Discover the fascinating history of the Vikings on a journey around the Viking Cultural Route
The Viking Age was the period from around 800-1050 AD during which Vikings achieved unrivalled boat-building, navigational and seamanship skills that allowed them to travel widely throughout Northern and Western Europe, the North Atlantic, into the Mediterranean and deep into the rivers of Russia and the Ukraine.
At a time when few people travelled, the Vikings raided, traded and settled extensively. They also established important trading centres in places such as Hedeby (Germany), Birka (Sweden), York (England), Dublin and Waterford (Ireland) and Kiev (Ukraine).
Wherever they went, they left a clear legacy behind them, such as can be seen in the remaining traces of their early law courts (known as things); the impact on local place names, language and social structures; their legacies of art and literature; and surviving archaeological sites. Much of the Viking story is recorded in the form of intangible heritage such as the sagas that recount the deeds and travels of the Viking people.
Council of Europe
The Viking Cultural Route is a far-ranging and significant cross-border collection of sites, stories and heritage that represent the shared Viking legacy of Europe and beyond. It is one of the earliest registered cultural routes, having first been certified in 1993. It recognises how, for centuries, the Vikings transmitted culture and traditions throughout the European continent, and this heritage therefore unites the peoples of present-day Europe.
Since 2012, the Viking Cultural Route has been managed by the Destination Viking Association: a network of museums, attractions, organisations and destinations working together to create a borderless tourism destination focusing on the Viking world and preserving, promoting, researching, demonstrating and disseminating Viking heritage.
There are around 100 sites on the route, including examples of forts, towns, farms, quarries, ships, objects, museums, archaeological remains and reconstructed longhouses. The traveller can discover this fascinating culture on a journey across national borders, while also enjoying a variety of events, such as the popular and widespread Viking markets.