Last I left you we had just seen some amazing Norwegian Waterfalls on the way to Gudvangen. Why were we headed to this small village in Aurland, Sogn og Fjordane? To visit the Viking Village of course!
The Viking Village is nestled between the Kjelfossen (one of the tallest waterfalls in Norway, 755 metres) and the spectacular Nærøyfjord. During the Viking period, Gudvangen was an important place for trade and it’s name translates to a ‘place of the gods’. So this is a fitting location to step back in time and experience the Viking way of life.
Before we visited the Viking Village, we took some photos on the Nærøyfjord. It is the most majestic fjord. The water is so clear and catches the shades of green from the mountains that dominate the landscape.
The Viking Village is not exactly an attraction with actors like the other heritage museums you find across Scandinavia. Rather the Vikings you will encounter are committed to living the Viking lifestyle and are very knowledgeable about the Viking way of life. The village itself is made of timber buildings, which are carved similarly to how they would of been in the Viking age and the materials are sourced from near the fjord. The ironwork is all handmade by an experienced blacksmith, as are the paints that decorate the buildings and the handcrafted goods.
When we arrived we entered the ticket building, which sells books and gifts as well. We were told to meet our Viking guide at the post for our complementary tour at a set time. These tours are included in admission and are available in Norwegian and English. Stepping into the village was really like going back in time. The people were dressed how you imagine a viking may, the buildings and props seemed authentic and the backdrop of the mountains was beautiful. I wish I knew prior that you can actually stay here overnight. I would have loved to wake up here.
We first looked around before our Viking guide found us. There wasn’t many other tourist around, since we arrived quite later in the afternoon. So we weren’t hard to spot. I can’t remember our guides name, but I do remember that he was Scottish. He explained how the Scots had dealings with the Vikings, which gave his perspective an interesting twist. He then took us on a guided tour for 45 minutes, that I assume was tailored to us. He took us to see the god’s, the chickens, the chief’s building, the blacksmith and clothes maker. We spoke about the different gods, the chickens, the kinds of clothes people wore, the equality of men and women, the chief and genetics of the Viking people. We also met some other vikings, who told us about what they do as a profession. I really appreciated the personal touch of the tour and hearing the Vikings lifestyle experience.
After our tour we went in a clockwise direction to visited all the buildings in the village. We did a couple of activities that you will see below, as well as having a late lunch in the Viking Food Court. Since there was no paper map, labels or information, we took our time and use our imagination as we walked around. Usually I like to read about the facts, but to be honest with a toddler it was nice to just relax and not get bogged down in the didactic details.
Below are the photos from each building and some of the activities we did on our own or with help from some of the Vikings. You can see a rough map of the village here.
Black smith’s house
Chickens and Gods
These chickens are actually the same breed that vikings would have had. Octavia was able to feed them which was really fun for her with one of the Viking ladies.
The chief’s house
This is the largest building in the centre of the village, we did spend a portion of our tour in here. The owner of the Viking Village is the chief, which you can see in the majority of the photographs on their website. We did get introduced to him and I regret not getting a photo with him. He really looks the part more then anyone else in my opinion.
Warriors house and viking ship
Marco and Octavia had fun playing with the Viking weapons. This house was one of the more interesting ones and the ship was also pretty amazing too.
Viking ladys’ home
This nice Viking lady told us that she had a lot of children, she was blowing a bull horn to call them in for dinner. She dressed Octavia up as a little Viking girl, which was adorable.
These Viking ladies were busy crafting items things. They didn’t say anything to us. So I am not sure if they spoke English or were ready to go home. They had some interesting items for sale, but unfortunately they were trading in Norwegian krones, hence the high price tags.
The Viking lady that dressed Octavia helped me learn how to shoot a bow and arrow. Its a lot harder then it looks.
Viking Food Court
Just before leaving we decided to have a late lunch at the Viking Food Court. We weren’t really hungry, we just wanted a bit of a snack. This afternoon that had everything on offer, except the oats. I was a bit disappointed they didn’t have them since O loves them. The cook was also disappointed because its one of signature dishes. It was late in the afternoon, so it was a bit of an awkward time to eat. Marco ended up choosing both dishes, which were the lamb sausage and Thor’s Hammer (beef). The cook recommended both with Honey Marinated Roasted Vegetables and Viking Bread. I think we got lost in translation, since I wanted to get something different but we ended up with the same sides for both dishes. The sausages was pretty delicious. The beef was also nice, but we needed to ask for a big chefs knife to cut it, since our wooden knives could not get through the meat. I didn’t mind that one either, but it was a little too black for me. The bread was nice, but the vegetables were sensational. Although I wasn’t that hungry I wish there was a little more of the sides considering the price and how delicious they were.
That brings us to the end of this post. Next we will be heading to Flåm and spending the night in Aurlandsvangen.