July 14, 2012

Vikings, Vikings and... More Vikings!

Guided tour through grave field at Birka
The most famous era of Swedish history is the Viking Age (approx 800-1100 AD) and Vikings have become somewhat of a symbol for Sweden... even if they are most often portrayed incorrectly with horned helmets! There are plenty of museums, tours and activities to do in the Stockholm area tied in to Viking history. I have already written about most of them here in this blog, but in the past week I have re-visited Birka and dined at Aifur and I had the idea to collect all Viking "experiences" in one post.

  • Historiska Museet (the history museum)- This museum has a great exhibition on Vikings including artifacts such as weapons and jewelry. The Gold Room is of special interest, showing the gold and silver hoards found throughout Sweden. During the summer (12 to 4:30pm until August 26th) the Vikings take over the inner courtyard with crafts, sports and games... great for children!
  • Vikingaliv (museum)- new museum on Djurgården (opens April 29th, 2017) dedicated to the lives of Swedish Vikings. Get close and personal. Part of the museum is an interactive ride where you follow the lives of Ragnfrid and Harald in Ragnfrid's Saga. Click here to read about my visit.
  • Birka (day trip-summer)- Birka was a town and important trading center during the Viking Age and is today a UNESCO World Heritage site. Located on the island of Björkö in Lake Mälaren, the Strömma company offers a day trip to Birka by boat which includes a great guided tour and entrance to the on-site museum. They also have a reconstruction of part of a Viking Age village and have many events through the summer (like market and games).
  • Aifur (restaurant)- located in Gamla Stan, this restaurant concentrates on the gastronomic heritage from the Viking Age. I have tried it and it was quite fun and the food was good. Click here for my review.
  • Souvenirs- on the street Västerlånggatan, located in Gamla Stan, you will find a large variety of Viking souvenirs... from fun to tacky. On the fun side, you have Handfaste (the Viking Shop) where you can get some good quality t-shirts, jewelry and books.
    "Authentic" Viking souvenirs! 
  • Uppsala (town)- just 40 minutes by train from Stockholm you have the town of Uppsala which is a great place to visit if you are interested in Vikings. The surrounding area is filled with Viking Age artifacts like runestones, monuments and grave fields. Click here for a list of tours, sites and museums.
  • Viking Day Tour- a full day tour that takes you from Stockholm to Sigtuna and Uppsala to visit Viking Age sites. I haven't done the tour myself, but I have sent guests and they have all returned with favorable reports.
  • Storholmen Viking Village- (day trip-summer) north of Stockholm (approx 1½ hours by bus), in the Norrtälje area, you will find the Viking village of Storholmen... an experimental open air museum.
Entrance to Aifur
This should keep Viking aficionados occupied! Keep your eyes open while walking about Stockholm... you can see runestones in the city as well. Besides the aforementioned history museum, you can see them in Skansen park as well as the corner of Prästgatan and Kåkbrinken in Gamla Stan.
Runestone in Gamla Stan
At Skansen you can find a runestone...
...or two!



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