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Introducing Aalborg

We found it hard to get a handle on Aalborg, sitting at the narrowest point of the Limfjord (the long body of water that slices Jutland in two). It’s Denmark’s fourth-largest city but feels somehow larger, more industrial and more impersonal than Århus (strange, given that Århus is more than double its size). Aalborg has lost chunks of its historical­ quaintness to industrial and commercial development, although the centre contains enough ancient half-timbered buildings to give you an idea of the kind of affluence its Renaissance merchants enjoyed. Aalborg is certainly handsome in parts, but it seems to lack a city heart, and the long-awaited waterfront rejuvenation is slow in coming. Meanwhile, tourism authorities are shining the spotlight on Aalborg’s ‘lifestyle attractions’ (shopping and dining), and indeed its restaurants are one of its best features. Sadly the accommodation doesn’t match up, and the city is crying out for a swish boutique crash-pad to woo the city-breakers. All in all, Aalborg’s a mixed bag but shows loads of potential. Traditionally it’s been ignored by foreign travellers, but there are enough diversions here to occupy a day or two for most visitors, from families to foodies, party animals to history boffins.