There are several great and diverse museums in Reykjavik. They are ideal places to explore if/when the weather turns a bit gooey! I particularly enjoyed the following:
The Settlement Exhibition
The Settlement Exhibition, not far from the northern edge of Tjornin, is underground and is centred around the remains of a Viking longhouse. It is well laid out and interesting with plenty of information in English. It gives an excellent insight into the early settlement and development of Iceland. It may be worth visiting their website to see if there is a discount on admission prices.
The National Museum of Iceland
The National Museum is on the outskirts of Tjornin towards the local airport but is well worth the walk. The building itself is rather bland on the outside, but inside it is well presented with exhibits on two floors covering the settlement of Iceland to the modern age. I liked some of the rustic early figures that were not that attractive at the first glance but the history behind them was fascinating. There is a cafe and a rather good museum shop on the ground floor.
Perlan is at the top of Oskjuhlid hill on the outskirts of Reykjavik. The museum is housed in massive geothermal water tanks that used to serve the city. The museum focuses on the geographical and natural features of Iceland – so volcanoes and eruptions, tectonic plates, glaciers, ice tunnels and the aurora are all major features. It’s a museum for all ages as the exhibitions are impressive, visually and aurally, with plenty of interaction with exhibits.
There are frequent and free minibusses there from Harpa, so it is easy to get there [and back]. You may need to provide your own car seat for small children. The museum is just a great on the outside [and on top for the views] as it is on the inside!
The views from the top of Perlan are wonderful.
Yay! A Willy Museum! and it’s great, well laid out and good fun. Not for pussys!
This wonderful museum has now moved to a new underground location not far from Harpa. It’s still full of willys!
Einar Jonsson Museum and Sculpture Garden.
The excellent Sculpture Garden near Hallgrimskirkja is free! The Museum is not. For more on the Sculpture Garden click HERE,
The tiny, but interesting, Punk Museum near the bottom of Laugavegur is easy to miss as it is set inside an old public toilet under the pavement on the left hand side as you walk downhill. I loved it. So much stuff crammed in such a small space. Early Bjork in her punky days is represented of course.
This is a great museum with exibits on two floors. When we visited in 2022 there was a room dedicated to the fascinating story of the sinking, rediscovery and exploration of the 17th century merchant ship Melckmeyt. The second floor had a range of exibits covering the history and struggles of seafaring around Iceland. Their website sometimes offers a discount so it’s worth taking a peek before buying your ticket.
The Art Museum is in fact three different museums in three separate buildings. One ticket gives you access to all of them. I have only been to the Old Harbour Museum- Hafnarhús but intend to visit the others on my next trip. Hafnarhús is a large space but you are not subjected to an onslaught of exibits.The focus is on challenging modern visual media art.
The Fold Galleri is just around the corner from Hlemmur and has a range of interesting contemporary works on display and on sale from Icelandic artists. Entry is free.
Iurie Belegurischi is a landscape photgrapher and his Gallery is in the centre of Reykjavik. His vivid photographs of Icelandic landscapes, ice caves, mountains and the aurora are amazing. Entrance is free.
There are a few more museums to visit which I have not got to yet including the National Gallery and the Saga Museum ……. next time.