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Winter in Ribe, Denmark

Winter and “hygge” in Denmark. Visit the oldest town in Scandinavia: Ribe

Room with a view. Ribe and Ribe Cathedral seen from the hostel's top floor
Ribe in Denmark. View of Ribe Cathedral from Danhostel Ribe

Our tribute to our old and authentic town, Ribe

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.

Streets of Ribe - a cosy little town in Denmark
Streets of the cosy little town, Ribe in Denmark. This street is Fiskergade (gade=street)

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.

Winter in Ribe,  Denmark
A beautiful winter’s day in the streets of Ribe, Denmark. This street is Sortebrødregade

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 in Denmark at wintertime
In winter everything seems much slower and Ribe is less touristy and more authentic. This photo is from  Puggaardsgade

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

One of many alleys in Ribe, Denmark
One of the beautiful alleys in Ribe

Recommended blog posts about Christmas and winter in Ribe

We can recommend these two blog posts:
– Christmas and winter in Ribe is special. 30 photos from Ribe in Denmark

Christmastime in Denmark – and in beautiful Ribe

Hygge - a new trend. In Ribe town youl'll find it all the time
Danish “hygge” lifestyle is a new trend worldwide. Photo from Fiskergade

Danish “hygge” lifestyle – a new trend worldwide

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.

Viking heritage in the Viking town Ribe, Denmark
The Vikings lived, worked and traded in Ribe. This photo is from the street Puggaardsgade, but the street and the buildings are not from the Viking Age

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.

Ribe Art Museum, Denmark. Details
Ribe Art Museum in Sct. Nicolai street – Scandinavia’s first pedestrian street

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 Cathedral in Ribe
The Cathedral is the biggest attraction among the preserved medieval buildings in Ribe. Photo from Torvet

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.

Ribe harbour a winter day
Ribe harbour a winter day

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.

Ribe Harbour on a misty winter's day
Enjoy a little peace and quiet on a stroll along the harbour.  Even a misty day is beautiful

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.

The Art Museum's park  in Ribe
Seagulls in the Art Museum’s park Ribe

 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.

One of the best place to watch wildlife in Denmark is the Wadden Sea National Park
Birdwatching – the Wadden Sea National Park is one of the best places to go birding in Denmark

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.

The hostel in Ribe, Denmark. The heart of Ribe an the Wadden Sea National Park
The hostel in Ribe, Denmark. The hostel stands in the heart of Ribe and proudly – as the only part of Ribe – in the heart of a national park

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

Old street lamp on old house
Street lamp in Ribe, Denmark

 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
Wrap up warm and have a snowball fight

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.

Snowman outside the hostel
Snowman on the meadow outside the hostel

Build a snowman

– or build a snowman on the meadow by the river just outside the hostel.

The pedestrian high street of Ribe in Denmark at Christmas time
The pedestrian high street of Ribe during the festive season

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.

Christmas shopping during a December weekend in Ribe, Denmark
Christmas shopping in Ribe, Denmark

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

Listen to the organ grinder's music, when he plays his barrel organ in the streets
The organ grinder entertains young and old
 Go sleighing for free with horse-drawn carriage in Ribe
Enjoy a free ride in a horse-drawn sleigh
Meet Santa in Ribe, Denmark
Meet Santa with a bag full of goodies
The pedestrian street in Ribe
The pedestrian high street and the Cathedral in Ribe
Boats in the harbor. Ribe in Denmark
Boats in the harbour
The harbour - Christmas in Ribe
The harbour – Christmas in Ribe
Not all sculptures are in museums
Not all sculptures are in museums. In the background is Sct Catharinæ Church – also from the Middle Ages
Christmas decorations and lights
Christmas decorations and lights
In the park
In the park

 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

Room with a view at Danhostel Ribe
Room with a view at Danhostel Ribe – a view of the old town and the harbour from the top floor

 

Find Danhostel Ribe på facebook
Danhostel Ribe’ facebook

Written by Gudrun Rishede and Jens Philipsen, Danhostel Ribe
© All photos: Gudrun Rishede

 

New architecture in old town. Ribe, Denmark

How new architecture fits into Ribe, Scandinavia’s oldest town

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.

