Reykjavik may be best known as the gateway to the Icelandic countryside, but for those with time to spend in town, a plethora of interesting, informative museums await. Here are a few top picks.
National Museum of Iceland
Dive into Iceland’s fascinating history—from the Vikings and the struggle for independence to modern day—at the National Museum of Iceland. The museum’s collection of more than 2,000 artefacts, from drinking horns to medieval carvings, fill in the details.
How to Visit: Book a hop-on hop-off sightseeing bus tour and make the museum one of the stops you explore at your own pace.
The Settlement Exhibition
Multimedia exhibits and archaeological artefacts bring the Viking era to life at the Settlement Exhibition. The museum is based around a 10th-century Viking longhouse discovered on the site in 2001.
How to Visit: Book your ticket in advance to guarantee entry at a time of your choice and avoid waiting in line.
Life-like replicas of key figures from Icelandic history bring more than 1,000 years of Icelandic civilization to life. Visitors can dress up as a Viking Leif Eiriksson and learn about saga authors including Snorri Sturluson.
How to Visit: Guide yourself through the exhibits with an audio tour.
Reykjavik Art Museum
Reykjavik Art Museum occupies three different sites in the city. The Kjarvalsstaðir site focuses on modern paintings and sculptures; Ásmundursafn is dedicated to the works of 20th-century sculptor Ásmundur Sveinsson; and the contemporary Hafnarhús features pop art by Erró.
How to Visit: One admission ticket is valid for 24 hours at all three locations; all are included with a Reykjavik City Card.
Whales of Iceland
Located in the Old Harbor area, the Whales of Iceland Exhibition features more than 20 life-size models of whales found in the waters surrounding Iceland. Visitors can use the interactive stations to watch videos and learn about the different species.
How to Visit: Combine learning about whales with seeing them by booking a whale watching tour that includes an admission ticket to the museum.
Fishing has played a critical role in the history and development of Iceland. Learn about the history of Icelandic fisheries at the Maritime Museum, housed in a former fish factory.
How to Visit: Purchase a 24- 48- or 72-hour Reykjavik City Card, which includes admission to the Maritime Museum, as well as many other attractions.