Monday 16 October 2017

PHOTO DIARY: Aarhus, Denmark, June 2017

I absolutely adored Aarhus but the day and a half we spent there was not enough time, especially as it rained a lot. The city is basically a mini Copenhagen, there's lots to do, loads of great food options, and an absolutely charming vibe. It's the perfect long weekend destination and somewhere I hope to visit again soon.


We left Skagen bright and early, feeling guilty that we'd stayed up so late the previous night. Before we reached Aarhus, we stopped at Fyrkat Viking Centre so we could visit a 10th century Viking ring fortress. Even though none of the original building remains, walking through the ring fortress is a pretty interesting experiences, and the reconstruction long houses help being the history alive.

We finally made it to Aarhus, where we headed straight to Dokk1, the public library and cultural centre, to pick up our AarhusCARD*. The cards are available for 24 (£35), 48 (£53), or 72 (£72) hours and allow you to enter the majority of city attractions, for free, as well as giving you free access to public transport. Aarhus is actually European City of Culture for 2017 and Dokk1 is a great place to find out what's going on over the year. It's also a pretty cool building for architecture lovers.

We spent the best part of the afternoon at Moesgaard Museum, an incredible museum dedicated to archaeology and ethnography. The museum brings history, from the Stone Age to the Viking era, alive thanks to interactive displays and historical artefacts. The star attraction in the Grauballe Man, the world’s best preserved bog body. The man is thought to have died circa 290 BC and thanks to a broken leg and neck wound, the death is thought to be a violent one.

Before heading back into town we had a walk around the grounds of the beautiful Marselisborg Palace, the Queen's summer residence. There is a lovely deer park (Dyrehaven) near the palace but unfortunately it started to rain so we decided to head straight to our Airbnb. Our apartment, located in the docklands part of the city known as Aarhus Ø, might have been on the small side, but it was absolutely lovely. We were in town during a festival which meant all the best apartments were snapped up really quickly. By the time I got around to booking, not many options were left, but we were more than happy with this choice. Plus, you can see the Iceberg building which looks pretty incredible from a design point of view.

We almost didn't leave the apartment that evening as the rain was so fierce but with only two days left in Denmark that would have been silly. We had dinner at Aarhus Street Food, a covered street food market in the centre of town. It's just like Street Food Copenhagen, but in my opinion better. We had delicious steam buns from Super Bao, tacos from Mexican Donkey, a Vietnamese baguette from Báhn Mì Bandits, and chicken wings from American Street Kitchen. It was quite the feast, and a tasty one at that. There's a huge amount of choice and the prices are very reasonable so you can really go to town on the food and drink. As with the Copenhagen market, you'll find all sort of people here and the vibe is really friendly. I can image it would be nice to sit outside if it wasn't absolutely pissing it down.

After dinner we headed back to the apartment as we realised we'd purchased quite a bit of beer throughout that trip that would need drinking before we headed home. Also, it was still raining and who can be bothered traipsing through a new city when it's rank outside.


A busy day in Aarhus meant a bright and early start, it also meant our first big breakfast in a little while. Saturday brunch at Langhoff & Juul was Scandinavian breakfast perfection. Mini open sandwiches, buttery eggs, bread galore, and a bunch of sweet treats, this was such a wonderful spread of food. Plus the actual restaurant is gorgeous. 

Our first tourist stop of the day was something I'd been looking forward to for the longest of times, a tour around the city hall. Despite completion in 1941 the Aarhus city hall still feels fresh and contemporary, and unlike any city hall I've visited before. The hour long tour takes you around the Arne Jacobsen and Erik Møller designed building, and with specially designed furniture by Hangs Wegner, it really is a Danish modern lover's dream. The wood panelling, the floral wedding room, and the futuristic lifts were some of my highlights but the entire building is a stunning piece of design that deserves a visit by anyone vaguely interested in 20th century art and design.

Next door to the City Hall is Aarhus' premier art gallery, ARoS. You can spot the museum from all over the city thanks to the wonderful Olafur Eliasson 'Your Rainbow' installation on the roof. The rainbow tunnel is a joy to walk around as you view the city in a myriad of different colours. We must have done five laps before we decided it was time to explore the rest of the museum, which is a haven for modern art lovers. Ever since I first found out about Aarhus I've waned to visit this installation so it was a pleasure to finally make it, and it really did live up to the hype. Boy by Ron Mueck is another recognisable work of art on display at the museum. This 4.5 metre high crouching boy is unbelievably detailed, from his knee creases to the way his feet stretch over the floor, this piece of art is incredible and deserve a little time to take in every single detail.

We visited Aarhus Central Food Market for lunch. Similar to Torvehallerne in Copenhagen, this covered market is full of micro restaurants including miniature versions of some of the city's favourite eateries. We picked up a burger, some savory waffles, an ice cream and a beer from the Mikkeller Bottle Shop. If we'd had longer in the city I definitely would have like to try some of the other options.

Aarhus has some great shops so we made an obligatory stop at HAY for all things interior design and Route 66 for records. We had a look around the cathedral, the longest and tallest in Denmark, followed by a quick visit to the nearby Women's Museum and Occupation Museum.

The Latin Quarter is the area that I loved the most. Little streets full of independent boutiques and cute looking shops. I particularly liked Designer Zoo for interiors, BadstueRock for records, and Løve’s Bog- og VinCafé for books and drinks, but there's lots more to check out. One of the annoying things about shopping in Denmark is that shops tend to close at 3pm on a Saturday and all day Sunday which isn't great if you've gone away for the weekend. We had a refuel at La Cabra which is one of the best coffee shops in the city, and obviously so as it was incredibly busy.

Our final tourist stops of the day were Botanisk Have and Den Gamle By. The botanical gardens, whilst not as beautiful as those in Copenhagen, were a gorgeous place for a walk. The cacti room was particularly impressive. Den Gamle By, also known as The Old Town, is an open air museum where original buildings from all over Denmark have been relocated painstakingly rebuilt to represent Danish life from three different eras; the 1900s, 1920s, and 1970s. The museum is fascinating and the 75 different buildings really give you a feel for how Danes lived 100 years ago.

Back in the Latin Quarter stopped for what might have been Steve's favourite coffee from the entire trip, at Bill's Coffee. Another popular place among locals, it was nice to rest our feet after a busy day. We visited a few bars including Mig og Ølsnedkeren and Mikkeller Bar for craft beer, before having one of the best dinners of the entire trip at Hærværk. The restaurant does daily tasting menus depending what's in season. I'd completely forgotten about this when I'd booked so was pleasantly surprised when plate upon plate started arriving at the table. I was particularly impressed that past me has also told the restaurant I didn't eat mushrooms as they ended up featuring in Steve's meal. As with the majority of our meals in Copenhagen, dinner was most definitely an event that lasted several hours and I'm so glad out last proper dinner in Denmark was an extravagant one.

The next morning we had an early ferry to catch which would take us back to Zealand for our final day in Denmark. 

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