We continue our heritage travel series by looking at the top 10 places to visit in Sweden if you’re fascinated by the history of the Vikings. If you haven’t already read our Viking sites guide for Norway, be sure to take a look before you start planning your trip! Enjoy!
Did you know that many Viking expeditions started in Sweden? That’s right. Though Norway is more famous for its Vikings, many of them originated in Sweden and traveled east to places as far away as Constantinople. Recently, researchers from Stockholm University also found the first confirmed female high-ranking Viking warrior in a burial mound in the Swedish town of Birka on the island of Björkö. So if you have family ties to Vikings or just love to learn about Viking culture and history, then we have some top sites in Sweden for you to look at when visiting. These are just a few, but it’ll be a great start to your Swedish Viking adventure!
#1. Birka, Lake Mälaren
What: Birka is considered to be one of the best Viking sites near Stockholm. It’s known as the first city and central town ever in Sweden, and it was one of the most important trading posts in Northern Europe during its hey-day. With guided walks through archaeological sites of burial mounds, wood huts, a museum, old runes, and a beach that you can swim at, you won’t be disappointed. It’s a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Where: Located on the island of Björkö (Birch Island), 30 kilometres west of Stockholm in Lake Mälaren.
Cost: Boat tours and walking tours range from $33 (SEK 290) and up depending on how long of a tour you book.
Hours: Morning and Midday tours are available.
Official Website: https://www.birkavikingastaden.se/en/attraction/guided-tours/ (Birka Tour)
#2. Historiska Museet, Stockholm (The Swedish History Museum)
What: Considered the best history museum in Stockholm that has one of the largest Viking exhibits in the world. It has a vault full of treasures including jewelry, swords, statues, weapons, silver, and one of the oldest crucifixes made in Sweden. You can also see farm tools, clothing, and other household items. The museum highlights everyday life of the Viking era such as mythology, trade, and social hierarchy.
Where: The Swedish History Museum is located at Narvavägen in Stockholm, a short walk from Djurgårdsbron, Karlaplan, and Östermalmstorg.
Hours: June 1 – August 31 (Open every day 10am-5pm); Sept 1 – May 31 (Open Tuesday – Sunday 11am-5pm, Wednesdays 5pm-8pm, Closed Mondays)
Official Website: http://historiska.se/home/
#3. Gamla Uppsala (Old Uppsala/ Uppsala Museum)
What: Gamla Uppsala is a village outside the modern city of Uppsala, and it’s a known Viking pilgrimage site. It’s known for the Royal Mounds (three grave sites) that date back to the 5th and 6th centuries. In norse mythology, the three mounds were said to be the three gods Thor, Odin, and Freyr. You can freely walk around these royal burial sites as well as see the ruins of Uppsala’s first cathedral, learn about the golden temple, visit Uppsala church, and visit the Uppsala museum.
Where: 5 kilometers from present-day Uppsala.
Cost: Adult $9 (80 SEK), Children Free!
Hours: The times vary depending on the day/season, so please check the website below for updated information. The museum gives guided tours in the summer.
#4. Storholmen Viking Village
What: Storholmen Viking Village is a non-profit, archaeological open-air museum. There are reconstructed houses, storytelling, games, crafts, and the staff is in costume. You can learn from Blacksmiths how to create weapons, Warriors will teach you how to fight and throw daggers, Tailors will explain the latest fashions, and the Runemaster will tell you about the secrets of the runes. You can even make your own flatbread and glass. This place is truly a hands-on insightful Viking experience that takes you back in time.
Where: Located in Roslagen along the shore of Lake Erken in Sweden, about one hour north of Stockholm.
Cost: Varied by activity.
Hours: Open during the summer for guided tours, usually July – August (Monday-Friday 12pm-6pm), or you can just wander around the area on your own during the off-season. You can book tours for yourself or your group, or rent the place out for a viking wedding or other special occasion.
