Being a city of history and culture, Reykjavik hosts a number of inviting museums. Here are some of our personal favourites. Keep up with the Bluehouse Blog for more.
Reykjavik Musems Exploring History
History buffs will be delighted by the variety of historical exhibitions on offer in the island’s capital. From the Saga museum with its lifelike models depicting historical moments, to the Settlement Museum, underground as it’s built in an archeological dig. There’s also the Maritime Museum, which explores the island’s history with the sea, such as the famous ‘cod wars’ a sort of ‘battle’ involving fishing rights. A more eccentric option is also the Punk Museum, crafted inside a public bathroom. It’s a really small museum, but it’s packed with interesting information. You’ll learn about Icelandic artists and their punk roots, from EGO to even Bjork!
The Open Air Museum is our favourite historical exhibition. Located in a suburb of Reykjavik, the drive is not so far. You’ll get to explore ancient Icelandic homes, from those of professors to labourers. With a city card, the bus ride there and entry to the museum is free! Tour guides roam around in traditional attire from the time and tend to the farm animals, really immersing visitors in Icelandic culture.
Of course, we can’t talk history without mentioning the National Museum of Iceland. This museums displays the actual ship the Vikings first used when first sailing to the island. There are also artefacts to see, like viking swords and drinking horns. There’s also a more modern account, detailing the country’s past from 1600 until now. In this section you’ll learn about the country’s struggle for independence.
An Eclectic Mix
There’s loads more than just historical knowledge to be uncovered in Reykjavik. Why not head down to Whales of Iceland? It’s an old warehouse which has been repurposed as a whale information centre. Huge (life-sized) models of the mammals hang from the ceiling, which are soft and squidgy (yes, you are allowed to touch them… we did ask first!) Also, the display surrounds visitors in blue light, and blasts out ocean sounds, making it a multi-sensory experience, and quite peaceful as well.
Then there’s the Phallological Museum. We’ve talked about this before, but it really is so interesting. The exhibition displays almost 300 penises belonging to different animals found in Iceland. It’s tackled in a really scientific and informative way, you’ll learn a lot!
There’s also the Perlan, which is hugely popular. It’s located in an art-deco style dome shaped building on Öskjuhlíð hill. Expect to see expansive 360 views of the city, an indoor ice cave, and an impressive simulation of the Northern Lights.
These museums are free with the Reykjavik city card (with some only discounted) and we can’t recommend them enough. Choosing to visit any of these will surely add to an already enriching city break.
See you soon !