?Once a Viking center, today?s Aarhus is known as the capital of Jutland (Denmark?s mainland-Europe-connected arm) and has just under a quarter-million residents. Like Gothenburg, lovely Aarhus is a university town, and its arts scene and nightlife accordingly hop.
SAY IT RIGHT: OR-hoos
WHY GO: To experience the casual Danish charms of what locals call "the world?s smallest city"; to see the unique Scandinavian sights of one of Denmark?s oldest cities; because you?ve not yet been to a place whose official name (Århus) starts with an A with a circle on top.
WHAT'S ON The first-ever Versatility Aarhus Homofestival (June 2?4), a queer music and culture fair to be set in and around downtown?s Ridehuset (or Riding House), where Danish soldiers once trained their trusty mounts.
DON'T MISS: The epoch-spanning ARoS art museum (Aros Allé 2; +45-87-306-600), one of northern Europe?s largest, is getting topped this spring by a fabulously colorful Olafur Eliasson rooftop installation that even comes with a gayish name, Your Rainbow Panorama (ARoS is also home to Ron Mueck?s iconic 16-foot sculpture Boy); the Moesgård Museum (Moesgård All? 20; +45-89-421-100), dedicated to Scandinavia?s deep past, and home of the fascinating prehistoric Grauballe Man.
?GET THERE: Direct SAS and Cimber Sterling flights take about 35 minutes from Copenhagen, while Ryanair offers direct links from London and several cities in Spain; by train, the journey?s about three and a half hours from Copenhagen.
stay: Smack in the heart of town, the old-world loveliness of the Hotel Royal Aarhus (Store Torv 4; +45-86-120-011) has housed Madonna, David Beckham, and George Michael, though presumably not en bloc.
EAT: The acclaimed Malling & Schmidt (Grenåvej 127; +45-86-177-088), offers innovative Nordic cuisine (e.g. ice cream with salted wood shavings) in a brand-new location.
SHOP: Bigger stores and chain shops are along the pedestrianized Strøget; for smaller and hipper clothing and design boutiques, head to the ancient Latin Quarter.
CLUB: Aarhus?s main gay
action happens at the central GBar (Skolegade 28; +45-86-120-404), where an early evening laid-back lounge vibe heats up later with DJs and theme nights (Thursdays through Sundays only).