We’ve all heard of the Vikings, Scandinavian ancient Germanic peoples, famous for spreading terror in Europe for over 300 years. Now, you can explore the most legendary places and follow the footsteps of the Vikings in their cemeteries, the oldest parliament in the world and even the first European settlement in America, with this guide to the Viking Route.
This park is located just 45 miles north of Reykjavik, it is a wonderful natural landscape, full of snow, fjords, glaciers and lava cliffs that are actually tectonic fissures separating the continental plates of Eurasia and America.
In Thingvellir, there is the former Parliament of the island, dating from the year 930 AD. Therefore, it is the oldest democratic parliament in the world, so it has been named a World Heritage Site. It was used as a meeting place for representative people of the country, in which conflicts were resolved. Also in a nearby area, you can enjoy the Thingvallavatn lake, the largest in Iceland.
This finding was recently discovered in the small fishing village of Annagassan and it is likely to become one of the great landmarks of Europe Vikings. This massive fort was built in the year 841, the same year Dublin was founded. It was used by the Vikings to take refuge from winter river when they were in Ireland.
In the Isle of Man, there are numerous Viking remains, as cemeteries, runic crosses and castles, but perhaps the most important of all is the political system they implanted, the Tynwald, one of the oldest parliaments in the world, which has been working since 979.
We recommend to visit the island in early July, when they celebrate the Day of Tynwald, a lively festival in Tynwaold Hill.
The Shetland Islands are located 320 kilometers west of Norway and since they were a major crossing point to reach Iceland, Greenland and America we can still observe a large number of Viking traces as the large settlement of Jarlshof, that contains some remains dating from 2500 BC to the seventeenth century.
The Jelling stones are massive runic stelae located in the village of the same name, in Denmark. They are part of the World Heritage Site since 1994 and the King Gorn and his wife Thyra, who ruled the country in the tenth century, are buried in the neighboring hills.
Besides runic inscriptions, one of the building boasts a mix of drawings with pagan motifs with a Christ.
Birka and Hovgarden is the most complete Viking settlement has been discovered so far. Birka is the oldest city in Sweden, dating from the eighth century and the remains that have been found, date from the ninth and tenth centuries. Among them there are fragments of fortresses, walls and piers as well as the largest cemetery in the Viking era, with about 3,000 graves. Hovgården, is located in the neighboring island of Adelsö.
The Viking Ship Museum, is located in the district of Bygdøy in Oslo. It is part of the historical museum of the University of Oslo. It has two of the best examples of viking ships discovered (the Oseberg and Goksad) that were used as burial chambers for Viking nobility.
Lofoten Islands, in northern Norway, are the ideal setting for Lofotr Viking Museum, since it is surrounded by cliffs and vast green meadows. Located in a replica of the largest viking building, with 83 meters long that was built around the year 500 AD, along with a ship and a forge.
L’Anse aux Meadows, is a site located on the island of Newfoundland (Canada) and it is the site of the first European settlements in America. In 1960, the Norwegian researcher Helge Ingstad and his wife Anne Stine, found the remains of a Viking village, consisting of at least eight buildings: three houses, a forge, three stores and a sawmill.