Our favourite Viking destinations for 2018
Scandinavian history is bold, colourful and even violent. What comes to mind when you think of bygone times of the Nordic region?
Scandinavian history is bold, colourful and even violent. What comes to mind when you think of bygone times of the Nordic region? Chances are fierce Vikings crossing rough seas and oceans to plunder their way through Europe. They travelled as far South as Arabia and even crossed the Atlantic to Canada, long before Columbus discovered the Americas, making them the first European settlers on American soil.
But there’s much more to the Vikings than seafaring conquests. They were gifted artists and craftsmen that travelled far and wide to trade their goods. They were skilled poets and lawmakers, living in an organised democratic, law-abiding society. Thanks to their burial rituals we are left with thousands of stunning artefacts from the Viking-era, spanning from 800 AD to 1066. Want to experience a Viking-adventure of your own?
Here’s some of our favourite destinations - easily incorporated into your Scandinavian itinerary:
The Viking Ship Museum (Vikingskipshuset) is on the Bygdøy peninsula, a lovely island a short distance from central Oslo. It houses the world's best-preserved Viking ships and finds from Viking tombs around the Oslo Fjord. The Viking Ship Museum shows discoveries from the Gokstad, Oseberg and Tune ships, plus small boats, sledges, a beautiful cart, tools, textiles and household utensils. Our local's tip is to join the locals for a walk around Bygdøy, enjoying the fjord and if you are lucky, fresh strawberries, ice creams and waffles during summer. Viking Ship Museum, Oslo
Meet the Vikings. Smell the tar, taste the food, feel the history. The Vikings have been awaiting you for more than 1000 years. Located in Borg, you can visit this museum off the Hurtigruten Voyage or during an independent self-drive holiday in Lofoten. Activities include: rowing a Viking boat, banquets and themed events. A massive family friendly Viking Festivals is held each year. 2018 dates: 08 August - 12 August. http://www.lofotr.no/
The Danish Viking Ship Museum is for children of all ages and focuses on bringing the Viking era to life. As well as an impressive display of Viking artifacts including 1,000 year old original Viking ships in the Viking Ship Hall, you will find seasonal events and opportunities. Dress up like Vikings, try Viking food at the cafe, row Viking boats and visit the active boat yard. Check the jam-packed schedule for events during summer.
A short train ride from Copenhagen, this Viking musuem can easily be included in a day trip from there. http://www.vikingeskibsmuseet.dk/en/
The Ribe Viking Centre focuses on giving visits an authentic, living Viking experience and is well known for its Viking markets. Other reasons to visit are the intimate Christmas experiences, lovely gardens and the hand's on workshops. Our Denmark's Viking Trail Tour is a self-drive Denmark itinerary that visits Ribe, on the Jutland peninsula. https://www.ribevikingecenter.dk/en/home.aspx
Get to the heart of the Viking homeland, visiting the homeland of Eirikr rauði Þorvaldsson (approx. 950-1003 AD), better known as __Erik the Red __. It is said that he was a particularly hotheaded fellow who, after being exiled from first Norway and later Iceland, finally settled in Greenland. He established the chieftain’s seat of power at Brattahlið – now Qassiarsuk – in Southern Greenland and you can visit this small town during expedition voyages and independent tours to Southern Greenland.
Historic Viking sites in Iceland are negligible, but Viking heritage is all around in the form of the Icelandic language, which is effectively the same language spoken by the Norwegian Vikings that settled the island in the 9th century. Windswept beaches, wild weather, atmospheric highlands and local traditions such as carrying rocks & cairn making just makes you feel like you might stumble upon a few leftover Vikings around the next corner. Immerse yourself in some Viking culture by bathing as they did in the piping hot geothermal pools - search for the secret local hot pools hidden along beaches and coves. Eat like a Viking at the quirky Hotel Viking - again, a festival is held here each year. http://fjorukrain.is/en/ Or when you are in Reykjavik, book tickets to see the live theatre show dedicated to the Icelandic Sagas and Viking history. http://icelandicsagas.com/
Image credits: Kjell ove storvik / Lofotr Lofotr Viking Museum, Mads Pihl - Visit Greenland.