The train station marks the south side of the city centre. A pedestrian shopping street extends 850m from here to Aarhus Domkirke, the cathedral, in the heart of the old quarter.
The best neighbourhoods for exploring, shopping and eating are the Latin Quarter, north of the cathedral; and Frederiksbjerg, south of the train station.
The easiest, most enjoyable way to experience the great outdoors surrounding Aarhus is on foot or by bike, and the best hiking and cycling is along the green belt south of the city.
On Your Bike
OK, so you’ve found yourself a functional bycykel (or have hired a bike from Cycling Aarhus) and are looking to explore. Good two-wheeled trips:
- South to Marselisborg, taking in the palace and park. Stop off to refuel at the marina en route.
- North to check out the green campus of Aarhus University.
- Further north to Risskov, to explore the pretty woodlands and Den Permanente beach.
- Aarhus Ø and the northern harbourside developments, full of impressive architectural designs (and a cool beach bar).
If the weather’s good, popular family friendly beaches lie on the town’s outskirts and feature clean, calm (but often cool) waters. The best-loved spots to the north are the traditional seabaths known as Den Permanente, in Risskov not far from the Danhostel. Bellevue, further north of Den Permanente (about 4km north of the city centre), is also popular; buses 17 and 20 will get you there.
Otherwise head south to Moesgård Strand about 7km from the centre on bus 31. Den Permanente tends to draw a younger crowd; families head to Moesgård.
Aarhus has many smart chain hotels, mainly catering to business and conference crowds – these often have good weekend and summertime rates. If you’re after something special, book early at a boutique hotel or B&B.
The 'Where to Sleep' section of the VisitAarhus website (www.visitaarhus.com) lists rooms in private homes, plus private apartments for rent. Many are central and very well priced.
Note that where parking is offered, it's rarely free.
There's a food revolution sweeping Aarhus, with new restaurants, cafes, microbreweries and provedores springing up regularly and giving diners plenty to hunger over. Options swing from farmers markets to fancy-pants dining; two new food halls feed grazers and hipsters while gourmands can choose from a handful of Michelin-starred restaurants.
Supermarkets generally open from 8am, closing between 8pm and 10pm. Bakeries inside supermarkets open from 7am.
Where to Eat
There are great dining and drinking opportunities scattered all over Aarhus' compact city centre. Away from the same-same feeling you may get along Åboulevarden, the Latin Quarter is good for international cuisine and pretty bistro-style cafes.
The cool Frederiksbjerg neighbourhood, south of the train station, is centred on MP Bruuns Gade and Jægergårdsgade and is another fertile hunting ground for good eats.
Drinking & Nightlife
Aarhus has a sizeable student population, which enlivens the city's parks and cobblestone streets (and fills its bars). Plenty of eating options are also primed for a drink, like St Pauls Apothek for great cocktails, and Aarhus Street Food for chilled-out grazing and boozing.
Where to Drink
Good drinking haunts:
- Åboulevarden The north side is full of chic restaurant-bars, while the south side has big drinking dens open late on Friday and Saturday nights. Nearby Skolegade has intimate boozers and dive bars.
- Frederiksgade For boisterous English and Irish pubs and schedules of live music, jam sessions, quiz competitions and karaoke.
- Latin Quarter For quality bistros and wine bars. Mejlgade is a good spot to seek out.
- Frederiksbjerg Jægergårdsgade and surrounds are home to plenty of bars and cafes.
Drinking & Nightlife
Aarhus has excellent options for live music, from pubs to concert halls and club venues. Look out for the city's summertime festivals – NorthSide has a growing reputation, while the Aarhus Festival is a city-wide excuse to party.
There are also theatre and dance venues, and a beloved art-house cinema.
Aarhus has, arguably, the country's best music scene, plus a growing number of excellent music festivals take place here.
Aside from the diverse offerings of Musikhuset Aarhus and the live-music events of club venues such as Train, it’s not hard to track down music being played in more intimate venues. Look for summertime outdoor concerts too, at venues such as Tivoli Friheden amusement park.
Websites for the venues may be in Danish, but the events calendars are easy enough to follow.
Cinema tickets cost from 70kr to 100kr – it’s cheaper to see a daytime session.
The shopping is excellent in Aarhus, but you may be surprised by the limited opening hours. Many smaller stores don't trade on weekends, aside from a few hours on Saturday (supermarkets open as usual). Sunday trading is usually permitted on the first Sunday of the month. Be sure to ask about paperwork for VAT refunds.
Where to Shop
Good shopping areas:
- Søndergade This 850m-long pedestrian street (known as Ryesgade at its starting point opposite the train station) is home to mainstream shopping and chain stores. The strip is also referred to as Strøget.
- Latin Quarter A cobblestone, largely pedestrianised area offering cool fashion and design boutiques. Check out Badstuegade, Volden and west along Vestergade.
- Frederiksbjerg This neighbourhood has boutiques and eclectic finds, including some retro stores and artisan studios.
Tour companies seem to come and go in Aarhus (and some operate with just a limited summer season), so it's worth checking with VisitAarhus to see what your options are.