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3 days across Denmark: Aarhus & Vejle

Starting our travel in Flensburg, a German-Danish border city on the German side, we moved to the north: our goal was to reach Aarhus by the end of the day which is about 200km away from Flensburg, but already during the trip we decided to make a stop in the middle and recharge our batteries with some snack and coffee in the town of Vejle.

Vejle

Vejle Townhall Rathaus
Vejle Townhall

Vejle (pronounced as “vai-le”) is a town in the Southern Denmark with the access to the sea which can be described pretty simple: nothing special, typical Danish town. But if for the most people already visited Denmark this might sound boring, to us it was exactly what we expected: to experience an ordinary Danish town and to see how does it look like.

We parked our car at the parking of the Bryggen Vejle Mall very close to the pedestrian area in the city center (you may park there for few hours for free, but need to leave the clock mark at arrival) and went to explore the town. Vejle is a pretty nice town, however compared to Aarhus and Odense we visited later, it hasn’t to offer much. We walked down the pedestrian street Noerregade, got some coffee at a hipster bakery (Broed & Co), walked the parallel street again and decided to move further to Aarhus. Probably if you really like Danish culture, want to visit some museums or explore the Fjord of Vejle, you will need some more time.

Bryggen Mall Vejle
Bryggen Mall in Vejle
A street with umbrellas in Vejle
A street with umbrellas in Vejle

The only thing we wanted to visit, but didn’t manage it, were the wave-form Boelgen Buildings in the Port of Vejle. However, in Aarhus we found some time to visit some unusual architecture landmark with this putting the stamp on the check-list for visiting modern Danish architecture.

Aarhus

Aboulevarden canal in Aarhus city center
Aboulevarden canal in Aarhus city center

One and half hour drive, and we are finally arriving in Aarhus (pronounced as “Or-hus”), the second biggest city in Denmark and the capital of Midtjylland, Central Jutland in English. Moreover, Aarhus is known as a student capital of Denmark and one of the youngest cities in Northern Europe. All this sounded very promising, and we couldn’t wait to explore the city on our own.

As we didn’t want to lose time, we had found accommodation directly in the city center, at the Aboulevarden canal which is one of the most central pedestrian areas in the city. There was a free parking on the side street available, however only between 5pm and 9am, so I needed to manage the parking problem next morning.

As we arrived in Aarhus around 7pm, our energy level was far from ideal. Some other guests from our hotel recommended us a restaurant for a dinner, and we followed this recommendation. Mackie’s Pizzeria didn’t sound like a super authentic from the first sight: American restaurant in the middle of Denmark serving traditional Italian dishes? Hmmm… However, we were positively surprised: great diner atmosphere, delicious pizza with a lot of toppings and great American beers in assortment, for example, Brooklyn Brown Ale. After the long day of driving, visiting Flensburg and Vejle and pretty delicious diner, we couldn’t manage more than a walk to our hotel that night, deciding to explore the city next day morning.

Next morning, after recharging our batteries, we decided to focus on three things: have a breakfast in some nice location, visit the Danish open air museum-park Den Gamle By and explore modern Danish architecture.

First of all, we had a short walk along the downtown during the daylight: the city appeared very nice and cozy: water, many bridges, red bricks houses, coffee-shops and bakeries – Aarhus city center was already relative busy despite of early day time. Aarhus seemed to be a great city for shopping, especially if you like Scandinavian fashion: there were many local brands presented in the city center from Cos to Samsoe-Samsoe.

Streets of Aarhus
Streets of Aarhus
Medieval Aarhus
Medieval Aarhus

After a short walk, we ended up in Lynfabrikken, cafe and co-working space in the red brick style former factory building. The coffee was good (in Scandinavia you barely have bad coffee), the atmosphere stayed very chilled so we would like to stay longer needed to move: the museum park Den Gamle By is worth visiting during the daylight.

Pound at Den Gamle By
Pound in Den Gamle By

Den Gamble By was indeed a true highlight, probably even the best impression of the whole trip to Denmark. The park built not so far from the city center represents a typical Danish village: it was founded over 100 years ago as the first such museum in Europe and now it counts already over 75 houses from the whole country. Apart from houses, there are few establishments like a postal office, a bakery or handcraft manufactures where you can experience how they functioned few years ago and even see the actors dressed in medieval cloth representing bakers, postmen or merchants.

Streets of Den Gamble By Streets
Streets of Den Gamble By Streets
Delicious Bakery at Den Gamle By
Delicious Bakery at Den Gamle By
Denmark in the beginning of XX Century
Denmark in the beginning of XX Century

Our absolute highlights: the bakery, where you can purchase delicious freshly baked cookies; the postal office, where you may experience how telephone and telegraph functioned 100 years ago and… village geese walking around without any fear of tourists. We spent in the museum at least 3 hours, and although the entry tickets cost 110 DKK (about 15 euro) each, it was one of the best investments during our Denmark trip.

Misterious Stranger in Den Gamle By
Misterious Stranger in Den Gamle By
Geese in Den Gamle By
These geese were walking through the village

It’s getting dark pretty early in Denmark, this is why we needed to speed up to see the last attraction of the day in Aarhus – the modern architecture project called Isbjerget, or Iceberg. Iceberg is a living buildings of irregular asymmetric form built at the seaside close to the sea. Once approaching the city from the see, you might think there are icebergs on horizon, and there really are… iceberg form buildings of Isbjerget.

Isbjerget houses in Aarhus
Isbjerget houses in Aarhus

After 10 minutes walking around, we’d decided for ourselves that we wouldn’t be ready to live there. Not because of high rent prizes, but just because we didn’t like it from the convenience side: it’s pretty far to walk from the city, there are no establishments around, a lot of construction and, the most important, it was hell windy. It looked cold and it felt very cold, so we rapidly jumped in the warm car and headed to our last point of the Danish road trip, Odense…

Drink of the Day

Although we were in Denmark, the country where the beer brewing culture is pretty developed, I can only recommend Brooklyn Brown Ale (39DKK or 5.25 euro) at Mackie’s Pizzeria. This was one of my favourite beers since visiting the States, this is why I try to never miss a chance to taste it wherever I see it. Additionally, you will pay the same price for standard lagers like Carlsberg or Budweiser which makes the choice for Brooklyn Brown Ale even easier.

Newcastle Brown Ale at Mackie's
Newcastle Brown Ale at Mackie’s

Read more:

3 days across Denmark: Flensburg
3 days across Denmark: Odense

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