Ultimate guide to things to do in Aarhus Denmark

Ultimate guide to things to do in Aarhus Denmark
This post may contain compensated links. Please read our disclaimer for additional information.


Aarhus in Jutland Denmark was named the European Capital of Culture for 2017. It was also named by Lonely Planet in 2016 as one of 10 European cities you should visit. While Denmark is often cited as the happiest country on earth Aarhus is apparently THE happiest place in Denmark so why not go and see what it is that makes these lucky people so …well….happy!!!!

What exactly is there to do and see if you decide to visit Aarhus? It is  perhaps a lesser known Danish city for tourists but actually the second largest in the country with a population of 315000 (and the largest population of students in any Danish city)

There are loads of things to do in Aarhus (which is also incidentally easy to visit from Copenhagen via train so do consider adding it to your Danish itinerary!)


This has to be my number one recommendation for anyone exploring Aarhus. It is a fabulous museum experience – it covers 3 periods of Danish history in one town. Wander the open-air museum and wander through the 1600’s onwards – there are houses which were dismantled and rebuilt in the museum from different time periods (1600 – 1900, 1900 – 1927 and 1927-1974 are explored in the museum)


Den Gamle By in Aarhus


You can see Danish life depicted through living history displays – pre 1900’s, the 1920’s and my favourite the 1970’s!!! It was like going back to my childhood – my friend’s children had great fun playing with the dial up telephone and typewriter!!!!

This museum is great in that it focuses on the daily lives of normal Danish people throughout history. It is definitely one of my top recommendations of things to do in Aarhus. It was great to learn all about the Danish way of life over the centuries.

To find out more about visiting times and prices please check the official website “Den Gamle By”


Den Gamle By in Aarhus Denmark




Aros Aarhus Denmark


ARoS is the main art museum in Aarhus.  I took this photograph of the Your rainbow panorama on the roof of the building. This is a circular glass walkway that gives fantastic views of the city. It is an artwork made by Olafur Eliasson a Danish/Icelandic artist.

For more information about ARosS and the Your rainbow panorama check out the Visit Aarhus website.

Fun Fact – Aarhus was first settled by Vikings, who called it “Aros” which means “river mouth.”



Marselisborg Palace is the Queen of Denmark’s summer and Christmas residence. I have been once but not when she was at home! When she isn’t in residence her rose garden and the Palace grounds are open to the public. When the Royal family are in residence you can enjoy the changing of the guard every day at 12 noon.


Photograph of Marselisborg in Aarhus by Steffen N Christensen courtesy of Visit Aarhus



The Moesgaard is a museum dedicated to telling the story of of human evolution and culture.The building in which the museum is housed is architecturally stunning and seems to grow out of the surrounding hills.

See the museum’s official website for opening times and prices. Guided tours are available but must be booked in advance.

Moesgaard Museum

Photo / Media Department – Moesgaard Museum



Aarhus has its own theme park called Tivoli Friheden within walking distance of the city centre. For more information about the theme park check out the information on the Visit Aarhus website.



The most popular way of getting around Aarhus is by bicycle. Aarhus is one of the best cities in the world to travel around by bicycle. In fact you will see many people young and old on bicycles in Denmark and hiring one for your holiday will not be difficult. You can hire a bicycle from bikes4rent or you can rent a bicycle at Cycling Aarhus or join one of the guided tours.

Bicycles in Aarhus




We were staying with my friend but there is a variety of accommodation available in Aarhus



Well Aarhus is home to a number of Michelin starred restaurants but it is also home to Aarhus Street Food. No prizes for guessing where we went for dinner!!

Aarhus street food in Denmark


And if you are really lucky and know some Danish people you can try some of their national dishes including mørbradbøffer and other delicious food I can’t even begin to pronounce. We had a really lovely meal at my friend’s Mum’s house!


Danish food


There are lots more things to do and see in Aarhus – we will be back! If you want to know more the official website   VISIT AARHUS  will have the information.

There you can find out about all the top attractions in Aarhus as well as some of those Michelin starred restaurants in town!

