These sights seem sufficiently similar that we should probably only visit one of them. We are planning to be in both of these areas of Denmark so either fits well into our draft plan. We could spend 1/2 a day or a bit more. The primary attraction for me is seeing a reproduction viking settlement. It seems like both sights have faithful reproductions of viking-era buildings and costumed interpreters. The VikingeCenter seems to cover just the Viking age, while Land Of Legends has stone age, iron age and Viking age areas. Land Of Legends sounds like an all-day romp where perhaps VikingeCenter could be visited in detail in an afternoon(?) Since we're two adults we probably won't participate heavily in experiential activities at either sight. We both love prehistory and history of any era; the Viking era is probably of biggest interest on this trip. Any thoughts, particularly if you've visited one or both of them?
What are your other plans for the trip? Roskilde is a lot closer to Copenhagen so if you are just looking for a daytrip from Copenhagen I'd suggest Roskilde.
Your complete itinerary would be helpful. Oslo or Stockholm? They both have villages like this. We preferred the one in Oslo.
Good questions. I appreciate your replies. Our plans aren't solid yet. In Denmark spend time in the Copenhagen, Roskilde, Ribe and Aarhus areas. Near Ribe also see the Tirpitz museum. in Aarhus see Den Gamle By and Moesgaard Museum. In Sweden we're visiting the Bohuslan (nature break), Kalmar, Gotland and Stockholm areas, perhaps daytrip to Uppsala. In 2 1/2 weeks. We tend to keep moving on vacation; although conversely we're the people that read all the information posted next to museum displays! We're not visiting Norway on this trip. We debated Norway vs. Denmark for weeks and decided to save Norway for another time. We like to see more of a country than just the largest cities. Although we enjoy hiking and nature we've gotten happily caught up in the history of these countries.
I think I have a feel for what a visit to Ribe VikingCenter would be like, but not so much for Lejre. I can't find an English map of Lejre Land of Legends. Lejre's website seems less specific about what a visit would be like. It seems like kids in particular enjoy the hands-on nature of Lejre immensely but we'll just be two adults and I'm thinking we won't be participating in many of the interactive aspects. For example, probably wouldn't paddle a dugout canoe. So I'm wondering about the size and accuracy of the historic areas, and quality of costumed interpretations in comparison with VikingeCenter. I've read a few books about prehistory in Denmark and Sweden, so the additional areas stone and iron age areas at Lejre are interesting to me if done well.
I am sorry I can't answer your question.
But I wanted to suggest that if you are interested in medieval towns, stop in Ystad on the way from Kalmar to Copenhagen. If you are interested in Nordic Noir, it is a don't miss.
I don't really know much about Ribe Vikingecenter, but I have been to Sagnlandet Lejre many times - most of them as a child. Sagnlandet Lejre a land of milk and honey for children, and their hands-on approach is probably more enjoyable for the average child compared to the average adult. However, I do feel like telling you that the dugout canoes do fit an adult - whether you'd actually want to paddle in one is a different question ;-)
Sagnlandet Lejre is still an interesting place for grown ups though. Note that their sole focus isn't on the Viking Age.
Here's a map of Sagnlandet Lejre with English text: https://sagnlandet.dk/wp-content/uploads/2020/08/kort-over-sagnlandet2020.pdf
If you're driving from Zealand and Jutland, you could consider a quick stop at Trelleborg (the viking ring fortress, not the Swedish town) https://en.natmus.dk/museums-and-palaces/trelleborg/
Thank you for the update! In that case both will probably be easy to reach. I haven't visited them though so I can't give you any opinion on which would be the best for you.
In Sweden we're visiting the Bohuslan (nature break), Kalmar, Gotland
and Stockholm areas, perhaps daytrip to Uppsala.
If the Viking era is the biggest interest on this trip, you can not skip Uppsala and especially Gamla Uppsala (Old Uppsala) on the northern outskirts. An important religious and political centre during the Viking era that you can't miss. Uppsala and the surrounding countryside is also littered with rune stones.
But I wanted to suggest that if you are interested in medieval towns,
stop in Ystad on the way from Kalmar to Copenhagen.
I agree about Ystad, and for a bit of history/prehistory you should not miss Ale's stones just outside Ystad, even if they predate the Vikings by a couple of centuries.
And since you mention Kalmar, I have to mention Eketorp's fortress, a reconstructed iron age fortress on Öland.
