35+ Viking Tattoo Designs and Inspirations

By Jason Hamilton / March 25, 2018
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Vikings have become so popular through the years, even during today’s culture, as we’re seeing them everywhere. The popular TV show of the same name is one of the few that instantly comes to mind – which is why it is quite natural for people to join the Viking tattoo craze.

Some of the questions that you might be asking now are: what should I know about Vikings before getting any tattoos? Who were they and what do they mean to us? How should I choose my perfect Viking tattoo design?

Perhaps you have your own Viking tattoo ideas but aren’t sure if they convey the true meaning you’re striving for. Make sure to read on, as we will help you answer those questions!


Who Were They?

The mighty Norsemen we refer to as Vikings were actually from Scandinavia. As an entity, they had existed from the 8th to 11th century and were a true menace to the rest of the world. They were known for raiding and pillaging the whole of Europe.

Even the very word “Viking” comes from Old Norse language and it roughly translates to “a pirate raid.” Thor and Loki may be some of the most popular mythical characters in our times, but there’s so much more than that if you dig a little deeper.


We can’t really claim that Vikings wore any tattoos, but it’s very likely that some of them did actually get inked.

The mystique of the Viking beliefs and culture still radiates strongly today. It’s quite common among people with Norse heritage to show their roots by having a Viking tattoo.


Which Way to Go?

You could go for the obvious option which probably includes butch men with long blond hair, beard,  mustache, and wearing a horned helmet. Sure, that looks mighty and powerful, but you should know that Vikings didn’t actually wear horned helmets.

They were smart and practical, especially when it came to choosing weapons and armor for their battles.


Instead, you can opt for the less obvious way and go fully authentic and mythical. Vikings wore their tattoos mostly on their fingers and their shoulders. The knot works similar to modern Celtic tattoo designs, which were the usual order of the day.

Viking Tattoos and Their Meanings

Quite a few traditional motifs from Norse mythology find their ways into Viking tattoos. Let’s take a closer look at some of the most popular ones.



Probably the most popular of all, he’s usually depicted as a strong man with thick, braided hair and a horned helmet. Why do people get Odin tattoos? Because they stand for nobleness, principle, and a strong reputation. Simple as that.


Loki is usually designed as a man with a horned head and some skeletal features. Loki is almost always presented as a malevolent creature, so it’s popular among those who want to come across as bad boys.


One of the most popular Viking tattoo designs, it basically represents a snake that eats its own tale. The name is actually derived from the ancient Greek language and it roughly translates to “one who eats his own tale.” People usually want this one on their bodies because it represents the cyclic renewal of eternal life.


These are actually three tattoos interlocked within each other. Historically speaking, its true roots can’t be traced back precisely, but some scholars claim that this symbol was strongly associated with death.

Thor’s Hammer

Widely used in Viking tattoo designs, it usually presents the power he has over thunder and lightning. Sometimes people opt for this design as they want it to represent protection.


A slightly complicated symbol, it is usually a design chosen by those who consider themselves true winners. It represents an art of fighting, very energetic and often deadly. It suggests that you can defeat any type of rival.

The world of Viking and Norse mythology is a vast one, so it really has something for everyone. Choosing the right tattoo design may not be easy but looking behind the design certainly helps. You shouldn’t choose a Viking tattoo based only on its looks and then find out when it’s too late that you don’t really like what it stands for.

Boys and Girls

There are no rules here. It is true that it’s mostly men who go for Viking tattoo designs, but there are also women who like Viking symbols, most commonly the Ouroboros. Another popular Viking tattoo for women is the Valkyrie, one of the maiden warriors of Odin who chose which warriors lived and which died on the battlefield.

Body Placement

As you’ve seen so far, the symbols and designs vary in size, complexity, and shape. Because of that, they really can be placed anywhere on your body. Complex designs usually end up on one’s back, shoulder or thigh, but smaller pieces may even fit your fingers.

Photo Gallery

If you want a Viking tattoo, we can provide you with some of the most stunning designs out there.

Out of ideas? Don’t like what’s already out there? We can help you with that, too!

1. A Viking pattern wrist tattoo.

2. Another wrist tattoo with a Viking-influenced design


3. A Viking-inspired battle axe tattoo.Viking Axe Tattoo

4. A Viking heroine tattoo


5. A tattoo featuring a Viking helmet worn by a skull.

6. A large sleeve tattoo featuring Viking-inspired detail.


7. A Viking compass tattoo (Vegvisir).

8. A ribcage tattoo with a Viking-influenced design

9. A Vegvisir tattoo.


10. A tattoo of the Viking god, Odin.

11. A Viking pattern tattoo inked on the arm.Viking Pattern Sleeve Tattoo


12. A Valknut tattoo.

13. A Viking tattoo with the wilderness as a double exposure.Viking Tattoo


14. A large Viking pattern tattoo.


15. Another tattoo featuring the Viking god, Odin.

16. A Viking-inspired tattoo featuring the Valknut, a spear, and Viking writing.


17. A sketch-like Viking snake tattoo.

18. A Viking snake and compass (Vegvisir) tattoo.

19. A leg tattoo featuring Viking runes.


20. A tattoo of a forest with Viking patterns.

21. An intricate tattoo of the Vegvisir.


22. A tattoo featuring an image of a Viking going into a sea battle.


23. A Viking snake tattoo inked on the arm.

24. A tattoo on the sleeve with a raven and Yggdrasil.

25. A minimalist tattoo with Viking influences.

26. A tattoo of a raven with Viking-inspired detailing.Viking Raven Tattoo

27. A Valknut tattoo with a tree as detail.

28. Another Vegvisir tattoo with Viking writings around it.

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About the author

Jason Hamilton

Jason has been an avid fan of tattoos for over 13 years now. He is currently 35 years old, and he got his first tattoo at the age of 22. Since then, he has added over 20 tattoos to his collection. He is also into writing, which is why he decided to celebrate both of his passion and hobby through tats ‘n’ rings. Jason dreams of having his very own tattoo parlor soon. Jason would be very happy to answer any questions about tattoos that you may have! Leave a comment below and he’ll answer it for you right away!

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