If the Vikings and their history is a subject of interest to you, you will be glad to hear that many places exist throughout Europe where you can enjoy some great Viking discoveries. Whilst the various countries of Scandinavia are those that are most generally associated with the Vikings, the Viking invasion had a huge impact on Britain and there are places here where Viking history can be seen and enjoyed.
The Vikings certainly left their mark on Britain. In Scotland, a Norwegian Viking Earldom was created in the regions of Caithness, Orkney and Shetland. Meanwhile at Lindisfarne, a tidal island off the northeast coast of England, a Viking raid carried out in 978 caused much alarm throughout the whole of the Christian West. Indeed, this raid is now generally regarded as the official beginning of the Viking age.
Another region that has been marked by Viking invasion is the region surrounding the city of York. Nearby Jorvik, where an incredible reconstruction of a 1,000-year old Viking city can be found, should not be missed. This is where you can truly experience an ‘authentic Viking encounter’. The remains of a Viking city were discovered in the 1970s by archaeologists digging in Coppergate. This is right in the middle of the city and if you are staying in York hotels this year, you can take in this genuine journey that leads you through a splendid reconstruction of the Viking age. Throughout the year, Jorvik has a packed programme of special exhibitions, educational lectures and other special events.
Often regarded as the original ‘Home of the Vikings’ and the heartland of the great Viking society throughout the famous Viking era (800 to about 1050 AC), Denmark’s Viking history is still a vital part of their culture.
The oldest city in the country and one that is closely associated with the Viking era is the city of Ribe. The city is actually built on the ruins of an old Viking market and is peppered with fascinating museums full of Viking history. Ribe’s Viking Centre in particular should not be missed. Here you will find a reconstruction of a farm, town and marketplace from the Viking period.
Further Viking treasures in Denmark include Trelleborg. This city, estimated to have been built in around 980AD, features a magnificent preserved fortress the construction of which is particularly noteworthy for its mathematical precision.
Fortunately, there remain numerous places of interest for Viking enthusiasts throughout Sweden. There are many historical sites and museums throughout the country and the major cities such as Stockholm, Malmo and Goteborg offer the best of them.
However, for a natural Viking setting, Gotland is unmissable. Not only is this a region of splendid natural beauty but Gotland is also the place for Viking history and is therefore the place to find numerous historic ruins and fascinating churches. Best of all is the medieval town of Visby, with its magnificent old wall fortifications and the impressive powder tower (Kruttornet), which is the most historic monument in the area.
Whilst Norway is also full of Viking history, the one place not to miss is the Viking Ship Museum in Oslo (the Vikingskiphuset). Located just outside the city on the peninsula of Bygdoy, the museum includes three Viking funeral ships (found in the late 19th century) in addition to numerous other fascinating recovered and restored items.