Viking Tours in Iceland - The Best Road Trip Destinations

Get to experience a historic side of Iceland with the best Viking tours and destinations! From real viking houses to ship replicas, there's no reason not to go viking!

Viking tours and heritage in Iceland

blog authorBy Samuel Hogarth shield verificationVerified Expert

The Vikings are famous for their violent raiding of other lands, and their fierce pursuit of gold and animals. However, they were also happy to colonize uninhabited areas, like Iceland and Greenland. Their adventurous spirits took them far across the Atlantic, always searching for the next horizon.

Due to Iceland’s isolated position in Europe, the nation has arguably preserved its Viking heritage better than most. Not only are the stories of the Icelanders’ ancestors well known, but their cultural legacy is deeply imprinted. For all these reasons and more, Iceland is the perfect place to visit if you have an interest in the Viking Age.

Let’s put together some Viking tours of Iceland, that both teach and entertain.

Places to Visit to Experience Iceland’s Viking Heritage

Here are some of the themed Viking tours Iceland has to offer. Whether it’s the homes of past Icelanders or important historical sites, there is a mixture of indoor and outdoor activities.

The Saga Museum

Let’s start in Reykjavík, in the museum where you can see the famous Icelandic Sagas come to life. The Sagas, a collection of stories from Nordic history, are some of the most important historical documents for Norse people. They detail the original settlement of Iceland and the struggles of generations who followed.

Viking Sagas museum manuscript

In the museum, some of the stories are recreated with models and scenes. This gives you a glimpse of what life was like for the first Viking settlers in Iceland. The building is ideally located close to Reykjavík’s harbor, just above downtown. A perfect stop for your arrival or departure day out of the capital. Buy your tickets here.

Snorrastofa

This is a series of exhibitions dedicated to historian Snorri Sturluson, one of the best-known writers in Icelandic history. Although Snorri lived after the Viking Age, his recording and compiling of information is critical to our knowledge of the Norse people. You’ll struggle to find a book about the Vikings that didn’t source at least one of Snorri’s works.

As well as recording historical events, Snorri also wrote extensively about Norse mythology, or the Viking’s primary religion. Snorri’s writings on this can be found in his famous work, Prose Edda.

The site is found where Snorri himself once lived in the 13th century, Reykholt village. Reykholt is just over 100 km north of the capital, Reykjavík. Head here for opening times and prices so you don’t miss this fascinating educational experience!

Eiríksstaðir

Slightly above Reykholt, you’ll find the homestead remains of a famous Viking, Erik the Red. This man fully embodied the adventurous spirit of the Norse explorers, becoming the first permanent settler of Greenland. However, he was also a violent character and was banished twice from certain regions of Iceland for murder. Eiríksstaðir was his home for several years.

Viking tours to Eiríksstaðir viking town

In this reconstructed Viking longhouse, you’ll get a taste of life in a Viking household. The guided tour will tell you all about Erik the Red and his equally famous son, Leif Eriksson. For those who don’t know, Leif was the first European to set foot in North America.

You can also see the remains of what is believed to be Erik’s actual house from the 10th century. Eiríksstaðir is only open for guided tours in the summer months, so plan accordingly.

Þingvellir National Park

In Icelandic cultural terms, this is one of the most significant sites in the country. Þingvellir is where Iceland’s, and possibly the world’s, first parliament meeting took place. The representatives from each district gathered at the site from 930CE to 1798, to discuss law-making and other issues.

The government of Iceland was and is known as Alþingi, or “General Assembly”. Leading the meetings was the Law Speaker, a title which at one time belonged to the above-mentioned Snorri Sturluson.

Since 1928, Þingvellir has been protected as a national park and is open to visitors. There are numerous hiking trails in the park, and while walking through them you can view the Alþingi’s meeting sites.

Thingvellir Viking parliament

You can also see and walk through a canyon created by tectonic plate You can also see and walk through a canyon created by tectonic plate movement. Iceland is splitting apart at a rate of about 2cm per year, and Þingvellir allows visitors to see this split on display. The park is one of the main stops on the popular Golden Circle route, which is a must-do in any season.

