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Aalborg - The perfect Danish short break

19th July 2011 Print

Less than 2 hours flying time from Gatwick Airport, Denmark’s northern most city of Aalborg is well-known for its architecture and design, gourmet restaurants, specialty shops, small boutiques and suitably high octane night life.

With ancient Viking beginnings - best explored at Lindholm Hoje, Scandinavia's largest Viking burial ground - Aalborg has developed over the centuries to become one of Denmark’s most vibrant cities.

Connecting expansive views along the Limfjord to the city’s historic heart, the inventively rejuvenated waterfront invitingly mixes art and culture with great waterside eateries. Visits to the architecturally stunning Utzon Center, which was designed by famous Danish architect Jørn Utzon, who is best known for building Australia’s Sydney Opera, and the city’s cultural powerhouse ‘Nordkraft’ - a cleverly reinvented coal-fired electricity station  - are more than well rewarded by a meal or refreshing drink on one of the attractive floating restaurants and bars. Why not climb aboard the historic icebreaker Elbjørn, former Dutch training ship Prinses Juliana or The Fat Duckling.

Undoubtedly one of Denmark’s culinary hubs, visitors can also get a taste for the city at the award-winning Morten’s Kro where celebrity chef Morten Nielsen excites with his exquisite Danish fusion menu in stylish surrounds. Alternatively, the popular ‘tapas’ and wine bar Café Pingvin  offers the largest selection of wine in Northern Jutland served by the glass. Or for beer drinkers, there’s the "Aalborg Beerwalk" – a self guided beer-tasting tour showcasing six of the city’s best pubs with six vouchers for sampling some of the region’s many and varied brews.

For something a little stronger, try Denmark’s famous ‘schnapps’ Aquavit with a guided tour of the local distillery or wander down the longest continuous stretch of restaurants, pubs, cafes, live-music venues and bars on Jomfru Ane Gade for a nightcap late into the small hours.

With an excellent selection of shops and historic buildings throughout, Aalborg’s key attractions can be enjoyably explored on foot or by bicycle.

Surrounded by park and located near the heady Aalborg Tower, Kunsten – Museum of Modern Art is a must for art lovers. Designed by Aalvar Alto, it houses a permanent collection of Danish art from Naturalism to Abstract Art including more than 1500 paintings, sculptures and hybrids from the 20th century. With a similar number of animals to artworks, the neighbouring green oasis of Aalborg Zoo is also worth a viewing if only for the popular polar bear enclosure.

For a shipshape stroll, head along Limfjord to Skudehavnen, the city’s colourful marina and visit the Aalborg Maritime Museum to learn more about life at sea and the city’s history as a busy port and important shipyard. Explore the Springeren submarine and the world’s fastest gas-turbine torpedo board Søbjørnen before heading to the Aalborg Defence and Garrison Museum for more military memorabilia.

Aalborg and the immediate surrounds also host an array of exciting annual festivals. Music lovers can join Northern Europe’s largest carnival and over 100,000 revellers in May at ‘Carnival i Aalborg’; July’s popular Nibe Festival - one of Denmark’s best loved music festivals in a beautiful outdoor setting; ‘The Blue Festival’ which fills the city with mellow tones from 12 to 15 August this year and ‘Aalborg in Red’ which offers four great days of entertainment from 31 August to 3 September. Foodies can also get their fill at the Løgstør’s Mussel Festival in July; or head to Jutland’s most northerly tip for ‘July’s Great Fish Buffet’ where participants can take part in the local fish auction and eat as much fish as they like. Or for something further out to sea, head to the island of Læsø during its lively Langoustine Festival in July where 3,000 feasting spectators descend on the island to devour crustacean.

With plenty to see and do throughout the year, Aalborg is an easy all-rounder for a weekend or short break.

Getting there … ?

Norwegian offers direct daily flights from Gatwick to Aalborg in under two hours with flights from £36/person.

The city has a good range of central 3 and 4 star hotels including the centrally located Helnan Phønix Hotel with double rooms from £118(DKK995)/night including breakfast and Cabinn Hotel Aalborg from £73(DKK615)/double room/night.

For more information on Aalborg go to:

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