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The dynamic city of Aarhus, just off the Jutland Peninsula, is known for its museums and art scene, cosmopolitan spaces, and classic sense of Danish hygge. On a cruise to Aarhus, go back in time to the Viking era or embark on a walking tour of Den Gamle By, the city’s “Old Town.” Find out for yourself why the region is recognized as one of the country’s best for gastronomy by sampling local street food or sipping a flight of Danish brews. Here, Scandi design and timeless cultural institutions blend into one beautiful snapshot of the past, present, and future—and you’ll discover it all on a cruise to Denmark.
Discover a historic side to Aarhus at Den Gamle By, an open-air museum honoring centuries of urban life in Denmark. Den Gamle By consists of 75 reconstructed buildings from all over Denmark. Don’t miss the underground exhibit dedicated to Aarhus’ Viking past.
At Aarhus Botanical Gardens, enjoy a romantic afternoon stroll in its over 50 acres of green space. Pop into the tropical greenhouses, or enjoy a picnic on the lawn. There’s also a cafe serving coffee and light bites.
Aarhus is home to some of the world’s best architectural marvels, like the one-of-a-kind Infinite Bridge. It’s both a piece of art and a functioning bridge available to the public from April to October each year. A walk along the pier promises an awe-inspiring panorama of the Bay of Aarhus and the city beyond.
Art aficionados will fall in love with ARoS not only for its eclectic and avant-garde collections of European contemporary art, but also because walking its grounds is an exhibit in and of itself. Take a trip to Your Rainbow Panorama along the roof of ARoS, a 360-degree glass walkway tinted in colors across the rainbow spectrum. Bring your camera to capture artsy views of Aarhus in every color.
There’s no better way to soak up the splendor of Aarhus than with a walk along its sweeping harbor. Soak up the views of the glittering Bay of Aarhus, the red-brick cityscape, towering churches, and architectural marvels.
Situated in an old bus garage, Aarhus Street Food Market isn’t the first image that pops to mind when you think “Nordic cuisine.” But you’d be missing out if you don’t visit this bustling market during your day in Aarhus. Choose from over 30 globally inspired kitchens, where you can try Danish classics, go for Vietnamese, or get tacos all in one place.
A visit to the Viking Museum is a must for history buffs. Discover Denmark as the Vikings saw it over 1,200 years ago at the Aarhus Viking Museum downtown. You’ll find artifacts and everyday objects used by Viking settlers, runestones, and a model of what Aarhus might’ve looked like in a bygone era.
The culinary scene in Aarhus has boomed in recent years. You’ll discover high-end eateries and casual cafes side by side. Stop by Aarhus’ Street Food Market for a laid-back take on Danish cuisine, where you can choose from over 30 kitchens and bars to try street foods from all over the world. For a Michelin-starred dining experience, head to Substans. It’s a rustic but timelessly elegant restaurant known for its multi-course meals. At Restaurant Marselis, you’ll find experimental dishes featuring seasonal ingredients from local farms. Try a classic Scandinavian brunch at Cafe Faust.
Cruises to Aarhus are a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to experience the culture and history of Denmark firsthand. The original settlers of the area were the Vikings, who came to the Jutland Peninsula thousands of years ago and established a settlement. The coastal location served Aarhus well, and the city began a period of growth as a port and trading town.
From the 13th century to the 19th century, Aarhus saw periods of growth and decline in waves. The city was frequently conquered by the Swedish and other invaders who envied its strategic location on the Bay of Aarhus. The development of Aarhus Harbor was finished in the 1860s, which revitalized the area. Today, it’s one of Denmark’s most significant hubs, balancing its Viking history with distinct cultural achievements in modern art and design.
The port of Aarhus warmly welcomes cruise ships to the Jutland Peninsula. There are six terminals, and once you disembark from your ship, you’ll be within walking distance to all the major sights in Aarhus. The terminal features traditional performers and local vendors selling artisanal goods, plus a tourist information center where you can grab a map, ask questions about attractions, and hop on the Wi-Fi to plan your next move.
Aarhus is a very compact city that can be easily navigated on foot, especially its downtown area. You can also get around with the city’s extensive bus system, the light rail, or with taxis. Do like the locals do and see the city on two wheels instead—a classically Danish way to get around.
Aarhus balances an artisanal small-town shopping scene with a wealth of shopping centers and high-end shops. There are several districts in Aarhus for shopping, each with their own unique ambiance. Strøget connects several of the top shopping areas in the city, and this pedestrian-friendly road is well worth a stroll for window shopping at brand-name stores. Frederiksbjerg is the spot for trendy boutiques, while the Latin Quarter is packed with cozy artisanal shops.
On cruises to Aarhus, note that the local currency is the Danish kroner (Kr), not the Euro. Denmark has made it law that your bill at restaurants must include a service charge, so you don’t need to worry about tipping. When in doubt, remember that most Danes find tipping unusual. It’s also common courtesy to round up to the nearest krone when you’re traveling via taxi. The most commonly accepted credit cards are Mastercard and Visa. ATMs are distributed throughout the city if you’d like to carry small amounts of cash with you.
Aarhus has long labored in the shadow of the capital Copenhagen, but transformation is happening. Denmark's second-largest city is busy staking a claim for visitor attention and building a reputation as an emerging European destination for savvy city-breakers, festival-goers, art and food fans. In 2017 its titles included European Capital of Culture and European Region of Gastronomy (the latter was awarded to Aarhus and the larger central Denmark region). The ever-expanding menu of architectural landmarks, lauded restaurants, bars, festivals and boutiques is a mark of a vibrant city on the rise. It's a great place to explore on a Europe cruise – compact, photogenic and friendly.