How to Spend a Day in Birka, Sweden's Viking Paradise

Historical Björkö
Historical Björkö | © Danica/Wikimedia Commons
Judi Lembke

The island of Björkö, a short journey from Stockholm, is best known for Vikings and its main town Birka is the perfect place for a day trip. Established in the 8th century, Birka is considered one of Sweden’s earliest towns, was an important trading centre during the Viking Age, and was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1993.

Loved by over 40s

9:30 am

Hop on the ferry to Birka at City Hall. The trip takes about two hours, and it’s a wonderful way to see Stockholm, Lake Mälaren, and the beautiful towns and villages that hug its shores from a different perspective. There is a small café onboard, so grab a fika before relaxing and gazing out at the water. The ferry ticket will include entry to Birka Museum, as well as a guided tour of the World Heritage area (although tourists are also free to explore that on their own).

Birka, Björkö, Sweden

Take the ferry from City Hall

11:30 am

After arriving at Birka Harbour, people may be surprised that things look pretty normal—no theme park, no obvious archaeological digs, nothing showy at all. This is for two reasons: the original town was built mostly of wood so there’s little original architecture, and the area remains an ongoing dig site. Luckily, the excellent Birka Museum to get visitors started and get them so close to the story of the Vikings that they can nearly touch it.

The basic exhibition is detailed models that show how life was for the roughly 700 inhabitants of Birka during the Viking Age as well as archaeological finds and replicas of the many excavations that have taken place. There are also ancient discoveries such as wooden items from the marine archaeological excavations, maps from georadar surveys, and a Runestone that was believed to have disappeared but was recently rediscovered.

Hit the museum shop before leaving. It’s nearly as interesting as the museum and offers books about Vikings and the history of Birka, as well as models of the exhibition, replicas of pearls found on the island, jewellery, glass, toys, handicrafts, clay pots, and much more. Walk out of here with plenty of memories from an interesting visit and the quality is pretty high, so it’s well worth a stop.

Birka Museum, Björkö 5, Björkö, Sweden

A model of Birka at the museum

1 pm

Grab a bit to eat. Restaurant Särimner is perfect for staying in the Viking mood.

What was once a humble deli-style restaurant has been Vikingfied after a major renovation (led by Swedish pop star Martin “E-type” Erikson). Sturdy log tables seating six or eight people on fur-covered benches fill every available space while the decorations range from polished elk horns and woven tapestries to a longboat dangling from the ceiling.

Ingredients for the food is locally sourced as is the beer—which comes from local breweries—and is hearty, to say the least. The restaurant has two excellent outdoor spaces: a wooden deck and a garden area. In the summer, there is medieval music on some nights as well as special grill evenings, and it’s all perched on the edge of the water.

For lighter fare, there’s also a café in the same building, Café Eldrimner, which serves sandwiches, salads, and pastries.

Restaurant Särimner, Björkö 1, Adelsö, Sweden

Restaurant Särimner has a very fun Viking theme

2 pm

Tour the World Heritage site alone or with a guide, although the guided tours are excellent—full of details and information that offer some real insight into the past. There are endless fields to explore and every innocuous pile of stones passed represents a Viking burial. Excavations are ongoing and many will most likely come across a few, so be respectful of the important work being done.

The Monument of Ansgar

Take some time to explore Viking Village. The reconstructed houses are built using the same tools and techniques used by the Vikings, so they really offer a sense of what life was like back in the 700s. Wander around the houses and also see and speak with the craftspeople who are continually working on the village and houses.

Viking Village

3 pm

Time to head home. Hop on the ferry at the dock, grab a drink and a seat on the deck, and then relax as the wind blows and the beautiful countryside floats by. Those who are still keen to find out more about the Vikings after returning to the city, there are plenty more places to visit in Sweden to learn more.

Historical Björkö
culture trip left arrow
 culture trip brand logo

Volcanic Iceland Epic Trip

meet our Local Insider


women sitting on iceberg


2 years.


It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.


I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!

culture trip logo letter c
group posing for picture on iceberg
group posing for picture on iceberg

Every CULTURE TRIP Small-group adventure is led by a Local Insider just like Hanna.

map of volcanic iceland trip destination points
culture trip brand logo
culture trip right arrow
landscape with balloons floating in the air


Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world

Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.

Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.

Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.

Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.

We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.