There is also an AarhusCARD available which is worth looking into if you are planning to visit! This can be bought on-line and gives you free admission to more than 25 museums, attractions and activities as well as free transportation on all Midttrafik buses and on Letbanen light rail as well as shopping discounts across the city.


Travelling to Aarhus (from Copenhagen)

We travelled by train to Aarhus from Copenhagen. It took 3 hours and was a very pleasant trip. If you want to book train travel in Denmark I would check out the Danish Railways website. As always I would also say to check out seat61 – I plan no train travel at all without consulting that website first!


Visiting Aarhus - catching the train from Copenhagen

Copenhagen main station




I have a number of posts focussing on travel to Denmark and other Scandinavian countries which may be of interest. Subscribe below so you don’t miss out on any new posts which are coming out soon about Scandinavia and other European travel destinations!





















Top things to do in Copenhagen Denmark

A Collection of the Best Books about Denmark

Things to do in Malmö Sweden



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Author: Tracy

Tracy has lived and worked in 7 countries on 4 continents and travelled to over 50 more. A qualified school teacher with an interest in history, reading, photography, nature and wildlife she is always planning her next trip (preferably by train)

With a lifetime of travel experience, and a network of friends all over the world, she is also able to share genuine insider guides, recommended best book lists and train journey inspiration to help you travel authentically to some of the most beautiful places on earth.

Come and join me as I travel the world one country (and train journey) at a time!

This post may contain compensated links. Please read our disclaimer for additional information.

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  1. April 4, 2017 / 9:45 am

    Interesting read – I’m very interested in visiting Denmark so cheers for the info! 😉 #citytripping

  2. April 4, 2017 / 4:45 pm

    Oh my goodness, how had I never heard of Aarhus before, it looks amazing!! Oh if only it wasn’t so expensive to fly to Europe!! :'(

    • April 4, 2017 / 6:28 pm

      If you get the chance though definitely add it to your itinerary! Glad I have brought Aarhus to your attention 🙂

  3. April 5, 2017 / 1:19 am

    The city looks amazing! The Old Town Museum and the Palace are lovely. I have been doing some research about this city since there seems to be a lot f buzz surrounding it. But, I can see from your post what all the excitement is all about. #citytripping

    • April 6, 2017 / 7:06 pm

      Yes its all happening this year – great time to visit!

  4. April 5, 2017 / 3:15 pm

    I’m embarrassed to say I’d never heard of Aarhus before – thank you for sharing! It looks like a very pretty and interesting city.

    • April 6, 2017 / 7:05 pm

      I am glad that now you do know about it 🙂 It is a lovely city

  5. April 5, 2017 / 8:59 pm

    I’ve never considered Aarhus as a destination, but now I think I would like it very much. The food market looks amazing as does the palace. I can certainly see why it’s the place to visit! Thanks for linking up with #CityTripping

    • April 6, 2017 / 7:01 pm

      Thanks Ting – definitely a city to visit in an amazing country too!

  6. April 6, 2017 / 5:30 am

    What a beautiful half-timbered town!!! Thank you for introducing me to yet another half-timbered town I MUST SEE! 🙂 #WanderfulWednesday

    • April 6, 2017 / 7:00 pm

      Fab! And yes it is a MUST SEE I totally agree

  7. April 6, 2017 / 8:27 am

    Sounds like a lovely place – I really want to go there now! #citytripping

    • April 6, 2017 / 7:00 pm

      Fantastic! Glad I have inspired you to go 🙂

  8. April 6, 2017 / 9:41 am

    A friend of mine recently moved there, and even though I knew about the whole capital of culture thing, I had no idea it was the happiest place on Earth!
    Reading your post only made me want to go more, I have to write her up now and see we can make that happen!
    Den Gamle By will definitely be on my list of things to see 🙂

    • April 6, 2017 / 6:59 pm

      I would be on the phone arranging a visit – if were around this summer we would definitely be heading back!

  9. April 6, 2017 / 3:18 pm

    The city looks great for history buffs. What else is there to do for adventure seekers?

