The highlight, of course, is the mighty Sagastad Viking Center, which should be at the top of any tourist's "must-see" list when visiting Scandinavia. Here are the top five reasons to visit! 

Nordfjordeid, a small Norwegian town rich in Viking history, is home to the impressive Sagastad Viking Center and the largest Viking ship found in Norway. Photo: Nimnisi / Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 4.0)

1) Visit a small, charming Norwegian town with a huge Viking history 

When Minister of Culture Trine Skei Grande opened the Sagastad Viking Center back in 2019, the town of Nordfjordeid experienced a cultural blooming that had not occurred in more than a millennium. 

This small town, at the northern end of a fjord on the west coast of Norway, with a population of a little less than 2,000, may seem unremarkable. 

However, for much of the early medieval period, this was a center of Viking activity as part of the petty kingdom of Firda. 

This kingdom soon exploited lucrative trade routes. These routes connected northern and southern Norway, as well as Norway with continental Europe and the British Isles. 

If we are to believe the Norse sagas – which may have more than a shred of historical truth in them – by 870, Firda was standing in the way of Harald Fairhair and his quest to unify all the petty kingdoms under his rule. 

The King of Firda, Audbjörn Frøybjørnsson, led a brave last stand against Fairhair at the second battle of Solskjell in that year but fell. 

He was said to have been buried in a Viking ship in a massive gravemound. 

This gravemound was excavated in 1874, where the remains of a large Viking ship and a treasure trove of high-status grave goods were discovered. 

The Myklebust Ship, named after the farm on which it was found, is the largest Viking ship discovered in Norway to date. 

A cultural center and museum were built and opened in 2019 to honor this large ship and the area's even larger Viking history. 

The Myklebust Ship, reconstructed by historians and shipbuilders, is a 30-meter-long replica of a Viking ship originally built in the late 9th century. Photo: Ruben Soltvedt / Sagastad Viking Center

2) Be in awe of the majestic Myklebust Ship 

So now you know why the Sagastad Viking Center was built, but why should it be worthy of a visit? 

Let's start with the most compelling aspect. Where else can one witness the unique combination of ancient Viking history and contemporary artistic craftsmanship? 

The answer is Sagastad, without a doubt! 

While the Myklebust Viking Ship may have been burned before its burial in the late 9th century, a team of dedicated historians and shipbuilders have faithfully reconstructed a copy. 

Working with a team of archaeologists and historians, the builders have created a 30-meter (100-foot) long Viking ship replete with 24 oars and 48 shields. 

It is as beautiful as it is historically accurate. 

With no historical records about the ship's construction other than what was found on Myklebust farm in the late 19th century, work began in 2016 analyzing the more than 7,000 nails found. 

Skilled and experienced boat builders from a nearby town with a long boatbuilding tradition took more than three years to complete this modern work of ancient art. 

Historians delicately created every detail, including the intricately carved head and tail of the ship by a local Master Carver. 

Visitors to the Sagastad Viking Center can engage in a variety of hands-on activities, from sailing in a simulator to joining archaeological excavations. Photo: Sagastad Viking Center

3) Interactive exhibits and education 

Aside from the mighty Viking ship, what sets the Sagastad Viking Center apart from other museums and cultural centers is its focus on interactive educational exhibits. 

This is not just a museum where you walk around and passively absorb history. It offers a hands-on experience that excites all senses. 

For those who want to sail like Vikings, a Viking Ship Simulator faithfully replicates the feeling of sailing on the open sea. A word of warning: it's best not to have a big breakfast or lunch before trying this, as you wouldn't want to get seasick. 

Throughout the warmer months, the center occasionally organizes archaeological digs. 

While the Myklebust Viking ship may have been the largest find in the area, it was not the only one. 

Artifacts from as far away as the British Isles have been found, as well as those of Saxon origin. 

The center organizes archaeological digs, allowing visitors to both observe and actively participate in the thrilling process of uncovering hidden historical treasures. 

For those who don't want to get their hands so dirty, the center often runs Viking craft workshops. 

Here, you can try your hand at crafts that are forgotten today but were vital for everyday life in Viking societies. 

Some of the crafts offered include weaving, pottery, and blacksmithing, and all workshops are supervised by local skilled artisans. 

Engaging activities for kids at the Sagastad Viking Center include mock sword battles and witnessing authentic Viking combat training and archery. Photo: Sagastad Viking Center

4) Fight like a Viking 

Is there anything worse than a bunch of bored kids at a museum? 

Whether you are their parent or not, bringing kids to absorb history can be a tricky affair. 

However, the Sagastad Viking Center has the perfect remedy – give them swords and let them fight each other. Now, before you call Child Services, these swords are, of course, not real. 

Whilst kids can run around with fake swords, they can also see skilled practitioners wield real ones during combat training. 

Viking Combat training – showing the martial skills that any good Viking warrior needed – is run throughout the summer months. 

This includes dueling with swords or axes as well as archery. 

Whilst we do not always associate Vikings with archery, a bow and arrow was an essential tool and weapon for many Vikings. 

This should keep the little ones entertained and excited, as it has been about a millennium since you could see two Vikings fight each other. 

And the Vikings at the Sagastad Viking Center are much friendlier than the original ones, too! 

The center's culinary workshops offer a unique opportunity to explore Viking cuisine, preparing and tasting dishes from the period. Photo: Sagastad Viking Center

5) A cultural and culinary immersion 

The Sagastad Viking Center offers a cultural immersion that helps you understand not only the history of the Vikings but also how this period influenced Norwegian life thereafter. 

The center offers a deep dive into Viking culture and history, including detailed explanations of Norse mythology and sagas. 

Viking storytelling sessions are commonly held, where these ancient tales come to life, showing why they inspired generations of Vikings to roam, raid, and explore the world. 

Additionally, the center periodically offers culinary workshops, during which you can prepare and enjoy historically accurate dishes from the early medieval period. Where else can you cook and eat like a Viking? 

The Sagastad Viking Center, located in Nordfjordeid, Norway, provides an immersive way for visitors to learn about Viking history and culture.

With its stunning location (worth the trek by itself), interactive exhibits, cultural workshops, and, of course, the famous Myklebust Ship replica, it stands out as one of the most engaging museums in the Nordic region and is a must-visit for all ages. 

For more information, visit the Sagastad Viking Center homepage in English here

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