Ribe is the oldest town in Denmark. It is also the best preserved medieval town in Denmark. Ribe is also a modern town with shops, cafes and a rich cultural life – music, art, theater, etc. Ribe is placed on the West Coast of Denmark
This view of Ribe old town in Denmark was ours the last 31 years as managers at Danhostel Ribe– the hostel in Ribe. Now it is time for us to say goodbye, but before a new manager takes over next year, we’ll pay a tribute to our lovely town at wintertime in this last blog post.
If you like the atmosphere in a smaller town
you’ll certainly like Ribe. Ribe is a beautiful historic town by the North Sea and the UNESCO World Heritage Wadden Sea, not far away from Legoland or the German border.
Maybe You Should Rethink your Winter Break
If you want a break far away from the hustle and bustle of city life, and had enough of noise and crowds, we suggest that you go for a winter break in a smaller town. Why not choose Ribe?
VisitDenmark – The official tourism and travel information guide to Denmark – mentions Ribe first in “Denmark’s prettiest towns” and Ribe was also recently voted “The winner of Europe’s Best Big-Time Small Destinations”
The authentic Ribe at wintertime
Winter is a great time to travel if you want to see the authentic Denmark. In winter everything seems much slower. Also, travel is cheaper (Link: the hostel’s offers) and Ribe is less touristy, when the peak season is over, and the starlings have danced their last so-called Black Sun dance by the end of October.
Black Sun is Denmark’s biggest natural phenomena. MNS recently mentioned it as one of the “24 of the coolest and most surreal natural phenomena on earth” while linking to our hostel’s explanation of the phenomena: Black Sun
Recommended blog posts about Christmas and winter in Ribe
No doubt that the Danish “hygge” lifestyle has become a new trend worldwide.
The Danish word “Hygge” made it to the shortlist of Oxford Dictionaries international word of the year. It lost out to the word ‘Post-truth’ – but no doubt, the “hygge” lifestyle has become a popular gift to the world from Denmark.
Many Danes associate hygge (≈ cosiness) with Ribe old town – where winding cobblestone streets and alleys, half-timbered houses and crooked doors and windows make people feel comfortable and remind them of H. C. Andersen’s fairy tales.
The Viking town Ribe
Ribe is Denmark’s – as well as Scandinavia’s – oldest town. This historic port town has pretty much seen it all. Vikings lived, worked and traded in Ribe when it was founded early in the 8th century AD, and soon became the largest trading centre of the Nordic countries.
The results of the latest archaeological finds and research convinced some archaeologists that the Viking Era started in Ribe and not in the year 793 AD, after the Vikings landed in England on the first official Viking raid.
Scandinavia’s first pedestrian street
You will see no buildings left from the Viking Age in Ribe, but when you stroll along Sct. Nicolai street, you walk on top of what was also Scandinavia’s first pedestrian street. In this street Vikings could go shopping food and clothes, but also luxury goods such as jewellery and knives. You can see many of the artifacts found here on display in Ribe Viking Museum at the end of the street.
The Medieval and Renaissance heritage of Ribe
Ribe has more than 120 preserved buildings, only Copenhagen has more, but they are scattered throughout the city, while in Ribe they are within walking distance from our hostel, Danhostel Ribe. Many medieval buildings can be seen in Ribe, and according to the Danish Agency for Culture, Ribe is Denmark’s best preserved Medieval town.
Many of the old buildings are Renaissance buildings from around 1580, due to a big town fire at that time.
Enjoy the silence – it has become a luxury
Peace and quiet has become a luxury in a noisy modern world. In Ribe you don’t have to pay extra to have a little privacy, space and silence.
In Ribe you can have space and silence
A walk along the river, Skibbroen, is a pleasant and relaxing experience for both mind and body.
A Mindful Walk in the Park
Alternatively, you could enjoy a walk in one of our beautiful parks. By the river in Ribe Art Museum‘s park, where Vikings once were busy traders, you may be lucky to watch several wintering birds, like ducks, swans, geese, and seagulls.
The best place to watch wildlife
If you really want to go birding in winter, is one of the best places in Denmark the Wadden Sea National Park, which attract huge flocks of overwintering birds.
A National Park and a UNESCO Site
When you walk along the quay, Skibbroen, you can see our hostel on the other side of the river. The meadow outside the hostel is part of a national park.
The Danish Wadden Sea National Park is the biggest national park in Denmark, but in Ribe only the meadow outside the hostel is part of it. Several times every winter the meadow is flooded, when the water level in the river rises all the way to the front of the hostel.
