There has been a genuine interest in people finding out who they are and what their ancestry looks like. People are looking for the stories and secrets that their family history holds. Over the last few years, many people have taken advantage of DNA tests which reveal even more about who they are and where their origins lie. For example, many people have been surprised to find out that they have a percentage of Scandinavian DNA, despite not being aware of any obvious family links. The probable reason for this is because of this. These sea-faring people traveled far and wide, intermingled with local populations, had families, and spread their genes.
Whether we can lay claim to Viking heritage or not, it is a period of history that continues to fascinate us in the 21st century. The latest Netflix series, Vikings: Valhalla, was hugely popular and attracted 80.5 million viewers on the weekend of its launch. Over the first nine days on Netflix, viewers watched 194 million hours of the series. The streaming service rapidly confirmed there would be additional seasons in the future. In addition, countless movies transport us to the Viking period, including Monty Pythons’ Erik the Viking, How to Train Your Dragon I and II, and The Northman from earlier this year. These Norse stories are also the theme for several online slot games that can be played at uscasinos.com, including Viking Reign, Viking Pays, and Pillars of Asgard. The games feature long boats, big ocean waves, and the iconic horned helmet and classic shield.
Norse mythology is part of our cultural conscience. Whether we know the name of all the gods or many stories, we talk about Thor making thunderbolts when there is thunder and lightning. Many of us know that Valhalla was the resting place of the Viking warriors. We have an image of fierce fighting men rampaging around the world. While this is true, they were also traders and traveling merchants. What put an end to the Viking era in history was the adoption of Christianity across Europe. However, there are many places to visit where we can still get a taste of life.
You will need to travel outside the USA to find real history and settlements. However, if you are happy with visiting a historically inspired, immersive experience, North Carolina could have what you are looking for. Experience includes interactive characters and camps. In addition, they host various events throughout the year, including a full cosplay festival in March.
L’anse aux Meadows in Newfoundland
The only authentic Viking settlement in the Americas is at L’anse aux Meadows in Newfoundland. It is located on the tip of the Northern Peninsula. It is a UNESCO world heritage site over 250 miles north of Deer Lake along the Viking Trail (Route 430). A visit here will transport you to a place where Vikings once lived. There is a Viking Encampment where you can try blacksmithing or weaving while talking to characters who will bring the history to life. In the evenings, visitors can gather and hear tragic and heroic tales of Thor, Loki, and Erik the Red.
Norstead – A Viking Port of Trade
Located just 2km from L’Anse aux Meadows, Norstead is a four-hectare living history site. It depicts how life might have been in a Scandinavian country between 790 and 1066 AD. There are period-style buildings and a full-scale replica ship.
If you are planning on traveling further afield, the go-to place for everything this is, of course, Northern Europe. You could make a dedicated Viking trip to Scandinavia, where you will find some of the finest sites in the world. If you are already planning a visit to the UK or Ireland, you can find some great experiences to include as part of your tour.
Scandinavian Must Visit Locations
Pack your passport and book your tickets to the north. Here are some exceptional locations for all things Viking.
The capital of Norway is home to the Ship Museum, which boasts two of the best-preserved long boats in the world. There are also plenty of other fascinating finds from around the fjords displayed in the museum, including sleds and household utensils. In addition, the whole city is steeped in Viking history.
Tønsberg is the place to head for if you want to witness re-enactments and replica ships. The historical city is located at the start of the Vestfold Viking trail that leads to a collection of ancient burial mounds and settlements. If you visit in September, there is a Festival, and a replica ship called the Oseberg is moored here.
Roskilde is a place to visit for anyone looking for authentic remains. Five original ships were excavated at this site in 1962. It is believed that the ships were sunk on purpose to block the waterway, which is twenty miles west of Denmark’s capital, Copenhagen. In addition, replicas have been made, which can be viewed in the harbor.
Aarhus, Town of the Vikings, Denmark
While in Denmark, take time to visit the country’s second city, Aarhus. It hosts a Moot Festival every July. If you can’t get there for the festival, it is worth a visit all year round. It has plenty of museums dedicated to the Vikings and remains visible in the city itself.
Sweden’s capital, Stockholm, has a Life Museum. This site is very interactive and immersive. It includes an eleven-minute journey that allows you to be part of every aspect of life, from traveling the world to experiencing domestic life.
If you want to try some Viking feasting, then look no further than Aifur Krog and Bar in the city. Named after a legendary ship, the venue is kitted out with furniture and tools. The menu is fully themed and offers delicacies such as roasted dwarf chicken and mead. Of course, you will be entertained with live Viking music too.
If you come to Iceland in June, you can participate in a four-day festival inspired by the Vikings. Visitors are invited to shoot a bow and arrow or participate in a bit of ax throwing. If you want something slightly more peaceful, you can try carving a wooden bowl or just observe the staged dramas that take place.
UK and Ireland
The UK and Ireland were heavily influenced by the Viking invaders who settled in these lands. When visiting England, take time to go to York and visit the Jorvik Center. In the 1970s, archaeologists uncovered incredible Viking remains in the city, including houses, workshops, and backyards. This groundbreaking visitor center allows you to experience how the city would have been 1,000 years ago.
Ireland is also packed full of Viking history sites. In Dublin, visit The National Museum and Wood Quay. Wexford, Waterford, and Cork also have fabulous Viking remains and experiences.