Ingólfsskáli Viking Restaurant

So, you’ve seen a Viking house and learned about Viking politics, what’s next? Learning about Viking food, of course! At the Ingólfsskáli Viking Restaurant, you’ll learn more about the culture’s cuisine and even get the opportunity to try traditional Icelandic food, with recipes that date back to the time of settlement.

The hosts use locally-sourced ingredients to bring you the authentic taste of Iceland, all while dining in a Viking-themed longhouse. From the dairy product skyr to smoked salmon and lamb, you’ll eat exactly how the Vikings ate. The dining experience is fun and enriching, a perfect stop for dinner.

Due to its popularity, you must reserve a table in advance. Book yours today on their website.  As for navigation, the restaurant can be found about 45 minutes east of Reykjavík before you reach Selfoss.

Glaumbær Turf Farmhouse

If you’re on the north coast of Iceland, the Glaumbær Turf Farmhouse is another place you can learn about Viking home life. Although the Vikings are known for their raiding, they spent a lot of time fishing and farming as well. Glaumbær Folk Museum contains a series of turf houses that showcase the lifestyle of Icelanders pre-modernization.

Viking tour to a turf house museum

Here, you’ll find out how these turf houses were built and how the locals stayed warm in the winter before central heating. You’ll also see examples of timber houses that began to replace turf houses in the 19th century. Swing by in the summer months to see the household items that would have been common in old times.

Medieval Days at Gásir

During the Middle Ages, Gásir was the primary trading post for north Iceland. It continued to be used until around the 16th century when Akureyri took over the north’s trade. A group of dedicated individuals recreate the trading post every year, with costumes and scene reenactments.

You will be able to purchase food and handmade items from various stalls, which make great gifts to take back home to your loved ones. The festival is held on the third weekend of July, and Gásir is only about 15 minutes north of Akureyri. It lasts for four days, so leave a day spare for it on your exploration of the north.

The Annual Viking Festival

Perhaps the pinnacle of Viking trips in Iceland is attending the annual Viking Festival, held in Hafnarfjörður. This is a municipality just below Reykjavík, so it’s a good fit for the beginning or end of your holiday. It normally kicks off around the middle of June, in Víðistaðatún Park.

Viking festival in Iceland

Be sure to look up the festival’s hosts, Rimmugýgur, on Facebook to get Be sure to look up the festival’s hosts, Rimmugýgur, on Facebook to get accurate dates of future events. It has been held for over twenty years and continues to grow in size. Covid restrictions have marred the event for the last couple of years, but hopefully, it will resume in 2022.

Viking World Museum

This museum is ideally located close to Keflavík International Airport, where you’ll arrive and depart from. If you have some extra time on your departure day, stop here to learn more about Viking sailing and settlement.

The jewel of the museum is “The Icelander”, a replica of a Viking ship built by Gunnar Marel Eggertsson. The ship is 22,5 m (75 feet) long and its builder actually sailed the ship from Iceland to North America. This was the same route that Leif Eriksson, son of Erik the Red, took in 1000CE.

In addition to seeing the Icelander up close, visitors can view three other exhibitions in the Viking World Museum:

  • Vikings of the North Atlantic
  • The Settlement of Iceland
  • Fate of The Gods

The museum is open every day and also features a café in case you get peckish.

Viking tours in Iceland – history & heritage

The Icelanders’ connection to their heritage appears to have increased in recent decades. This is evident by the resurgence of the Viking religion, Ásatrú, which now includes over 1% of the population. Viking symbols can be seen everywhere, and as you’ve seen above, many people dedicate time to keep the traditions alive.

If you want to get excited for Viking tours in Iceland, prepare yourself by watching the Vikings series. The costume and set design, battles and interactions are very impressive, and the story takes viewers on a thrilling, action-packed adventure. See how many tributes to Viking culture you can see with your own eyes when exploring the Land of Fire and Ice.

Book your rental car now to secure your transport for the trip, and you’ll be free to roam the open country as you please!

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