Parts of the Wadden Sea National Park in Denmark was inscribed on UNESCO’s World Heritage list in 2014. For further information and adventures in the national park: Wadden Sea National Park and Storm Surges
Look up to see all the details
Street lamps, guild signs, roofs without gutters, and crosses carved in the timber uprights holding up the roof meant as protection against witches and witchcraft are all good examples of details. But if you want to know some of Ribe’s history, you should study our “self-guided walking tour of old town Ribe in Denmark” or read the story of Maren Spliid and other “witches” in Ribe. (you can find both articles in German and Danish on the hostel’s homepage too)
Wrap up warm and have a snowball fight
Dress in a woolly jumper or a warm coat and have a snowball fight, You can warm up with a cup of hot chocolate in one of the many cafés after.
Build a snowman
– or build a snowman on the meadow by the river just outside the hostel.
Do your Christmas shopping under festive lights
Christmas shopping always feels a little bit more authentic in the dark and under lovely lights. The pedestrian high street offers good Christmas shopping in the town centre of our historic town.
If you had enough of crowded Christmas markets
If you had enough of glittering and famous, but crowded Christmas markets around Europe, we can recommend Christmas shopping in Ribe. The weekends are a little busier than usual due to the many Christmas events.
A few more winter photos to enjoy
Never mind the weather
….if you stay at the hostel, you can just look out of the window.
But on the other hand: There’s no such thing as bad weather, only unsuitable clothing.
Contact us or book Online at Danhostel Ribe: Contact
Everyone has a story to tell, and we heard quite a lot of them throughout the 30 years we were hostel hosts in Danhostel Ribe in Ribe, Denmark. Yet our recent guests, the world travellers Yoshihiro and Yuko Ishizawa from Japan, had a rather unusual travel story to tell.
Yoshi and Yuko started their world tour from Tokyo in August 2015 in this Mazda Scrum 660cc, and a year and a month later they arrived to Ribe and stayed a couple of nights in our hostel.
They have driven about 40.000 km and visited all these countries on their way: Russia, Mongolia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Iran, Armenia, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Turkey, Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary, Austria, Germany, Holland and now Denmark.
From Ribe they went to Hirtshals to catch the ferry to Island, though travelling north is really out of their way, since their plan is after Iceland to go to Morocco through France and Spain and end in South Africa around May 2017.
Looking for a home abroad
Yoshi and Yuko tell they want to live abroad, so where they go, they are always looking for a house. They want to stay in a house that “has a good view, is cheap and quiet. If wild bears walk in the garden, it’s perfect!” It seems to have been very difficult for them to find a home that fulfils all these wished, since Yoshi and Yuko have been around the world since April 2005.
If you can recommend any places, please write it in the comments
In Ribe we have no bears walking around, but from the hostel we have the most amazing view of Ribe medieval town and Ribe River. The meadow, named “the Head Meadow” outside the hostel is part of the Wadden Sea National Park and has a horrifying history of beheaded pirates, whose heads were put on stake in Medieval times.
Black Sun – Starlings
Instead of bears Yoshi and Yuko enjoyed Denmark’s most famous natural phenomenon “Black Sun – Starlings” in Ribe. This photo is one of the photos, they took of this natural phenomenon. See more photos in their photo gallery of their travel blog.
Visiting Ribe because they love old towns
When Yoshi and Yuko visited Ribe, it was the first town/city they visited in Denmark. They choose to visit Ribe, because it is the oldest town in Denmark. They say “We love old towns. Ribe is beautiful, clean and quiet – very much. The hostel is clean, too, and a good place. We like Ribe and the hostel. We found the hostel using Maps.me (application).”
In their photo gallery you’ll notice that they not only love old towns but also old cars and motorcycles, since they took a lot of photos Tuesday evening on the meadow outside the hostel, when Ribe Classic had their weekly get-together. You can often see several hundred old cars these evenings. (See also: 10 things to do for free in Ribe – Denmark )
Working while travelling
Like many other round the world travellers Yoshi and Yuko are working while travelling to help fund their adventures. As a Graphic designer Yoshi gets orders from Japanese clients by Email. Yuko used be an architect in Tokyo and is now a macrame jewellery designer.
Travelling around the world since 2005
Yoshi and Yuko: “Actually, we’ve been traveling around the world since April 2005. First of all, we bought a scooter in Los Angels and drove from the Northern tip of Alaska to the South tip of Argentine. And from Vancouver to the east tip of Canada by another scooter. From Nordkapp of Norway to South Europe by another scooter. Around New Zealand by another scooter. Around Australia by a car. Around Southeast Asia counties by bus or something….”
In terms of historical sights, Ribe is a town without compare in Denmark. It is Denmark’s, and Scandinavia’s, oldest town and every corner oozes history. Ribe has the largest number of preserved buildings in Denmark outside Copenhagen, but in Ribe you can walk to them all, while in Copenhagen they are spread over a much larger area. You’ll find about 120 preserved buildings in Ribe.
Although Ribe is old, development hasn’t stalled. Urban renewal is ongoing, fitting respectfully into the old city, while differing in both design and materials.
Here are a few examples from the past year.
Ribe Cathedral Square
Where Ribe Cathedral was formerly in a hollow following centuries of accumulation of surrounding deposits (the cultural layers), you will now find the paving sloping down.
