How Did the Vikings Travel?

The Vikings were from Scandinavia, an area that included islands, peninsulas and ocean-bordering lands, so their primary means of transportation was by using their boats and ships. At the beginning of the Viking Age, says they were "the best shipbuilders and sailors in the world," eventually sailing to Greenland and North America.

According to, the Viking shipbuilders used riveted wood construction to build their 70-foot longships. Each ship required 11 trees, at least 3 feet in diameter and another tall tree that formed the keel. They planned each ship so it could sail in a forward or reverse direction, with both the bow and stern shaped the same.

The crossbeams of the internal framework of the ship served as seats for the 30 oarsmen that helped to power the ship. When under attack, round discs moved over the oar holes to provide additional protection.

The Vikings ravaged the European coastal areas from the ninth to 11th centuries. The Vikings left Scandinavia due to overcrowding, internal dissension and a quest for adventure. The era came to an end as Scandinavians adopted Christianity, the three more powerful nations of Norway, Sweden and Denmark emerged, and other European countries became better prepared to defend themselves.