Vikings filming locations: Ireland, France, Norway and Iceland

The historical drama series Vikings is from the History Channel and it was a joint Canadian Irish production filmed in Ireland.  A worldwide cult hit it has fueled a huge interest both in visiting Ireland to see ancient Viking sites to millennial favourites such as learning about the Viking age, Viking beards, tattoos and drinking horns. The latest series Vikings Valhalla is a Netflix series now on TV. All the usual places in Ireland just south of Dublin are used for filming the Vikings and Vikings Valhalla.

Vikings filming locations: Ireland, France, Norway and Iceland

Vikings Valhalla season is a sequel series to Vikings it will take viewers to the time of Leif Erikson, Freydis, Harald Harada and the Norman King William the Conqueror. The new series is set 100 years after the end of the History drama.

William the Conqueror statue in Falaise France
Statue of William the Conqueror and Rollo the Viking who became the Duke of Normandy

We visited every Vikings filming site in Ireland, that could be accessed and they are all just a short drive south of Dublin. The filming locations are set in some of Ireland’s most beautiful countryside in the Wicklow Mountains National Park – so grab your hiking boots and take a journey in Ragnar’s, Bjorn’s and Lagetha’s footsteps.

Vikings filming locations: Ireland, France, Norway and Iceland

All the Vikings filming locations

Ireland’s Ancient East is featured heavily in the Vikings TV show and you can easily visit them all on a day trip out of Dublin. You can even like the Vikings Extras Facebook page and maybe you too can join in the Viking action and battle scenes.

Here’s a little bit of Dublin craic for you – Dublin Dont’s

 Valhalla debuted on Netflix, bringing the stories of some of the most famous Vikings to the screen. While the series is a follow-up to the History Channel hit Vikings, this is a brand new show perfectly suited for those Viking-obsessed.

Powerscourt House with gardens, County Wicklow, Ireland
Powerscourt Estate

As a true Vikings Fan, you will need to ensure you have all of the History Channels Vikings on collector Blueray, check out Amazon here for the selection.

The initial seasons of Vikings were primarily filmed in Ireland, with the production team choosing some scenes to be shot in other countries such as Norway, Morocco, and Iceland as the show gained popularity. Despite the assumption that the filming took place in Scandinavia, Ireland served as the base for the Norse characters and their various relationships and conquests. 

Much of the Vikings saga has been filmed in Ireland and here are some of the areas and associated scenes that you can visit yourself when you tour Ireland.

Vikings filming locations: Ireland, France, Norway and Iceland

If you are planning to visit Ireland then you want the pick of the best places to stay, from hostels to fancy castle hotels booking.com has your back when it comes to accommodations. There’s not a great selection around Luggala as it is privately held land but as you move a little further out from the area near to the water you will find lots of great places to stay.
Booking.com

TV series Vikings Valhalla – Faqs

Do you need to have watched the original Vikings series to understand Vikings: ValhallaNot at all apparently Vikings: Valhalla is a new series, not a sequel. This show takes place 100 years in the future. This particular series characters do not include Ragnar Lothbrok but his heirs. 

When and where does Valhalla take place? In the early 11th century Vikings had settled in an area of England near London called the Danelaw. The Danelaw. The St. Brice’s Day massacre was a real event, and it happened on November 13, 1002. King Æthelred the Unready ordered the deaths of all Danes Vikings living in England. Æthelred was told that the Danes in England would “faithlessly take his life”, all his councillors, and “possess his kingdom afterwards”, so he went to extremes to try to prevent that.

Where was the Danelaw? The Danelaw (the is translated from the Old English word Dena Lagu or the Danish Danelagen) is an 11th-century name for an area of Northern and Eastern England that was under the control of the Danish Viking empire (or Danes, or Norsemen) from the late 9th century until the early 11th century.

Who are the main characters? They are Leif Eriksson (Sam Corlett), the most famous Viking explorer in history; his strong-willed sister, Freydís Eiríksdóttir (Frida Gustavsson), who has her own mythology and backstory; and Harald Sigurdsson (Leo Suter), the ambitious prince of Norway. 