The renovation of Ribe Cathedral Square, designed by the Danish Schonherr Landscape Architects (Schønherr), rewarded the citizens with a lovely square for events all year round and for hanging out in cafes and restaurants during summertime. The town square is now a beautiful and functioning public space with the Cathedral as a natural centre.
The renovation also improved vehicular and pedestrian movement and appearance, though the outcome has proved controversial and started a debate about the proper balance between the rights of the vehicles and pedestrians.
Kannikegården – The Canon Monastery
Kannikegården is a building of visionary new architecture on the town square opposite Ribe Cathedral. It is designed by the Danish architects Lundgaard and Tranberg. It belongs to Ribe parish’s parochial church council and houses the parochial church council and the staff at Ribe Cathedral. The building is raised above Denmark’s first Christian cemetery, dating back to the Mid-800s, when the German Apostle Ansgar – known as the “Apostle of the North” – was permitted by King Horik of Denmark to built the first Danish Christian church in Ribe. Nobody knew if and where this church was built in Ribe, until the former building at this place burned down and archaeologists were allowed funds to excavate the area. Here they found the cemetery with these early Christian-Viking graves.
Outside Ribe Cathedral facing Kannikegården is placed a new and modern statue of Ansgar, the “Apostle of the North”.
A later canon’s monastery dating back to the mid-1100s was found in the same excavation and gave the building its name, Kannikegården. Some of the excavation has been preserved , so you can have a look through the building’s perimeter glass facades and see walls from the canon monastery’s dining room. In this way these ancient walls are integrated into the new building, telling a very important part of ancient Danish history to the public.
If you want to know more about Ribe Cathedral, the town square and the statue of Angar, the “Apostle of the North”: Ribe Cathedral.
If you want to know more about the Christian Viking graves: Vikings
Chilling by the river
A new wooden terrace by Ribe River only a few steps from the hostel was inaugurated a month ago. The terrace is the result of an exemplary collaboration between citizens of Ribe town and Esbjerg municipality. It is a great place for chilling out with a glass of wine or an ice cream cone while enjoying the view of Ribe River, the old town or the sunset over Ribe and the Wadden Sea National Park.
Both Ribe citizens and guests of Ribe have immediately taken the terrace into their hearts.
Vikings in Ribe – a favourite subject to photograph
Those who follow this blog will probably have noticed a long time ago, that Vikings are one of my favourite subjects to photograph (I am Gudrun from Danhostel Ribe – the hostel in Ribe, Denmark).
Photos of Viking children
Throughout the years I have also photographed Viking children. In this new blog post I will show you some of my less known photos – most of them never published before.
Ribe International Viking Market
I hope these photos will remind you of the big international Viking Market in Ribe. In 2016 it will take place from the 2nd of May to the 8th of May at Ribe VikingeCenter. The market brings 500 Vikings from all over Europe to Ribe in Denmark.
Similar Viking photos
A few of the photos might look like photos you saw before. Maybe you have seen one similar to this one here: Vikings
Viking photos I never stopped liking
Most of these photos I took over the last couple of years, but a few are older. Like this one – it is almost 10 years old. The boy is now an adult, and maybe you’ll meet him as a Viking warrior or a tradesman in Ribe .
Learning Viking’s skills at an early age
During the Viking Age it was common for the children to start helping their parents from a very early age. They had to learn skills as farming, trading and also fighting. In Ribe VikingeCenter you will see Viking children work with real axes and hammers.
This Viking boy works as a smith’s helper and will probably once become a skilled craftsman himself.
Skills of Viking women and girls
Most of a Viking woman’s life was bounded by working at home. She was responsible for the household, and had all the keys to the house in her belt. She was cooking and taking care of the smaller children. If they were farmers, she milked the cows and made the cheese, but she should also be able to run all the farm while her husband was away.
Viking cooking and brewing
Viking girls helped their mothers. They had to learn to cook and brew beer and mead. They would also learn to make cheese from milk.
Handwork of Vikings
Women and girls also spent much of their time spinning, weaving and making clothing. Sewing and repairing old clothes were important too.
Selling Viking jewelry at Ribe Viking Market
At the big international Viking Market in Ribe are many wonderful things for sale – and Viking children are taught to be skilled tradesmen.
Keeping the fire going – a vital knowledge
Viking children and fetched water and collected sticks for firewood, but it was also vital for the older children to learn how to start a fire and keep it going.
A Viking baby
This little Viking baby is lucky. At the Viking Market in Ribe he was cared for and admired. If he had been born in the Viking Age his first challenge would have been to survive. Many children did not survive infancy and childhood.
Viking children – Playing and learning Viking life
Viking children had to learn many skills necessary for survival in the Viking Age – for the boys one of them was to be successful warrior. Also some Viking girls learned to fight.
Boys were taught to use sword, spear, battle-axe and shield at an early age. The youngest boys had toy weapons, but the toys were an important part of learning real-world survival.
