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.

See all Hotels in Reykjavik »

More Best Things To Do in Reykjavik

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.

Read more
Santi Sukamjanaprai/Getty Images
See full list of Best Things To Do in Reykjavik »

Explore More of Reykjavik

When purchasing from our site, we may earn commissions. This does not affect the quality or independence of our editorial content.

Recommended

America's 15 Coolest Ghost Towns to Visit

From Kentucky to California, the U.S. is filled with eerie abandoned cities.

Lyn MettlerAugust 22, 2019

The 7 Best New Orleans Plantation Tours

Learn about the Big Easy's history through one of these daytrips.

Holly JohnsonAugust 21, 2019

22 Top Sonoma Wineries to Visit

Sip world-class wines while enjoying vineyard and mountain views.

Gwen PratesiAugust 19, 2019

30 Beautiful Caribbean Islands to Visit

It's time to plan your next tropical getaway.

Holly JohnsonAugust 8, 2019

The Best Travel Rewards Programs for 2019-20

See which airline and hotel loyalty programs come out on top.

Erin ShieldsAugust 6, 2019

20 Surprising Ways to Earn Loyalty Program Points or Miles

Branch out beyond hotel stays and flights to maximize your earnings.

Christine SmithAugust 6, 2019

The 12 Best Cancun Tours

These excursions will show you what lies beyond the city's bright beaches.

Lyn MettlerJuly 26, 2019

Traveling With Toddlers: 16 Tips to Make Your Vacation Go Smoothly

These expert travel hacks guarantee a happy trip for the whole family.

Kyle McCarthyJuly 25, 2019

The 11 Best New Orleans Ghost Tours

Hear chilling tales of the city's paranormal activity on one of these guided tours.

Kim Foley MacKinnonJuly 25, 2019

The 10 Best Seattle Boat Tours

Take in the Emerald City's top sights from the water.

Kim Foley MacKinnonJuly 24, 2019