Is the story of Vikings Valhalla historically accurate? To a degree some of the characters are real but their actual reality is from different Viking eras. Kattegat ruler Jarl Estrid Haakon (Caroline Henderson), are invented for the series. (Though that character’s husband, Haakon Sigurdsson, is a real person.) Canute is a historical figure, both Leif Eriksson and Freyds Eriksdottir are historically accurate.

Where does Rollo from the original series fit in the new Vikings? Rollo was a real Viking who went on to become the first ruler of Normandy, and through his marriage to Poppa of Bayeux, he had a son, William I Longsword and his grandson had two children Richard II and Emma who is very important to the Viking Valhalla story.

What is Valhalla in Vikings? Valhalla, Old Norse Valhöll, in Norse mythology, the hall of slain warriors, who live there blissfully under the leadership of the god Odin. Valhalla is depicted as a splendid palace, roofed with shields, where the warriors feast on the flesh of a boar slaughtered daily and made whole again each evening.

Where are the Vikings filming locations

Vikings filming locations Iceland

The primary filming locations of the show were in Ireland although some scenes were filmed in Norway and France. Both Vikings the HBO series and Vikings Valhalla were dominantly filmed in Ireland in the Wicklow Mountains and Guinness Estate other locations include the stunning vistas of Iceland, the wilds of Sault Ste Marie in Canada, various locations in the UK, Iceland, and France and of course the studios.

Many of the filming sites in Iceland are readily reachable for tourists, with notable locations such as the renowned Skógafoss Waterfall in South Iceland, which served as a backdrop for popular TV series like Vikings and the Marvel film Thor.

Vikings filming locations: Ireland, France, Norway and Iceland

Iceland – Skógafoss

I had to add this Icelandic waterfall because a lot of folks assumed it was in Ireland. Skógafoss is a 200-foot drop waterfall that is called the Rainbow Waterfall and it is one of the best Iceland waterfalls. Alongside other impressive places on the island such as Reynisdrangar, the black beach at Vík, Skógafoss is one of the most recognisable locations in the series. Just like with the tourists who visit it, Skógafoss leaves Floki, one of the most charismatic characters in Vikings, completely speechless.

13 Best waterfalls in Iceland

Iceland wildlife - the gorgeous waterfalls flowing over green cliffs in Iceland

Nestled on the Stokksnes peninsula in southeastern Iceland, Vestrahorn Mountain stands prominently, creating a striking backdrop for numerous scenes depicting Floki’s expedition.

Viking Village near Vestrahorn mountain at Stokksnes headland coast in East Iceland

In the series, Reynisfjara Black Sand Beach takes center stage with its distinctive basalt columns and powerful waves. This unique Icelandic location adds to the show’s allure.

South Iceland - Dyrholaey coast

Thingvellir National Park, is a recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage site, that holds geological importance situated within a rift valley between the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates. The park’s remarkable terrain, featuring expansive lava fields and dramatic fissures, played a part in the series depicting Floki’s travels.

Beautiful and dramatic Oxarafoss waterfalls in Iceland

Norway Vikings filming locations

 The show also used natural settings in Norway, with a majority of the filming taking place in Maurangerfjorden and Maurangsnes.

Vikings filming locations: Ireland, France, Norway and Iceland

Vikings filming location France

However, Aella’s castle was an authentic structure known as Fort-la-Latte located in the north-east region of Brittany, France. 

Vikings filming locations: Ireland, France, Norway and Iceland

Vikings filming locations Canada

a few scenes from the fourth season were filmed in Canada, in a forest in Northeastern Ontario (not far from Sault Ste. Marie Airport). Searchmont is a small community nestled into the Goulais River Valley about an hour northeast of Sault Ste. Marie and Prince is a township located within the Algoma District northwest of Sault Ste. Marie. Most of the scenes filmed here were when Floki and his Vikings landed in Canada and met the Indigenous people in the forests.

Vikings filming locations: Ireland, France, Norway and Iceland

Vikings film locations in Ireland

River Boyne (County Meath) – sailing the Seine

What you are actually seeing when you watch the Vikings sail down the Seine River to take Paris is the Boyne River in County Meath Ireland. The Boyne is where the famous Battle of the Boyne took place and it runs through some of the most beautiful countryside in Ireland’s Ancient East. The Vikings TV filming crew uses the Boyne river to sail the Viking Longships on and takes out the background replacing it with a CGI-created ancient Paris.

