7 (free) things to do in Aarhus.
Aarhus is known as The City of Smiles and there are plenty to smile about. You can visit all the usual suspects from the brochures and tourist guidebooks like ARoS, Den Gamle By, the beautiful cathedral and Moesgaard Museum. But if you settle for that, then you are missing out. Instead, you can go off the beaten track and discover Aarhus on a budget of zero. Actually there are a lot of free things to do in Aarhus.
Aarhus is the European Cultural Capital of Europe in 2017 and Lonely Planet ranks Aarhus as #2 on “The European destinations you need to see in 2016”, beating among others cities like Venice, Italy.
We have found seven free things to do in Aarhus that you can manage in one day.
Are the vikings 10 feet tall?
You can literally travel back in time as you take the stairs 10 feet down and 900 years back in time. Below the Nordea Bank on Bispetorv you’ll find The Viking Museum.
It was during excavations at this site that archaeologists in 1964 for the first time got a hold of Viking Aarhus. A quantity of objects and traces of small pit houses and a plank-way along the foot of the ring rampage appeared.
Here you’ll get a shortcut to the origin of vikings. If you imagine that the vikings were 10 feet tall warriors with the strength of gods, then you might be a bit surprised. Just at the bottom of the stairs you can see a full figure of a normal sized viking family. It’s a perfect selfie moment.
You’ll be introduced to viking history, architecture, rune stones, all the gods and much more.
Check out opening hours here http://www.vikingemuseet.dk/%C3%A5bningstider/
The Spanish Stairs at Immervad
Sit down and relax on the Spanish Steps right next to Immervad bridge between Magasin and Cross Café at Åboulvarden. Enjoy the buzz from the people enjoying the atmosphere at the cafées or are strolling along the creek. Immervad means ‘the place you can always cross’ and it was here the first vikings founded the settlement that later became Aarhus.
If you are into architecture and urban development then take a walk on Aarhus Ø. Aarhus is growing so more space is needed. Therefore the harbor front is being pushed further into the ocean and a whole new area of the city is developing. The area is called Aarhus Ø, which has a double meaning. First, Aarhus Ø is literally translated to Aarhus Island, hinting that the area is build on water. Second, Ø is the abbreviation of Øst (East) indicating that Aarhus Ø is the part of Aarhus that lies to the east. If you look through the area codes, you’ll also find Aarhus N for the Northern part of Aarhus, Aarhus S for South, Aarhus C for Centre etc.
In 1997 the Aarhus City Council decided that, the city’s old container port should be transformed into a vibrant and attractive new neighborhood on the edge between the bay and forest.
This transformation of the port of Aarhus is now in full swing. The large harbor is bite by bite made for squares, parks, canals, roads, housing, shops, restaurants and offices, turning the area into working- and living space for thousands of people with buildings like DOKK1, the Bestseller headquarter and residential design icons like Lighthouse and Isbjerget (The Iceberg). The vision for the Waterfront is that in about 15 to 20 years it will be a new, vibrant town, where the focus is on people, environment, architecture, infrastructure, commercial and wellbeing.
Walk in Risskov.
Go for a walk, run or even a bike ride in the Risskov forest in the northeastern part of Aarhus. Do a stop at the outdoor gym at the beginning of Dr. Margrethes Vej to experience an amazing view of the bay area… and do some outdoor fitness training.
Pet Bambi in Marselisborg Dyrehave
Do you like to feed the animals and get close to them? So take your best friend with the Marselisborg Dyrehave. Here you can namely see both deer, fallow deer and wild boar, and there are also ducks in lakes.
Pet Bambi and come very close to these beautiful animals. The animals are easy to find among the trees and on the hills, while you go for a walk. And you can get close to the deers and feed them. They can not tolerate bread and pasta, but remember to bring apples and carrots, because they love that.
Dyrehaven is open from sunrise to sunset and is located in Thorskoven, which is part of the Marselisborg woods. There are lots of room to play and good hiking trails. Remember your lunch, because there are plenty of tables and benches, where you can enjoy a little picnic lunch or a delicious snack.
Feel like a Queen
In 1902 Aarhus gave Marselisborg Castle as a wedding present to the royal family. In 1974 the park was opened to the public in an understanding that the municipality would ensure the upkeep of the park.
The free access to the park indicate that the owner does not need to surround themselves with significant mystery, and the openes may help to maintain Denmark as a monarchy.
The park is a tourist magnet. When the weather is good, there may come 7-8,000 visitors on a weekend. Although people can not visit the castle itself, it is unique to be able to get so close to royalty.
Everything that happens in the garden, is agreed with the Queen, who goes for a walk in the garden every summer with the city gardener.
A working outline of what needs to be done in the garden is decided. The plan can not be changed without the Queens acceptance.
Free guided tours
If you want more experiences then consider going one of the Aarhus Free Walking Tours.
Choose from a range of tours like ‘ All you need to know about Aarhus’, ‘Aarhus and the vikings’ or ‘15 places and stories hidden in plain sight’. They tend to be quite popular so it is advised to book a ticket in advance to be sure to go. See the tourschedule here https://www.facebook.com/pg/Aarhusexperience/events/
We wish you a happy stay in Aarhus. If you find your own free things to do, please share them with us here.