Vikings in Iceland

Viking-related places in Iceland

Iceland is a well-known and popular travel destination thanks to the otherworldly nature, but for those who love Scandinavian culture and sagas, Vikings and Norse gods, Iceland would also offer a lot too. Vikings are also known as Norsemen and those who settled in Iceland sailed here from Scandinavia, in particular Norway and the British Isles. 

To ruin the romantic appearance of the Vikings, you should remember that they were raiders, who took anything from the villages that they raided. And that included women, it is believed that they kidnapped future wives on their way to Iceland, mostly from the British Isles. However, once settled the Vikings would put down their weapons and indulge farming and fishing, so you could see many traces of their presence in Iceland. 

The first settler in Iceland is supposed to be Ingólfur Arnarsson, who stayed permanently on the island, around the year 874. You could see his statue in Reykjavik´s downtown or visit the Saga Museum to see the wax figures. The capital area and around the country areas are filled with Viking figures, activities and events, museums, etc… Each one of these things serves as a constant reminder of the rich and interesting heritage that Iceland displays.  

Althingi Icelandic Park

Another significant place connected to the Vikings history is Alþingi. In 930 the first parliament in Europe was created in Iceland in the National Park Þingvellir. This place was chosen as a meeting point for clans representatives to judge, announce new laws and exchange news with fellow Vikings who came here (sometimes walked here) from every part of the island. Luckily for tourists, this place is on the route of all Golden Circle tours and is close to the capital. So, no need to travel days and nights to explore the park also known as the place where two tectonic plates tear apart divided by the Mid-Atlantic Rift. 

Another place to visit is located right in the city center of Reykjavik, it is the famous Hallgrimskirkja church and the statue in front of it. You can see the figure of Leifur Eiríksson the Viking age hero, the first European to arrive in America. It is believed that Leifur’s traveled to America in the year 1000 and preceded the Christopher Columbus’ voyage. However, he did not settle there for long and the reason is said to have been that it was hard to keep slaves in America because there was too much good land for them to escape. In Iceland, this wasn’t much of a problem. The statue of Leifur Eiríksson was a gift from the United States to Iceland to commemorate the 1000-year anniversary of Alþingi, the parliament of Iceland. 

You might also be interested in a few places, like museums, hotels and photo studios that are specialized in Viking culture. For example, the Viking Hotel in Hafnafjordur, that decorated the rooms in Viking style and West Nordic theme. When you enter the Hotel, you are greeted with fine art and crafts from three countries: Iceland, Greenland, and the Faroe Islands. Mink Viking Portrait Studio is a gorgeous photo studio you can visit to get a beautiful portrait of yourself in Viking outfits. Árbær Open Air Museum is another point of interest for Viking fans. This open-air museum displays the life of Vikings and early settlers in Iceland. You can see the historical turf houses, meet costumed guides, and see traditional crafts. 

And any museum in Iceland has link to the history of Viking settlement as any Icelander carries the DNA of those Norsemen who came to the island few centuries ago.  


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