In the blog post Our best photos from Ribe Viking Market you can see a photo of Viking Boys playing the the Viking board game Tafl (- or Hnefatafl) and another photo of Viking boys playing by a river bank trying to reach the other side with a rope without getting wet feet.
Also Viking girls played with dolls. This Viking girl is playing with a toy doll made from wool.
When Viking children grew up most of them would be farmers, traders and craftsmen, but some of them would also sometimes join Viking raids and bring back treasures from abroad. This boy is admiring the Ribe cup. This beautiful little silver bowl was part of a silver hoard from the 700s found in Ribe. The cup has a Christian motif and was originally used in church ceremonies. The cup is Frankish and produced in southern Germany or the Alpine region. How it ended in the pagan Ribe is still all in the air. Was it stolen goods of a Viking raid or part of a trade?
Enough – He wants a break!
For small children, Ribe Viking Market can be a little overwhelming – so I’ll stop for a while.
Ribe Viking Market takes place at Ribe VikingeCenter one week around 1st of May every year
Book a guide for a Viking Walk at the Viking Museum or walk the hostel’s self guided Viking Walk in Ribe
Hope you have enjoyed my photos. Please like and share with other Viking freaks – but please don’t copy.
Here are links to more of our blog posts with Viking knowledge and Viking photos from Ribe in Denmark:
When you are looking for the best Christmas markets in Europe you will usually see the big Christmas markets in European cities like Nuremberg, Dresden, Lübeck, Strasbourg, London, Vienna, etc. highlighted. In Denmark the Christmas market in the Tivoli Gardens amusement park in Copenhagen is famous – and sometimes you will also see the Christmas market in Den Gamle By in Aarhus (The Old Town Museum) and the Hans Christian Andersen Christmas Market in Odense mentioned .
Why the old town Ribe is special and worth a visit for a Christmas break
Ribe is Denmark’s oldest town – but also the oldest town in all of Scandinavia
Ribe has been an international market town since the Viking Ages. Ribe is Denmark’s oldest town – but also the oldest town in all of Scandinavia. While you soak up the ambience of the old town, you will probably notice that Ribe is not a museum like the Old Town in Aarhus (Den Gamle By i Aarhus). The houses are lived in and the love and care the citizens show their town is unmistakable, when you see the well-maintained houses and streets. Join us for a self-guided town walk in the old town: Town Walk
Peter’s Christmas in Ribe (Peters Jul i Ribe)
“I feel the joy at this time of the year, whenthe white Christmas snow is falling down, then I know it’s Christmas time. My father goes out every day, and when he comes home, I stand looking at his big pockets.”
Christmastime in Ribe is named “Peter’s Christmas in Ribe” (Peters Jul i Ribe). The name comes from one of the best known Christmas stories for children in Denmark through the last 150 years “Peters Jul” written by Johan Krohn in 1866. The author is supposed to have had family in Ribe and have had celebrated a Christmas here. Peter’s father will guide you through Christmas Ribe on the 4 Saturdays before Christmas.
A vibrant town centre all the year round
While shops and stores in many town centres close down facing serious challenges from out-of-town shopping centres and the growth of online shopping, Ribe has managed to keep its town centre vibrant by adapting to meet the changing demands of the customers’ shopping habits.
This, along with the ancient medieval architecture of the town draws many people from the surrounding area to shop here on a regular basis.
Sustainability and development go together
Ribe town square and most of the town centre has been pedestrianized and beautifully paved. Restrictions on shop signs and street displays help to make the beautiful old town centre more authentic. The shops go very well together with the historic environment and make it attractive for both residents and tourists to go shopping or just walk around.
Lovely places to meet and socialize
A successful mixture of specialty shops, clothes shops, galleries, jewellery stores, gift shops, barbers, restaurants and cafes treat you with the ultimate shopping experience in the heart of Ribe town centre. Most of the shops are independent shops – very few are shop chains.
Cafes and restaurants in the high street and at the town square are great places to meet and socialize while enjoying a cup of coffee or a pint of beer in pleasant surroundings – in summertime outside and in wintertime inside.
This old grocer’s shop smells like Christmas
Parmo Pedersen’s old grocer’s shop in Ribe town centre smells like Christmas. You will probably be tempted by the smell of all sorts of Christmas spices that meet you when you step inside, simply because in this old shop you can still purchase spices by the weight. You can also buy good old-fashioned sweets, Parmo’s home-made and famous fruits in port wine, and local produced Danish butter cookies in cake tins.
Norse Vikings and Christian Danes in Ribe
Ribe town centre is built around the town square where Ribe Cathedral towers above the town. At the same place the first Christian church in Denmark was built around 855 and the norse Vikings in Ribe were the first in Denmark to be Christianized. Ribe Cathedral is one of Denmark’s biggest attractions and like Ribe town it has been awarded 2 stars in the Michelin Guide for Attractions.
