The new and the old Aarhus
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There is so much to see in and around Aarhus, and you can easily spend several days here. However, I have met a large number of guests who are here for just one day, which is why my guide focuses on wonderful adventures to be had in a single day on foot around the central part of the city.
This guide will take you on a tour through the city of Aarhus.
Claus' best tips for a great start
The point of departure for my tour around ”the new and the old Aarhus” is the harbour. This is where I greet the guests as they disembark the cruise ships. And personally, I find immense joy in seeing the city from seaward side.
At the harbour, you will immediately see new structures alongside old. Begin your walk at Balticagade – perhaps by the incredible Jumbo baker, which is among the favourites if you ask any local, and from where you can get tasty coffee as well as delicious cake to go. Walk past or around DOKK1, home to the city’s new main library. Walk along the historical waterfront with a spectacular view of the contemporary buildings that tower over the city’s most recently developed quarter, Aarhus Ø. And from there, go to the iconic Skolegyden, past the Katedralskolen sixth-form college dating back to 1195, until you arrive at Store Torv square in the heart of town.
“Aarhus” comes from the word “Aros” – “the city by the river outlet”. The area around Lille Torv square and Store Torv square in front of the cathedral was the very centre of the historical Aarhus, secured behind a surrounding rampart. Today, you will find a small Viking museum placed on top of the historical town. If you would like to experience some of the oldest aspects of Aarhus, I highly recommend a visit here along with the beautiful cathedral – the largest found in Denmark and certainly worth a visit.
At the Viking museum, you can go three metres below present-day Aarhus. As you descend, you can see the layers of waste from hundreds of years of city life and building work. Notice the years written on the steps of the stairs – they illustrate the journey through the soil layers and back in time. At the base of the stairs, you are standing at the same surface as the Vikings of Aros established their houses and streets upon more than 1,000 years ago. You can almost hear the buzz in the busy streets, the cackle of the hens, voices, and laughter from back then.
The museum of contemporary art, ARoS – Aarhus Art Museum, is always worth a visit. Here, you will find Danish as well as international world-class art, classical as well as modern. On the roof of the museum, you get to experience the Danish/Icelandic artist, Olafur Eliasson’s spectacular work of art, Your rainbow panorama.
After your visit, you can return to the old Aarhus by heading down Vester Allé ("Poorhouse Hill") to Mølleparken and then along the stream to Grønnegade; and be sure to walk by Møllestien, which is a very beautiful and charming little street.
Go from Møllestien to Vestergade, past Church of our Lady, Vor Frue Kirke, and all the way down to Lille Torv square. On your left, you will find the cobbled streets of the Latin Quarter, which is one of Aarhus’ most charming areas. You will find little, old houses that today house cosy restaurants and cafes or little trendy shops filled with stunning arts and crafts or perhaps all the latest trends.
I usually urge everyone to visit Salling ROOFTOP and ROOFGARDEN. From here, the view is magnificent overlooking all of Aarhus and the surrounding area. Furthermore, this is an incredible way of experiencing modern architecture. And admission is free of charge. If you can find the courage to go the 27 m above street level, you will find a cafe, a roof terrace, a stage, and a skywalk there. A lot of visitors have said that experiencing this incredible view is a unique opportunity.
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The Best Local Tipps
Weather permitting, you should jump in the harbour bath where you will find pools for all ages. And of course, Aarhus Ø is an absolute must if you are just the least bit interested in architecture!