Top Viking Experiences in Norway

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Detail of a Viking decoration Inside the Longhouse in the Lofotr Viking Museum in the town of Borg in the Lofoten Islands, Norway

The interest in Vikings has permeated pop culture in recent years with numerous video games, TV shows, and films paying homage to Norse mythology. Many new people have now set their sights on the land of Odin as a vacation destination and it’s no wonder. With its stunning natural landscape, friendly people, and rich Viking history, Norway has so much to offer. We’ve put together a list of the top Viking experiences here in Norway.

The large Oseberg Viking ship in the Viking Ship Museum in Oslo, Norway.
Oseberg Viking ship, Viking Ship Museum, Oslo

Viking Ship Museum

If you’re interested in Viking history, than the Viking Ship Museum in Oslo should be at the top of your itinerary. The museum houses an incredible number of artifacts from the Viking age including two of the world’s best-preserved Viking crafts dating back to the 9th century. The crown jewel of the museum is the enormous Oseberg ship, which is considered to be the finest relic to have survived. For more information on the museum, please visit the museum’s website: https://www.khm.uio.no/english/visit-us/viking-ship-museum/index.html

The Gjellestad excavation

For the first time in over 100 years there is an excavation of a Viking ship taking place in Norway. How cool is that?! Thanks to modern technology, the Gjellestad will be able to provide new information about the Viking Age. For a really unique experience you can visit the excavation site in Gjellestad. For more information about the discovery, excavation, archaeological methods, and tickets, please visit the excavation’s website: https://www.khm.uio.no/english/visit-us/viking-ship-museum/gjellestad-ship/index.html

Inside the Viking Longhouse in the Lofotr Viking Museum at the town of Borg in the Lofoten Islands, Norway.
Viking longhouse interior, Lofotr Viking Museum, Lofoten

Lofotr Viking Museum

If you’re up north in Lofoten, then be sure to pay a visit to the Lofotr Viking Museum. The museum is located at the excavation site of the largest building ever to be found from the Viking period in Norway. The foundation of the Chieftain House at Borg measured 83m long and 9m high and is believed to have been built around 500 AD. The museum includes a full reconstruction of the chieftain’s house, replicas of the Gokstad ship, boathouses, and various reenactments that immerse visitors into the Viking age. For more information, please visit the museum’s website: https://www.lofotr.no/en/

Three large swords stand on the hill as a memory to the Battle of Hafrsfjord in year 872, when King Harald Fairhair gathered all of Norway under one crown. The largest sword represents the victorious king, and the two smaller swords represent the defeated kings.
Sverd i fjell, Hafrsfjord

Sverd i fjell

If you’ll be visiting Stavanger, head over to Sverd i fjell for an impressive sight (and photos). This monument was erected here as it is said to be where Harald Fairhair united Norway into a kingdom in 872. The monument consists of three swords that symbolize peace, unity, and freedom. The pure scale of them is fit for a king! A great stop on your tour of Viking country.

Reconstructed Viking ships in the lake at Vestvagoy. The area is a part of Lofotr Viking museum.
Reconstructed Viking ship, part of the Lofotr Viking museum, Lofoten

Avaldsnes

Deemed one of Norway’s most important areas of cultural history, we recommend visiting the village of Avaldsnes. About two hours north of Stavanger, the village is located on the north-eastern part of the island of Karmøy. For 3000 years kings ruled at Avaldsnes and controlled the ships that were forced to sail through the Karmsund straight, along “Nordvegen” – meaning “the way to the north” and the origin of the name “Norway”. King Harald Fairhair and his descendants had their royal seat at Avaldsnes for almost 500 years. According to the Icelandic historian, Snorre Sturluson, the God Odin came to Avaldsnes in 998 AD to tell King Olav Tryggvason epic tales from the past. Visit the Nordvegen History Center and experience these stories using film, sound, light, and objects. After soaking in all of the history at the center, head on over to the Middle Age church and explore the grounds, and from there it’s a ten-minute walk to the Viking Farm. The farm is situated on a small, forested island where it is said that King Olav Tryggvason drowned a group of wizards in 998 AD. Here a replica Viking settlement has been rebuilt offering an immersive experience into Viking culture. All aspects of Viking life are explored here: work, festivities, agriculture, and commerce. For more information on this culturally fascinating place, please visit: https://avaldsnes.info/en/historiesenter/

Old viking boat in Gudvangen village near Flam, Norway
Viking boat, Gudvangen village

Viking Valley – the Viking experience

Viking Valley is where to go for celebrating all things Viking! Located in the village of Gudvangen on the banks of the UNESCO World Heritage Næroyfjord, this space offers visitors a unique Viking experience. Originally the location of an annual market in the summer, now a permanent Viking village has been built: Njardarheimr. It is a living cultural-historical experience where you can taste Viking delicacies, create unique arts and crafts, sleep in a tent, and perhaps go out on the water in a replica Viking boat.  For more information, please visit the Viking valley website: https://www.vikingvalley.no/

Detail of Viking ship, Viking museum, Oslo
Detail of Viking ship, Viking museum, Oslo

Giske

As Norway Excursions is based in Ålesund, we’d be remiss if we didn’t add the island of Giske to our list.  According to local legend, Rollo the Viking, who went on to become the first ruler of Normandy, was born on the island. The family tree in the Giske church attests to this as well. Giske is easily accessible from Ålesund and we offer a tour of the island as part of our “Ålesund the Ultimate Sightseeing” excursion: https://www.norwayexcursions.com/en/tour/alesund-the-ultimate-sightseeing-tour/

While these are the top Viking experiences we recommend, it is certainly not a comprehensive list as Viking culture can be found all over this beautiful country! We hope that you’ll come and explore the rugged lands of the Norsemen for yourself. Skål!

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