Ribe Cathedral seen from one of the parks
Ribe Cathedral can be seen from everywhere in the town. This photo is from one of the many parks in town and was used as Ribe’s Christmas card of the year a few years ago.
Ribe has a long tradition of citizens with a strong sense of community. Tourism, trade, cultural, and natural institutions have been working together in an exemplary manner for many years, and dedicated and active citizens full of ideas think up many different ways to give the town a year-round bustling energy to the great delight of residents as well as tourists.
Street theatre on Advent Sundays
On the four Sundays of Advent children and adults from the local amateur theatre group DRAKOMIR will romp about in town making fun and performing Peter’s Christmas street theatre.
Christmas music and Christmas carols
E.g. this year the second Saturday in December Denmark’s biggest choir sings Christmas carols at Ribe town square, Ribe Chamber Choir sings in Ribe Cathedral and Esbjerg Railway Orchestra plays Christmas music in the streets.
Moped gang in Santa disguise
Maybe you will also meet a moped gang in Santa disguise in town. Usually mopeds and teenage boys go hand-in-hand, but the gang in Ribe consists of adult moped enthusiasts, who all drive old mopeds from when electric starters and cheap plastic parts were unknown to true moped owners.
Christmas markets and Christmas shopping
Tune into the Christmas Spirit the four weekends before Christmas. The town is full of life and the Christmas shopping is done in shops, at Christmas markets in town, and at small Christmas booths around town where citizens will sell handicraft, home-made Christmas cakes, Christmas gnomes, etc.
Enjoy Christmastime with all your senses
But even though you are not a big spender there is so much to watch and enjoy if you have an interest for adventure, culture, and good food
Christmas market in the old grocery store
An event that has proved very popular at Christmastime is the Christmas market at the old grocery store Quedens Gaard the 1st weekend of December every year. This is a market that all ages enjoy, here you can see, hear, smell, taste, and touch.
High spirits at the Christmas market
and you will often be met with smiles like these.
Share a honey heart (honninghjerte)
Honey hearts or gingerbread hearts (Danish: Honninghjerter) are very popular in Denmark at Christmastime. Why not share a heart with the one you love? The words “Glædelig Jul” mean “Merry Christmas” – this honey heart was bought at the Christmas Market at Quedens Gaard, but you can also buy honey hearts from the bakers and supermarkets in town. They are usually covered with chocolate and has a Santa sticker.
Christmas food and drink
Gode Råd (Good Advice) is a thin and crunchy Christmas biscuit – more like a waffle. It was typically served at Christmas in South Jutland, but now is not very common anymore. Even though it is biscuit it has the size of a dessert plate and is made in a special waffle iron.
An obvious choice when you are out and about on a cold day would be warm and sweet æbleskiver (Christmas Dumplings) and a warming glass of Gløgg (mulled wine) containing raisins and almonds. It is served in many of the cafes and restaurants in Ribe. Another warm drink is the German Glühwein.
The best Christmas beer
Christmas beer is brewed and you can taste it at the Christmas Market in Quedens Gaard the first weekend of December. The second weekend you can taste and vote for the best Christmas beer of the year “Årets Emil” at the Old Town Hall in Ribe (Det gamle Rådhus).
And beer lovers don’t forget that every Saturday year round you can visit the micro-brewery Ribe Brewery. It is open from 10am to 2pm.
In Ribe Santa Claus sleeps in a hotel
Santa Claus is everywhere in town and everybody knows him. Johannes was Santa Claus in Ribe the last 29 years. He has a chat with all of us, and hands out candy to all ages in Ribe in December – but off course mostly to the children.
Friday 4 weeks before Christmas children in Ribe wake up Santa Claus. In Ribe we don’t believe that Santa arrives from the North Pole, we know that he sleeps in Denmark’s oldest hotel, the Dagmar, next to the tourist office. The children shouts as loud as they can to wake him up – and when he comes out the door, he hands out candy generously and takes care that the lights of the huge Christmas tree on the town square are switched on (photo at the top). At the same time you can enjoy Christmas music, a cup of warm cocoa and a biscuit.
Christmas events within walking distance
Maybe a child gets a little tired and need to be carried on her father’s shoulders, but actually all the places, streets and Christmas events mentioned in this blog post can be reached within a (slow) 5 minutes walk from the hostel.
The importance of Ribe’s historical heritage
Ribe is Denmark’s oldest town, and the recognition of the value of Ribe’s historical heritage, and the way it has been implemented in a far-sighted urban planning and sustainable strategy, has probably also made it the most beautiful.
Ribe is a unique historic town and one of Denmark’s prettiest
All these flower photos are from Scandinavia’s oldest town, Ribe.