Official Website: http://www.storholmen.org/en/the-viking-village-of-storholmen/
#5. Vikingaliv, Stockholm
What: “A true adventure” that is an interactive Viking museum in Sweden. It has guided tours every hour and an 11-minute viking ride that follows Ragnfrid’s Saga (for kids over 7 years). This museum combines history, myth, and the latest facts from academic research. There is also a shop and restaurant (Glöd).
Where: Located on the island of Djurgården in Stockholm, and in close proximity to many other museums.
Cost: Adults $17 (149 SEK), Children (7-15 years) $14 (120 SEK), children under 7 enter free. This is a cash-free museum (all credit cards accepted).
Hours: Open everyday 10am-5pm.
Official Website: http://www.vikingaliv.se/en/visit-us/
#6. Trelleborgen, Trelleborg
What: Trelleborgen is a Viking-age circular rampart, believed to be a part of a larger network of ramparts built throughout Denmark and southern Sweden by Danish King Harald Bluetooth. The original ruins stand in the city of Trelleborg in southern Sweden (which gave the city its name), but just a few minutes away is a full-scale reconstruction of what the original would have looked like. There you can find an annual Viking festival, guided tours, and year-round Viking experiences.
Where: Located in Trelleborg, Skåne, Sweden
Cost: Varies by activity. Visiting the rampart is free, but there is a small fee for the museum: about $2 (20 SEK) for adults. Children enter free with a paying adult. Inquire for tours and special events.
Hours: Varies by season, but it’s usually open from 10 AM to 5 PM during the summer. Book your visit in advance for best access.
#7. Fotevikens Museum, Höllviken
What: An open-air museum and Viking town in southern Sweden. This Viking town gives you the opportunity to visit a town in the process of being founded. This allows one to experience how a growing community works through law, crime, punishment, crafts, defense, coin minting and trade. They usually also have an annual Viking Market.
Where: Located in Höllviken in the south of Sweden.
Cost: Adults $12.50 (110 SEK), Children $4.50 (40 SEK).
Hours: Open from May-September.
Official Website: http://www.fotevikensmuseum.se/d/en/home
#8. The Rök Runestone
What: The Rök Runestone is one of the most famous runestones in the world. It has the longest known runic inscription in stone and is said to be inscribed by a Viking named Varin. It is from the 800s, has around 760 characters, considered the first piece of written Swedish literature, and is fairly easy to read. The stone has riddles on the front and back and references the monument itself. Although the meaning has been debated by experts, it still gives one an understanding of the age of Vikings.
Cost: It’s free to visit on your own.
Official Website: No official website, but this page is helpful: http://viking.archeurope.info/index.php?page=the-roek-runestone
#9. Gotland, Sweden
What: Gotland is Sweden’s largest island. Around 60 Viking settlements have been found in Gotland. Due to its location in the Baltic Sea, it was a natural stop off for trading voyages, which has made it a rich archaeological spot for Viking enthusiasts. There are numerous places to visit on the island, but its famous for its walls and burial mounds. This list will give you an excellent start in your planning!
Where: Gotland is located about 56 miles east of the Swedish mainland and about 81 miles from the Baltic states.
Cost: If you wander around on your own, you can see most of the sights for free. Museums and guided tours vill vary, so inquire when booking.
Official Website: http://gotland.com/en/visit/articles-guides/vikings/
#10. The Runes at Anundshög
What: Anundshög is the largest tumulus in Sweden. Some of the mounds have a diameter of 200 ft. and are about 30 ft. high. They are located in an area that was important all the way from the Bronze Age until the late Iron Age. There is also a fireplace underneath the mounds that date back to AD 210.
Cost/Hours: Always open and free to visit!
Start Planning Your Next Viking Excursion!
Can you believe how many great Viking sites there are to visit? If you are lucky enough to go visit any of these sites, let us know about your experience! We’d love to hear about it, so drop us a line or tag us on social media. And don’t forget that we offer customized heritage trip research and guidance, so if you need help, don’t hesitate to contact us!
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