A guide to the Dan­ish city of Aarhus

THE VIK­ING CITY OF AARHUS IS FI­NALLY STEP­PING OUT OF THE SHAD­OWS AND GAIN­ING IN­TER­NA­TIONAL AC­CLAIM THANKS TO ITS BLEND OF ART, HIS­TORY AND WORLD-CLASS CUI­SINE

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COPENHAGEN AND STOCK­HOLM HAVE long been favourite des­ti­na­tions for those de­sir­ing a taste of Scan­di­navia, but fly­ing un­der the radar of even the most sea­soned­trav­eller is the pic­turesque city of Aarhus. The sec­ond big­gest city in Den­mark has es­tab­lished it­self as a tourist haven thanks to the stun­ning ar­chi­tec­ture, sump­tu­ous Nordic cui­sine and the mul­ti­tude of art gal­leries and mu­se­ums.

Lo­cated on the east coast of the Jut­land peninsula, Aarhus be­gan as a Vik­ing set­tle­ment and ru­ins have been dis­cov­ered in the city that date back to 830AD. But it wasn’t un­til the 1850s that the city found its place on the map. Orig­i­nally named Aros, which means “the mouth of the river”, the city’s har­bor has be­come the busiest in Den­mark, reg­u­larly wel­com­ing both con­tainer and cruise ships.

De­spite its rapid growth and rich di­ver­sity thanks to some 40,000 im­mi­grants from 130 coun­tries now set­tling in Aarhus, the city had largely gone un­der the radar on

the in­ter­na­tional scene. But that is set to change af­ter it was named the Euro­pean Cap­i­tal of Cul­ture for 2017.

To pre­pare for an in­flux of visi­tors, Aarhus have come up with a 500-page pro­gram fo­cus­ing on events and cul­tural ac­tiv­i­ties in the city in 2017. Through­out the year there will be spe­cial full moon events that will take place on a near-monthly ba­sis. This will fea­ture renowned artists and per­for­mances, in­clud­ing “Tree of Codes” which will be per­formed by the Paris Opera Bal­let in April.

In Septem­ber there will also be a per­for­mance of the vik­ing leg­end “Red Ser­pent” di­rected by Oscar win­ner Su­sanne Bier. The epic pro­duc­tion will fea­ture 600 per­form­ers in­clud­ing some of the world’s lead­ing ac­ro­bats.

Aside from the spe­cial per­for­mances, Aarhus also boasts a num­ber of an­nual fes­ti­vals. In fact, the city has cre­ated a name for it­self amongst art and mu­sic lovers. In May the SPOT fes­ti­val fea­tures the best bands from the Nordic re­gion, but if you taste is a bit more di­verse then the North­side Fes­ti­val in June fea­tures ac­claimed nu­mer­ous in­ter­na­tion­ally ac­claimed artists. For the more chilled there is also the Aarhus In­ter­na­tional Jazz Fes­ti­val tak­ing place in June.

Of course if you are look­ing for a more re­lax­ing stay in Aarhus and pre­fer to take in the cities sights and sounds then there is plenty to keep you en­ter­tained. One of our favourite des­ti­na­tions is the AROS mu­seum which is im­pos­si­ble to miss. Its rain­bow­coloured panoramic sky­walk tow­ers over the city and once in­side you will find a col­lec­tion span­ning from the Golden Age to present day. The Vik­ing Mu­seum is also a must visit should you wish to learn more about Den­mark’s colour­ful his­tory.

The city is also a pho­tog­ra­pher’s dream thanks to the cob­bled back­streets, 14th cen­tury ar­chi­tec­ture and mul­ti­coloured ter­races.

Once you have worked up an ap­petite ex­plor­ing ev­ery­thing Aarhus has to of­fer then it will be time to sam­ple the fa­mous Nordic cui­sine. De­spite be­ing a mod­estly­sized city, there are three restau­rants boast­ing Miche­lin stars - Fred­erik­shøj, Gas­tromé, and Sub­stans - all of which stand out by be­ing clas­sic, mod­ern and ex­per­i­men­tal all at the same time.

Last year Aarhus was named Euro­pean Re­gion of Gas­tron­omy 2016 and aside from the high-end restau­rants, you will find a wealth of trendy cafes of­fer­ing tra­di­tional smør­re­brød - an open sand­wich on rye bread deca­dently topped with fish, meats and cheese.

With 17 hours of day­light dur­ing the sum­mer months, you will have plenty of time to ex­plore ev­ery­thing the city has to of­fer, and you may even find time to take in the sandy beaches and re­fresh­ingly cool ocean. You’ll also be able to daz­zle your friends with tales of Aarhus which is sure to be­come a must-see des­ti­na­tion for many more years to come.

“To pre­pare for an in­flux of visi­tors, Aarhus have come up with a 500-page pro­gram fo­cus­ing on events and cul­tural ac­tiv­i­ties.”

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