Already in the early 700s Vikings in Ribe lived in a vibrant and international town with commercial relations far beyond Scandinavia’s borders. Ribe is now Denmark’s best preserved Medieval town and one of Denmark´s most pretty and picturesque with narrow cobbled streets and roses and hollyhocks climbing up the walls of old and crooked half-timbered houses. Ribe is so pretty that it won the title of: “Europe’s Best Big-Time Small Destination 2014″
Ribe is not an open air museum, but a lived-in old town
Wandering around the historic centre of Ribe on foot, taking in the atmosphere and sights of Denmark’s and Scandinavia’s oldest town, you will notice that people actually live in these old houses.
Ribe has many preserved houses and buildings, but it is not an open air museum like the Old Town Museum (Den gamle By) in Aarhus
Denmark’s best preserved town or city
Ribe has approximately 120 listed houses and even more are declared worthy of preservation. The only place in Denmark you’ll find more listed houses than in Ribe is in Copenhagen, but in Copenhagen they are spread over a big area, while in Ribe they are all within a short walking distance from our hostel, Danhostel Ribe
Blooming hollyhocks and roses
The hollyhocks and roses in flower during the summer months fit lovely together with this old idyllic town.
In this blog post we will show you some of the streets and alleys with blooming flowers. Find the streets or houses yourself – or find some that are just as pretty.
Ribe citizens are proud of their town and maintain their houses well
Though many of the houses in Ribe centre (old town) are very small it is a very popular choice for the citizens to live in these houses and the residents are making an effort to maintain their houses well and make them fit into the picturesque oasis of tranquillity and perfect idyll in Ribe.
Ribe has many museums and activity centres and a cathedral with Michelin stars in the Michelin Guide to Sights and Attractions, but an examination among tourists in Ribe revealed that Ribe’s biggest attraction is: RIBE.
Ribe town centre is besides from being a well preserved town – which is also awarded with Michelin stars – also a busy town with many cafes, restaurants and specialty shops in the town centre. Many festivals and events also attract visitors.
I moved to Ribe in April. I used to live in Copenhagen, where I worked and studied for five years. I had not researched a lot on the town before I left my home – I just knew that they got a splendid collection of Danish Art at Ribe Art Museum. So I wrote to the director and asked if she could use a newly graduated art historian in her staff and she said yes. So here I am: 28, art historian and newcomer to the oldest town in Scandinavia. I have lived here for two and a half months now, and I have to say…I am certainly in love with this place.
What to do in a small town?
In Copenhagen I went to concerts and visited friends all the time, and I was a bit scared, that I would have nothing to do in this small town. I was wrong. Almost every weekend there is some kind of event fx when 300 travelling journeymen met during the Ascension Holiday (Himmelfahrtstreffen), the nordic barrel organ festival and – of course – the traditional Tulip Festival with music everywhere in town, fair and the tulip parade. I have met some really nice people who take me out meeting new cool people. So actually I am not lonely. But it IS a different way to live. In Ribe there are not that many people of my own age, not that I can’t hang out with people of other ages, but it is not entirely the same… Ribe is full of openminded citizens and as time goes by, I have more and more people to talk to and to drink coffee – maybe a beer – with.
Ribe is something you can’t really explain
Ribe is a unique place to live. When you arrive at the station you are instantly caught. I went to a job interview at Ribe Art Museum (called “the castle” because it is so damn beautiful and classy) and when I saw the building and the garden, I thought: “Ok. If I should move from Copenhagen, this would be the place”: ‘Cause Ribe is not just a place far away from Copenhagen.
Ribe is something you can’t really explain. It is the atmosphere that makes you feel entirely relaxed even when you are busy. It is the cobblestone streets where you can’t walk in high heels and where you feel every bump on the road if you dare to ride a bike. It is the old half-timbered crooked houses standing as they have done for some hundred years. And it is the small brooks and the river, which you have to cross all the time to get around. It is the feeling when your colleague says: “I know someone who you should meet” or “We are going to the wine bar – do you want to join?” (there is a wine bar in Ribe, how cool is that?!). It is when you see hundred thousands of starlings just five minutes away from the city centre and at the same time hear a bittern from the reeds. It is when you are on your way home and you meet the night watchman.
One of the biggest differences between Ribe and Copenhagen is that you just can’t be anonymous in a town like this. It took six days from when I arrived to when an acquaintance heard in a local shop that they had hired a new girl at the art museum. From a person I haven’t met. That was a bit of a culture shock.
Passion for photography
As long as I can remember I have had a passion for photography. I have combined my interests and have taken lots of photographs of art works – mainly sculptures – but I really like to catch details from the urban space as well.
One of my main hobbies is to edit and crop my images and Instagram has become my favourite social media, I think… The images in this blog post is taken from my account: Adayinthelifeofafool . I am aware of the compositions, the light and especially the shadows.
The sky and the dramatic clouds
One of the first things that caught my eye when moving to Ribe was the sky – the dramatic clouds, which you can see nearly in every kind of weather. This picture is shot on Riberhus Castle Hill (“Slotsbanken”) at sunset. Out here you really can breathe and watch the clouds go by and there is even a sculpture. What’s not to like?! So many extraordinary motifs in this town.
