Best Museums in Reykjavik


Árbær Open Air Museum – Árbæjarsafn 

Árbær was an established farm well into the 20th century, and the museum opened there in 1957. Árbær is now an open air museum with more than 20 buildings which form a town square, a village and a farm. Most of the buildings have been relocated from central Reykjavik. Árbær Open Air Museum tries to give a sense of the architecture and way of life and lifestyles of the past  in Reykjavík and during summer visitors can see domestic animals. There are many exhibitions and events held at the Museum which highlights specific periods in Reykjavik’s history. These include craft days, vintage car displays, Christmas exhibitions and much more. The museum is located slightly outside the city center. However we do recommend people to go there because it is one of the best museums in Reykjavik due to the fact that there is something for everyone at Árbær Open Air Museum.


The Icelandic Phallological Museum – Hið Íslenska Reðasafn

The Icelandic Phallological Museum, located in downtown Reykjavík, houses the world’s largest display of penises and penile parts. The collection of 280 specimens from 93 species of animals includes 55 penises taken from whales, 36 from seals and 118 from land mammals, allegedly including elves and trolls. In July 2011, the museum collected its first human penis. Its detachment from the donor’s body did not go according to plan and it was reduced to a greyish-brown shrivelled mass pickled in a jar of formalin. The museum continues to search for a younger and a bigger and better one.

The Settlement Exhibition – Landnámssýningin

The Settlement Exhibition is the perfect place to step into the Viking age. The museum is based on a 2001 excavation of the area that discovered the oldest archaeological evidence of human settlement of Iceland, dating from 871 plus or minus 2 years. The finds include a house, plus a collection of artefacts that give you a glimpse into the everyday life in the Viking age. The construction of Viking Age buildings is explained using multimedia technology. Computer technology is used to give an impression of what life was like in the hall. This is a must visit museum in Reykjavik.

The National Museum of Iceland – Þjóðminjasafn Íslands

Iceland’s national museum is located next to the University of Iceland’s campus. It’s in a large house, 3 storys high, with a cozy café and a rotating exhibition on the first floor. The National Museum of Iceland’s permanent exhibition, Making of a Nation – Heritage and History in Iceland, is intended to provide insight into the history of the Icelandic nation from the Settlement to the present day. The aim is to cast light on the Icelanders’ past by placing the cultural heritage preserved by the National Museum in a historical context, guided by the question: What makes a nation? The exhibition includes about 2,000 objects, dating from the Settlement Age to the present, as well as about 1,000 photographs from the 20th century. The exhibition is conceived as a journey through time: it begins with the ship in which medieval settlers crossed the ocean to their new home, it ends in a modern airport, the Icelanders’ gateway to the world.

Reykjavík Art Museum – Listasafn Íslands

Reykjavik is renowned for its creativity and vibrant art scene. The Reykjavík Art Museum is the largest art museum in Reykjavik and one of the larger museums in Reykjavik in general. The museums are housed in three distinct buildings in central Reykjavík – Hafnarhús, Kjarvalsstaðir, and Ásmundarsafn. The Museums regularly exhibits works by three of Iceland’s most renowned artists; Erró, Kjarval and Ásmundur Sveinsson.

Whales of Iceland – Hvalasafnið

Whale watching is one of the most popular tours in Reykjavik. Whales of Iceland is a museum located in the trendy grandi area. At the museum you can see life size models of these amazing creatures. The purpose is to educate guests about the creatures so many are interested in. The exhibition’s locale both functions as an additional venue to see whales, coupled with whale watching, as well as a place where novices and connoisseurs alike can experience marine life at its greatest.

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