The ultimate guide to exploring Norway’s Viking history

A reconstructed Viking ship at the Lofotr Viking Museum. Photo: Alessandro Malatesta on Flickr (CC BY-ND 2.0)
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If you want to learn more about the ancient Vikings’ rich history while visiting Norway, read on for a personalized itinerary of can’t-miss spots.

A trip to Norway is much more than – but inevitably includes – beautiful natural wonders such as fjords and northern lights. This is also a land brimming with a rich past.

For the ultimate cultural itinerary through Norway, dive into the history of the Norwegian Vikings with this guide.

Museum of Cultural History

If you decide to visit the Norwegian capital of Oslo, you can explore the Museum of Cultural History.

Here, you can take in a Viking Age exhibition titled “VÍKINGR.” The exhibition was designed by famous Norwegian architecture firm Snøhetta and contains some of the most exquisite objects obtained from the Norwegian Viking Age, according to the official museum website.

The Museum of Cultural History in Oslo. Photo: Nina Wallin Hansen

Viking Ship Museum

While at the Museum of Cultural History, you can also visit the Viking Ship Museum. Here, you can see the world’s best-preserved Viking ships up close, with the main attractions being the Oseberg Viking Ship, the Gokstad Viking Ship, and the Tune Viking Ship.

Note that the museum is undergoing renovations from October 1, 2021, and will reopen in 2025 as the Museum of the Viking Age.

See also: Photos: Check out Norway’s Norse Atlantic Airways’ Viking-inspired branding

Viking Planet

Located next to Oslo City Hall, Viking Planet boasts of being the first digital Viking museum in the world. According to its website, it offers “several unique experiences based on the Viking heritage, showcased through groundbreaking virtual reality technology.” 

Sounds like the perfect experience for those tired of regular museums and ready to try something new!

Midgard Viking Center

Situated slightly outside of Oslo, the Midgard Viking Center offers a unique experience, including a reconstruction of a royal guildhall from the Viking Age.

“Midgard Viking Centre offers knowledgeable and engaging guides who will take you through all our exhibits, the Viking Hall, the Borre park, and the newly found Viking ship burial, combined with a great history lesson,” the center’s website reads.

If you want to see the Oseberg ship in person in Oslo, you will need to go before October 1st. After this, the Viking Ship Museum will be closed for renovation until 2025. Photo: Museum of Cultural History, University of Oslo

Kaupang Viking Town

Situated in Larvik, this exhibition allows you to explore a reconstructed Viking town, founded in 800 AD and gone before the year 1000.

Choose from guided tours where you can take part in the story of the Vikings’ life and death in the city, and behold crafts, knowledge, religion, and food culture.

Slottsfjellsmuseet

If you didn’t make it to the Viking Ship Museum before its closure on October 1, you can see Norway’s fourth preserved ship in the Viking Hall, part of the Slottsfjell Museum in Tønsberg.

This ship was found in Klåstad and is thought to have capsized some time around the year 1000. The exhibition is centered around today’s knowledge of Viking ships, shipbuilding, trade routes, and daily life in the Viking era.

Saga Oseberg

Another option if you weren’t able to see the Oseberg ship at the Viking Ship Museum before its closure, or you simply want to learn more about the iconic ship, is to see the exact replica Saga Oseberg in Tønsberg.

The original Oseberg ship was found outside Tønsberg in 1904, making it the perfect place for learning more about the vessel. 

Sagastad

Moving towards Western Norway, Sagastad is described as the region’s new Viking Age knowledge center and offers a viewing of the 30-meter long Myklebust Ship, one of the world’s largest.

The center is located in Nordfjordeid, a place filled with Viking history.

“Sverd i fjell,” a monument located in Stavanger. Photo: Tomas Eidsvoll on Unsplash

Sverd i fjell

“Sverd i fjell” (English: Swords in rock) is a monument located in Hafrsfjord in Stavanger.

The spectacular commemoration was made by the sculptor Fritz Røed. It depicts three large swords in a rock near the seaside, commemorating the battle of Hafrsfjord in 872 when Harald Hårfagre united Norway into one kingdom.

Viking House

Much like the Viking Planet in Oslo, Viking House in Stavanger offers world-class storytelling about the Viking Age through virtual reality technology.

So if you are looking for an immersive Viking experience in Western Norway, this is the place to go!

Viking Settlement at Avaldsnes

If you take the trip to Avaldsnes in Haugesund, you can experience the Viking Settlement, which gives an insight into how the Vikings built their houses, how their farmsteads were organized, what materials they used, and how they lived. 

While the settlement shows the home of an ordinary farmer, rulers’ royal manors sat where the Middle Ages-era church at Avaldsnes is today.

Nordvegen History Center

If you are interested in learning more about rulers during the Viking age, you can head to Nordvegen History Center.

Just as the Viking Settlement, the History Center is also located in the historical Avaldsnes and tells the story of how Avaldsnes became Norway’s oldest royal seat.

Njardarheimr Viking Valley

Located in Gudvangen, “Njardarheimr” refers to a home dedicated to the northern god Njord. The Viking Valley is described as a living cultural and historical site built thematically as a Viking village. With breathtaking fjords as its backdrop to boot, it’s truly a place worth visiting.

On its website, the village is described as a place where “the captivating stories of the Vikings and the era will be retold without the typical museum experience, but through a real-life Viking experience.”

At Lofotr Viking Museum, you can experience the world’s largest Viking Longhouse. Photo: Jerome Pardigon on Flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0)

Stiklestad

Continuing to Trøndelag, you can visit the historic site of Stiklestad. It was during the battle of Stiklestad in 1030 that Olav Haraldsson, also known as Olav the Holy, saw his downfall. Visit the Stiklestad National Cultural Center for numerous memorable experiences that’ll connect with important aspects of Viking history.

Every summer, a festival called Olsokdagene (English: the Olsok Days) takes place on Stiklestad. 2021’s festival featured a variety of artists and speakers and brought guests a fun atmosphere in historical surroundings.

Lofotr Viking Museum

In Lofoten, located in Northern Norway, you can experience the Lofotr Viking Museum. The iconic building is a historical reconstruction based on the archeological excavation of an 83-meter-long chieftain’s house found in the local area in 1983.

At the museum, you can view objects thought to have belonged in the house. There are also plenty of interactive activity opportunities, such as rowing Viking ships, ax throwing, and archery. In addition, a Viking festival is arranged here every August.

See also: 7 photos that will fill you with wanderlust for Norway’s Lofoten Islands

To conclude this guide – and to help you plan your Viking-inspired visit – we’re bringing you a map of the sights mentioned.

viking guide map
Design: Norway Today / Lara Rasin / Made via Canva

Source: #NorwayTodayTravel

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