Ribe, Denmark. This is the view of Ribe old town from the hostel, Danhostel Ribe
Ribe’s old town, from the hostel, Danhostel Ribe

Walk from our hostel, Danhostel Ribe, right into the heart of Ribe and visit all the best sights: A self-guided old town walk

Ribe Art Museum, Denmark
Ribe Art Museum (left in the photo) reopened 2010 after a major repair and renovation project

Urban renewal 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, Denmark
Ribe Cathedral Square, Denmark

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.

Kannikegaarden in Ribe, Denmark
Kannikegaarden in Ribe, Denmark

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”.

Outside Ribe Cathedral is a statue of Ansgar, the “Apostle of the North” facing Kannikegården
Outside Ribe Cathedral is a statue of Ansgar, the “Apostle of the North” facing Kannikegården

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.

Kannikegaarden, Ribe, Denmark
Kannikegaarden. Lecture room

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

Ansgar, the “Apostle of the North”
Ansgar, the “Apostle of the North” . Ribe, Denmark

 Chilling by the river

Chilling by the Ribe River, Denmark
Chilling by the Ribe River, Denmark

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.

Ribe River and the new wooden terrace
Ribe River, the new wooden terrace and the bridge over the river to the hostel

Do you want to know more about Ribe ?

Useful links:

Moped at Ribe Cathedral Square
Moped at Ribe Cathedral Square

Book a room at the hostel in Ribe

You don’t even have to leave your room to enjoy the beauty of Ribe’s skyline – the most photographed view in town.

Book Online at Danhostel Ribe in Denmark
Book Online at Danhostel Ribe in Denmark. Click the photo, read more about accommodation at Danhostel Ribe hostel, and book your room online.

 

Christmas in Ribe. Danhostel Ribe

Christmastime in Denmark – and in beautiful Ribe

Christmas in Denmark’s and Scandinavia’s oldest town

Denmark’s and Scandinavia’s oldest town Ribe creates the perfect setting for Christmas as in the “good old days”
The  Christmas decorated town is breathtakingly beautiful and the town square with the huge Christmas tree and the  enlightened Cathedral put the icing on the cake.

Christmas Time in Ribe, Denmark
Christmas Time in Ribe, Denmark

“Hygge” is part of the Christmas in Denmark

Danes love the feeling of “Hygge”, especially at wintertime.  Hygge is difficult to translate, but means something like ‘creating a cosy atmosphere’ and can be described as an embracing feeling of warmth and well-being. We light the Christmas candles, huddle together to keep warm, enjoy hot drinks as cocoa or the traditional mulled wine with raisins and almonds and eat Danish, sweet Christmas Dumplings.

Christmas Decorations at a Restaurant in Ribe, Denmark
Christmas Decorations at a Restaurant in Ribe, Denmark

Christmas lights and decorated streets

Festoons with Christmas lights decorate streets and in the top of Ribe Cathedral you can see a Christmas star with sparkling lights every evening.

Christmas Street Lights and Festoons in Ribe, Denmark
Christmas Street Lights and Festoons in Ribe, Denmark

Christmas shopping in Ribe

The overwhelming beauty of Ribe makes it one of Denmark’s most delightful destinations at Christmas time to make Christmas shopping.  A wide range of specialty shops – all within walking distance of the hostel – makes it easy and convenient to go shopping and perfect for buying unique souvenirs as Christmas specialties from Ribe. We can recommend Ribe Christmas Ale from the local Ribe Brewery (the brewery is open for visitors every Saturday) or Christmas cookies – Danish butter cookies in a cake tin with a snowy Christmas picture from Ribe. You can buy these in Parmo’s old grocer’s  shop in the pedestrian street. You will be overwhelmed of all the wonderful Christmas smells coming towards you, when you open the shop door, and you will probably also be tempted by his famous fruits in port.

Christmas Shopping in Ribe, Denmark
Christmas Shopping in Ribe, Denmark

Christmas Markets in Ribe

Several Christmas markets take place in Ribe during Christmas time. One of the most popular is the Christmas Market at the old grocery store from the  1500s, Quedens Gaard. It is Christmas as in the good old days. You’ll find tastings like roasted almonds, Christmas beer and freshly baked cookies, but also old trades and crafts like candle and rope making, pottery, quilting and handmade Christmas craft is introduced to you.