Adopting the best of both worlds
In fact I don’t miss Copenhagen, rush hour and the hectic atmosphere. I miss my friends and family a bit, but Ribe is not that far away. I can go to Zealand and they can visit me. And the social medias makes it much more easy to feel as a part of my old group of friends. I am not completely isolated.
In fact I think, that I have adopted the best of both worlds.
28 years old
Art Historian, graduated from University of Copenhagen Summer 2014
Ribe Viking Market is Denmark’s most authentic Viking Market. Every spring it attracts several hundred Vikings from all over Scandinavia and Europe. Often even Arab merchants will find their way to Ribe.
In this article you will only find photos from this year’s Viking Market
The Viking Market season in Denmark starts with Ribe Viking Market and of course the Vikings are eager to sell the various kinds of goods they have produced during the cold winter
– of course they are also looking forward to meeting Viking friends
We immerse ourselves in Viking history and keep learning new things about the Vikings’ fascinating world. This year one thing we learned was that this small drill was the Black & Decker of the Viking Age
Next time we write about Vikings in Ribe on this blog www.danhostel.org we might show you some of our lovely Viking Children photos
– or tell you about one of the newest Viking Age theories: that the Viking Age started in Ribe as early as 725 AD and not with a Viking raid to England in 793 AD – or maybe tell you interesting news about the viking excavations that are going on right now (photo) as a continuation of the excavations last year when archaeologists among others found a fully equipped Viking warhorse.
To be the first ones to know, please follow Danhostel Ribe on some of our social media.
Don’t worry if you missed Ribe Viking market this year, there are many other opportunities to get close to the Vikings in Ribe – Denmark’s oldest town – during the year.
Every year around May 1st Denmark’s most authentic Viking Market takes place in Ribe VikingeCenter. More than 500 Vikings from all over Europe meet to join the market. Visitdenmark – the Danish tourist board – mentions it among the “Top events in Denmark 2015”
Do you dare to look in the eyes of a Viking
In 2015 this event will take place from May 1 to May 8.
We hope you feel inspired to put Ribe Viking Market on your travel bucket list for your next adventure when you have enjoyed (- or have been repelled) by our Viking photos of expressive Viking men’s faces.
If longer hair and beard symbolized strength among the Vikings this Arab visiting Ribe Viking market was able to compete with them. He had the longest beard we have seen at the Viking Market. He named himself after Ibn-Fadhlan, an Arab writer who more than 1000 years ago described the Vikings as “the filthiest of all Allah’s creatures“.
Sadly, we will never meet Ibn-Fadhlan again in Ribe, as he passed away last summer. He was a good friend of the hostel and his good humor and kindness will be greatly missed. All honour to his memory.
Some Vikings will scare you…
This Viking may not have long hair and beard, but we think his eyes are scary, and we certainly wouldn’t like to meet him again at the Viking Market.
If you visit Ribe Viking Market yearly, you will see boys grow up to become men. This boy – Birk – is well on his way. We meet him every year at the Viking Market, and as you can see he already manages the impressive look of an adult Viking.
What to do if you miss Ribe Viking Market
Ribe Viking Market marks the opening of Ribe VikingeCenter (Ribe Viking Centre) for the summer season ahead. So don’t worry if you miss the market, there are many other opportunities to get close to the Vikings in Ribe – Denmark’s oldest town – during the year.
A Hostel Manager for 28 years.
More than 500.000 guests were welcomed
I’ve been a hostel host in Ribe for more than 28 years now.
Most people call me a hostel manager, but I always used the word “host” myself, because I like to welcome our guests as guests – and it is vital to me that my guests feel welcome and at home.
Recently guest number 500.000 was welcomed, and we decided to celebrate this by making a donation to Johanne Dan, the beautiful ship, that is an important part of the view from the windows of the hostel. A view that both our guests and we enjoy every day.
Home is where the heart is. I lost mine to the breathtaking beautiful Ribe
Ribe is breathtaking beautiful. It is Denmark’s best preserved town and also the oldest. The hostel was built on the best spot in town and has an amazing view of the old town, Ribe River and the Wadden Sea National Park.
I am very thankful, that I was trusted a hostel such a lovely place, and have tried to take good care of it and our surroundings. Today travellers build sustainability into their journeys, but to me a green hostel has always been a must. The hostel has been eco-labeled with Green Key since 1997 and is still the only eco-labeled accommodation in all the Wadden Sea National Park. Since then we also became Official National Park Partner, was Refood labeled etc.
From dorms to rooms with private facilities
The celebration of 500.000 guests made me recall some hostel memories. When I came to Ribe as a young manager of a brand new and modern hostel, I ended in a real buzz about placing a hostel on the most attractive site in Ribe. Furthermore the hotel owners in town were very concerned that the hostel should not have better facilities than Ribe’s hotels.
