Dynamic Variation:
Offers
x

There was not an exact match for the language you toggled to. You have been redirected to the nearest matching page within this section.

Choose Language
Toggling to another language will take you to the matching page or nearest matching page within that selection.
Search & Book Sponsored Links
Dynamic Variation:
Search
or search all of Norway

Norwegian Vikings

Ship builders and state founders
The vibes of the Vikings are strong in Norway, with Viking history, museums, tours, villages and other Viking experiences in a surprising number of places around the country.
Two Vikings in front of the Viking chieftains longhouse at Lofotr Viking Museum, Norway
Lofotr Viking Museum in Lofoten.
Photo: Kjell Ove Storvik / Lofotr Vikingmuseum

What would have been the equivalent of high-tech a thousand years ago? The fast-moving Viking ships, perhaps? These advanced constructions helped to build cultural coherence in Europe, and they were also crucial in the process of unifying the Norse tribes into a state.

The Vikings put their mark on northern Europe forever, and the many remains of Viking culture can transform any holiday into an adventure.

Viking history and culture

The Viking period began in the year of 793 with the attack on the Lindisfarne monastery in England, which is the first known Viking raid. The occasion that marks the end of the Viking glory days is the killing of king Harald Hardrada at the Battle of Stamford Bridge in 1066.

The raids, systematic looting, colonisation, and trade brought the Vikings to many destinations in different directions. In the beginning, only a few seafaring Vikings survived the rough voyages, but the fleets grew and soon enough there were hundreds of so-called longships. They sailed across the Baltic Sea and down Russian rivers as far as the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea to Byzantium and the Caliphate of Baghdad. They were also the first Europeans to reach Greenland and North America. In fact, the Viking explorer Leiv Eiriksson sailed to the shores of the Americas around the year 1000, 500 years before Christopher Columbus.

Viking colonisation

The Vikings founded several cities and colonies, including Dublin in Ireland and the region of Normandy in France. Dublin was held as a significant settlement for more than three centuries. Between the years 879 and 920, the Vikings colonised Iceland, which in turn became the springboard for the colonisation of Greenland. Remains of a Viking settlement at L’Anse aux Meadows in Newfoundland have been carbon dated to around the year 1000.

Ad

Viking warriors

How could a small and scattered people conquer so much territory? The Norwegian Vikings are characterised by their courageous, fatalistic outlook which made them naturally born risk takers. The raiding groups seem to have had a fantastic ability to shrug off losses, whether in land battles or in dangerous sea expeditions. The number of deaths caused by war was sometimes shockingly high in relation to the total Viking population, but it did not satisfy their hunger for conquest and exploration for around 250 years.

Peaceful tradesmen and mead drinkers

The Vikings are mostly known for their relentless robbing, and rightly so. At the same time, many Vikings lived peacefully as traders and farmers, and many expeditions were based on barter deals. Vikings who stayed away from seafaring robbery to work from home supported their families by simple farming activities. Their daily life might have been tough and demanding, but it was not without joy. The most well-known Viking drink is mead (“mjød” in Norwegian), an alcoholic beer-like brew sweetened by honey.

The end of the Viking age

The Viking explorers brought their cultural identity to continental Europe, but they also imported foreign cultures, languages and knowledge. By the 1100s, the Vikings were weakened due to domestic disputes and resistance from other European countries, which had painfully learnt to defend themselves against attacks by building fortified targets.

Viking ships

Top speed? On a good day, the Viking rowers could move at around 15 to 17 knots.

The swiftness of the Viking ships is key to understanding how the Vikings could gain such a sudden and surprising momentum. The maritime innovations of the Vikings provided a link between northern and southern Europe, which had a strong effect on the continent.

The construction

The architecture of the Vikings’ archetypical vessels, known as longships, was adopted by several other cultures and influenced ship construction for centuries. In general, overlapping planks of oak were nailed together and protected by layers of tarred wool and sometimes animal hair.

The secret behind the fast-moving longships was the long, narrow body, kept stable by a keel. Light enough to be carried, it was designed for speed and easy navigation in shallow waters. The longship was double-ended, allowing it to reverse direction without the need to turn around. This was a significant advantage in a sea filled with concealed icebergs and sea ice.

Longships had oars along almost the entire length of the boat, and later versions combined rowing power with sailing power.

The usage

The Viking ships were used for plundering and other attacks, as well as for peaceful trade. Many Vikings died in battles in continental Europe, and in 876 the Vikings lost around 4,000 men and 120 ships in a great storm off the English south coast. When prominent Vikings died, they were placed in a burial ship with their clothes, jewellery, and even their animals.

One of the most significant graves found in Scandinavia is the so-called Oseberg burial mound. In the year of 834 the Oseberg queen was buried in an impressive ship together with her valuable belongings. The grave also contained the remains of another woman of unknown origin.

The Viking Ship Museum in Oslo

In the Viking Ship Museum in Oslo, you can walk around the world’s best preserved Viking vessels and smell the scent of the tar of the Oseberg ship, the Gokstad ship, and the Tune ship.

Female power

What about women’s rights in Viking history?

