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Is Aarhus Worth Visiting in January?

Is Aarhus worth visiting in January on a trip to Denmark? Find out what Aarhus is like in the winter. What is there to see, do, and eat in Aarhus?

Is Aarhus worth visiting in January? I had the chance to answer that question when my business trip to Copenhagen in winter expanded to include a day in Aarhus. 

What is Aarhus known for? What is there to do in Aarhus, especially in the winter? I aimed to find out by extending my trip to give myself one day in Aarhus dedicated to exploring all that this second largest city in Denmark has to offer.  

Getting to Aarhus

It's possible to fly to Aarhus directly from selected cities in Europe (like Oslo and Stockholm) on SAS Airlines. Aarhus is also a good Ryanair destination if your starting point is London. If you fly to Copenhagen, you'll have more flight options. 

I took the train from Copenhagen to Aarhus. The fastest rail option takes about 2 hours and 45 minutes to get between these two Danish cities. 

Aarhus in January: Aarhus Rådhuset

I paid about 170 EUR round trip using the DSB app for a first class ticket including a seat assignment. I booked a few weeks in advance. 

Book early to get the best prices. You can always change or cancel your ticket in the DSB app as the trip gets closer.

Where to Stay in Aarhus

I stayed at the Radisson Blu Scandinavia Hotel which was attached to the Aarhus Congress Center. The hotel is about a 10 minute walk from Aarhus Central Train Station. 

ARoS art museum is close by. I could walk to most points in Aarhus: from the historic core to the modern port in less than 30 minutes. 

I found the rooms at the Radisson Blu Scandinavia in Aarhus to be quiet and comfortable, albeit a little dated. I paid about 130 EUR a night (not including breakfast).

View inside my room at Radisson Blu Scandinavia Hotel in Aarhus

Things to do in Aarhus in the Winter

Now let's take a look at the different things to do in Aarhus in winter to help answer the question if a winter trip is worth the trouble.

1. Explore ARoS Aarhus Art Museum

ARoS, Aarhus' art museum is probably the biggest attraction in the city. This round building and landmark of the city features a rainbow panorama walk at the top. 

Things to do in Aarhus in winter: ARoS Aarhus Art Museum

I recommend taking the lift to the top, starting with the panorama walk and then working your way down. The exhibits go from more traditional "art hung on the wall" to eccentric and experiential installation pieces as you make your way to the bottom.

Things to do in Aarhus in January: Panorama walk at ARoS Aarhus Art Museum

ARoS is expensive (the equivalent of about 25 EUR to visit). In January when I visited, ARoS was running a special. For 150 DKK (about 20 EUR), I got a ticket to the museum and a free hot beverage in the cafe (valued at about 6.50 EUR...yes Denmark is expensive).

2. Visit the Surprising Jewish Cemetery

Just on the edge of Musikhusparken on Frederiks Allé, I discovered Mosaisk Troessamfunds Begravelsesplads. This small cluster of gravestones dates back to 1824 and the cemetery was built for the Jewish population in and around Aarhus. 

The last grave was dug in 1905. Today, the cemetery seems to be lost in time with modern Aarhus grown up all around it. 

Things to do in Aarhus in winter: visit the historic Jewish cemetery

3. Have Smørrebrød at Raadhuus Kafeen

At least two colleagues who I met on my business trip recommended having a meal at Raadhus Kafeen in Aarhus. I make it a point to pay attention to local recommendations and so went for an early lunch.

I found that the smørrebrød on the lunch menu were very traditional (this was validated by my Danish friend to whom I sent a picture). The smørrebrød were also pretty economical by Danish standards. 

My Danish friend informed me that if you are in a restaurant, you should assemble and eat your smørrebrød with a knife and fork. It is ok to ask for more bread if you run out.

I paid about 85 DKK (about 11.50 EUR) for an enormous portion of liver paté served with dense rye bread. To finish, I splurged on a shot of aquavit. My waiter was a little cheeky and poured himself a shot as well.

What to eat in Aarhus in January: Smørrebrød at Raadhuus Kafeen

4. Go Doorspotting

My regular readers know that I love door photography. If the sun comes out during a winter trip to Aarhus, take time to go door spotting. I found that the doors of Aarhus are definitely worth capturing.

Door in Aarhus Denmark in the winter

5. Stroll Møllestien

Møllestien was another Aarhus attraction that multiple colleagues recommended. This small cobbled street lined with colorful cottages is picturesque. You'll feel like you've been transported back in time as you stroll down this block.

Things to do in Aarhus in January: visit Møllestien

6. Get Cozy with a Specialty Coffee

I was very impressed with the specialty coffee scene in Denmark. If it's cold and rainy during a trip to Aarhus in winter, head inside for a bit of hygge at one of several specialty coffee places in Aarhus. 