Taste the Roasted Almonds. Christmas Market in the old merchant's house, Quedens Gaard
Taste the Roasted Almonds. Christmas Market in the old merchant’s house, Quedens Gaard

Christmas hearts decorate Christmas trees

Making Christmas hearts and Froebel stars of paper for Christmas tree decorations is an old Danish tradition.
The oldest known Christmas heart was made by the famous fairytale author Hans Christian Andersen about 1860.
At Ribe Art Museum (Ribe Kunstmuseum) the beautiful Christmas tree is decorated with Sonja Brandes’ handmade paper cuts.
On the photo you see the favourite heart from the hostel host’s Christmas tree, and if you follow this link you’ll find a tutorial for the most common Danish Christmas heart: Make your own Christmas heart

Homemade Christmas Heart Decoration on the Hostel Manager's Christmas Tree
Homemade Christmas Heart Decoration on the Hostel Manager’s Christmas Tree

Christmas street theatre and guided tours

An old beloved Danish children’s book Peters Jul (Peter’s Christmas) lend name to the Christmas time in Ribe.
In the weekends you can see the Peter’s Christmas street theatre and follow free guided tours “In Peter’s footsteps”. You can also follow Ribe’s Night Watchman for a guided tour in old Ribe.

Peter's Christmas. Street Theater on Ribe Town Square every Saturday and Sunday in Advent
Peter’s Christmas. Street Theater on Ribe Town Square every Saturday and Sunday in Advent

Christmas Parade and Santa Claus

At the Christmas Parade you might see a Santa Claus on a red vintage fire engine. In his bag is sweets for the children.
This is a small town and tongues wag: “We know who is hiding behind the beard!”

Father Christmas at the Christmas Parade in a Vintage Fire Engine
Father Christmas at the Christmas Parade in a Vintage Fire Engine

Moped gang celebrating Christmas

A moped gang  disguised like Father Christmases at the Christmas Parade is one of the more humorous elements in Christmas parade.

Moped Gang in Disguise wish Merry Christmas at the Christmas Parade in Ribe, Denmark
Moped Gang in Disguise wish Merry Christmas at the Christmas Parade in Ribe, Denmark

The real Father Christmas

Don’t be surprised when you see more than one Father Christmas in town, but this is the one Ribe citizen call the “real” one – he is named Johannes. You will meet him in the streets several times during Christmas time handing out Christmas caramels to the children. He did that for more than 25 years. His legs are sometimes a little tired and sometimes – like here – he hands out caramels from  a horse-drawn carriage. It is also possible for you to have a sightseeing tour in the  horse-drawn carriage.

 Sightseeing with Santa Claus in a Horse-drawn Carriage
Sightseeing with Santa Claus in a Horse-drawn Carriage

Explore the historic old town
– Denmark’s best preserved

Ribe is Denmark’s and Scandinavia’s oldest town. It is also Denmark’s best preserved town or city with more than 100 preserved buildings. Only Copenhagen has more preserved buildings than Ribe, but it is a much bigger city.
Don’t forget to relax and enjoy the beauty of the town, move away from town centre and the pedestrian zone,  go into the side streets and stroll along the harbour and you will feel tranquillity descends upon you from the beauty of our town.

One of the beautiful old streets in Ribe at Christmas time
One of the beautiful old streets in Ribe at Christmas time

Christmas break at Danhostel Ribe

Why not enjoy a Christmas break at the hostel, Danhostel Ribe, in November or December? From the hostel you can have this beautiful view of the Christmas decorated Ribe – Especially if you choose one of the hostel’s best rooms – the ones on the top floor.
Getting around is easy,  central Ribe, shops, museums, cafes and pubs, attractions and Christmas events are just a short walk from the hostel.
This is the view from half the rooms at night time:

Christmas View from Danhostel Ribe - the Youth and Family Hostel in Ribe in Denmark
Christmas View from Danhostel Ribe – the Youth and Family Hostel in Ribe, Denmark

Christmas view from the hostel

The view from the hostel is amazing during Christmas time both at daytime and nighttime – although snow is not guaranteed.
Read more about Christmas time in Ribe and see Danhostel Ribe‘s Christmas offers: Christmas Holiday in Denmark

Hostel view at winter time
Hostel view at winter time

Links that might interest you:

Finally a short video showing the atmosphere in Ribe at Christmastime.

The video is made by TVEsbjerg
All Christmas photos are taken by Gudrun Rishede, Danhostel Ribe

Also experience in Ribe at Christmas time:

  • Christmas Concerts
  • Live music in the streets
  • This year’s Emil – Grading of the best Christmas beer
  • Christmas dance around the Christmas tree with Santa
  • and more
Find Danhostel Ribe på facebook
Danhostel Ribe’s facebook