Roskilde Viking Ship Museum – Roskilde, Denmark - Atlas Obscura
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Roskilde, Denmark

Roskilde Viking Ship Museum

Nordic giants resurrected from the sea and restored to their former greatness. 

While most of these majestic sea giants are on display inside, at least one is afloat in the Roskilde Fjord, and just in case you were wondering if dreams really do come true? Yes, they will take you for a boat ride. In fact, they’ll even let you steer.

The ships at the Viking Ship Museum in the Danish city of Roskilde may be above the waves now, but until 1962, they were decaying at the bottom of the icy depths in Skuldelev. Known now as the Skuldelev ships, these ancient vessels were five in  total: two cargo ships, a long-cargo/fishing ship, and two warships. Products of the 11th century, the ships were determined to be the remains of ships that were sunk deliberately to act as an underwater shield, defending Skuldelev from attacks by sea. 

The museum (along with the Viking Ship Museum in Oslo) is a nautical enthusiast’s paradise. The five hulking restorations are the main attraction, but the museum is rich with seafaring artifacts and displays, and there is a strong representation of the art of boatbuilding, including an option to buy your very own handmade wooden boat to take home. Due to the heavy focus on building, this particular viking museum is known for having the most skilled crew out there, when it comes to reconstruction.

One of the more exciting offerings in vikingland is the museum’s full-day “Learn to Sail a Viking Ship” course. Focusing on practical sailing practices, participants learn the basics for sailing a square sail, a very different experience from today’s modern sails, a challenge for both experienced and novice sailors. Along with an opportunity to learn the ropes, the museum also offers a children’s museum, a restaurant and cafe, and interactive displays of the three inside boats, the ones not currently afloat on the harbor.

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