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
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.”