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Viking World Museum

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by Fiona Trowbridge (subscribe)
I am a freelance travel writer creating memories with a 'can do' mind set. I enjoy stepping outside my comfort zone to explore, learn & share. Visit my blog at
Published December 7th 2016
Small and mighty men in a small and mighty museum
Minutes after you arrive in Iceland you could be breakfasting with Vikings in the beautiful glass-walled Viking World Museum overlooking Faxafloi bay on the Reykjanes Peninsula.

Islendingur Viking Ship
Islendingur Viking Ship

Viking World is only 10 minutes from the airport making it the ideal location to stop off on your way to Reykjavik. It conveniently opens its doors and cafe at 7am from 1st February until 31st October for those who arrive on an early flight.

As you enter the museum the huge Viking ship Islendingur dominates the whole two floors. Islendingur was built in 1996, sailed across the Atlantic to America in the year 2000 and is an exact replica, down to the last nail, of the ninth century Viking ship that was discovered in Gokstad, Norway in 1882.

Islendingur Viking Ship from below
Islendingur Viking Ship as you enter the building

On the second floor of the museum, you can board the ship and look out over the bay to the unforgiving north Atlantic and imagine what it must have been like for these early settlers when they arrived from Norway and then sailed onto Greenland and the Americas.

Viking World takes you through those journeys with its other exhibitions.

On the ground floor are the tales of the Vikings of the North Atlantic where you follow their journey west from Iceland to the Americas and their settlement of Iceland too. You can even relax in the cinema and watch a film showing recently discovered evidence of the Viking settlement in America.

At the far end of the downstair's exhibition is a beautiful display of tupilaks. These are cursed carvings that existed in Inuit mythology and were sent by practitioners of magic in Greenland to seek out their intended victims and kill them. The menacing looking little figurines are carved from floatable materials like antler, walrus tusk, soapstone or wood and thankfully are safely ensconced in a glass cabinet.

tuplilak bone carving viking inuit greenland magic
A Carved Tupilak

Before you head upstairs, make sure you pick up a headset at reception. The Fate of the Gods is a walk and listen exhibition and you need your headset to follow the tales of Odinn and the other Gods through colourful dioramas. I loved this part; it reminded me of story time at the library and I'm sure young ones will love it too but it is quite a lengthy saga.

viking world fate gods odinn
Fate of the Gods Exhibition

Back downstairs you can access even more information about the Vikings on computers, have some Viking soup in the Viking Café and visit the gift shop which sells the History and Heritage maps you will see outside The Fate of the Gods exhibition.

iceland map history heritage
History & Heritage Map of Southwest Iceland

During the summer months, there is also a free settlement zoo in the grounds of Viking world.

Many flights arrive and depart from Keflavik airport at inconvenient times. If you find yourself on one of these flights or if you are visiting the Reykjanes peninsula, take some time to visit this amazing boat-sized museum with beautiful displays housing an incredible amount of information.
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Why? A fabulous little museum about Vikings
When: All year except 12th Dec to 7th Jan
Phone: 354 422 2000
Where: Near Keflavik, Iceland
Cost: Adults: ISK 1500, Students: ISK 1300, Free for Children under 14 accompanied by an adult
Your Comment
What a brilliant museum, the fate of the gods exhibition sounds great, such a good idea.
by Jay Johnson (score: 3|1368) 2250 days ago
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