Like most Swedish cities, Gothenburg was inhabited by the Vikings from the late-eighth century. Sweden’s second-largest city still has much to appeal to modern-day travelers, from its neoclassical architecture to 17th-century canals. Here’s what you need to know to explore Gothenburg’s Viking past.
Viking History in Gothenburg
An important port whose west coast location made it a gateway to the North Sea and Atlantic, Gothenburg was a strategically important city for the Norse seafarers. The Vikings dominated the region around what is now present-day Sweden, Norway, and Denmark up until the mid-11th century, establishing trade routes around Europe, exploring America, and settling as far away as Russia and Ukraine. While brutal in their methods, the Vikings also demonstrated advanced engineering skills, as you can see in examples of their strong and extraordinarily seaworthy longboats.
Ways to Experience Viking History in Gothenburg
Traces of Gothenburg’s Viking history are few but the city is home to one star attraction—the impressively preserved remains of the Askekarr longboat. You can see the longboat and its runic inscriptions at the Museum of Gothenburg (entrance to which is included in the Gothenburg Pass). The building, the 18th-century home of the Swedish East India Company, is itself of interest to maritime history enthusiasts.
The 10th-century Askekarr longboat was discovered in the nearby Ale Viking Farmstead, 19 miles (30 kilometers) away, a reconstructed version of which welcomes tourists. If you are here in June, you can also visit the Hornebore Ting Viking market in Hamburgssund, 79 miles (127 kilometers) north of Gothenburg.
Explore the city at your own pace on foot, take a hop-on hop-off bus or boat excursion, or a guided bicycle tour.