If you’ve been keeping up with my adventures, you’ll know that I just spent a month living in Aarhus, Denmark! I was there to take a class on the Viking Age, and while I’ve lived in Copenhagen for a few months, this was my first time in Jutland. Aarhus is the largest city in Jutland and the second largest city in Denmark, and there’s so much to see and do there! So if you want to check it out while you’re visiting Copenhagen, here are the top 7 things to do on a day trip to Aarhus 🙂
There’s a lot more to do and see than these 7 things (and I will be posting about those amazing places soon!), but these places to see on a day trip to Aarhus are places you can easily walk to AND you can walk to all these places from the train station! (It takes about 2 hours to get to Aarhus from Copenhagen by train, by the way). So you don’t have to worry about figuring out transportation in Aarhus, and you don’t have to walk more than a few miles.
Take a stroll down pedestrian streets
I love pedestrian streets in Denmark! Copenhagen has the longest pedestrian shopping street in Europe, and Aarhus has a pretty long one, too. The pedestrian area, called Strøget, starts across the street from Aarhus Central Station (so the perfect starting place if you’re coming in for the day!) on Ryesgade and continues through Søndergade to end by the Aarhus Cathedral.
There are tons of shops, restaurants, museums, and beautiful architecture along Strøget, so you could spend a couple of hours in this area!
Grab some street food
There are lots of great places to get food in Aarhus, and the Aarhus Central Food Market is one of my favorites. It’s right near the train station, and it has tons of options to choose from. My favorite was the shakshuka stand! The chef is from Israel, and we had a fun chat about Aarhus and the food scene while he was cooking.
If the weather is nice, there’s lots of seating outside so you can get a view of Strøget as you eat.
Right near the market is a shawarma stand that was really good!
Visit the Aarhus Cathedral
Near the end of Strøget is the Aarhus Cathedral, and you should definitely go inside! It’s the tallest AND the longest church in Denmark, and it dates back to the 12th century with many of the additions occurring in the 15th century after a fire. Like the churches in Helsingør, it has many frescoes that were painted over during the Reformation, but most of them have been restored.
Visit the underground Viking Museum
Right across the square from the cathedral is the Viking Museum, and it can be easy to miss because it’s underground and small. The Viking Museum in Aarhus might be the smallest museum I’ve ever visited! It’s so small that I was the only person in there- they didn’t even have a person selling tickets, just a machine!
The museum is underground because it’s the exact spot where the Vikings established Aarhus over 1200 years ago. It’s different than other Viking museums I’ve been in (and I’ve visited a LOT) because it tells the story of the Vikings specifically in Aarhus and the attacks the town faced, which I hadn’t learned about before. If you’re interested in more Viking history, the Moesgaard Museum is right outside Aarhus and it’s worth a visit!
See Aarhus from the ARoS Aarhus Kunstmuseum
A much larger museum is the ARoS Aarhus Kunstmuseum (usually just called ARos, and the name comes from one of the original Viking names for Aarhus), and it’s known for the rainbow panorama that you can walk through! The museum contains modern art, including the famous giant sculpture of the squatting boy (I have a picture below and you might recognize it). I’m not the biggest fan of modern art so I didn’t spend much time inside the museum, but I did love walking through the rainbow panorama and getting views of Aarhus from the top deck!
“Boy” is 4.5 meters high and weighs half a ton
Walk along the harbor
Aarhus sits on the water and has a large port- it even has a larger container port than Copenhagen. You can walk along the harbor from the downtown area, or if you have more time, you can go to one of the beaches in Aarhus or visit Dokk1, a large, modern library on the water (I would personally only visit if you have a lot of extra time. I didn’t think it’s worth going out of your way to see, and I prefer the Black Diamond in Copenhagen).
See the cutest cobblestone street in Denmark
Møllestien is the prettiest street in Aarhus! It has beautiful, colorful half timber houses with vines and white picket fences on a cobblestone street- what more could you ask for? This might just be my favorite spot in Aarhus, and even though it’s downtown, it was really quiet and peaceful.
Møllestien means “mill lane” and the street dates back to the Viking Age, and most of these houses were built in the 18th and early 19th century. Two women living here at the end of the 17th century were actually accused of witchcraft!
Those are the top 7 things to do on a day trip to Aarhus, all within walking distance! 🙂 Stay tuned for all the other awesome things to do in Aarhus!