Live the Viking life in Roskilde

Live the Viking life in Roskilde

by Jessica Zen
Stripes Europe

If modern TV shows and movies like “Vikings,” “The Last Kingdom” and “How to Train Your Dragon” have you daydreaming about what life was like in the Viking Age, Denmark is the place for you. Just 25 minutes outside of Copenhagen, the city of Roskilde is brimming with Viking history and opportunities. Get ready for a maritime adventure you won’t soon forget, and it’s all thanks to the Viking Ship Museum. 

Perched on the Roskilde Fjord is the Viking Ship Museum, giving us insight into the fascinating world of Vikings. Here you’ll find not only incredible displays but also opportunities to live the Viking life. The inside of the main hall of the museum features five original Skuldelev Viking ships from the 11th century. The Glendalough Sea Stallion is the museum’s longest ship and open for boarding. Outside you’ll find the boatyard where vessels were erected. Here you can experience the culture of the Vikings while you view boats in full scale. Board a merchant vessel that is outfitted with war equipment. Dress up like a Viking or visit Tunet, a commonplace for the Vikings to gather. Here you can see what types of crafts were created during that time, such as metal, wood or rope work. 

The best part of all of this is that you can go on a sailing trip out of the museum harbor. Experience the life of a Vikings, and per the museum’s website you’ll also have the opportunity to experience “the scent of wood tar in the nose!” Sail into the sunset in a traditional, Nordic wooden boat. Don’t worry, there’s a sailing instructor, but the passengers onboard get to row and help set the sail! As you glide through the sea, listen to the instructor as he tells tales of days of yore and what it was like to sail a Viking vessel. Feel the saltwater in your hair as you sail through the beautiful blue waters and into the past on a grand adventure. 

If you want to get even more hands-on, consider taking a course in Viking Age fishing. Offered on Sept. 5th and 12th, 2020 for approximately 220 euros, you can learn about historical fishing methods that were once used in the Roskilde Fjord. Use woven willow fish traps, hook and lines, throwing nets and fishing spears. Practice preserving fish using the Viking style, which includes using smoke, salt and drying techniques. Most of the day’s catch will be given to the museum’s cafe chef who will prepare it for dinner. However, you will be in charge of cleaning and smoking the rest for dinner at 6 p.m. Enjoy the fruits of your labor at the end of the day with a hearty meal.

If you’ve worked up an appetite but don’t want to prepare your own meal, head to Cafe Knarr. Here you can refuel with salads, sandwiches, homemade cakes, ice cream, coffee and even beer next to the Boat Yard. The delicious food is rooted in maritime history and includes lots of flatbreads, angelica, sea buckthorn and pearl barley. The dishes available also incorporate foods that the Vikings would have discovered on their travels. 

The museum reopened June 8th, so once the travel restrictions lift, you are free to go! Enjoy your time either looking at the boats or having an experience of a lifetime actually sailing the open waters. Though you won’t be pillaging any villages, you can still get a good idea of what the life of a Viking looked like. Row the boat, hoist the sail and eat fish like a king. In Roskilde, living the Viking life is the way to go!


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