    • April 6, 2017 / 6:58 pm

      Lots Suzanne – check out the visitaarhus website!

  10. April 6, 2017 / 4:16 pm

    I’ve only been to Copenhagen but I really want to branch out and see more of Denmark. I had no idea this was being talked about so much but your photos have definitely convinced me to check it out! The street food building reminds me of the one in Copenhagen. The museum sounds fun too!

    • April 6, 2017 / 6:58 pm

      I would highly recommend visiting more of Denmark – Skagen at the top of Jutland is beautiful too!

  11. April 6, 2017 / 5:25 pm

    Frankly I had never heard of Aarhus but the city looks amazing and I would want to know more about it. BTW i love your website layout. So clean and well organised. Your pictures are stunning.

    • April 6, 2017 / 6:57 pm

      To be honest a lot of people haven’t heard of Aarhus but hopefully the focus this year on it as European Capital of Culture will get it some well deserved attention.

    • April 8, 2017 / 5:02 pm

      It has a lot going for it – a really lovely place.

  12. Jean
    April 7, 2017 / 12:37 am

    Oh I too loved visiting Aarhus. Though I only got to spend 24 hours there as my younger sister was studying there. It’s such a beautiful city and your photos really capture that so well. Showing off why Aarhus is considered the cultural capital of Denmark! I only wish I had some Danish friends like you to try a home cooked meal with.

    • April 8, 2017 / 5:02 pm

      I know I am so lucky! It is a lovely city 🙂

  13. Riely
    April 7, 2017 / 5:26 am

    I have never heard of Aarhus, nor did I know it was the happiest city in Denmark. The Marselisbourg Palace looks stunning from your view of the roses. I will have to add Aarhus to my list of places I must see in Europe. Thanks for sharing.

  14. April 7, 2017 / 7:16 am

    Indeed, Denmark is really a happy place! I would like to visit the Aarhus museum and see the rainbow panorama. I must try the local cuisine too.

  15. April 7, 2017 / 10:16 am

    I’m currently binge-watching Vikings on Netflix so my interest in Scandinavia is sky-rocketing! This places is so picturesque and Momma’s Kitchen looks awesome. I didn’t realize it was the capital of culture this year. Def looks worth a visit!

  16. April 7, 2017 / 11:08 am

    I have, to be honest, I have never heard of Aarhus before but it looks so nice. Cool fact that they are named the European Capital of Culture for 2017, I am definitely going to keen to go here and I know where I would go to eat Aarhus Street Food yummy.

    • April 8, 2017 / 4:57 pm

      It is a great place to visit Mel! Add it to your list!

  17. April 7, 2017 / 11:59 am

    Looking at all this beauty and foot variety, I can easily understand why Denmark is the happiest country in the world:)

  18. April 7, 2017 / 3:01 pm

    I’m actually headed there next week! Haven’t really prepared much though so this is perfect!! Can’t wait to check out the open air museum and the food scene!

    • April 8, 2017 / 4:56 pm

      Ah thats handy then!! Have a great time Van!

  19. April 7, 2017 / 5:39 pm

    Denmark is just such a beautiful place: beautiful people, great scenery, awesome food and beer! Love this post, thank you #flyawayfriday

    • April 8, 2017 / 4:54 pm

      Thanks Katherine – I agree about Denmark!

  20. April 7, 2017 / 7:25 pm

    I’ve never heard of Aarhus but I really love learning about new places to visit in the future! #FlyAwayFriday

  21. April 7, 2017 / 9:09 pm

    You’ve convinced me! 😀 Visiting Aarhus is a great idea! 😀 I haven’t been to Denmark yet, but it looks like I ought to spend at least a weekend there. Thanks for introducing me to Aarhus. I just realized that before this post, the only Danish city I knew was Copenhagen.

