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Aarhus Ø

Aarhus Ø is a new quarter in Denmark’s second city and is the neighbourhood I would most highly recommend this summer!

Photograph: Visit Aarhus

Text: Heather Storgaard

The first time I heard of the development of Aarhus Ø, it was still in the planning stages. The de-facto capital of Jutland changed the spelling of its name in 2011, going from Århus to Aarhus, theoretically in order to be more understandable and attractive to foreign investment and visitors (and helpfully moving it from the bottom to the top of international city lists, next to Aalborg). Yet, the new development for the city was to be christened a very challenging name, despite it being a single letter- Ø. This was joked about in Jutland by cynics for quite a few years after, and tourism organisations are now trying to establish the quarter with translation to Aarhus Docklands or Aarhus East in English.

How to get there

Aarhus is very easy to reach from anywhere in Denmark, making it a great place to meet friends based in other regions. Trains to Aarhus run from all over Denmark, and the tram will quickly take you towards Aarhus Ø. There are also regular ferries from Zealand, as well as, of course, driving, so there’s a great range of possibilities. For a real treat, Nordic Seaplanes leave central Copenhagen and land at the harbour in Aarhus multiple times a day. The trip gives you a beautiful view of Eastern Jutland and Zealand and takes only 45 minutes.

"One of the beautiful things about Denmark is the ease of connecting with the water, and there are lots of spots to launch yourself from."

Food and drink

Nicolinehuset is a smart food hall and the heart of the district. Far from the down-scale, paper plates and disposable cutlery of many of Denmark’s other food halls, Nicolinehuset feels more like a large restaurant where the food happens to come in varying styles. It is, therefore, perfect for groups- there is variety for eaters who disagree and, crucially, space. Before Nicolinehuset arrived, it could be hard to go out to eat in Aarhus with large groups, with many of the best food spots situated in the charming yet small shops of the Latin Quarter that spill out into the street during the summer months.

Speciality coffee and baked goods are best sourced from Monk, a coffee spot that moved to Aarhus Ø about 18 months ago. They get their pastries from local favourite Berta Bageri, and the coffee has migrated many of the regulars from the overcrowded spots in the Latin Quarter for a calmer experience. This summer, a much-anticipated new cocktail bar named Hella is also opening from the same team behind the popular Force Majeure.

Swimming and water sports

On warm summer days, the harbour-front location of the development comes into its own. One of the beautiful things about Denmark is the ease of connecting with the water, and there are lots of spots to launch yourself from. For the best view, I would recommend heading to the side furthest from the city and swimming with an outlook towards the Mols Bjerge National Park across the bay. If open water is less your thing, there is also an outdoor swimming area with facilities, sun loungers and lifeguards, situated near plenty of cafes and bars facing the city. But, for natural water sports lovers, the best part of the space is Aarhus Watersports Complex, an absurd, exciting cable-propelled water ski and wakeboard course.


The architecture is eye-catching, a stark contrast to the late 19th-century classical houses of the rest of central Aarhus. For some older residents, the new development was seen as a Copenhagen-isation of their classical home. At the same time, for many, it represents a new direction for the young, student-population-dominated city. Whatever your view, it’s certainly worth a wander among the towering white and blue apartment blocks, invoking a maritime and harbour atmosphere imaginatively with names like The Iceberg and The Lighthouse. Residential mixes seamlessly with water and leisure facilities in a way rarely achieved by new developments.

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