75 Best Viking Tattoo Ideas & Symbolism

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Are you a fan of Viking myths and legends? Perhaps you have Norse roots? Check out these stunning Viking tattoo ideas that you’re sure to love.

viking bear tattoo

Norse tattoos have long been popular with all kinds of people, and it’s easy to see why.

Viking tattoo ideas are dramatic, rebellious and symbolic all at the same time, making them a bold choice for men and women alike.

With so many different symbols and Norse images to choose from, there are Viking tattoos out there to suit everyone so it isn’t too surprising that so many people love Norse tattoo ideas.

viking dragon tattoo on arm

Viking mythology has always been popular, but with modern references in popular culture such as the TV series “Vikings” and characters like “Thor” in the Marvel movies, it’s no surprise that Viking tattoo designs, which have always been out there, have seen a huge recent resurgence.

If you’re looking for a dramatic tattoo that’s big and bold, a Norse design could be just what you’re looking for.

viking berserker tattoo

There are countless different options to pick from, from menacing warriors wielding swords to intricate woven patterns, so there’s certain to be something that fits the bill for you and that will really create an impact.

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Yet, if you’re going to get a tattoo that takes its inspiration from the world of Norse gods and goddesses, you should know more about the meaning, mythology, and history of the ancient designs.

viking compass tattoo

It’s fair to say that the Vikings’ reputation is pretty formidable. They were known for their ferocity in battle and may be linked with raping and pillaging when they sailed overseas to attack foreigners in their own countries.

Yet there was a lot more to the Viking culture. Yes, they were powerful warriors, but they were also trading experts and skilled boatmen too.

They could make beautiful and intricate metalwork and jewelry, and there is some evidence to suggest that they designed gorgeous tattoos as well.

viking dragon tattoo

Contemporary accounts suggest that the Vikings inked their bodies just like we do today, choosing symbols of people and trees that were just as detailed as their other artworks which combined elements of Germanic, Celtic and Romanesque designs that they saw and learned from during their many trading ventures.

Their designs were so popular that people all over the world bought their goods, spreading Viking designs all over the globe.

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viking head tattoo

Viking mythology is still well-known today thanks to many popular culture references in movies, video games and TV series.

We all know the names of some of the most famous gods including Odin, king of the gods and his sons, Thor – god of lightning and Loki, the trickster.

viking helmet tattoo

We’re also familiar with some of the places that are famous in Viking culture including Asgard, the home of the gods, and Valhalla, the Norse afterlife.

We also know some familiar symbols linked with Viking life including longboats, drinking horns and helmets.

All of these are commonly represented in tattoo form on the bodies of those who feel an affinity with this powerful culture.

viking raven tattoo

Some Top Viking Tattoo Ideas

There are plenty of great ideas for Viking inspired tattoos that are sure to impress with their bold statements.

Some of the most commonly asked-for Viking tattoos include characters from Norse legends and symbols associated with Viking life.

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viking runes tattoo

Viking Ship Tattoo

A common choice of Norse-inspired tattoo is the classic Viking longship. Without longships, the Vikings would never have been able to travel as widely as they did or achieve the success as a civilization that they were able to accomplish.

Longships were revolutionary in their day and had a highly distinctive design that works well in tattoo form.

Longships were also meaningful in another way. A dead warrior would be sent off to his funeral in a burning boat, and this just adds another symbolic layer to this tattoo design.

Of course, a longship could represent the desire to travel, or the urge for adventure when depicted on the body.

viking ship tattoo

Viking Compass Tattoo

Similar to a Viking ship, a Viking compass depicted on the body also emphasizes a drive for travel and for adventure.

The Viking race was famous for their exploration of the seas, and so this may be a perfect tattoo for someone in the navy or involved with the sea in some other way.

It could also be a great choice for someone who is a keen adventurer or traveler.

viking compass tattoo on arm

Viking Wolf Tattoo

Wolves have a key role to play in Viking mythology. Odin was always accompanied by his three wolf familiars – Freki, Geri and Fenrir.

These wolves were his protectors and companions and possessed amazing strength.

A Viking tattoo reflecting these creatures represents the need for strength and protection in the wearer’s own life.

viking wolf tattoo

Viking Head Tattoo

You could always go old-school and show your affinity with the Vikings and Norse culture by getting a tattoo of a Viking head on your body.

Perhaps with a stylized design or perhaps in full color as part of a dramatic statement tattoo, there will be no denying your love for all-things Norse.

viking head tattoo

Viking Helmet Tattoo

A Viking helmet tattoo is an undeniable representation of strength and power, reflecting the very essence of a warrior.

This is a bold statement tattoo that works well as part of a larger back piece incorporating other Norse imagery or symbols.

viking helmet tattoo on arm

Viking Raven Tattoo

Ravens are synonymous with dark and majestic qualities, and of course, they are known to be extremely intelligent birds. Because of their unique shape and size, it’s possible to place them on the body in your tattoo design in a number of ways.

While a small raven tattoo is possible, they’re often used to their best advantage when spread over the shoulders and chest where their head and wings can really create a dramatic impression.

Ravens are strongly linked with Norse mythology as Odin, the king of the gods was actually sometimes known as the raven god. He had two ravens of his own – Munnin and Huginn (meaning memory and thought).

