Denmark – Århus
Århus or its English equivalent “Aarhus” is the second largest city in the Kingdom of Denmark after the city of Copenhagen and is situated on the east coast of the Island of Jutland. This was the first stop on our driving tour of Denmark and it was a beautiful city. This city was listed on most travel blogs that we read prior to our adventure and it was highlighted as one of the must-see cities of Denmark. The city used to be a fortified Viking stronghold in the 8th century which means it has a rich heritage that the Danes have preserved for us to benefit from.
Aarhus is an important port with over 50% of the total amount of goods for Denmark being processed here. Aarhus is also at the cultural and economic core of the region and the largest centre for trade, services and industry in Jutland.
The Old Town Museum
Den Gamle By (The Old Town), officially Danmarks Købstadmuseum (Denmark’s Market Town Museum), has beautifully preserved buildings and examples of how life in Aarhus was centuries ago, starting from around the 16th century with the last examples ending in 1970. The site is very popular for young and old, families and tourists as this is an interactive museum where one can not only experience the old way of doing things but also purchase articles such as candles, soaps and wood carvings that are produced at the site using traditional methods and tools.
The museum is an enclosed part of the city and an entrance fee is required to access the site. Dogs are allowed in the town however they are not allowed inside the houses where on can view the preserved interiors. There are a number of metal fixtures strategically located at some of the houses where you can leave your dog while exploring the interiors.
This is a museum that caters for both young and old visitors. There is an area where children are able to play and try out some traditional games such as stilt walking, free of charge. There are games such as 10 pin bowling as they did centuries ago for the older visitors to enjoy should you wish to try something authentic. In the winter months there are fires strategically located throughout the facilities should you get cold and wish to warm up a little.
The town is crisscrossed with original cobble stoned roads and it is possible for you to take a horse drawn carriage ride through the town. There is a small stream that runs through the centre of the town that is teeming with ducks and swans that really add to the authentic village feel.
As you make your way through the museum, one can see the development of the town and how the modern age influenced life in the village. There is some 27 rooms, chambers or kitchens, 34 workshops, 10 groceries or shops, 5 historical gardens, a post office, a customs’ office, a school and a theatre in total so budget on spending at least 4 hours in the museum. The clock museum was of special note as there is an extensive exhibit of vintage clock mechanism types, shapes and sizes that are on display. There is a green house pictured left where produce and flower arrangements can be purchased.
Parking in the area around Den Gamble By can be a bit of a problem during peak times and this museum can get quite busy so it is best to look at the peak times to best visit the museum. I have posted my review along with a number of my photos under the following link:
Marselisborg Deer Park (Marselisborg Dyrehave)
For animal lovers such as ourselves, this was a special treat as the animals are very tame and not only can you view them up close but some might even let you touch them. There are 3 main types of animals found here namely sika & fallow deer and wild boars which were recently a welcome addition to the park.
Visitors are encouraged to bring food such as fruit and carrots to feed the animals and families of small children can be seen interacting closely with the animals. The wild boars should not be fed under any circumstances and can be unpredictable should they feel threatened. Even though these animals are quite tame, they remain wild and slow movements are necessary not to scare the deer. Dogs are not allowed in the enclosures for obvious reasons.
I would recommend stopping here as we did on our scenic coastal drive as the road weaves beautifully through the forests located on outskirts of city. In the evenings and on weekends, this area is teeming with cyclists, joggers and hikers and the Danes are outdoor people regardless of the weather.
Pro Tip: Deer cannot digest bread, pasta or similar food items and they will fall ill if they eat it. Instead the animals can be fed with carrots and apples, which are normally considered safe.
Aarhus Kunstmuseum (ARoS)
This art museum is best known for its rainbow panoramic viewing deck where a unique perspective on the city can be viewed from. The exhibitions include art works from what is considered the Danish Golden Era up to present day works. The museum will celebrate 160 years in 2019 and it has been located at its current address since April 2004.
The ARoS is one of the largest art museums in the whole of Europe and approx. 5 hours should be budgeted for it should you wish to visit. There is a restaurant at the museum and there is parking available to visitors. This is a great attraction and should be on your list should you visit the city.
The Danes are very much an outdoor nation regardless of the weather conditions or temperature. Cycling is the main form of transport in the major cities as the taxes levied on new automobile purchases is exorbitant in an attempt to encourage the use of public transport rather than personal vehicles. Light rail and bus services are available for the public to access and the network services most areas of the city.
Bicycles are still the best way to get around by combining flexibility and convenience with this and the public transport system is the best bet to get around. There are a number of park houses located throughout the city but these fill up quickly and are really extensive to use. So if you are planning on parking your car in the city centre, be prepared to pay a premium for such a luxury.
Aarhus has a free bike sharing system in place between 1 April and 30 October called Aarhus Bycykler (Aarhus City Bikes). There are approx. 57 stations throughout the city where these bikes can be picked up and dropped off. This system works in much the same way that shopping carts do at supermarkets in Denmark. 20 DKK is inserted in the slot for it to become available and the 20 DKK coin is returned when the bike is returned. You do not have to return to the same station that the bike was picked up from.
We were lucky enough to see a sea-plane that is for obvious reasons very unusual to see in this day and age. We inquired from the locals a little about this plane and according to them, one can purchase a ticket to fly with this sea-plane from Aarhus Harbour directly to Copenhagen Harbour. We did not try this out but it could be a great idea if you are in the mood to try something out of the ordinary.
A Final Word
Visiting the city in November did not provide a good basis to visit the many beautiful beaches that surround Aarhus however should you be privileged enough to visit during the warmer months, this is definitely a good idea. The overall friendliness of the city, the city centre and the shopping districts provided a great start to our adventure and grabbing a coffee from one of the many coffee houses and watching the world go by is definitely not a bad way to spend an afternoon in this magnificent city.
I would suggest that most of the attractions can be covered in 2 days and should you be on a tour of the country as we were, this was more than enough time before moving on.
Should you have questions about Aarhus, leave me something in comments section and I will see to getting back to you with as soon as possible.