Words Cherrie Yu
*Featured in Crave’s Issue 90, December 2017
Best time to visit: June
In Denmark, Copenhagen may hog the tourist limelight, but visitors who don’t venture beyond the capital are missing out. On the east coast of the Jutland peninsula is Aarhus, Denmark’s second – biggest city and the 2017 European Capital of Culture and European Region of Gastronomy.
With 17 hours of daylight in June, the long, light evenings offer a perfect opportunity to explore Aarhus’s food scene, from artisanal coffee bars to star – studded Nordic restaurants. The cuisine is praised for using local produce, including freshly caught seafood, vegetables from the island of Samsø, and produce from the farms and henhouses of nearby Djursland.
Despite its modest size, Aarhus has four Michelin – starred restaurants. At one – starred Frederikshøj, award – winning chef Wassim Hallal creates post modern dishes with surprising experimental flavours.
For more casual, hearty food head to the hip Latinerkvarteret, or Latin Quarter. Dating back to the 16th century, this is the oldest and one of the most picturesque areas of the city with narrow cobblestoned lanes lined with multicoloured houses, cosy cafes, stylish shops and chic art galleries.
Architectural highlights include the 12th – century cathedral and the stunning Iceberg apartments. Built in 2013, in the revitalised container port of Aarhus Ø, the buildings appear to rise from the sea like an iceberg, with a jagged profile, snowy – white finish and ice – blue glass balconies emphasising the resemblance.
The booming music scene also draws flocks of tourists. The annual NorthSide Festival, held in June since 2010, attracts a stellar line – up of international and Danish musicians, such as last year’s headliners Radiohead, Frank Ocean, MØ and Bastille.
How to Get There
Fly via Copenhagen or other Scandinavian cities, such as Oslo, Gothenburg and Stockholm.
What to Do
Aarhus is peppered with museums and art galleries. The open – air living museum, Den Gamle By, lets visitors experience Danish life in the 18th, 19th and early 20th centuries. As if frozen in time, the streets are filled with people dressed in historical clothing going about their daily activities as they would have in the past.
At Godsbanen creative centre, in a former goods station in one of Denmark’s biggest train freight yards, explore the open workshops, studios and rotating exhibitions of modern art. Or tour the city by bike with the family. Aarhus is home to Denmark’s first bike street – the start of the country’s extensive cycle – route network – established to encourage this sustainable and healthy means of transportation.
Where to Stay
Comwell Hotel Aarhus
Sleek and modern, Comwell Hotel Aarhus rises high above the city, giving it unobstructed views of the harbour, nearby woodlands and beaches from its upper floors. It is within easy reach of hotspots such as the Old Town Museum and Marselisborg Palace.
Værkmestergade 2, 8000 Aarhus C
T +45 8672 8000
Møllestien 49 and 51
Stay in one of the tiny 18th – century cottages on Møllestein, or the Mill Lane, a well – preserved cobblestoned passage between the ARoS Aarhus Art Museum and the cathedral. It’s said to be one of the loveliest streets in the city, with half – timbered buildings bedecked in hollyhocks and rambling roses.
Møllestein 49-51, 8000 Aarhus C
T +45 8613 0632
Located in the Marselisborg woods, five kilometres south of Aarhus, this magnificent camping ground has well – equipped cabins, perfect for families, with a private beach and beautiful views from nearby cycling paths.
Ørneredevej 35, 8270 Højbjerg
T +45 8627 0207
Where to Eat and Drink
Gourmet hot dogs
Roaming hotdog vendors are an old Danish tradition, celebrated with an annual hotdog competition since 2009. Held in September, gourmet chefs compete to make the best traditional and modern hotdogs. But at any time of the year, simple hotdogs are available from street vendors and gourmet versions with creative toppings at some restaurants.
This traditional Danish open – faced sandwich is built on thin rye bread and topped generously with meat, fish or cheese. Some of the city’s finest are served at Smagløs, one of Aarhus’s oldest cafes.
Denmark is famous for its beer, with Aarhus’ bars favouring the Copenhagen brew, Mikkeller.