They were his eyes and reported on the happenings in the world back to their master. In Viking artwork, they are sometimes seen perched on Odin’s shoulders.

viking raven tattoo on shoulder

Viking Dragon Tattoo

For those who are keen to create a truly symbolic tattoo that combines Norse mythology with the wider and deeper significance of dragons, there’s nothing better than a Viking dragon tattoo.

Viking mythology contained many tales of dragons and their artwork also showed many images of them. Even the Viking longship was sometimes called a dragon ship due to its dragon-headed prow and sleek design.

Unlike Celtic-style dragons, Norse dragons had a serpentine shape with a long, coiling body. Sometimes, they had wings, sometimes they breathed fire, sometimes they did both. They weren’t just monsters, they were also cosmic forces in their own right.

They were also said to have considerable treasures and, in tattoo representations may symbolize strength, danger, and opportunity gained through risk. They also embody destruction and chaos in conjunction with renewal and change.

viking dragon tattoo on arm

Viking Runes Tattoo

Viking runes were a form of writing during the Norse era and are a great way to express your own message on your body. You can spell out a name or other important word using runes, either as a standalone Viking tattoo or as part of a larger Norse-inspired piece.

Runes not only had their own phonetic sounds, but they also had their own unique meanings. They were only used in Norse culture to write important inscriptions, usually to commemorate important people’s lives. They were also magical, being engraved on shields, beads, and talismans.

viking runes tattoo on rib

Viking Shield Tattoo

Viking shields are a clear representation of protection and strength. They can be interpreted in tattoo form with runic inscriptions to add an even deeper layer of meaning to the design.

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The wearer will show through their body art that they are powerful, but also protected from the challenges that life throws at them.

viking shield tattoo

Viking Armor Tattoo

Viking armor is a dramatic and bold tattoo that will speak volumes about the strength of the wearer.

Indicating power and protection as well as a willingness to defend, it’s possible to create a truly impressive large-scale tattoo that incorporates Viking armor, possibly with other Viking symbols like runes or the oubouros (the serpent that swallows its own tail) to create a full Norse-inspired piece of body art.

viking armor tattoo on arm

Viking Berserker Tattoo

The Berserkers were a legendary type of Viking warrior who fought in a frenzied state.

The name “berserker” is derived from two Norse words meaning “bear skin”. Berserkers were believed to take on the Scandinavian bear’s essence during battle, adopting their strength, indestructibility, bravery and ferocity.

Rather than fighting together with other warriors, as other Vikings did, the Berserker went ahead, inspiring his comrades while terrifying his enemies.

He would attack the enemy line with a huge axe, disrupting its cohesion and exploiting any holes in its defense. According to legend, berserkers were also impervious to fire and iron.

viking berserker tattoo on arm

Viking Sword Tattoo

If you’d like an eye-catching and dramatic Viking-inspired tattoo, you need look no further than an image of a Viking sword.

These Viking tattoos work best as part of a large piece, perhaps down the arm from the shoulder to forearm, or down the leg from thigh to ankle.

Viking swords were intricately decorated and detailed, and you could add this into your tattoo design, perhaps using runes or other symbols such as the Helm of Awe or Vegvisir compass within the design.

A sword looks wonderful when tattooed in plain black outline or with added bright color for a vibrant result.

viking sword tattoo

Viking Tree Of Life Tattoo

The Viking tree of life was otherwise known as Yggdrasil. This spectacular and enormous mythical tree had a central role in Norse mythology, believed to connect together the nine worlds of Norse legend.

Said to be the universe’s center, the gods would assemble daily at the tree and its branches would extend upwards to the heavens while its roots went down deep into the heart of the Earth.

Creatures would also live in the tree including Heyergelmir, the dragon, an eagle and four stags named Durabror, Dyalinn, Dainn and Duneyrr. The tree of life has long been a popular tattoo amongst those who want to show their own connection to the universe.

viking tree of life tattoo

Viking Woman Tattoo

In Viking mythology, the Norns were women who ruled the destinies of both men and gods. This mystic and magical power ranked them among some of the most potent characters in Nordic lore since even the gods had to follow the fate that the Norns foretold.

Viking woman tattoos often represent these females, of which there were three primary Norns. Their names were Urd, Verdandi and Skuld meaning Past, Present and Future.

Like the Fates in other mythologies, they had a key role to play in legends and lived underneath Yggdrasil by the Well of Fate, weaving the web of fate.

A tattoo of a Viking woman, or Norn, could hold a range of deeper meanings – perhaps a connection from the past to the present and future, or perhaps to show the importance of destiny in the wearer’s life.

viking woman tattoo

Viking Bear Tattoo

The Vikings knew many ferocious and powerful animals, but the bear was one of the strongest and most vicious. Even brave warriors would back away from bears they found in the wild since they are deadly, fast and massive, with a hide that resists most weapons.

It’s no wonder that the Vikings were fascinated by bears and were keen to emulate them in combat. Some Viking kings even had pet bears, with one story about Lagertha, the great shield maiden, who turned her pet bear loose on warrior Ragnar Lothbrok when he arrived to court her.

The Vikings from Greenland exported polar bears and their fur to Medieval European courts, so it’s a strong symbol associated with Norse culture. Those who choose a Viking bear tattoo are showing their own strength and resilience despite facing challenges.

viking bear tattoo on arm

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