Denmark’s second largest city, Aarhus, has a rich culture and musical history, with many festivals, museums, theatres and sporting events.
Located on the east coast of the Jutland Peninsula, north of Hamburg and northwest of Copenhagen, Aarhus is well known for getting into the Christmas spirit, with an abundance of events and experiences on offer.
With plenty of festive season joy around every beautifully lit corner, you won’t find anywhere better to celebrate Christmas than in Aarhus.
Thanks to some expert tips from VisitAarhus, we’ve rounded up the top 10 Christmas highlights in this charming and whimsical Danish city.
1. Tivoli Friheden
This amusement park becomes even more special at Christmas time, as it transforms into an enchanting Christmas market with Christmas lights, decorations and the park’s usual rides. With plenty of delicious food from Kodbyens Food Market as well as crafty and unique gift ideas, this is a fun and exciting place to go for the whole family.
2. Den Gamle By (Old Town Museum)
In Dem Gamle By you can experience Christmas history through four centuries, with tables decorated as they were in the 17th Century. You can also visit the Christmas elves at the MintMaster’s Mansion and try traditional Danish Christmas rice pudding served by the elves, or buy unique handicrafts and tasty food from the market stalls.
3. Salling Rooftop
The Salling Rooftop is an incredible roof terrace with a café and lush nature on the roof of a Salling department store in Aarhus. It offers unforgettable panoramic views of the city, especially beautiful at Christmas time. Step out onto a 25-metre high glass platform and see the city’s Christmas lights twinkle below you, or wrap up in a warm blanket and enjoy a mulled wine or hot chocolate with some Danish Christmas treats and live entertainment.
4. Christmas Market
Enjoy Christmas like never before in the central town squares which transform into diverse markets with beautifully designed stalls offering a variety of cultural gifts. To make this experience even better, Danish comedian and actor Soren Ostergaard will premiere with a Christmas edition of his Zirkus Nemo from the most central town square, Bispetorv.
5. Aarhus Central Food Market
The Aarhus Central Food Market is a large and sumptuous food market in the Skt. Knuds Torv Square in the heart of Aarhus. During December, this hip food mecca turns into an atmospheric Christmas market where you can buy scrumptious delicacies for your Christmas lunches, sample the delicacies of the season, and enjoy a warm glass of home-made Christmas punch.
6. Lighting of the Christmas Tree
If you love Christmas and all the traditions surrounding it, this is a special event which you can’t afford to miss. Held on 3 December, the event starts at 4pm with the lighting of the grand Christmas tree at the Town Hall, lit by the town Mayor. There will be a cosy atmosphere with live music, Christmas carols and delicious treats for the whole family.
7. Christmas concerts in the churches of Aarhus and ARoS Aarhus Art Museum
Feel the magic of Christmas and spend some time in the beautiful churches of Aarhus. The Cathedral of Aarhus, the Church of Our Lady, Sct. Pauls Church and Sct. Lucas Church, all offer a superb programme of classical Yuletide concerts and Christmas events.
At ARoS Aarhus Art Museum, the stunning Saint Lucy’s Day procession takes place, lighting up in every colour of the rainbow high above the city. This wonderful event pays homage to the Catholic Saint Lucia who handed food out to the poor at night in Syria, in 300 A.D.
8. Outdoor ice skating rink and toboggan runs
Spend a beautiful white winter’s day outdoors by ice skating at the Concert Hall Aarhus with the whole family. Alternatively, go tobogganing down the many snow-covered hills at the Moesgaard Museum, Botanical Gardens or Marselisborg Memorial Park.
9. Changing of the Guard
Watch the changing of the Royal Life Guards every day at noon when the Danish royal family is in residence at The Marselisborg Palace. Before or after the changing of the guards, go for a brisk walk through the Marselisborg Forests or Marselisborg Memorial Park for beautiful views and fresh air.
10. Christmas in the Concert Hall Musikhuset
The Concert Hall Aarhus offers a plethora of exciting events and performances in December with singing, dancing and music adding to the joyful time. Listen to the beautiful Christmas concerts by artists like Stig Rossen and Sissel Kyrkjebo or enjoy a classical seasonal favourite, The Nutcracker performed by the Royal Danish Ballet.