During my week in Copenhagen, I had a little time left on my 24 hour train pass from the trip to Frederiksborg Castle the day before so I decided to hop on the train from Copenhagen Central Station for the 25 minute ride out to Roskilde. When I arrived I stopped in at the Tourist center for a map of the city then walked around the outside of the Roskilde Cathedral. I opted to tour the inside later since there was a service going on, be sure to check the schedule posted by the door!
After a bit of a hike I made it to the Viking museum. Situated on the waters edge, the Viking Museum houses 5 original Viking ships excavated in 1962 from the Roskilde Fjords. The ships had been decommissioned by the Vikings, filled with rocks and sunk in the water to block the easiest route to the city. Only someone familiar with Roskilde’s waterways would be able to find their way to the city. The ships are all different types ranging from the second longest Viking warship ever discovered to a small simple fishing vessel. The exact history of these ships is difficult to know for certain since not many Vikings were literate. There are tours throughout the day covering the history of the salvaged Viking ships so ask at the ticket kiosk or note the signs around the museum!
The Viking Museum also has an outdoor areas where workers work in the open and in small workshops to create replicas of the salvaged ships. The process to recreate the ships is as similar as possible to how they were originally built by the Vikings. the wood used in the boat is carefully chosen from branches that are similar in shape to that part of the ship and Viking tools such as axes are the only ones used on the recreations. During the summer months you can ride out into the Fjords on the recreations. While that is not an option in the winter, I was able to climb around on the warship replica.
The Viking Museum has a cafe for a lunch break and picnic tables outside to enjoy the (hopefully) nice weather. After refueling I walked along the docks enjoying the gorgeous views across the water and looking at other small viking boat replicas moored along the docks.
Retracing my steps, I headed back to the Roskilde Cathedral, a UNESCO World Heritage site. The entrance fee is usually 60 DKK (~10USD or 40DKK, ~6.50USD, for students) but I accidentally got there 30 minutes before the cathedral closed so they let me in for free! Thirty minutes is definitely not enough time to explore the massive cathedral but I did my best. For over 1000 years a church has stood at that location. The cathedral also holds the world record for number of royals buried in a single church with 39 Danish kings and queens laid to rest there.
After a little time exploring the town square I hopped on the train back to Copenhagen’s city center. Only 25 minutes away, Roskilde was the perfect trip for day filled with history.
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