What better place than a museum to hide from the rain and wind while on holiday! And while the elements do their thing, you can warm up and learn a little bit more about the place you are visiting.
There are plenty of museums in Iceland, and even if you are not the museum-visiting type, the selection is so diverse that you are bound to find something to your taste! We have put together a very incomplete selection – with a bit for everybody. Just in case you want to throw in a bit of culture amid all the hiking J
If you wish to see how people used to live... visit Árbær Open Air Museum
Located in Reykjavik, the Árbær Open Air Museum (Árbæjarsafn) is made up of over 20 buildings, displaying the living conditions, work and pastimes of the inhabitants of Reykjavík in earlier times. The Museum looks like a small village, with the added plus that the buildings are open for visitors to explore. What’s really special about Árbæjarsafn is that many of the buildings are originals, which were physically transported from the city straight to the Museum grounds! People really used to live in those very houses.
Step into the traditional turf houses and nineteenth century cottages, and marvel at the low ceilings, small beds and beautifully manufactured traditional dresses.
If you are into Icelandic music... stop at the Icelandic Museum of Rock & Roll
Located a short way from Keflavík international airport, this is a relatively recent addition to the Icelandic museum panorama. Are you one of those who feel in love with Iceland listening to Björk, Sigur Rós or (more recently) Of Monsters and Men? If the answer is yes, this might be the place for you. See memorabilia from your favorite artists, and learn a bit more about the history of Icelandic pop and rock music in the past 150 years. While in the museum, you can borrow an iPad to learn more about the featured artists, and listen to some of their music. Will you find the soundtrack to your Icelandic holiday?
If you want to go down and deep into history... step into Reykjavík 871±2
Just a few meters under the main street of Reykjavik, Aðalstræti, sit the archeological remains of one of the first houses ever built in Iceland. The site was excavated in the early 2000s, and the Viking abode that was found can now be visited in this compact but information-rich underground museum. The animated walls offer a 360° view of what Reykjavik looked like during the Viking era (spoiler alert: expect a lot of trees, birds, water and sky). Take a step into the world at the time of the first settlers, and during the Viking Age.
If you love literature and the Icelandic sagas... head to The Settlement Center
Egill Skalla-Grimsson is a very peculiar character which features in both Icelandic history and literature. A poet, warrior and farmer, he was also the protagonist of one of the most famous Icelandic sagas, Egil’s saga. The Settlement center, located in Borgarnes, presents the main events of Egill’s very eventful life through art pieces. And what a life Egill had! Get ready for love affairs, murders, battles and witchcraft. The original exposition of the story – through wooden statues, paintings, and mixed-media pieces – adds magic and mystery to the visit.
If you are into local folklore... do not miss The Museum of Icelandic Sorcery and Witchcraft
In the tiny, quiet village of Hólmavík, in the Icelandic Westfjords, sits a museum dedicated to folklore, magic and sorcery. The museum offers a rich collection of magical items and interesting stories. Curious to learn about the most famous Icelandic wizards? Want to know how runes were used, or how to wake up a ghost? Or you can also enjoy the best mussels in Iceland coming straight from the fjord and deliciously cooked by Siggi. Then this is the place for you.
Have you found the perfect museum? Or is there any amazing find you would like to share with us?