Viking World Museum Travel Guide
Viking World is a museum near Keflavik on the Reykjanes peninsula dedicated to the history of Vikings in Iceland.
Travelers to Iceland can visit the museum as part of a self-drive tour of Iceland. Hire a car and drive to the town of Njardvik to discover the highlights of this fascinating Viking museum. Alternatively, book a private tour of the Reykjanes peninsula and ask your guide to stop at the museum.
Viking World, known as Víkingaheimar in Icelandic, opened in 2009. It has since expanded to include four main exhibitions, allowing visitors of all ages to learn more about Viking history in Iceland.
Photo from Wikimedia, Creative Commons, by Leon Petrosyan. No edits made.
Things to See and Do at Viking World
The building that houses Viking World is a beautiful piece of architecture. Gudmundur Jonsson designed the building to show off the museum's most impressive sight: a Viking ship replica of The Icelander (Íslendingur in Icelandic).
Visitors arriving at the museum can marvel at the impressive structure before continuing to enjoy the exhibitions. There's also a cafe where guests can enjoy refreshments like tea and coffee, waffles and sandwiches, and traditional Icelandic food like lamb soup.
Make sure you stop at the gift shop, which sells souvenirs such as books, food gifts, and Icelandic clothing. The museum has free Wi-Fi for visitor use.
Viking World museum has four exhibitions highlighting various aspects of Icelandic Viking history, outlined below.
Photo from Flickr, Creative Commons, by Robyn Cox. No edits made.
The museum's main attraction is The Icelander, a life-sized replica of a Viking ship built in 1996. Gunnar Marel Eggertsson based his design for the vessel on the Gokstad ship, a Viking ship excavated in Norway in 1882.
Eggertsson and his team made The Icelander with the methods and tools that would have been used to build the Gokstad and other similar ships. It took two years to make it. It's 75 feet (about 23 meters) long and 17 feet (roughly 5.25 meters) wide.
In 2000, Eggertsson sailed the ship from Iceland to New York to celebrate the 1,000-year anniversary of Leif Eriksson's voyage to Vinland (what's now North America).
Visitors to Viking World can see The Icelander up close and climb inside. Kids and adults can enjoy imagining what it would be like to sail in a Viking ship.
Vikings of the North Atlantic
Viking World produced this exhibition in association with the Smithsonian Museum in Washington, D.C. It explores the history and geography of Vikings from the eighth to the 11th century.
Guests at the museum will learn about the journeys made by Vikings, including those to and from Iceland. The exhibit has interactive sections, with videos to watch and models to look at.
The Settlement of Iceland
The Settlement of Iceland display includes archaeological discoveries dating back to the ninth century. You can learn about the earliest settlers of Iceland and look at Viking items found around the Reykjanes peninsula.
The exhibition provides information about Viking longhouses, focusing on a set of ruins found in Hafnir (a village on the western coast of the Reykjanes peninsula).
The Fate of the Gods
The final exhibit at the Viking World museum uses visual arts and music to teach visitors about the mythology of the Norse gods and the history of their worship. It's a fascinating look at Viking culture and gives visitors a deeper understanding of religion and ritual in early Icelandic history.
Audio guides are available for this exhibition in four languages: English, Icelandic, German, and Danish.
Where Is Viking World?
Viking World is in Njardvik on the Reykjanes peninsula. It's just under three miles (about 4.5 kilometers) from central Keflavik (also known as Reykjanesbaer). The museum has a beautiful waterside location overlooking Faxafloi Bay.
Viking World is about 28 miles (approximately 45 kilometers) from Reykjavik, so tourists can easily visit the museum on a day trip from Iceland's capital. It's also only four miles (just over six kilometers) from Keflavik International Airport.
How to Reach Viking World
You can reach Viking World from Reykjavik by car or public transport.
By car, follow Route 40 southwest, then continue straight onto Route 41 towards Keflavik. Take the exit to Njardvik, continue straight, then turn right onto Vikingabraut. The museum is at the end of the road on the coast.
To visit the museum by public transport, take the number 55 bus from Reykjavik. Get off at the Tjarnarhverfi stop. It's 0.8 miles (1.4 kilometers) from here to the museum. Alternatively, change to the R2 city bus and alight at the Stekkjarkot fishing cottage. It's a short walk from here to the Viking World museum.
When Can I Visit Viking World?
Photo by Regina Hronn Ragnarsdottir.
Viking World is open on Monday-Saturday from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m and on Sunday from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. There are closures on public holidays such as Christmas and New Year. It's best to contact the museum directly if you plan to visit on any national holiday.
Many people visit Viking World as soon as they land in Iceland because it's very close to the airport. It's also open in the morning, so it's a perfect stop-off point for anyone with an early flight arrival in Iceland. Many hotels and guesthouses don't offer early check-in, so a quick museum visit is a fun way to spend time before you go to your accommodation.
Other Attractions Near Viking World
Visitors to Viking World can see various other sights in the local area.
Spending an afternoon in Keflavik is a great way to pass the time before an outgoing flight. A trip to the Icelandic Museum of Rock' n' Roll will teach you about the history of popular music in Iceland. This museum is only two miles (about three kilometers) from Viking World, so it's easy to visit both in one day.
The world-famous Blue Lagoon geothermal spa is one of Iceland's top attractions. It's conveniently located 11 miles (roughly 18 kilometers) from Viking World. Spend a day relaxing in the geothermal waters and treat yourself to a spa treatment.
Iceland's vibrant capital city, Reykjavik, is also within easy reach of the Viking World museum. Explore the city's best bars and restaurants, visit unusual museums, or take a guided walking tour through the shopping district.