How to be a Viking in Stockholm: Where to go and what to do

Want to get the full Viking experience in Stockholm? The Local has compiled a list of strapping, burly places for you to check out during your day with axe and shield.

How to be a Viking in Stockholm: Where to go and what to do
Viking for a day at the Swedish History Museum. Photo: Katarina Nimmervoll

The Swedish History Museum

Want to bathe in your curiosity of the Viking Age for little to no cost? At the Swedish History Museum, there are exhibitions and projects running that will teach you all you need to know.

The Viking exhibition itself, managed by curator Gunnar Andersson, is full of many artifacts and objects from the Viking Age. The Local recently had the privilege of talking to Andersson about the exhibition and other ones traveling the world.

“I think what people really appreciate with this exhibition is that you get to see a lot of objects, original ones, fantastic pieces of handicraft and of smithery,” he says.

The Swedish History Museum currently has two exhibitions running around the world under the name, “We Call Them Vikings”. They have been in North America, and are now in Australia and France.

READ ALSO: Viking warrior found in Sweden was a woman, researchers confirm

If you’re a newcomer to Viking culture, and you would like a more well-rounded idea of who they were (not brutal robbers with horns on their helmets), Andersson suggests that it may even be a good idea to pick up some books. His catalog, “We Call Them Vikings”, would be a great place to start – which you can find at any of the museum's Viking exhibitions traveling the world, or inside the museum itself.

For more information on the museum, click here.

Viking for a day at the Swedish History Museum. Photo: Jens Mohr

Aifur Krog and Bar

Stomp your feet, clap your hands, and bang your mug of mead against the table as you listen to live music by Aifur's very own “electronic bard”. Filling the hall with Nordic, Celtic, and folk rhythms and tunes from the Middle Ages, Aifur aims to give you an experience like Scandinavian ancestors might have had as you eat prawn soup, deer steak, boiled mussels in cream, and lamb rack lubricated in honey and garlic.

Aifur Krog & Bar is named after the Viking ship, Aifur, which hangs from the ceiling as you eat and drink in the spacious hall. Fifteen years of research have been put into making the hall’s atmosphere as close to the Viking’s as possible through the use of modern archaeological findings.

So sit back and soak in an atmosphere of hearty laughs, great beer, and “Middle Ages” staff. You may even be given a shield, axe, and helmet to make the experience surely a night to remember (if you don’t already have some of your own).

Check out their menu and event listings here.


Commonly known as Sweden’s first city, Birka is a Viking village built in the mid-late 700's at Björö on lake Mälaren, presumably to control trade in the Scandinavian region. It is also one of the fifteen sites in Sweden on UNESCO’s World Heritage List.

This historical Viking settlement of, at its best, one thousand inhabitants, flourished for about two centuries until its inhabitants began to head off to Sigtuna and other settlements for mostly unknown circumstances.

On the island, there are Viking houses and a town, built just as it looked when the city flourished. There are even craftsmen that you can visit on certain dates during the summer inside the town who use the same techniques and tools that people did back then.

READ ALSO: Why these Viking burial clothes had inscriptions to Allah and Ali

There’s always something to do in Birka, whether it’s a lecture, a live musical performance, a fire show, or an archaeological excavation. Also, don’t forget to try out Café Eldrimner and Särimner Restaurant while you’re there. They will be sure to fill you with beer and mead if you give them the chance!

Birka. Photo: Ola Ericson/


Vikingaliv is dedicated solely to teaching people about Vikings. If you are dedicated to learning all you can about the era, it is dedicated to revealing the true story of the people, culture, and life of the time period.

Completed with a restaurant, shop, and multiple exhibitions, the museum surrounds you with Viking culture. Based on historical findings, the museum has even put together a journey called Ragnfrids Saga, where the participants begin following a 10th-century family from their farm to witnessing looting in the West and trade in the East.

IN PICTURES: Inside Stockholm's new Viking Museum

Be sure to pay a visit – and not just because you want to see their amazing recreations of real men and women from the Viking era!

Vikingaliv in Stockholm. Photo: Henrik Montgomery/TT

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INTERVIEW: ‘Returning to Stockholm from Mumbai is so horrible’

For foreign correspondent Malin Mendel, moving to India in 2005 was "like coming home". The Local spoke to her about the cultural differences living in India as a Swede and her TV programme with Swedish-Indian comedian David Batra.

INTERVIEW: 'Returning to Stockholm from Mumbai is so horrible'

“I spent some time living in Lahore in Pakistan with my family when I was a small girl. So, that was mainly the reason why I became a foreign correspondent, I wanted to return to that part of the world,” Mendel explains, with her English noticeably influenced by almost two decades living in India.

“Even if India and Pakistan are different countries, so much is similar, like the food and the colours and what people look like.”

Another draw for Mendel was the food – growing up in Sweden in the 70s and 80s, staple ingredients in Indian food like basmati rice and fresh coriander weren’t readily available.

“My main goal was to just go back and eat,” she laughs.

The first time she landed in Mumbai with her husband and her young son was “like a dream”.

“I immediately just recognised that particular smell and the warm, humid climate, the people and the sounds and everything was very familiar to me.”

She has noticed, however, that friends visiting from Sweden often need some time to adapt to the radically different culture.

“If they haven’t been in similar countries, they’re in a complete shock, at least for a week,” she says. “I’m brought up in Sweden so I understand where they come from.”