I particularly liked Bill's Coffee. I was lucky in that in addition to locally roasted coffee beans, they were serving Denmark's famous February Fastelavnsboller at the end of January. 

Specialty coffee and a Fastelavnsboller at Bill's coffee in Aarhus at the end of January

The barista told me that bakeries serve fastelavnsboller in the lead-up to lent. Locals try the different versions which range from traditional to sweet, cream-filled, and extravagant to crown their favorite. 

I also tried the Coffee Collective Guldsmedgade and La Cabra Graven for a quick pick-me-up and warm-up from the cold winter day in Aarhus.

7. Get Tipsy

Danish cuisine can be quite meat and herring intensive. What if you are a vegetarian visiting Aarhus in winter? 

I recommend heading to Tipsy near the Central Train Station. This casual eatery serves vegetarian and vegan tacos alongside simple cocktails (happy hour pricing until 6 pm). 

Go early or consider phoning ahead to reserve a table. A colleague and I arrived without a reservation on a Wednesday and we were turned away because they were fully booked. We persisted and came back the next night to enjoy a huge platter of meatless tacos.

What to eat in Aarhus in January: Vegetarian tacos at Tipsy

8. Walk Along the Modern Harbour

My business meetings were in the Aarhus Docklands. Take a walk along the Bay of Aarhus (if the weather cooperates). 

On one side of the street next to the water, you'll find modern glass buildings. Across the street and sometimes reflected in the new and shiny, you'll find historic facades. 

Keep an eye open for imaginative street art in this area too.

Modern office building on Aarhus harbour in January

9. Explore Aarhus' Historic Core and Courtyards

Even in winter, Aarhus' historic core is worth exploring. This is the area roughly bounded by Åboulevarden (the street along the river), Nørre Allé, Skolegade, and Vester Allé. 

Historic churches like Aarhus Domkirke (Aarhus Cathedral) and Vor Frue Kirke (Our Lady Church) are found in this area. 

Aarhus Domkirke in January

I also found some lovely and colorful half-timbered facades sagging under the weight of hundreds of years of history. 
Historic half-timbered building in Aarhus
Street art of a person kissing a seagull in Aarhus in January

Street art and sculptures are another key theme. Step into the Old Court behind Bill's Coffee for a look at a historic courtyard.

Things to do in Aarhus in January: Visit Old Court

10. Stop and Go

Pay special attention at the traffic lights in Aarhus for a reminder of the city's Viking history. Did you know that according to VisitAarhus, Aarhus was founded by Vikings over 1200 years ago.

Instead of the standard red and green walk signals, I was delighted to find red and green Vikings telling me whether it was ok to cross the street.

Viking "walk" and "don't walk" signs in Aarhus Denmark

11. Nosh Aarhus Street Food

One of my favorite experiences in Aarhus was visiting the Aarhus Street Food hall. A colleague and I visited for an early dinner and were delighted by the array of food choices from around the world. My colleague opted for falafel wrapped in fresh baked Lebanese bread.

I opted for a pulled duck sandwich and duck fat fries from Duck It washed down with a Danish craft beer. 

If you're feeling hungry and hanging out with people who may have different tastes, Aarhus Street Food is a great place to go, even in winter, since the food stalls are inside.

Collage of pictures from Aarhus Street Food in January

Is Aarhus Worth Visiting in January?

What's the verdict? Is Aarhus worth visiting in the winter? I would not make a detour specifically to visit Aarhus in January if you don't have some other reason to be here (like I did on my business trip). 

Denmark and especially Aarhus is cold and wet in January and so you can't take advantage of many of the Aarhus regions outdoor attractions including Den Gamle By, a sort of living museum.

While the temperature stayed above freezing for my visit, the wind and the rain made it feel colder than it was. Make sure to bring warm waterproof gear to stay comfortable if you visit Aarhus at this time of year.

Diving sculpture in front of Aarhus Cathedral

I did find that when the sunshines, Aarhus is a picturesque place to explore even in the winter. Plus, there are plenty of indoor activities, like the AROS art museum to keep you busy while staying warm and dry. 

So, I recommend taking the time to visit Aarhus in the winter if you are there for other reasons, but don't add Aarhus as a stop on your January vacation in Denmark. Instead, save Aarhus for a trip in the late Spring or Summer.

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Sidewalk Safari | Part-time Travel Blog: Is Aarhus Worth Visiting in January?
Is Aarhus Worth Visiting in January?
Is Aarhus worth visiting in January on a trip to Denmark? Find out what Aarhus is like in the winter. What is there to see, do, and eat in Aarhus?
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