This is why Ribe is worth a detour when visiting Denmark

Ribe was the last place my parents and I visited when we explored Denmark together last year, but this charming small town also was the one place that impressed me most!

While Aalborg was a big surprise to me and Odense is so enchanting, Ribe made me want to stay longer and explore more of Denmark's west coast!

Not only is Ribe, in south-west Jutland, Denmark's oldest town, it also has plenty of present-day attractions to offer. But see it with your own eyes:

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DE: DIE DEUTSCHE ÜBERSETZUNG DES ARTIKELS FINDEST DU HIER
NO: ARTIKKELEN KAN OGSÅ LESES PÅ NORSK HER


7 reasons that make Ribe worth a detour


1. VIKING HERITAGE

As Denmark's oldest town, it shouldn't come as a surprise that you can find Viking heritage in Ribe. The amount of which, however, is astounding!

Ribe has actually been quite a Viking stronghold and today, you can find a Viking museum and a Viking experience centre in town! At Ribes Vikinger, you can learn more about the Vikings, but also the town of Ribe itself, and how it developed throughout history. There you'll also learn, for instance, all about the big fire in 1580 that destroyed over 200 houses!

ribe denmark's oldest town

Ribe Vikinge Center is a reconstructed Viking village that only opens during the summer, where you'll get to be a Viking for a day. This open-air museum has a more hands-on approach and there are different activities for guests throughout the summer months, for example archery, wood carving, a falconry show, warrior training for kids and even an international Viking market!

 

2. MEDIEVAL HISTORY

Did you know that Ribe was an important trading centre in medieval times?

The town served as a link of the Hanseatic League in countries such as Germany, the Netherlands and the Baltics, with Scandinavia! Situated only an hour from Germany, Ribe's location halfway between Scandinavia and the countries of the Hanseatic League made it a strategic hub for all kinds of trade.

You can learn more about the city's history at Ribes Vikinger, or just wander around the old town to admire the 16th century houses that were rebuilt after the big fire (many of which are protected today) - and don't forget to check out the gorgeous cathedral that took 100 years to be built! 

 

3. THE BEST ICE-CREAM OF DENMARK?

Ribe has a good old ice-cream parlour called Isvaflen right in the centre of the old town, where people were queuing up even on a cold day in April! 

ribe denmark's oldest town

I can't imagine what the crowds must be like in the heat of summer but one thing is for sure: their ice-cream is the best!

 

4. A HALF-TIMBERED PARADISE

As I mentioned earlier, many of the old buildings of Ribe are protected. The half-timber style of the buildings in town is typical for the region along the North Sea, and let's be honest, there are few architectural styles that can beat half-timber construction, right?!

 

5. DOORS OF RIBE

Speaking of architecture, Ribe also has the most fascinating doors to admire! 

 

6. THE WADDEN SEA

Ribe is located at the Wadden Sea National Park and UNESCO World Heritage Site - an intertidal zone in the southern part of the North Sea. It's an extremely low-lying area of wetlands, where, when the tide is out, you can go for a hike on the ground of the sea!

You can learn more about this spectacular stretch of land (or sea, I guess?!) at Vadehavscentret (the Wadden Sea Centre), just outside of Ribe. There, you can either have a look at their exhibitions or join a mudflat walk!

 

7. ESBJERG'S MEN AT SEA

Ribe is part of Esbjerg Municipality and while Esbjerg is a rather industrial town, it has one gigantic highlight: the Men at sea

men at sea esbjerg

These four white statues, that are nine metres tall and overlook the ocean, have been designed by the local artist Svend Wiig Hansen. The statues are located right next to the beach and can be seen from the ocean by any ships that enter or leave Esbjerg harbour. 

men at sea esbjerg

Right across the street, you'll also find the Maritime Museum of the area!


 

How to get to Ribe

The best way to get to Ribe would be to travel by car. The town is situated 2 hours from Aarhus and 1 1/2 hours from Odense. It makes for a lovely day trip if you're going for a road trip around Denmark or are on your way to one of the many islands of the country!

The town itself is best explored on foot and there are two parking lots just outside of the old town, across the canal (P-Syd and P-Nord).

ribe denmark's oldest town

You can also reach Ribe by train from Esbjerg.


 

Where to stay in Ribe and surroundings

If you can't get enough of colourful doors, half-timbered buildings and the Wadden Sea, consider staying the night! Ribe has hotels in all price categories to choose from, for example: 

  • Danhostel Ribe - A hostel with private bathroom and free WiFi, and a view of either Ribe's old town or the Wadden Sea!
  • Ribe Byferie Resort - Holiday apartments with private kitchen and bathroom, only a 10-minute walk from the old town!
  • Den Gamle Arrest - A former prison turned hotel, right next to the cathedral!
 

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