‘As a Swedish person, India has taught me so much’

India and Sweden couldn’t be greater opposites, Mendel says, adding that India has given her new perspectives on social life and the attitude to religion which she didn’t have living in Sweden.

“It’s a luxurious situation for me to have one foot in both of these different worlds, because I learned so much from India, and I think many people in Sweden can learn a lot from India,” she adds.

Indians in Sweden often appreciate things which Swedes take for granted, Mendel believes.

“There aren’t so many people, it’s very clean everywhere, you can breathe the air, you can swim in the water, you can buy everything in Ica. Life is quite convenient, compared to many places in India.”

‘Have patience with Swedish people’

However, there are downsides to living in Sweden for those who are more used to a more social, faster pace of life.

“Many of the people I know from India who stay in Sweden feel lonely. They are isolated and not used to this ‘one-by-one’ society.”

This can be a big culture shock for Indians arriving in Sweden, Mendel says.

“Usually whoever I meet in my work, if I interview people, they just invite me to their house immediately. ‘Just come over for food, come over for dinner’. If you’re used to that and you end up in Sweden, that can be a shock, because people in Sweden don’t do that.”

Her advice to Indians arriving in Sweden is to “have patience with Swedish people”.

“Don’t expect them to invite you over like you’re used to. Maybe you have to invite them first. And even if you do, maybe they won’t invite you back,” she laughs.

“They hardly invite their friends or family,” Mendel adds, saying that this ‘closed-door’ mentality often makes her feel “ashamed of Sweden”.

‘Where is everybody?’

For Mendel, she often experiences a kind of reverse culture shock returning to Stockholm from her home in Mumbai.

“It’s horrible, I’m so depressed when I return, because it’s like coming from a normal world where people are looking into your eyes and they will greet you and say ‘hello, how are you?’ and things like that.”

“Everybody is quiet. My neighbours will not even say hi, they will kind of run away like Swedish people.”

Mendel’s family and friends live in Sweden, so she still has a social life here, but she explains that she is often struck by the difference between the two countries when she takes a taxi from Arlanda airport to Stockholm city centre.

“It’s like ‘wow, what happened? Where is everybody? Has there been some kind of nuclear disaster?'”

‘The response is overwhelming’

Since 2018, Mendel has had a TV programme with Indian-Swedish comedian David Batra, Världens sämsta indier (which literally translates to ‘The World’s Worst Indian’, although the English title is ‘Homecoming’). In the first series, Batra travelled to India, enlisting the help of Mendel to better understand the country and his Indian heritage.

In the second series, Batra tried to break through as a successful comedian in India, again with Mendel’s help, and in the third series, broadcast in March and April 2023, Batra and Mendel try opening a restaurant together to see if that will make Batra a “real Indian”.

All three series investigate some of the cultural differences between Sweden and India in a tongue-in-cheek way, while aiming to teach Swedes more about India and Indian culture.

“The response from Swedes is just overwhelming,” she says, “even if they weren’t interested in India before, they are now interested in India, and learned more than they would from news coverage, because this is different. So I’m happy about that.”

Their programme has been heavily advertised on public broadcaster SVT and is one of the main programmes Swedes were watching this month, Mendel says.

Although Mendel and Batra often joke in the programme, which Mendel describes as “infotainment”, she explains that it makes fun of the differences between Sweden and India through Batra and is not seeking to ridicule India or Indians themselves.

In the most recent series, Mendel and Batra also show the modern side of India, visiting wine producers, discussing how to appeal to the growing Indian middle class who have an increasing interest in eating out in restaurants, and sourcing ingredients for their restaurant from young female entrepreneurs.

They also highlight the diversity of India, discussing how to ensure that their menu fits the dietary requirements of the locals in Saligao, northern Goa, where the restaurant is located, who eat a lot of fish, as well as Hindus – many of whom avoid beef, while others avoid all meat, fish and eggs – and the Jains, who don’t eat meat, fish, animal products or items grown underground like onions, garlic and potatoes.

“I know that many in the Indian community recognise many things, but some of them also maybe feel like ‘why are you showcasing poor people or dead rats? Why are you joking about so many things?’,” Mendel says.

“The reason we do not focus on ultra modern office environments is because we all in Sweden know what that is like. So even if there are such environments in India as well, it will not be interesting, it will not be a clash for David coming from Sweden experiencing this.”

“When we sometimes deal with different stereotypes of India, we usually try to break these stereotypes or at least nuance them.”

‘They get suspicious when they hear my accent’

Batra, born in Lund to a Punjabi father and Swedish mother, is a household name in Sweden, while most Indians living in India have never heard of him, which led to some entertaining situations while filming.

“The very second they start to talk with us, they notice that my accent is a little bit Indian, and he has more of an American accent,” she says. “They get suspicious.”

Often, they would be filming in a group of four consisting of Batra as well as Mendel, their camerawoman and their producer. 

“So when we three blonde ladies come along, and he’s with us – usually carrying the tripod – they think he’s the carrier, the Indian wallah who is working with us,” she explains.

“Sometimes they’re like ‘oh, you can wait outside’. He’s a really big star in Sweden, so it’s really funny to see this reaction when nobody cares.”

You can watch all seasons of Världens sämsta indier/Homecoming on SVT Play here.