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Tour experience: Reykjavik Viking Adventure

One morning in July, we headed to the old harbor in Reykjavik to ride on a replica viking ship with Reykjavik Viking Adventure. “Replica viking ship” can mean a lot of things; maybe a boat that looks vaguely viking-like?

But in this case, we’re talking about a painstakingly built replica of a real viking boat originally built in the 890s. The original boat, called Gokstad, was found almost exactly 1,000 years later, well preserved in frozen ground in Norway. The replica was built in the Westfjords of Iceland, and sailed down to Reykjavik. Meet Vésteinn:

viking boat at dock

Reykjavik Viking Adventure will take you on a 60-90 minute ride, though ours ended up being even longer than 90 minutes. There is no set course– the itinerary is planned by the winds that day. We used a small gas engine to get out of the harbor, and then we headed back a good bit of the way under sail power.

viking boat sail

Our trip took us close to Engey Island, which is currently uninhabited. But there are a whole lot of birds who live there, including puffins:

viking boat puffins

Let’s get right to the price. This isn’t a cheap trip: Adults cost 11,900 krona (about $97) and kids 7-15 cost 6,900 (about $56), and 6 and under is free. That’s a little more than you would pay for a whale watching trip, and the Viking Adventure is shorter.

So what are you getting for the money? In short, a much more personal experience. The maximum number of people they will take on a boat is 12, and you’ll have 2 crew members (a captain and a guide). We happened to be the only people on our 9:30 AM trip.

viking boat city

This allows plenty of time for informal chatting, especially when the sails are out and the boat is quiet. Our guide told us about vikings– about how this was a war ship, and so it doesn’t go very deep in the water. This may make it less likely that you will get seasick? We didn’t have any problems, even without taking medicine.

We also learned one of my favorite Icelandic facts. The Icelandic word for stupid is “heimskur.” Heima means home, and so heimskur literally means “who has never been from home“.

We tried our hand at fishing. Viking style fishing, of course. Note that the guide has a plastic … kite spool? in his hand. You have to twist it to wind it back up. We didn’t catch anything, but I’m told this can work very well.

viking boat guide in garb

My kids enjoyed the trip. It seemed simpler than a whale watching trip; we got on, pulled away from the dock, and relaxed. I think this is an especially good trip if you have younger kids who may not be up for a 3 hour whale watching trip. Kids of all ages should enjoy the Viking Adventure, but it may be the highlight of your trip for kids under 6 or so.

[Added October 2017: During the summer of 2017, Viking Adventures didn’t offer scheduled tours; you had to contact them to book a trip. They aren’t sailing this winter; check back in March 2018 to see what they have in store for 2018!]


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Tour experience: Reykjavik Viking Adventure was last modified: October 18th, 2017 by Eric