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You could say our initial impression of Ribe, the ancient Viking town in Denmark, wasn’t what we had expected.
Having just spent 3 hours on the road, we were looking forward to seeing this historic town. Ribe is the oldest still existing town in Denmark, and all of Scandinavia in fact. When we finally arrived, we were greeted with a booming industrial area. Filled to the brim with car showrooms and assorted other factories.
Our immediate reaction was, ‘oh no, they’ve over-commercialized this beautiful area.’
…on a side note, the number of car showrooms may have actually surprised me even more, when cars are so expensive in Denmark.
We continued along, the navigation said we had another 2km’s to go until we reached the parking lot along the Ribe River, so there was still hope!
Having seen the Medieval Romanesque-style cathedral in the distance we knew that we were close, so we buckled down and pulled up. It was a Saturday, but because we visited in Winter, we expected it to be quite calm. We were hoping for not too much foot traffic. Our dogs, Zuri & Mischa, probably hoped for this too! Although they seemed to be more interested in the vegetation than the historical buildings. 😉
We leashed up the dogs, made sure I took the battery along that was actually charged…
Pro tip: check your batteries before you leave for your destination! 😉
And so, it began.
No time right now? Save this pin & read it later! 😊
ABOUT RIBE – The Oldest Town in Denmark
With a population of around 8000 people and being formed in the early years of the eighth century, Ribe is the oldest still existing Town in Denmark, as well as all of Scandinavia.
The town is of great cultural and historical importance, having served as an important medieval emporium connecting Scandinavia & Western Europe.
The town acts as a gateway to the UNESCO World Heritage site of the Wadden Sea, home to numerous species of indigenous wildlife and an incredible environment. Atop the chimneys in the town European White Stork’s have even built their nests. Quite literally nestling the various wildlife with this historic town.
Located in south-west Jutland, Ribe is about 3 hours from Copenhagen, with both car & train.
It’s 2 hours from Aarhus & 3 hours from Hamburg or Kiel.
There is ample parking space throughout the town and the southern parking lot provides the easiest connection to the old town.
Related: Things to do in Kiel, Germany.
WHAT TO SEE IN RIBE, DENMARK
Ribe Domkirke – Ribe Cathedral
Completed in 1250, this medieval Romanesque-style cathedral is the centerpiece of the town.
Saint Catharinæ Church and Monastery
The current church was built in the 1400s but the Monastery dates all the way back to 1228. Enjoy a calming walk through the walls here and through the beautiful cloisters.
The Flood Column
What may seem like just a pole has a much larger meaning behind it! This column shows how high the waters reached during the notorious Ribe floods. Found at the waterfront, it’s quite hard to miss if you know what it is. 😉
Ribes Vikinger Museet – Museum
Packed full of information on the history of the town and of the Vikings that were in the area.
Ribe Viking Center
Spend a day as a Viking!
A modern building, the design is enough to provide interest and the exhibits inside are well presented. You’ll also be able to go on tours and learn more about the Wadden Sea.
The Historic Small Houses
The houses throughout the old town are full of old-world charm and history. They’ve been lovingly restored to their former glory. Pay special attention to the different door colors and styles as you walk through the old town.
If the beautiful nature and informative exhibits are not enough to satisfy you, the 5km drive along a pebbled path seemingly lying in the sea will keep you alert! Just make sure the tide isn’t high when you’re going across. 😉
Housing the ruins to the monastery at the cathedral in the 12th century, the modern building has garnered more attention recently and does make for an interesting talking piece.
Ribe Art Museum
A great visit for anyone with an interest in Art, the staff are welcoming, the building is well renovated and the permanent exhibit is mostly Danish, but they have many special exhibitions year-round.
Visit the numerous statues in town, Hans Tausen, the Ansgar statue, or even the Saint Catharinæ fountain in front of the Monastery.
Restaurants and Cafe’s
You can’t enjoy some good sights without some good food! Luckily Ribe caters in that department plentifully. You’ll find a few great places around the cathedral with plenty if you find yourself in the high street. The Rådhus Conditoriet (Pastry Shop) between the cathedral and monastery is a must-stop to cater for your sweet tooth.
The places and exhibits are great, the people are friendly and the food is great, but the town itself is just a remarkable place to visit.
We hope you enjoy your trip to Ribe as much as we did.
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