    • April 8, 2017 / 4:53 pm

      Happy to have introduced you to another Danish city! 🙂

  22. April 7, 2017 / 9:18 pm

    Beautiful city, the museums looked fascinating.. the Den Gammel By and that glass rooftop walkway with views over the town. I’m ashamed that as a Nordic person myself I have never been to Denmar or Norway, just my native Finland and Sweden next door… oops! But Aarhus looks well worth visiting. Great pics too, btw

    • April 8, 2017 / 4:53 pm

      Thanks for popping by! Aarhus is a lovely city!

  23. April 8, 2017 / 1:08 am

    Oh you’ve completely sold Aarhus to me! I love European cities and towns that seem like they’ve been untouched from the earlier centuries. And this looks like one of those with the architecture and all!

  24. April 8, 2017 / 2:00 am

    OH WOW! I’ve always wanted to visit Denmark and this place looks like something out of a fairytale! I am a huge fan of visiting gardens and palaces on my travels so thanks for the recommendation! Can’t wait to read more! #FlyAwayFriday

  25. April 8, 2017 / 8:21 pm

    I visited Copenhagen a couple of times many years ago, but hadn’t heard of Aarhus. If I make it back I’ll definitely add it to the itinerary. I think you did it the right way though, visiting a friend. I’m sure you got the local’s perspective.

    • April 11, 2017 / 8:02 pm

      I have visited my friend a number of times and love Aarhus so was really pleased when it was awarded European city of culture for 2017. Hopefully more people will visit!

  26. April 9, 2017 / 3:27 am

    If it’s the happiest place in Denmark, the happiest country, we will have to go. It is beautiful and I loved the video, the streets and architecture look magical. Thanks for the inspiration 🙂

    • April 11, 2017 / 8:01 pm

      It is a lovely lovely city – will be going again for a fourth time at some point!

  27. April 9, 2017 / 7:35 am

    Great post for visiting. Not been to Denmark as yet another place on the to do list! Made me smile when you mentioned the typewriter, how times have changed, incredible when you think about it! #feetdotravel

    • April 11, 2017 / 8:00 pm

      I know – I remember getting one as a Christmas present and also typing my Uni essays on one! Much easier these days with a computer!!

  28. April 9, 2017 / 4:39 pm

    I haven’t been to Aarhus but after seeing all your pictures I want to go. I really enjoyed my time to Denmark and I think I will go back soon to visit more. Will save this for future reference,

    • April 11, 2017 / 7:59 pm

      Thanks Oana – we also really enjoy Denmark – my husband would go back tomorrow he loved it

  29. April 9, 2017 / 7:28 pm

    Great pictures and suggestions! Thanks for sharing 🙂

  30. April 9, 2017 / 7:46 pm

    I’d love to see the Queen’s rose garden. I quite like the more relaxed Danish approach to royalty too. After all they did let in an Aussie. And good on Mary for becoming fluent quickly in the language. Aarhus looks like a great place to visit. Thanks for sharing on #FarawayFiles

    • April 11, 2017 / 7:58 pm

      Hi we were talking about Mary when we were in Denmark – she is very popular. I really love Denmark and am really happy I have a friend who is Danish to visit!

  31. April 10, 2017 / 10:05 pm

    Aarhus looks amazing and I have read many good things about it. Definitely would love to visit next time I am in Denmark and soak in all that culture! Would love to take a train trip like you did too!

    • April 11, 2017 / 7:57 pm

      I definitely think this is a place you would really enjoy so I hope you get the chance to visit! Def take the train too!

  32. April 11, 2017 / 6:55 am

    Like most others never heard of Aarhus but will take a sidetrip on our way up to Norway. Great pictures

    • April 11, 2017 / 7:50 pm

      Oh yes that will be great – please let me know how you get on! I really enjoy your blog by the way!

  33. April 11, 2017 / 5:27 pm

    I’ve never heard of Aarhus can you believe it?! Loved reading your guide, packed full of useful info and tips! will keep for reference, thanks!

