But the Flammen Restaurant is not exactly a restaurant like any other. It has a magical menu and the buffets are inspired from every corner of this world! You’ll find meat from exotic animals, and other surprising delicacies.

This restaurant is surely not for everyone, but if you’re craving a meal where kangaroo, zebra, crocodile, or even ostrich meat is the star of the dish, you’re in luck! Don’t be shocked when you find the restaurant buzzing with local and visiting customers, and make sure to book your table in advance!

Marselisborg Palace

Above, we mentioned how many Danes, especially residents of Copenhagen, flock to Aarhus for vacations, as this breathtaking coastal city offers a great escape from the bustling city. This is also true for the most important and high-ranking residents of Copenhagen, as none other than the Danish Royal Family are among the vacationers that come to Aarhus! In southern Aarhus you’ll find the royal family’s summer residence, Marselisborg Palace. It is more than just a small, ordinary Scandinavian summer home, as you can see from the mighty style of building. The palace has a park that’s open to visitors when the royal family isn’t in town. If you can, we urge you to give it a visit – you’ll definitely love it.

Aboulevarden and Frederiksgade

If a day full of culture has tired you out, and you’re in need of a break, Aarhus has exactly what you need. Depending on what you’re in the mood for, head over to either Aboulevarden or Frederiksgade. The former has bars and clubs for you to party the night away, and the latter is perfect for grabbing a drink with friends and unwinding after a long day.


At this point, it’s easy to see that Aarhus has plenty to offer. For fans of culture, you can find museums to suit your interests, from the ARoS Art Museum or the open-air museum Den Gamle By.

The Tivoli Friheden is a perfect mix of adrenaline and relaxation, while the Botanical Garden serves as a haven for exotic plants. Speaking of exotic, Restaurant Flammen goes all in with their peculiar menu and can serve you all sorts of unusual dishes. Round off your day by going to a bar in Aboulevarden or Frederiksgade.

What else are you waiting for? Go ahead and start your journey to Aarhus – a lively city of culture!

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