Join the Danish “Viking trail” in West Jutland and visit the historic sites and old as well as new attractions.
We think the best place to start is in the capital city, Copenhagen, where you initially learn about Denmark’s distant past in the National Museum (Nationalmuseet). There you can watch priceless treasures like Viking jewelry, coins, weapons and rune stones. Sample the Viking menu at Restaurant Valhal in Tivoli Gardens.
Next stop is the picturesque town Roskilde with its Viking Ship Museum. The town was founded by the Vikings in a strategic position overlooking the beautiful Roskilde Fjord. The Roskilde Cathedral is a key local landmark. This is the church in which the Viking king Harald Bluetooth is buried. The museum contains five completely reconstructed Viking longboats, built from salvaged wrecks from the fjord itself, discovered in the 1960s. Here you can also watch a film telling the story of the salvage and restoration.
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Next, head south from Roskilde to the Viking stronghold of Trelleborg near Slagelse on Zealand. This impressive 1,000 year old ring fortress built by King Harald Bluetooth in 980 is surrounded by a 134-metre-diameter wall, where you can also meet ‘real’ Vikings and get a glimpse of their daily life and taste the Viking brew, mjød.
At the museum you can see some of the many discoveries that were made during the excavation and learn more about the castle and its function.
About 10 kilometers west of Roskilde is Lejre, an important powerbase at which the story of the kingdom of Denmark began. The Viking Age discoveries from Gammel Lejre include a unique large hall complex (covering around 500m2).
Apart from the great halls, many splendid archaeological finds have also been recovered in the area and these are exhibited in the Lejre museum.
From Lejre, drive west over the Great Belt Bridge (Storebæltsbro) to the island of Funen (Fyn). South of the town Kerteminde, you’ll find Ladby Viking Museum where the Ladbyskibet viking chieftain burial site is located. The Ladbyskibet burial site is the only Viking burial site in Denmark.
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140km south west of Kerteminde in Jutland, you come to Ribe, Denmark’s oldest town. It’s as though you have been transported back to 980. At its Viking Centre, you can wander through a full-size reconstruction of Ribe’s Viking market place. Beyond the longhouse there are barns, workshops and pit-houses. See their film, Odin’s Eye, which also takes you back to Viking times.
You can sense the history all around in this picturesque country town.
From Ribe, head north-west towards Ringkøbing Fjord. At its southern end, you’ll find Bork Viking harbour. At the open-air Viking harbor museum you can go sailing on the fjord and go fishing and experience the viking activities.
About 45 miles away, before the town of Vejle, you’ll reach the the Unesco world heritage site where kings Gorm the Old and Harald Bluetooth erected two famous rune stones and built the largest structures of the period. The new Royal Jelling Experience Centre will tell the story of Denmark’s birth as a nation.
From Jelling, head to Aarhus and further north to Hobro, around 135km away. Here you can visit the Hobro Museum and its rich collection of prehistoric and Viking archaeological finds. Close by, you can see the foundations of a large Viking castle.
40km north of Hobro, towards Aalborg, you’ll come to Nørresundby and Lindholm Høje – the biggest ancient burial ground in Scandinavia. The site dates back to the Iron Age and Viking period and contains a staggering 700 graves, marked with striking stone rings and patterns. There’s also a great museum for you to visit. At Lindholm Høje Museum, you will find exhibitions which bring history to life. With an outset in the recovered relics, you will be introduced to Viking life through amazing reconstructions, panoramas, illustrations, and 3D animations.
Head to Aggersborg, near the small town of Løgstør. Here you can wander around the atmospheric ruins of a round Viking castle fortress and absorb the thousand years of history you’ve collected on your journey back to Viking Denmark. Aggersborg is the biggest of the Danish viking fortresses, built at the same time period as the Trelleborg, Fyrkat and Nonnebakken viking fortresses in 980-981 AD by King Harald Bluetooth.
Feature image (on top):
The new Royal Jelling Experience Centre will tell the story of Denmark’s birth as a nation.
The Danish Viking Land, compiled by Tor Kjolberg