    • April 11, 2017 / 7:49 pm

      I am glad I am putting Aarhus on people’s radar as it is a great city to visit 🙂

  34. April 11, 2017 / 7:20 pm

    Aarus looks absolutely amazing! Thank you for all the info and the photos are fab! #MondayEscapes

  35. April 11, 2017 / 7:22 pm

    Aarus looks absolutely amazing! Thank you for all the info and the photos are fab! #MondayEscapes (original comment omitted the letter ‘m’ from my url!)

  36. April 11, 2017 / 7:50 pm

    I find museums where they have reconstructed and reconstructed buildings absolutely fascinating. I visited one in Wales last year and loved it. The walkway around the gallery looks amazing too. Thanks for sharing this on #MondayEscapes

    • April 11, 2017 / 8:04 pm

      Thanks Claire – it is a great museum and a lovely city 🙂

  37. April 11, 2017 / 9:07 pm

    Aarhus sounds like such a fun, vibrant town. I’m definitely pinning this for future reference. #mondayescapes

  38. April 12, 2017 / 12:55 pm

    Love the introduction to Aarhus Denmark which looks like a quaint town to visit. The Old Town Museum looks like a great place to visit along with the Palace flower gardens. I will have to pin this for my next European trip. Thanks for sharing! #feetdotravel

  39. April 12, 2017 / 5:26 pm

    Love finding off the beat locations in Europe and this is such a great post. I have never been but will definitely put this on my already long travel list. And oh, those photos are stunning.

    • April 13, 2017 / 7:34 pm

      Thanks for reading and leaving a comment – hope you get to visit Aarhus soon!

  40. April 12, 2017 / 6:20 pm

    The architecture looks incredible and the food looks divine. Sounds like such a fun place to visit!!

  41. April 12, 2017 / 6:41 pm

    I have never been to Denmark but its one city that is on my “to visit “list. I am going to bookmark this post for when we go ad its really useful with lots of tips.

    • April 13, 2017 / 7:33 pm

      Thanks Nayna – Denmark is a great country to visit and Aarhus a lovely city

  42. April 12, 2017 / 7:03 pm

    I honestly never thought about visiting Aarhus but see it advertised sometimes from KLM (flying from Amsterdam) – seems actually like a pretty good place to visit which is not Copenhagen!!

    • April 13, 2017 / 7:32 pm

      Book that flight Gabby and go and visit Aarhus – highly recommend it!

  43. April 12, 2017 / 7:28 pm

    I’ve never heard of Aarhis before, it looks a lovely though. What were the national dishes at your friend’s mums house? Looks like some some of flatbread?

    • April 13, 2017 / 7:32 pm

      They were pastry cups with chicken in an asparagus sauce inside – was delicious (I think its called Torteletta)

  44. April 12, 2017 / 7:47 pm

    Looking at the photos, I am most interested to see the The Old Town Museum. I love that it gives visitors a trip down memory lane. I have always been fascinated with antique stuff and places that are seem to be trapped in time so yeah, this museum will be my first consideration if ever I get to Aarhus.

    • April 13, 2017 / 7:31 pm

      Good choice Marge – we loved the museum!

  45. April 12, 2017 / 8:20 pm

    Aarhus looks thoroughly charming with its half-timbered houses. That street art is quite great too. Would love to see more of Denmark beyond Copenhagen so Aarhus will definitely go on my list.

    • April 12, 2017 / 9:32 pm

      I think it is somewhere you will like David – it has lots to make it really appealing and it is a city most people don’t think about as Copenhagen seems to be everyones first choice which is a pity

  46. April 12, 2017 / 8:54 pm

    I love Denmark and after having been to CPH, I wanted to explore the other larger cities. I was going to study at the Aarhus University actually but decided on a school in Berlin instead. Definitely have to visit regardless!

    • April 13, 2017 / 7:30 pm

      I would definitely be visiting Aarhus – not too far from Berlin either!

  47. April 12, 2017 / 8:58 pm

    This is super useful since we are planning a trip to Denmark this summer!

  48. April 12, 2017 / 8:59 pm

    Super useful since we are planning a trip to Denmark soon! Thanks for the tips!