An image of a landscape scenery at bru na boinne the Boyne River valley

The filming of the Vikings rowing to Paris was done near Slane Castle which you may have heard of as it is the host for the many famous concerts including U2, Madonna and the Stones.

Vikings filming locations: Ireland, France, Norway and Iceland

Scenes of the forest where Leif and Freydis stay outside Kattegat were filmed in the Wicklow mountains.

Seasons 3 and 4 of the original Vikings series saw some of the filming locations moved to Canada, which became home to the scenes focusing on Bjorn Ironside (Alexander Ludwig) and his journey to find new lands.

In the fourth season, scenes were filmed in Canada, in a forest in Northeastern Ontario (not far from Sault Ste. Marie Airport). These are the scenes that involved Loki and the indigenous people of Canada.

Vikings filming locations: Ireland, France, Norway and Iceland

Vikings season 5 and 6 introduced other new filming locations in Iceland and Morocco. Floki’s (Gustaf Skarsgard) journey to Iceland with its black sand beaches and relentless mountain scenery. Bjorn visited Morrocco and Sicily on his trip around the Mediterranean.

Blessington Lakes – Wicklow County – Longships

Apart from the Wicklow Mountains, some scenes were also shot at the Ashford Studios in County Wicklow. A few scenes were filmed in Dublin. Some more filming locations of the show included the Poulaphouca Reservoir, a reservoir and wild bird conservation area in County Wicklow. 

Vikings filming locations: Ireland, France, Norway and Iceland

Many of the longship scenes where you see Ragnar and the Vikings from Kattegat setting forth to discover new lands are filmed on the Blessington Lakes. Set in Ireland’s Wicklow County the Wicklow Mountains and the Lakes cover 500 acres of land and were formed over 50 years ago with the building of the Poulaphouca Dam. This is the largest man-made lake in Ireland and it has some incredible views of the Wicklow Mountains.

Lough Tay – Wicklow – the Viking settlement of Kattegat

Where is Kattegat?

Kattegat location the location for Kattegat was set on Lough Tay which belongs to the rugged landscape that was owned by the Guinness family. Lough Tay (pronounced here as lock) is known to locals as the Guinness Lake because of course it is owned by the Guinness Family and is situated on the Guinness Estate at Luggala. You may recognize it as the home of Kattegat which is Ragnar and his family’s home base.

Vikings filming locations: Ireland, France, Norway and Iceland

The Guinness Lake parking is on Military Road as the lake (or rather Lough)  itself is on private land and you can’t get closer than a view from Military Road but that view has become an iconic Irish photo in its own right – apparently, if you look closely enough the outline of the Loch resembles a pint of Guinness.

Powerscourt Waterfall – County Wicklow – Aslaug

Powerscourt is an absolutely glorious estate with gardens covering over 47 acres in total. Waterfalls, Japanese Gardens, statuary, formal gardens and so much more can be seen at Powerscourt House. The Powerscourt waterfall is in the scene where Ragnar Lothbrok was first introduced to Aslaug.

Vikings filming locations: Ireland, France, Norway and Iceland

Luggala Estate – County Wicklow – battles and Kattagut

This is the estate that belongs to the Guinness Family and one of its outstanding features is, of course, Loch Tay. The grand estate is comprised of over 25 km2 (9.7 sq mi) and was up for sale for €28 million Euros.

the Guinness lodge is for sale if you want to buy a property and retire to Ireland

Luggala has reportedly been sold for about $22 million. The Irish Times reports that the estate was sold earlier this year to an overseas buyer for what is believed to be significantly less than its €28 million ($30 million) price tag.

Vikings filming locations: Ireland, France, Norway and Iceland

The Luggala Mountain itself is called Fancy Mountain which comes from the Irish Gaelic Fuinnse which means ash tree. The Estate and the mountain have been home to Ragnar and the crew filming many outdoor scenes from the TV show. However, it has also hosted films like Braveheart and Excalibur.

