In our interviews, both the Museum of the Viking Age and Gudvangen representatives mentioned Lofotr (Lofoten in English) as one of their top three places to visit for Viking enthusiasts. Located in Norway on the island of Vestvagoya, Lofotr offers an immersive Viking experience that includes the world’s longest reconstructed longhouse.
History of Lofotr
Fish are the foundation of Lofotr’s history and prehistory. The spawning North Atlantic cod gave people a reason to settle the island and a resource, on which they could build their lives. Humans have lived in the area for at least 6,000 years.
The Viking village of Borg provides the basis for the Viking museum and its fabulous longhouse. The museum itself features short films that explain the history of Borg. The Viking village was discovered as the result of potsherds found while a farmer plowed his fields. Excavations from 1983 to 1989 revealed that Borg was a chieftain’s village, and archaeologists were surprised at how far north the chief had settled.
Around 1100 A.D., stockfish provided the basis for an economic boom. It led to the founding of Vágar – “the first city formation in Northern Norway during the Middle Ages.”
Activities at Lofotr
During the summer, guests to Lofotr can enjoy rowing or sailing a Viking longship if the weather allows. Children can ride some of the old Norse horses. Archery and axe throwing are also popular. Other activities are scheduled year-round, including candle making and a Christmas workshop.
Food at Lofotr
Locally available resources inspire much of the food available at Lofotr. At the harbor, Skjelterskjåen Café offers soups, pancakes, and ice cream. The museum café has waffles and locally produced cheese, sausages, and smoked salmon. The Chieftain’s house provides guests with lamb soup, local bread, and sour cream. Mead is available for those who wish to try the fermented honey beverage. At dinnertime, the Lady of the House and the Chieftain offer a feast that includes lamb thigh. Afterwards, there are stories, singing, and other entertainment.
The Lofotr Viking Festival
Lofotr receives about 100,000 guests a year and employs 70 people during the summer season. Their biggest draw may be the Viking Festival that occurs in August. (The 2024 festival will happen between August 8 and 11.) Visitors experience life as a Viking through combat demonstrations, concerts, and the many stalls of various artisans.
Opportunities to participate in the festival aren’t limited to tourists. Practicing Vikings from around the world are welcome to apply for a spot to show their skills and teach people what they know about the Viking way of life.
Why not in Alaska?
As we marvel at the fascinating world of Lofotr and its rich Viking heritage, one can’t help but dream about the possibility of bringing a similar cultural gem to Alaska. Imagine the thrill of exploring a Viking-themed attraction in our own Alaskan backyard, complete with longship sails and traditional Norse festivities. This vision, however, can only turn into reality with the support and enthusiasm of our community.
If you’re inspired by the idea of creating an immersive Viking experience in Alaska, consider supporting us through a tax-deductible donation. Every contribution brings us closer to making this dream a reality. Additionally, becoming a member of our community offers you a chance to be more involved in this exciting journey. Join us in this venture and help make a mark on Alaska’s cultural landscape. Your support is not just a donation; it’s an investment in cultural enrichment and historical exploration. Let’s bring the spirit of the Vikings to the heart of Alaska together!