Well, women are said to have had a stronger position in Viking society than in most other parts of Europe. They usually had the right to divorce, and if their spouse passed away, they would inherit him and could keep his belongings. In part, they were protected by law against sexual harassment and a woman was respected as the head of the farm when her husband was away, which he could be for a long time. Today’s growing appeal of the Viking culture is not only based on the image of them as relentless sea warriors, but also because of the way they lived and developed a new and more modern society.

Go on a Viking tour

Visit Viking sites, take a sea trip in a Viking ship, or go all the way and be a Viking for a day.

Viking experiences
Museum on the Bygdøy peninsula with the world's best-preserved Viking ships and finds from Viking tombs around the Oslo Fjord. The… Read more
The Viking Ship Museum
The Vikings have conquered Hollywood and are now returning home to Norway. Join us and meet the Vikings! With the recent hit series like The History… Read more
Viking Tour Stavanger
The Viking Farm is situated in beautiful natural surroundings on the island of Bukkøy and is accessible on foot with a 10 minute walk from the… Read more
The Viking Settlement
Experience the Oseberg ship The world's most important discovery from the Viking era was made just outside Tønsberg in 1904; The discovery… Read more
The Viking Ship Saga Oseberg
Midgard vikingsentre is situated near the Borre burial mounds, which form one of Norway's most important cultural heritage sites. This historical… Read more
Midgard vikingsenter
Travel thousand years back and experience how it was to be a Viking. Read more
Njardarheimr - Viking Valley
Stay in high-standard apartments or comfortable rooms. With our personal service and informal atmosphere, we are confident that you will enjoy your… Read more
Hamar Hostel Vikingskipet
The Viking settlement is situated in beautiful natural surroundings on the island of Bukkøy and is accessible on foot with a 10 minute walk… Read more
Viking Settlement at Avaldsnes - a feeling of being back in the Viking Age
Vikingegarden Maurenga is situated approx. 2 km west of Gardermoen. The building, interior and food, etc., are all based on the Viking theme. Read more
Vikingegarden Maurenga
Hamar Hostel offers conference facilities for both small and large groups. Our meeting facilities include rooms which seats 28 and 30 persons… Read more
Hamar Hostel Vikingskipet
A guided tour through Aalesund with a historical review of the time when Chieftain Rollo, son of the local Earl Ragnvald, lived at Sunnmøre.… Read more
Rollo's Footsteps - the ultimate Viking tour
Simple, tasty and hearty! Enjoy a lambsoup cooked in the big iron pan over the fireplace in the chieftains hall. Read more
Enjoy lambsoup at Lofotr Vikingmuseum
We wish you a pleasant journey around Nordfjords oldest cultural landmarks. The stone cross at Rygg, Gloppen The stone cross at Rygg is from the late… Read more
The Vikings in Nordfjord
Explore the Viking village Njardarheimr in Gudvangen! "Njardarheimr" means the home dedicated to the northern god Njord. Viking valley is… Read more
Viking Village Njardarheimr
The Vikingship Gaia, a replica of the Gokstad ship, was built in Sunnmøre in 1990. The ship is 23.55 metres long and 5.25 metres wide with a height of… Read more
The Vikingship Gaia
Kaupang Viking town is open during the summer season. Read more
Kaupang Viking Town
Travel back to the age of the Vikings and discover what life was really like back in the day. Catch a glimpse inside the Viking kingdom and experience… Read more
In the Homeland of the Vikings
Sagastad is going to be a combined science- and experience center, which will be built by the fjord in the center of Nordfjordeid. A central… Read more
Viewing - Construction of the Myklebust Viking Ship
The Saga Siglar Hall - Documentation Centre The remains of the shipwrecked Saga Siglar and Oseberg ships are displayed in the Saga Siglar Hall. Films… Read more
Saga Siglar Hallen - Viking documentation Centre
MEET THE VIKINGS AND TAKE PART IN A VIKING FEAST Read more
Viking Feast
It is in this very historic site at Eggetunet that the Viking Festival at Egge takes place every second year, the second weekend of July. This is a… Read more
The Egge Viking Festival 12.-14 July 19
"Gildehallen" - The Viking Hall, is a reconstruction of one of the Viking Age's large halls. It is newly found imprint of such halls in Borre, and it… Read more
Gildehallen - The Viking Hall
Do you want to explore the Viking History? For a real Viking experience; Rogaland has several historical sites and places that can be linked to the… Read more
The Viking Experience
Historic day trip for groups Join us on an exciting journey and discover the secrets of Nidarosdomen combined with "etargilde" in the long house… Read more
"Olav - Viking and Saintly King"
This is a wonderful ride in an ancient cultural landscape with fascinating geology. We start at Hov, ride down to the beach before continuing towards… Read more
Viking Tour - Horseback riding on Icelandic Horses in Lofoten
A RIB takes you on a trip to Harstads archipelago to see the empire of famous Viking Chieftain, Tore Hund. Read more
Viking Chieftain Tore Hunds Empire
Select
    Show Details
    Statens Kartverk, Geovekst og kommuner - Geodata AS
    ×
    Your Recently Viewed Pages

    Back to top

    Dynamic Variation:
    Ad
    Ad
    Ad