  49. April 12, 2017 / 9:38 pm

    Denmark is at the top of so many best-of lists! What are the rest of us doing wrong?? Haha I think I’m overdue for a trip for sure!

    • April 13, 2017 / 7:28 pm

      I think I am going to have to live there at some point to find out what the secret is!

  50. April 13, 2017 / 8:26 am

    What a picturesque and beautiful place. I would like to visit them someday

    • April 13, 2017 / 7:25 pm

      I hope you get to visit one day as it is a lovely place!

  51. April 13, 2017 / 2:53 pm

    Funnily enough, the first European country I went to, was Denmark, because my dad had a work thing in Kolding. I was 15. It was a very long time ago. We did go to Aarhus. We remembered three things about it: the awesome Den Gamle By, and then having the *worst* fish and chips that could be imagined. Haha! And then winds so strong it literally nearly blew me away!

    • April 13, 2017 / 7:24 pm

      Oh no re the fish and chips! But yay re Den Gamle By! Glad my post took you back to that visit 🙂

  52. Eulanda
    April 13, 2017 / 9:17 pm

    I love discovering new cities! Thank you for the introduction! The street food scene looks incredibly enticing! Thanks for sharing!

    • April 14, 2017 / 1:55 pm

      Thanks for reading and leaving a comment 🙂

  53. April 14, 2017 / 12:26 pm

    It’s good to read about somewhere other than Copenhagen in Denmark! Aarhus looks so peaceful, I would love the visit the palace!

    • April 14, 2017 / 1:53 pm

      Glad you enjoyed the post – Aarhus is a great place to visit 🙂

  54. April 15, 2017 / 6:28 am

    I confess I hadn’t heard of Aarhus until now, and if it’s the happiest of the happiest places, I definitely need to head here! Loved your ideas of places to visit and food to try, I will have to ensure I befriend a Dane to try some home cooked food … what’s your friend’s telephone number 😀 Thanks for bringing this awesome place to my attention! #feetdotravel

    • April 15, 2017 / 6:10 pm

      Haha yes – very lucky to have a Danish friend! I have known her for 27 years since we worked in France as au pairs!

  55. April 15, 2017 / 7:18 am

    Aaarhus sounds really fascinating. No wonder it has been dubbed as the culture capital of Europe. The place is indeed a revelation for me. A great place to spend some time and get charged by the happiness around.

  56. April 17, 2017 / 5:05 am

    Had never heard of Aarhus. But would love to visit the happiest city on earth. The street food looks amazing! Thanks for sharing

    • April 17, 2017 / 10:48 am

      Thanks for reading and commenting 🙂

  57. April 17, 2017 / 6:19 pm

    I’ve never heard of Aarhus in Denmark! Love reading about new spots, though! The pictures look beautiful! Thanks for joining Fly Away Friday, hope to see you again this weekend! xo

    • April 17, 2017 / 8:31 pm

      Glad you enjoyed finding out about Aarhus 🙂

  58. April 27, 2017 / 4:57 am

    Love my home country! Am taking the kids for thw first time this summer can’t wait ?

    • April 28, 2017 / 11:48 am

      It is lovely! Hope you have a great time!

  59. Jeff Posner
    August 24, 2018 / 3:29 am

    Hi Tracy,

    I stumbled on your site. My wife and I are going to Copenhagen Christmas week (5 nights) in 2018. It will be her 50th birthday. I love the idea of a day trip to Malmo. Is a day trip to Aarhus a reasonable option. I’m a big fan of European trains so I don’t mind the peaceful ride. I suspect we won’t have much daylight. Any other considerations you can think of?


    • TracyJane
      August 26, 2018 / 8:57 am

      Hi Jeff
      Thanks for your lovely comments and so glad you found my site. I am sure you will have a wonderful time in Denmark!I would say that Aarhus may be a little far for a day trip unfortunately. Definitely head to Malmo though – great to see a little of Sweden if only for a day. I have a fellow blogger friend Erin of oregongirlaroundtheworld.com who may be able to give you more pointers as she lives in Copenhagen. Have a fabulous trip and do let me know about it, Tracy