The Vikings came from Norway, Denmark and Sweden more than thousand years ago and left a rich cultural heritage across Scandinavia.
The era of the Vikings lasted from around 800–1050, during which time these sea-faring people travelled widely throughout northern Europe, trading, fighting, plundering and colonising as far afield as France, Ireland, Iceland and even Greenland.
But it is in their home nations that the historical legacy is so strong, with Norway, Sweden and Denmark having loads of Viking remains that you can still see today.
What kinds of things can you see?
Throughout Scandinavia, you can visit museums displaying beautifully preserved Viking long boats, explore ancient Viking settlements and burial grounds, and marvel at Viking standing stones, runes and archeological finds.
The largest Viking longhouse ever discovered is at Borg on Vestvågøy in Norway’s Lofoten islands; the world’s best-known rune stones are at Jelling in Denmark; and the world’s largest haul of Viking silver has been recently excavated at Täby in Sweden.
And honestly, these treasures are just the tip of the iceberg!
Visiting Viking sites for yourself
Some of Scandinavia’s Viking sites are easy to access, while others are more remote and harder to get to.
You can visit museum sites that are highly organised with plenty of information and guides dressed in Viking gear – and maybe even Viking reenactments!
These places really let you learn all the history and really get to grips with the Viking culture and lifestyle.
Other sites are quiet, remote places where you can wander around on your own and drink in the atmosphere of a wild Viking camp.
Either way, taking a tour of Viking sites with an expert guide can really enhance your knowledge and experience of Viking culture.
Guided tours you can join
So, if you fancy seeing some of Scandinavian’s famous sites on a guided tour, there are plenty of different options available.
You can go on museum tours, archeological site visits, reenactment experiences, Viking feasts, boat tours, short day trips and multi-day tours with a guide, coach and accommodation included.
And the tours cover a wide geographical range from Norway, Sweden, Denmark, and even Iceland.
So, whether you’re up for a fun interactive Viking feast experience or want to learn all about the culture, history lifestyle of the Vikings from an expert guide, there’s a tour for you.
Short tours and day trips
Here are some of some of our favourite Viking tours in Scandinavia. These are all relatively short tours that last anywhere from a couple of hours to a full day (we’ve listed multi-day tours below).
Visit Viking sites from Stockholm
We love this tour from Stockholm that packs in a whole raft of impressive Viking sites in just one day.
Amongst other sites, you’ll visit a burial mound of Viking kings at Gamma Uppsala, the ruins of a church dedicated to Viking warrior Saint Olaf in Sigtuna, one of Sweden’s oldest towns, and explore Viking rune stones at Arkils Tingstad.
It’s led by an experienced guide with expert Viking knowledge and we think it’s a great introduction to Viking sites and culture.
Snowshoe in the fjords with a Viking dinner
Combine fantastic views of Norway’s fjords with a snowshoe hike, followed by a fun Viking dinner in front of the fire in a cosy Viking-style pub.
We think this a unique opportunity to combine snowshoeing in the fjords with sampling a Viking-style feast of smoked reindeer and fish soup, accompanied by different Ægir beers.
Explore the Viking ship Museum in Roskilde
Combine history and culture on this day-trip from Copenhagen, which takes in the Roskilde Viking Ship Museum. Here you can admire renovated 11th-century Viking ships and learn all about Viking boat-building and sea-faring traditions.
Not only that, but the tour includes a visit to Roskilde Cathedral, burial site of 39 Danish kings and queens, plus Kronborg castle, the original Elsinore in Shakespeare’s Hamlet.
Visit the Viking islands from Alesund
This guided tour from Alesund in Norway’s fjordland takes in three islands which were settled by Vikings and explains all about the Viking heritage and history here.
You’ll visit three islands, including Giske, birthplace of the Viking Rollon (a descendent of the British royal family) and Godoy, home of a legendary Viking lighthouse.
Take a boat trip to the Birka Viking Village
Visit the Unesco-listed Birka Viking village on an island in Sweden’s Lake Mälaren. This huge archaeological site was once a thriving Viking settlement that dated from the 8th century and remains are still being excavated here today.
The former settlement has been recreated so that visitors can experience Viking life – and there are regular talks, themed guided tours, and reconstructions of Viking feasts and ceremonies.
The boat trip from Stockholm and entrance to the Viking village is included in the Stockholm Pass (May to October only).
Multi-day tours and vacations
If a short tour is not enough, why not base your holiday around visiting Viking sites, and even cover more than one Scandinavian country on your tour? Here are some of our favourite multi-day Viking-themed tours.
Visit Viking sites in four countries
This 15-day trip takes in significant Viking sites in Norway, Sweden, Denmark and even Germany, including Denmark’s Jelling stones, Norway’s stave churches and rock art at Tanum in Sweden.
What we really like about this tour is that it’s led by a senior lecturer in medieval archeology from the University of York and it includes private tours of some of the sights including the Hedared Stave Church and the Tanum rock art.
Cruise round the Viking sites
Combine Viking exploration with a cruise on this 12-day trip from Edinburgh, UK round some of Scandinavia’s most fascinating Viking sites, including the beautiful Unesco World Heritage city of Visby, whose well-preserved buildings date from Viking times.
We like that this cruise also stops in at the Scotland’s remote Orkney islands, where Vikings from Norway settled in the 8th century.
Explore Norway’s Viking history
And if you just want to stay in Norway, we love this week-long jaunt around some of the country’s top Viking sites.
It includes a guided walking tour of the former Viking city of Bjørgvin, a trip to Gulating, home of a Viking court of law and parliament, and a walking tour on the island of Svanøy, birthplace of Viking, Erik Blodøks.
But what we like best is the trip to the UNESCO-listed Urnes Stave Church, beautifully crafted in wood by the Vikings in the 12th-century.
Have a Viking adventure in Iceland
Iceland too was settled by the Vikings and there are plenty of Viking sites that you see on this three-day guided tour that also includes a trip into an ice cave and a hike along a glacial canyon.
Our favourite part of the tour is the cultural site Þingvellir, where the Eurasian and American tectonic plates meet and where the Vikings set up the Althing, the world’s first parliament.
You can walk along the walk through the gorge where the contintents collide and look inside Þingvellir Viking church.