Thank you so much for all the great suggestions! You guys are fantastic. The English map of Lejre really provides perspective. Trelleborg looks like a fun stop along the way, will definitely consider that. Also very helpful to get a confirmation about visiting Uppsala. I'll definitively look into Ystad and Oland further.
Several times I've considered whether we should limit the trip to one country, because there is so much to see. One-country-at-a-time is our usual mode. I'm feeling a little guilty about being so greedy at the possible expense of not getting to know each country as well. In this case the Viking and Middle Ages are a unifying theme pulling us across two countries, however, and it's exciting to think about that as framework for a trip.
You should not feel guilty about trying to see several countries in one trip, I'm not at all offended by it (why should I be?) and in the end it is up to you plan a trip that you will enjoy. And let's face it, Denmark and Sweden are culturally very close to each other with a lot of common history so it is more like visiting 1,5 countries and not two :)
A bit of additional recommendations, if you are interested in the Middle ages as well you really should visit the Cathedral Museum in Uppsala. Known as The Treasury is houses a collection of old clothes and regalia, including what is claimed to be the only preserved medieval festive dress in the world. Also, Gotland and Visby is a must for the Middle ages.
Regarding Rune stones, they are very common in and around Uppsala and you will see several of them, some more interesting than other. But if you are interested in rune stones there are a couple outside Uppland that you should also consider visiting ifin my opinion, Rökstenen in Östergötland (Sweden) and the Jelling stones on Jutland (Denmark).
And since you mentioned Bohuslän, are you aware of the rock carvings in Tanum?
Thank you for all the the great ideas. I love fitting in additional 'along the way' things, especially when we're road tripping. Seeing rune stones is a must. We're considering renting a car for a day on Gotland and seeing ship circles and runestones there. Re: the Tanum carvings, I thought they were too far north for our itinerary but perhaps we can fit them in. They actually pair beautifully with the kind of outdoor activities we like to do on the 'vacation from your vacation' part of the trip, which may be in Bohuslan. Will give this serious thought. It would be a thrill to see them.
There are note that many rune stones on Gotland and of those that exist, only a few are Viking age, most are medieval. The Uppsala-Sigtuna area is the best area to see rune stones. If I'm not mistaken Uppsala has around a third of all rune stones in the world and there are around 50 just in Uppsala. But renting a car for a day on Gotland is a great idea, it is (in my opinion) a very beautiful island. And even if rune stones are not that common on Gotland, picture stones are.
And there are a couple of Stone ships worth a stop. While Ale's stones outside Ystad is the largest in Sweden, Tjelvar's grave south of Slite is interesting. It is pretty well preserved, and is said to be th final resting place of Tjelvar, the "founder" of Gotland. According to the legend, Gotland is a mysterious island full of magic. It used to only be above the water during the day and then sink back into the sea during the night. But Tjelvar was the first person who brought fire to the island and that stopped the rising and sinking, allowing humans to settle there. Don't miss the Gotland museum in Visby, you can probably learn more about the legend there.
Re: the Tanum carvings, I thought they were too far north for our
itinerary but perhaps we can fit them in. They actually pair
beautifully with the kind of outdoor activities we like to do on the
'vacation from your vacation' part of the trip, which may be in
Bohuslan. Will give this serious thought. It would be a thrill to see
It sort of depends on your itinerary, but if you plan a stop in Bohuslän they are probably not that far off.
That's an interesting legend concerning Gotland. I'll have to read the Tjelvar legend; if we've in Visby we will certainly make plans to visit the museum. It's amazing to me that parts of Scandinavia are still rebounding from being under glaciers, with some areas at a fast rate geologically. Perhaps the legends about Gotland disappearing under the water are based on some earlier memory of prehistory. : ) According to this: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geology_of_Gotland , most of Gotland was submerged as late as 8,700 years ago.
I didn't notice the differences in time period between rune stones and picture stones (thank you!). I'll try to work that distinction into our plans so we'll see good examples of each. I was just reading the monuments at Jelling are open all the time so even if the museum and church opening hours somehow don't fit into our schedule we should be able to stop and see the stones and mounds if on the way from Ribe/Esbjerg to Aarhus.
There are quite a lot of interesting old Scandinavian legends, but for the tales about Gotland, Gutasagan is a good place to start: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gutasaga (And my memory wasn't as good as I thought, it seems like Gotland was only above the water during the night and submerged during daytime.)
The glacial rebound has had some interesting effects, such as towns being built on the shore now being a few km inland. And I wouldn't be surprised if that is the reason for the legends about Gotland being submerged during daytime.
We visited Roskilde a few years ago and were pleased. Haven't been to Ribe.