Denmark is known as the happiest country in the world and I can certainly understand why after our visit. The Danes strive for what’s called hygge (sounds like hooga), the rough translation means “coziness” but it is so much more than that. In essence, hygge means creating a nice, warm atmosphere and enjoying the good things in life with good people around you.
While in Denmark you will truly feel this everywhere you go. The Danes are so friendly and welcoming and the culture is very laid back. Even I, a Type A person, was completely relaxed and stress-free the entire time I was there.
Thinking of Denmark, I had visions of Vikings and cold weather. That’s literally about all I knew. Before the hubs started working for his current employer, I had never even heard of Aarhus, Denmark but was surprised to learn that it is the second-largest city in the country. Mr. Bug works for a European company and was sent on assignment to Aarhus for one week and my company was gracious enough to let me work remotely for the week so I could tag along. We scheduled the trip over Labor Day week so I was only physically out of the office four days.
What is there to do in Aarhus, Denmark? Well, there’s actually quite a bit! Aarhus is a university town located on the east coast of the Jutland peninsula in the geographical center of Denmark.
Since we had to work during the days, we tried to do as much sightseeing as possible in the evenings. Mr. Bug and I lucked out and visited during the annual Aarhus Festival, where the streets come alive with music, architecture, stage performances, food vendors, and more.
We stayed at Hotel Royal and the main part of the festival was directly outside the hotel. Walking out of the hotel you could immediately hear the latest musical performance on stage and down the street was a second stage for a variety of artists such as fire breathers, jugglers, and comedians.
You could walk five minutes in any direction and stumble upon a beer garden serving Carlsberg beer and Somersby cider (my favorite!). We may or may not have visited the beer gardens until the wee hours most nights. Live music and great drinks with friendly Danes? Who could say no?
The Hotel Royal really was in a prime location. Right across the street and viewable from our hotel window was the Aarhus Domkirke (Cathedral) which is the longest and also tallest church in Denmark. The inside is very stunning and is available for viewing Monday-Saturday.
If you walk about two minutes from Hotel Royal to the right, you will find the Vikings Museum, located in the basement of the Nordea Bank. The Vikings founded Aarhus some 1200 years ago at the very spot where the museum is located which is quite fascinating. The museum houses informative exhibits along with artifacts that have been recovered from excavations. This is a fairly small museum but still worth a visit I believe, and it’s free so even better!
The largest and most well-known attraction in Aarhus is the ARoS Art Museum. The ARoS Museum is one of the largest in Northern Europe and the most impressive attraction in Aarhus. Your Rainbow Panorama is a rooftop art exhibit that you can walk through and enjoy 360 degree breathtaking views of the city.
Another fun exhibit is Boy, a giant sculpture of a boy that is in the lower level of the museum.
No visit to Aarhus would be complete without a trip to ARoS Museum.
Aarhus is a major shipping town and a boat tour around the harbor is a great way to get a different perspective of the city.
Aarhus is a very walkable city and we were able to walk from our hotel to the harbor, marina, museum, local grocery store, and more. If you aren’t up for walking you can ride a bike, take an inexpensive bus, or grab a taxi.
The food in Denmark is fantastic. Everything is so incredibly fresh and delicious. Dinner time is an event in Aarhus, plan on at least three hours for your meal.
I recommend you stroll down to the river and grab an outdoor table to enjoy some fresh meat and wine with a view.
For lunch, you MUST order a Danish hot dog. These are not just any type of hot dog; these are magical hot dogs with a multitude of topping options including mayo, mustard, ketchup, fried onions, cucumbers, and remoulade. I literally ate a hot dog every single day for lunch.
If you have time before you leave town, I recommend a trip to the beach.
Grab an ice cream cone and enjoy the view.
Denmark is my favorite European country and I cannot wait until our next visit to Aarhus. If Denmark isn’t on your list of places to visit, you should definitely consider adding it!