Cycling for smørrebrød

A short history of Aarhus, Denmark — in 150(ish) words

Who knew the humble cabbage could be made to taste so good? Who elevates street-cart hot dogs to new heights of culinary culture? Who creates open-faced sandwiches that double as modern art? And who does it all effortlessly and unpretentiously? The Danes, that’s who. (No surprise.)

Copenhagen may take the crown for modern Nordic cuisine (or any cuisine, for that matter). But Denmark’s second-largest city, Aarhus, doesn’t play second fiddle. It stands on its own.

In between eating endless smørrebrød (the artistic open-faced sandwiches), roast pork sandwiches, cinnamon pastries and cheese, you’ll want to burn off calories. It’s easy here thanks to pedestrian-friendly streets and an extensive network of cycling paths and bike-sharing apps. Around here, the bicycle is king of the road. Afraid of cycling in cities? Fear not; Aarhus is the perfect antidote.

Actually, Aarhus may just be the perfect antidote to whatever ails you.

Photos by Mark Bessoudo