Silkeborg is located just 44km west of Aarhus, and the drive between the two cities is as scenic as it is convenient, the finest combination of adjectives you’re looking for when driving. The Bay of Aarhus is left behind as the lush interior of Jutland takes over, a myriad of idyllic villages offering plenty of options to stop along the way. The journey only takes about 40 minutes though, so stopping isn’t necessary. Alternatively, direct trains run from Aarhus Central Station ever 30 minutes or so, the ride taking approximately 45 minutes.
We’re not about to tell you that the first thing you need to do in Silkeborg is get out of the city, but we also do like contradicting ourselves in the same sentence. Besides, what better way to get a handle on the city than by gazing at it lovingly from afar, seeing it as the birds and giants do? Head up Himmelbjerget, a large hill sat between Silkeborg and Ry, for some of the most astounding views in Denmark. This place is called the ‘Sky Mountain’, and that isn’t ironic. If you don’t want to walk up here, bus number 311 runs from Silkeborg station and stops at the Himmelbjerget car park. You’ll still have to walk up.
Staying out the city for the time being, what about those lakes? Dotted between Silkeborg and Ry are a myriad of gorgeous bodies of water, each glistening in its own special way and attracting lovey-eyes from all and sundry. The earlier you can get to the lakes the better, trust us. There are plenty of lakes to choose from, but Lake Almindsø and Brassø get our votes — both gorgeous and close enough to Silkeborg for a brief visit.
What of the city itself? All of this time in Silkeborg without actually doing anything in town, there must be some culture waiting for us, right? Very, very right. Silkeborg Museum is in the city’s oldest preserved building and acts as a detailed love letter to the city, documenting the good and bad with that honesty that permeates all aspects of Danish society. Avant-garde hero Asger Jorn gets a showcase at his eponymous museum, and anyone not too familiar with the unorthodox painting world must make a beeline for this place right away. Finally, Silkeborg Bad functioned as the city’s sanatorium for years until the Gestapo barrelled in an made it their headquarters during the occupation. The old centre is now a museum telling the tale of that terrible time.
A curious city of nearly 50,000 people, Silkeborg has plenty in common with Aarhus while being almost entirely different. These are the two sides of Jutland, gorgeous nature and city charm the likes of which we’ve come to assume are everywhere in Denmark. And trust us when it comes to climbing that hill — the views are worth every bead of sweat and every curse word.