The Ole Rømer Observatory Science Park in Aarhus, Denmark.
Courtesy Ruslan Merzlyakov/The Science Museums/Aarhus University

Design-driven Aarhus has long embraced the sea, and this year even more so. In early summer, the city’s harbor will transform into a maritime celebration as a host of the Ocean Race, one of the longest round-the-world sailing challenges, with in-port races and other events.

Aarhus’s cuisine abounds with innovative seafood, including at the Michelin-starred Substans, where you can dine on lobster from the Bay of Aarhus while taking in views of it. At Frederikshøj, awarded a second Michelin star in 2022, the playful cuisine might include truffles from Marselisborg Forest or oysters from Venø island.

The ocean even frames the city’s cutting-edge architecture, including Dokk1, one of the largest libraries in Scandinavia, and the Bjarke Ingels-designed harbor bath, where you can splash in floating seawater pools. Explore the history of Aarhus’s seafaring founders–the Vikings–at the Moesgaard Museum, an architectural marvel with a grass roof.

Gaze at the Nordic skies at the newly reopening, beautifully restored, 112-year-old Ole Rømer Observatory, or at the ARoS art museum, which is crowned with a rainbow walkway by artist Olafur Eliasson.

Then rise above the center of Aarhus at the Salling department store, which last year unveiled a magical urban garden on its rooftop terrace, and take in sweeping city views.

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