Discover Ribe, The Oldest Town In Scandinavia

Isabelle Pitman

Ribe, the oldest town in Denmark, is located near The Wadden Sea. The medieval town has preserved its unique history for thousands of years. Its rich culture, arts and historical sites such as Ribe VikingeCenter and The Cathedral make it one of the top 10 must-visit places in Denmark. We interviewed Jane Madvig Søndergaard of VisitRibe to discover a local insight into the captivating culture and stunning sights that Ribe has to offer.


Describe your town in three words:

Authentic, charming, romantic

What makes your town unique? Is it the people, the sights, the food scene, or something else entirely?

Why do you think your town has made the top ten list of places to visit in Denmark?

Ribe has a lot to offer, from the medieval town to the vikings, the art and culture and the national park.

What is Ribe’s proudest moment in history thus far?

The construction of the Cathedral, starting in year 1150 and going on until about 1250.


Where are the must-visit places in your town?

The Cathedral and a trip up the Commoner’s Tower, which is 52 meters high, Medieval town center, Viking Museum, VikingeCenter, Ribe Art Museum, Wadden Sea Center and the national park and the island Mandø.

Where should culture lovers go to in Ribe?

The Cathedral, [Ribe] Art Museum or a guided walk in the old cobblestoned streets of Ribe. Join the Night Watchman on his round through the town in the evening.

Tell us about the typical local cuisine in Ribe?

Our locally brewed beer from Ribe Bryghus, dried flatfish and marsh lamb.

Where’s the go-to place to find this authentic local cuisine?

Restaurant Kolvig, Hotel Dagmar, Restaurant Sælhunden.

What’s the best-kept secret of Ribe?

There’s a secret underground passage, running from Riberhus Castle ruin to the Cathedral. Through the years, children in Ribe have tried to find the secret passage, but without any luck.

Ribe Domkirke manip

Whats brings tourists to your town?

Except from the above, it could be to look at Starling Magic. Go out in The National Park Wadden Sea to visit the island of Mandø, maybe continue on a Seal Safari or Oyster Safari. We have a wide range of things to do both in The National Park Wadden Sea and in the medieval town.

Do you have any exciting upcoming events?

For events around the year, look at

What should I spend my last $5 on in Ribe?

A ‘go’ gammeldaws’ ice cream from ‘Isvaflen,’ with a home-baked cone, and delicious ice cream.

What’s Ribe’s most bizarre tradition?

Meadow of the Heads (Hovedengen) leading down to Ribe River. Today the meadow is preserved and part of the Wadden Sea National Park. In the 1500s, there was much trouble with pirates in the North Sea. At that time, Hovedengen was known as Todes or Tuodes Eng (Tuodes Meadow). Since then, it has popularly been called Hovedengen (Meadow of the Heads). As far back as Valdemar the Great’s time (1131-1182), it was customary to put the pirates’ decapitated heads on stakes at the entrance to the harbor as a frightful warning to those who might want to try their luck to be pirates and to the delight of peaceful local merchants.

Ribe is one of the winners of The Culture Trip’s Denmark Local Favorite 2015 Award. The Local Favorite badge is awarded to our favorite local towns, restaurants, artists, galleries, and everything in between. We are passionate about showcasing popular local talents on a global scale, so we have cultivated a carefully selected, but growing community.
Interview by Isabelle Pitman

landscape with balloons floating in the air


Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world

Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.

Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.

Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.

Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.

We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.

Winter Sale Offers on Our Trips

Incredible Savings

Edit article