City Hopping | A Day in Aarhus, Denmark

Beautiful sunshine, in between canopy trees

And so, just like that, after Stockholm, our final port of call en route back to Southampton was Aarhus – on Jutland’s eastern shore of Denmark. Not only had I not heard of the city before, I also hadn't realised it was Denmark's second largest city. Again, we had only the day to explore. This time, however, we booked the morning excursion through Celebrity Cruises and then had some free time to discover more of the city in the afternoon – before making our way back to the ship.

Exterior of a vintage diesel train on the tracks

Our excursion was called ‘Full Steam Ahead’, but sadly due to a drought, the steam train wasn't available and instead we boarded a vintage diesel train. The 5km route took us from Bryrup and Vrads – and back again. However, we made a pitstop at the station to have a coffee and (real!) Danish pastry, which was absolutely delightful. We also had some time to stretch our legs and enjoy the beautiful countryside. The route was so scenic, taking us past three lakes: Kvindsø, Kulsø and Snabe Igelsø. It may have been a short ride, but it certainly didn’t lack beauty – the views were stunning.

Wooden carved monument in the middle of woodland

On the way back, we also visited the picturesque town of Rye. Home to one of the highest natural points in Denmark – Himmelbjerget. Here, we had some time to explore the area with beautiful vistas of Silkeborg (the forest and lake). On top of the hill, we could have climbed the red brick tower to take in the superb vistas (10 DKK per person, or little over £1). Instead, we went on a walk and saw a couple of monuments, one of which was dedicated to famous Dane and author, Hans Christian Anderson.

In the afternoon, we had the option to either return to the ship or explore Aarhus further. We were dropped at the welcome centre, and it was just a five-minute bus ride to the cruise terminal from here. Despite having just over two hours to explore, we decided to visit Den Gamle By. Translated to ‘The Old Town’, this open-air museum was the first of its kind, and is located within the Botanical Gardens.

Old fashioned timbered buildings in a cobbled street square

An hour simply wasn't enough to look around with 75 buildings (and counting!) to take a look at. There were even real (or in-use) buildings which added to the illusion – for example, the bakery, which had a selection of delectable, sweet treats in the window. I thought they were pretend and had a quick look inside – it wasn’t until I went to take a photo and spotted the card machine on the counter and the shopkeeper came out that I realised my mistake.

There were also cafes and restaurants aplenty, so lots of dining options. Talking of which, we bought a (freshly cooked) Danish hot dog and a refreshing rhubarb soft drink from one of the stalls and ate it on a bench close to the watermill, which was so picturesque and relaxing.

It was like walking around a living town with the staff even playing roles such as blacksmith, garage mechanics and merchants. I actually couldn't figure out the illusions from reality. Words and photos simply don’t do the site justice and I'd highly recommend a visit. Den Gamle By provides fun and entertainment for all the family – with exhibitions to see and activities to partake in. The two-floor toy shop was incredible, giving off all the nostalgic feels, and there was also a really cool museum, which made you feel like you were time travelling as you took the lift to its entrance.

As I mentioned in my previous post, Aarhus was our final stop, as we were unable to dock in Denmark's most northern town – Skagen. Two days at sea followed, and then we arrived back in Southampton.

Love, Lucy xx

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Love, Lucy xx

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