Árbaer Open Air Museum

#11 in Best Things To Do in Reykjavik
Árbaer Open Air Museum picture
Graham C99/Flickr

Key Info

Kistuhylur

Details

Museums Type
1 to 2 hours Time to Spend
3.9scorecard
  • 3.5Value
  • 4.0Facilities
  • 4.0Atmosphere

For a glimpse at what life was like in 19th- and 20th-century Iceland, visit the Árbaer Open Air Museum. This open-air attraction features more than 20 buildings that were originally located in central Reykjavik, plus exhibits about toys, the history of painting houses, early building techniques and more.

Past travelers said this museum offers something for visitors of all ages, though some felt its exhibits did not justify paying an entrance fee of 1,600 Icelandic króna ($15.50) per person. However, waived admissions are available for seniors, disabled visitors and children 17 and younger. Museum fees are also covered for anyone with a Reykjavík City Card.

Visitors are welcome to check out the Árbaer Open Air Museum every day in June, July and August between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m., but travelers are only permitted during guided tours (at 1 p.m.) from September to May. Tickets include access to all of the property's exhibits, as well as restrooms and two gift shops, which are open every summer. Free parking is also provided on-site; driving or hailing a taxi is required to reach this attraction due to its removed location from the city center. More information about the Árbaer Open Air Museum is available on its website.

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Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights)1 of 10
Golden Circle2 of 10
Type
#1 Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights)

The aurora borealis (or northern lights) can be an almost eerie sight: Picture emerald green swirls coloring the otherwise darkened sky. But scientists have a boring explanation for this phenomenal natural light show – "collisions between electrically charged particles from the sun that enter the Earth's atmosphere," according to the Northern Lights Centre. Still, it's a pretty breathtaking sight, and if you're visiting Reykjavik in winter, you might want to stake out some time for northern lights gazing.

Although you can see the lights from Reykjavik, you'll increase your chances of viewing them outside of the city. Previous travelers recommend taking a tour with local companies like BusTravel Iceland or Reykjavik Excursions. (But keep in mind that the aurora borealis requires a perfect cocktail of climate conditions in order to show – so you're not guaranteed to see the elusive display of lights even if you book a tour.) If you'd rather hunt for this natural phenomenon on your own, time your visit between September and mid-April.

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