By Caroline Krogholm Pedersen, photos by Giang Pham
Sometimes you just need to rewind, relax, and catch some fresh air. Luckily, Aarhus has plenty of places where you can do that, while enjoying a great view. Here is a selection of the nature that the city has to offer.
Riis Skov forest
Located in the northern part of Aarhus, just outside of the popular part of town, Trøjborg, you find Riis Skov forest. During springtime, the forest has a special scent of wild ramson (in the onion family), as the plant covers most of the ground. If you want, you can bring some home and experiment with cooking recipes.
The forest is very popular, especially among the residents of Trøjborg, mostly because of its view over the Bay of Aarhus and the new and modern city district, Aarhus Ø, with its creative architecture. But also because of the various gym instalments, allowing you to have an outdoor workout. For the best view, remember to visit “Udsigten” (the view), where you can see across the bay, the marina, Aarhus Ø and some of the buildings from the inner city.
On Tangkrogen the trees have been switched out with sea and beach. Take a stroll alongside the water on grass or sand. You can walk all the way to the Varna mansion, a popular wedding venue hidden in the forest with a beautiful view overlooking the bay. On warm summer days, remember your swimsuit and a beach towel, as you can take a dip in the water at Tangkrogen. Remember to take a look at the beautiful big houses at Strandvejen, and pick out your dream home.
One of my personal favourites for walks is the Marselisborg forest. You’re completely cut off from the outside world with high trees all around you. On Sundays you might hear a crowd cheering somewhere near, and depending on where you are located in the forest, it can be from either the stadium, where the local football team AGF plays their home matches, or from the racing track, where the crowds are rooting for their favourite horse to win them some money.
There are lots of paths in the forest, so you can easily change your direction. But if you walk south, you’ll eventually end up in Mindeparken, the memorial park. As one of the most beautiful parks in Denmark, with its scenic view over the Bay of Aarhus and many stunning cherry trees, it’s no wonder the Danish royal family has chosen the Marselisborg Palace, located at the back of the park, as their summer residence. You too, will want to spend every summer day in the park when the cherry trees are blossoming and lighting up the park with their pink colours.
If all you’re looking for is a quick walk in green surroundings, the Langenæs park is perfect. There’s one path, and if you follow it all the way around the park you’ll have walked for around 20 minutes. Hidden inside the park are two kindergartens, so if you’re taking a walk before four or so, you’ll be sure to hear lots of funny conversations between the kids, setting a great mood for your walk. In the park you’ll find a great variety of trees and large open areas where you can have a picnic or even play Frisbee golf; the park has set up some cages, functioning as “holes”, so all you have to do is bring a friend and a Frisbee.
A short walk from Mindeparken, you’ll find the perfect spot for your Saturday outing: Dyrehaven, AKA the deer park. You can still have a walk in pretty green settings, but meanwhile you can say hello to both wild boars and deer among the many beech trees. Remember to bring some carrots, as some of the friendly deer might be hungry.
With all the sweet animals, Dyrehaven is especially ideal for families with kids, as they’ll love to see the deer up close. But the garden is also a nice alternative for the ordinary date. If you’re in doubt about how to behave around the animals, there are information boards in the garden, with a few basic rules. The garden is open from sunrise to sunset.
The Botanical Gardens
Located in the middle of the city, and easily accessible from both Aarhus N and Aarhus C, Aarhus’ Botanical Gardens is never far away. The park started off as a horticultural society back in 1875, but in 1911, the city of Aarhus took over and it became a park and later a botanical garden. It has expanded and changed many times since. There are areas in the garden where you can see different plant species from all over the world.
You can visit the flower valley, with a big collection of lilies, perennials, a rose garden and even a theme garden, with plants used for medicine, cooking, colouring and much else! There’s also a beautiful small stream running through the whole garden, through three lakes and ending up in the Old City’s canals. You can have a peak into the Old City as it takes up a little less than a quarter of the garden’s area, and perhaps you’ll meet an old horse carriage with guests going on a ride in the garden. If it’s a rainy day, you can seek cover in the greenhouses and take a stroll through four different climate zones and look at beautiful flowers and be amazed by the whole room filled with cacti, and maybe end your walk with a slice of cake and cup of coffee in the café?
In summertime, the park is filled with people barbequing and having picnics, and TV2 ZULU hosts a free outdoor cinema for a couple of nights, which is always a wonderful experience!
As a hidden gem, the University Park is located between the yellow brick buildings, filled with lecture halls, libraries and dorms. To find the right people to design the park and it’s surrounding buildings, a big competition was held, and the winners were Kay Fisker, C.F. Møller and Povl Stegmann. The actual park is designed by landscape architect C. Th. Sørensen, and what a park they all have designed. In the park, you find loads of big beautiful oak trees, two artificial lakes and even an amphitheater.
Once a year the park transforms into one big party scene, when the traditional “Kapsejlads” (boatrace), a battle between the different student unions, takes place, with up to 30,000 spectators. The park is around 42 hectares, but can easily be covered in an hour, as much of that space is taken up by university buildings. You can follow the connected pathways all over the park, and while you’re there you might want to check out some of the museums run by Aarhus University, such as the Natural History Museum, the Steno Museum or the Museum of Ancient Art.