But times changed and after some years our hostel was modernized and all our rooms got private baths/toilets.
From youth hostels to hostels for all ages
In Denmark are hostel rooms with private facilities more common than hostels with big dorms.
Couples as well as families and backpackers book a room with private facilities. When I started as hostel manager, guests who arrived after the hostel rooms were fully booked, were happy when they were offered a cheap mattress in a conference room shared with many others. They often stayed for many days, happy to have obtained a very cheap accommodation. Nowadays very few in our hostel will settle for a bed – certainly not for a mattress – nor shared showers.
Getting rid of old stereotypes about youth hostels
The Danish hostels started to welcome all ages many years ago, we have modern facilities and serve excellent breakfasts, many of us even have conference facilities, but it is hard to get rid of old stereotypes about youth hostels. We felt that youth hostels were not the right name any more. In Denmark hostels changed names from vandrehjem (homes for wanderers = youth hostels) to Danhostels. In Ribe we changed name from the Danish “Ribe Vandrehjem” to the international “Danhostel Ribe“.
Luxury rooms with view of National Park
Danhostel Ribe was enlarged twice. I started up with 26 rooms – now I have 40 and about 20.000 overnight stays per year.
As an icing of the cake the 6 superior rooms (A++) along the top floor were built featuring spectacular views of the old town, Ribe River and the National Park. (In 2010 the meadow outside the hostel became a part of one of Denmark’s first national parks: the Wadden Sea National Park.)
These rooms have become an attractive accommodation for many foreigners who marry in Ribe – and for couples of all ages who want a romantic holiday. What a pleasure for us to welcome these happy lovers.
Look inside our romantic hostel rooms 360º
Take a virtual 360º tour in one of these luxury hostel rooms. Click on the Google map above – You can even go for a walk around the whole hostel – 360º: Virtual tour of Danhostel Ribe. You have to “walk down the staircase” from the second floor (am.: the third floor), we have no lift. The other rooms are smaller and a little cheaper- but all have private bath/toilet.
Difference between hotels and hostels
When the hostels in Denmark are so modern what is the difference between hostels and hotels, besides the prize? One of the answers is “Do you want to be private or do you want to socialize – or maybe both?”
In hotels it is normal to be private. You don’t share your TV or minibar with others. In hostels most people want to mingle with other travellers.
In Danhostels it is possible to be both private and to socialize. You can close your door and be private when YOU want .
Futhermore most hostel rooms do still have more beds (usually bunk beds) which is a perfect fit for 3-4 friends traveling together or a family of 3 to 4 persons.
Most hostels have many common areas
If you want to socialize you have good possibilities in hostels – also in our hostel. We have many spacious common areas where guests can mingle and meet other travellers, exchange travel ideas, cook and eat, watch TV, play table football or other games, have fun and find new friends for life. We even have a sports centre for badminton and soccer and with one of Denmark’s best rock climbing walls. Children find new pals, parents and grandparents don’t have to shush them all the time, they can just enjoy some happy children.
Good mood and high spirits rub off onto us (the staff) and the other way around.
Danhostels are members of Hostelling International (HI Hostels)
We all need positive and life-giving oases in life and especially when we are travelling far away from home. Places we feel comfortable, meet new friends and broaden our horizons. This is what Hostelling International is all about : “to provide hostels or other accommodation which there shall be no distinctions of race, nationality, colour, religion, sex, class or political opinions and thereby develop a better understanding of their fellow men at home and abroad.” And “to promote the education of all young people of all nations, but especially young people of limited means, by encouraging in them a greater knowledge, love and care of the countryside and an appreciation of the cultural values of towns and cities in all parts of the world”.
Makes me very proud of being a hostel host in HiHostel.
And don’t forget if you have a HI Hostel or Danhostel membership-card, book through HI-Hostel, Danhostel or contact us, you will get 10% discount on accommodation. This discount is the same in all Danhostels in Denmark. On our homepage you’ll often find more offers
Free WiFi in hostels is a must these days
When I started at the hostel our guests booked rooms and beds by letter and included a return stamp. I had lovely postcards from all over the world and still keeps many of them.
Now most travellers are online. They check their mail, find new information and book their next hostel (- after they have checked ratings and what other guests say about this hostel). They also rate us – most of the time they even rate us in top – though we are often compared to hotels. They also help us to be better all the time, so thank you if you take the time to rate us, when you have visited us. I’ll put links to some of our ratings at the bottom of this blog.
Celebrating a 90th Birthday at the hostel
Many of our guests are frequent guests in our hostel – some have come here every year for more than 25 years. Others visited us years ago with their parents or school and are back with their own children. But it is seldom that I – like on this photo – hoist the Danish flag for a 90-year-old birthday. Kirsten Jack – who lives north of Copenhagen – celebrated her birthday at the hostel with family coming in from all over the world. As you can see she is a lively and wonderful woman who is helping me hoisting the flag.