Top attractions for your to-do list in Aarhus

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September 25th, 2018

It is true that we search for authentic and unique experiences and travel to be temporary citizens of the city we visit. However, there are certain attractions that you must experience. And those attractions are of course very popular among travelers. We want to highlight seven top attractions that we suggest to our guests in Aarhus. The seven attractions in Aarhus, which are presented below, are historically exciting, architecturally beautiful, and highly cultural destinations. Aarhus has a lot more to offer, but these attractions are among the best.

Moesgaard Museum

Moesgaard Museum is located on the top of our list because the museum has on average received the best reviews of all attractions in Aarhus. At the time of writing, Moesgaard Museum is thus a favorite destination among travelers. The museum boasts two Michelin stars in the world famous tourist attraction guide. But what can you actually experience at Moesgaard Museum? Humans are central to the museum’s exhibits. It’s the story of the modern man that is being told through special exhibits in the ethnographic department and through the permanent collection from ancient history. At Moesgaard Museum, you will learn about human life in the Stone Age, the Bronze Age, the Iron Age, and the Viking Age through staged and dramatized narratives.

Moesgaard Museum is located south of Aarhus, just 10 km from Zleep Hotel Aarhus Viby. If you go to the museum and have experienced everything inside, then we suggest you set off some extra time to enjoy the beautiful landscape in the surroundings. The museum building was designed by Henning Larsen Architects and the landscape architect Kirstine Jensen. The area consists of 100 hectares park, forest and fields, and it stretches all the way out to the ocean.

Aarhus Cathedral

Your next historical destination should be Aarhus Cathedral. The construction of this large church was begun in the 1100s and continued for four centuries. Aarhus Cathedral was first finished as a roman basilica around 1300. Later, the church was rebuilt in a gothic style and transformed around 1500. This is what we see today; a gothic cathedral that has been towering above the surrounding buildings for hundreds of years. The cathedral in Aarhus looks very much like the cathedral in Roskilde, which has also been built in a gothic style, but a visit to one of these does not exclude the other.

Aarhus Cathedral | © Henrik Bentsen

Aarhus Cathedral has room for 1,200 people sitting. It is the longest church in Denmark with its 93 meters. Since the construction, the church has been devoted to Saint Clement, the saint of sailors. Saint Clement can be seen on the church’s 220 square meter large chalk painting. The cathedral in Aarhus is actually home to the largest collection of chalk paintings. If you contact the church verger, it might be possible to go up to the tower of the church – this is probably the best view of Aarhus you will get.

The Old Town

Don’t stop your historical experience journey through Aarhus just yet; at Moesgaard Museum you saw ancient objects, and in Aarhus Cathedral you experienced the advent of Christianity in Denmark in the Middle Ages. Now it’s time to fast forward to the 1600s. From outside, The Old Town doesn’t look like much, but when you get behind the walls, it’s an entire city in and of itself. You’ll walk through time and experience how a Danish town has developed since the 17th century all the way to the 20th century. The largest part of the city consists of residential housing, stores and workshops from the 1600s to the 1800s. Everything you find within The Old Town is original. This means that everything is found somewhere in Denmark and has been moved to this authentic cultural spot in Aarhus. The Old Town states that “There are investigations and research behind everything we do. The bricklayer slakes his lime, the painter mixes his paint.”

When in Aarhus, The Old Town should definitely be among your priorities. The attraction is on Michelin’s guide of the world’s 1,000 biggest attractions. The museum was founded by Peter Holm back in 1914. His vision continues to drive the staff at the museum: “For me, the most important matter was the creation of the city image, preferably with all the ‘hygge’ and atmosphere that is characteristic of small old towns with houses from different ages, crooked streets and small gardens with fruit trees, herbs and bushes. It was agreed that it was not to be a building museum with houses in systematic, style historic order… Such a museum would seem infinitely boring, and it would never give a truthful image of an old town.”

Botanical Garden

After your visit to The Old Town it is ideal to make your way to Aarhus’ Botanical Garden. The garden is a large, green area on a hill just next to The Old Town. The Botanical Garden is a beautiful space for nice walks or as a landmark on a run. The beautiful alpine beds, thematic gardens and rose beds facilitate beautiful surroundings while you take a break or have a picnic. A stream winds its way through the Botanical Garden as well as The Old Town, forming three lakes.

Botanical Garden | © Science Museerne

In the Botanical Garden are the Greenhouses. Here, you can walk from one corner of the world to another. Through this world expedition, you will explore botany from four different climate zones. Botany and nature are in focus in this educational attraction where plants from all over the world have been collected. The Greenhouses tell the story about nature and its influence on our daily life, and we especially appreciate that they tell this story in a way that is appropriate for all ages. And we are pretty crazy about the free entrance, too.

