Aarhus, the second-largest city in Denmark, is a lively enclave, with boutiques, cafés, and restaurants lining its narrow stone-paved streets. An important cultural center with an outstanding fine arts museum, Aarhus is known for its vibrant music scene, which embraces folk, jazz, chamber music, operatic performances, and concerts in churches. To make sure you find all the best places to visit, follow the following list of the top tourist attractions in Aarhus.
Tourist Attractions in Aarhus
1. Den Gamle By
A large and labyrinthine open-air museum with 75 authentic historic buildings and a large cast of “re-enactors”, Den Gamle By is the ultimate gateway to Danish social history since the 1700s – and a fun day out.
The attraction creates living snapshots of the 18th, 19th, and 20 centuries and lets you interact with the period as much as possible.
So in the 19th-century area, you can see what life was like when Hans Christian Andersen was writing, meeting village characters like the widow of a clergyman or merchant’s maid and tasting cakes baked with recipes from 1895.
The most recent part covers the 1970s, so you’ll meet four young hippie-types and listen to LP records.
2. ARoS Aarhus Kunstmuseum
This is one of the tourist attractions in Aarhus. The ARoS Aarhus Kunstmuseum, one of the largest art museums in Europe, is housed in an impressive 10-story building that is itself a work of art.
The museum’s most remarkable architectural work of art is Your Rainbow Panorama, a circular walkway surrounded by glass in a spectrum of colors, created by Danish-Icelandic artist, Olafur Eliasson. Mounted on columns 3.5 meters above the roof, the walkway is 150 meters long and three meters wide. As you walk around it, you’ll get views of the city and bay in rainbow colors. You can access Your Rainbow through the 310-square-meter Roof Pavilion.
3. The New Moesgård Museum
A short drive south of Aarhus is the superb new Moesgård Museum. Built on the grounds of the Moesgård manor house, where the original museum was housed, this well-designed attraction opened in the autumn of 2014 and offers a comprehensive account of Denmark’s history from the Stone Age to Viking times.
A particularly popular attraction is the Grauballe Man (Grauballemann), a body dating back more than 2,000 years that was found perfectly preserved in a nearby bog. In the open-air section of the museum is a fun Prehistoric Trail (Oldtidssti) through the woods and fields of the estate, passing replicas of prehistoric houses and burial mounds.
4. Tivoli Friheden
Urban amusement parks are a way of life in Danish cities, and this goes for Aarhus too, which has the Tivoli Friheden. It’s tucked into the Marselisborg Forest, beech, and coniferous woodland that runs along the coast from the southern side of Aarhus.
There are four roller coasters at Tivoli Friheden, as well as 40 other rides, games, and other amusements.
Big kids can board the Cobra, which has three inversions, while smaller kids will have great fun on a choice of animal-themed rides like the monkey.
When hunger strikes there are sit-down eateries, fast-food cafes, as well as picnic and barbecue areas if you pack your own lunch.
5. Aarhus Cathedral
Moving around the city, it’s hard to miss the spire of the Aarhus Cathedral. Sitting off Store Torv, there’s almost a wide ring of space around the cathedral, already giving you a sense of how important it is. Dating back to 1300, it’s long been a major landmark of the city. One of many key sights to see in Aarhus for visitors, the cathedral is worth a little bit of your time. Inside you’ll find an odd balance of humble white walls and elaborate gothic vaulted ceilings, making it hard to tell whether the cathedral is meant to be modest or impressive. What is impressive though is that the cathedral is the tallest in Denmark. Come summer you can climb up the bell tower, with another great viewpoint waiting for you.
6. Botanical Garden
The greenhouses at Aarhus’ Botanical Garden, just north of Den Gamie By have all been renovated in the last few years.
A new tropical house has also been added, and this is an almost alien, curved structure housing dense rainforest and with simulated animal sounds to enhance the experience.
There are four different climate zones synthesized at the park. Outside you can amble through typical Danish landscapes of beech forest and heathland.