A Little Time and a Keyboard: Exploring the Icelander Viking Ship at Viking World near Keflavik

Exploring the Icelander Viking Ship at Viking World near Keflavik

Friday, July 26, 2019

Exploring Viking settlement and the ship  Íslendingur at Viking World in Keflavik, Iceland

Exploring Viking settlement and the ship  Íslendingur at Viking World near Keflavik, Iceland

On our way to Copenhagen, we had about a day layover in Keflavik. So, we had a bit of time to explore. Our first adventure was to Viking World to view a replica Viking ship. Admittedly, I did not know much about the museum before visiting. I did not expect to find so many quality exhibits inside! We really learned a lot about the Vikings and the Settlement Era in Iceland as well as exploration to the New World. We truly had a wonderful adventure on what we considered a bonus day in Iceland!

Íslendingur is perched above giving opportunity view from different vantage points.
Íslendingur is perched above giving opportunity view from different vantage points.
Immediately inside, you will pause to admire The Icelander which sailed to New York in 2000 to commemorate Leifur Eiríksson's voyage. The Icelander or Íslendingur is modeled after the Norwegian ship Gokstad which was excavated from an ancient burial mound in 1882. The ship has been dated to approximately A.D. 870. This is about the time that Iceland was settled, so the ships used in settlement most likely resembled the Gokstad.  Íslendingur is completely stunning and a wonder to look at!

Visitors can climb aboard the Viking ship Icelander at Viking World in Keflavik, Iceland.
Visitors can climb aboard Icelander!
We appreciated the craftsmanship that went in constructed the ship. We even could walk aboard for a different perspective. The ship stuns but at the same time awakens curiosity about how the Vikings were able to explore so far while combating weather and sea patterns.

In addition to providing information about Viking life and exploration, Viking World also has informative exhibits about the construction of  Íslendingur. We learned details about how Viking ships were constructed and the voyage of  Íslendingur.

Stunning view of Viking World!
Stunning view of Viking World!
Overall, we were surprised by how many exhibits were tucked inside of Viking World. A number of artifacts were on display including some excavated not too far away on the Reykjanes Peninsula. I was surprised by how much detail as given to Icelandic voyages to the New World. A number of artifacts explored the settlement of Iceland. Below is an example of  burial boat for wealthy woman in the Settlement period:

Example of a burial boat from the Settlement period.
Example of a burial boat from the Settlement period.
Visiting Icelandic Farm Animals:

We discovered a little petting farm area where we could visit with Icelandic farm animals. We had fun visiting with animals with some resting in the small houses with turf roofs. This was very much a highlight for my daughter!


Not a far walk from Viking World is a small turf fisherman's cottage called Stekkjarkot. Stekkjarkot was initially constructed in 1855 but additions were made later in habitation. The home was abandoned about 1924.

Visiting Stekkjarkot turf house.
Visiting Stekkjarkot turf house.
Stekkjarkot provides a great example of turf houses from the 19th century. It is a nice addition to a visit to Viking World! I understand that it is open from time to time but was not on our visit.

Exploring Stekkjarkot
Exploring Stekkjarkot
After leaving Viking World, we felt we had a new appreciation and understanding on the settlement of Iceland and the further exploration of the Vikings. The museum is pretty interesting and worth a visit!

To Know About Viking World:

  • Viking World also has a cafe for lunch. Their traditional Icelandic meat soup is a favorite.
  • The gift shop has some great locally made items.
  • Viking World is close to the Keflavik airport and not too far from the Blue Lagoon. So, it is an easy add on. That being said, do make sure to spend quality time there enjoying the exhibits.
Exploring the Viking Ship Iceland and Learning About Settlement at Viking World


  1. Looks like a great layover day. My husband is Norwegian and I must get him to Iceland!

  2. Another fun layover activity! I did a food tour of Reykjavik on my 24-hour layover :)

    1. I haven't thought about doing a food tour! Fun idea! I want to learn how to make Lava Bread. They make it by the Fontana Spa.