Marselisborg

Are you looking for more nature after the Botanical Garden? We suggest that you visit Marselisborg Memorial Park. Within its 15 acres by the Bay of Aarhus, you can enjoy a space away from the rush of daily life. Go for a walk, eat your lunch or just close your eyes and enjoy the natural surroundings here. The Memorial Park is divided in four sections. One of these is Rømerhaven, which consist of a mirror pool, a perennial garden, a rose garden, and beds of summer flowers. In the park, you will also find a monument from 1934 that honors the Danes that died during the first World War. The monument is a large, circular wall that has been built into the terrain. On the inside of the wall has been engraved 4,000 names.

Marselisborg Castle | © Steffen N. Christensen

In the middle of Marselisborg Memorial Park is a beautiful castle that is home to the royal couple during the summer. The building was a wedding present from the people to King Christian X and Queen Alexandra. The castle is not open for everyone, but when the royal family is not staying at Marselisborg Castle, the castle park is open to the public. If it’s possible, you should plan your trip in the spring or autumn if you want to see the castle park. Right next to Marselisborg Memorial Park is a deer park and nearby is Ceres Arena (a football stadium) and Tivoli Friheden (an amusement park). There is plenty to do within and in the surroundings of Marselisborg Memorial Park.

ARoS

We can hardly say Aarhus without saying ARoS. ARoS is the largest art museum in Northern Europe and is located in the city center. Get ready to explore 10 floors and 7,000 square meters of fascinating art. The museum has a collection of 8,000 artworks; 1,100 paintings, 400 sculptures, 200 videos and more than 7,000 drawings and pictures. You will find the world’s largest Per Kirkeby collection and one of the finest collections of Danish modernism from the first half of the 20th century. If you are interested in art, you might already know that ARoS is full of internationally recognized contemporary artists, such as Bill Viola, Gilbert & George, Carsten Höller, James Turrell, Pipilotti Rist, and Ron Mueck.

Not everyone knows too much about the art world – probably only a few truly understand. But no matter how interested you are in art, we are pretty sure that you would enjoy visiting ARoS art museum. This assumption is very much based on the museum’s permanent artwork on top of the building. “Your rainbow panorama” is a 150 meter long, circular tunnel that is surrounded by glass made in all the colors of the rainbow. The changing colors makes the panoramic view of Aarhus city quite spectacular – and quite different throughout the circle. It is of course a popular background choice for images as the amazing light makes it very Instagram-friendly, rendering filters unnecessary. This wonderful artwork can be seen from afar, which is why it is a good landmark to use to find your way around the city.

The museum’s interior and architecture are inspired by Dante’s “Divine Comedy.” The museum connects Earth with heaven and hell. The rainbow on top of the museum is the connection to heaven. In the basement is a special exhibit named “The 9 Rooms.” This exhibit is reserved and specially designed for international light, video and installation art. The nine rooms refer to the Divine Comedy’s nine concentric circles of hell.

Dokk1

A somewhat different attraction in Aarhus is Dokk1, an architectural beauty by Aarhus harbor that houses the city’s library. We would usually not define libraries as attractions (although The Black Diamond in Copenhagen could very well fit the same definition), but it is not justified to describe it only as a library. Dokk1 is much more than a library. It is a house of innovation, of culture, of experiences, a place to meet, and a space for relaxation. Dokk1 played a large part in the transformation of the harbor in Aarhus – from an industrial harbor to an urban space. The many departments in the library makes it a great place to meet for the citizens and for the cultural scene. With many exciting events and loads of activities, Dokk1 is definitely worth a visit. At the library there are breathing rooms, a Children’s Lab, movie area, MakerSpace, TweensLab, the gaming street and DokkStart. The café has outdoor seating with a great view over the ocean.

Foto venligst udlånt af Dokk1Image kindly loaned from Dokk1

The indoor facilities ensure that there is something for everyone, so the entire family can have a fun time. At the large outdoor deck that surrounds Dokk1, you will find a playground. The playground is named The Globe because it has been divided into the world corners – all connected by a play route throughout which stories are told with symbols. You and your family can balance on ice floes in the north; crawl up a Russian bear and slide down the hollow tree trunk in the north-east; listen to the Chinese dragon’s stories in the east; and just relax in a hammock and the rope swings in the south.

As we mentioned in the beginning of this blog post, Aarhus has much more to offer than just these seven attractions. When you visit Aarhus, you will thus have plenty to do, and we are ready to welcome you to Zleep Hotel Aarhus Syd – and of course also at Zleep Hotel Aarhus Nord when we open in 2019.