The Luggala Estate stands in for the Scandinavian location of Kattegat.

Nuns Beach – County Kerry – Viking’s Northumbria scenes

Most of the filming of Vikings takes place in Ireland’s Ancient East but for the Northumbrian scenes, the crew moved to the Ring of Kerry which the film scenes reproduced medieval Northumbria. Nuns Beach is probably one of the most spectacular beaches on the Wild Atlantic Way.

The beach itself is a horse-shoe-shaped cover and it lies just beneath an old convent obviously, this is how it got its name as the nuns used to bathe here. The beach itself is only accessible by boat or if you have the stomach for it you can go down the side of the cliff-hanging onto the fixed rope handrail. Nuns Beach in County Kerry was used to film scenes set in medieval Northumbria.

Vikings filming locations: Ireland, France, Norway and Iceland

There is an old legend attached to an area just around the corner from Nuns Beach called the Nine Daughters. The legend states that the 9 daughters of the Village Chief fell in love with Viking invaders. They had planned to run away with the Vikings but their father caught them and threw them and the Vikings into the blowhole where they drowned.

Lough Dan – Wicklow – Viking Longship scenes

Lough Dan is the largest natural lake in Leinster a spectacular deep lake situated in a glaciated valley, it is one of the last reserves of Arctic Char Trout in the British Islands so it is well visited by anglers and fishermen attempting to catch some trout.

Vikings filming locations: Ireland, France, Norway and Iceland

A very popular lake for hikers and kayakers it lies very close to the Wicklow Way and is used for a variety of Viking TV shows locations and sets.

Ashford Studios in Ireland – County Wicklow

Finally, and not quite as exciting as the rest, is Ashford Studios. The Wicklow studio has become the base for Viking’s filming since 2013 and much of the CGI and green screen effects you see on the shows begin life here!

As you can see, much of Vikings is filmed in County Wicklow in the east of Ireland so if you want to discover more about Ireland’s Ancient East just click here.

Vikings filming locations: Ireland, France, Norway and Iceland

Yes, there is a Norse saga about Ragnar’s life, adventures, and progeny. However, these are not historical texts. Dr Shannon Godlove, assistant professor of English and the coordinator of Columbus State University’s Medieval and Renaissance Studies Certificate Program, says that these accounts were oral history and legends of the time that paralleled historic events. While the show may often stick close to the saga, the story itself is not fully accurate.

If you are planning a visit to Ireland and Dublin here are some other movies and TV shows to watch to get a feel for what you want to see. If you are a fan of shows like Ripper Street, Penny Dreadful.

We even purchased Viking Drinking Horns for our son’s Christmas present and they were very happy campers.

Vikings filming locations: Ireland, France, Norway and Iceland

Ireland’s Ancient East is featured heavily in the Vikings TV show and you can easily visit them all on a day trip out of Dublin. You can even like the Vikings Extras Facebook page and maybe you too can join in the Viking action and battle scenes.

Here’s a little bit of Dublin craic for you – Dublin Dont’s

Vikings filming locations: Ireland, France, Norway and Iceland
photo courtesy of the History Channel

Valhalla debuted on Netflix, bringing the stories of some of the most famous Vikings to the screen. While the series is a follow-up to the History Channel hit Vikings, this is a brand new show perfectly suited for those Viking-obsessed.

As a true Vikings Fan, you will need to ensure you have all of the History Channels Vikings on collector Blueray, check out Amazon here for the selection

Vikings filming locations: Ireland, France, Norway and Iceland

If you are planning to visit Ireland then you want the pick of the best places to stay, from hostels to fancy castle hotels booking.com has your back when it comes to accommodations. There’s not a great selection around Luggala as it is privately held land but as you move a little further out from the area near to the water you will find lots of great places to stay.
Booking.com

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Author

  • Faith was born in Ireland raised in Canada and has lived in over 10 countries in Europe including England, Ireland, Scotland, France, Spain, Northern Ireland, Wales, along with Mexico, Antigua, the US and has slow travelled to over 40 countries around the world. Graduating with a degree in Anthropology and Women's Studies Faith is a student of history, culture, community and food and has written about these topics for over 40 years.

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