National Museum of Iceland

#9 in Best Things To Do in Reykjavik
National Museum of Iceland picture
Michael Labrecque-Jessen/Flickr

Key Info

Sudurgata 41

Details

Museums Type
2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend
4.0

scorecard

  • 4.0Value
  • 4.0Facilities
  • 4.0Atmosphere

This interactive museum tells the history of Iceland, beginning with its pagan rituals and ending with contemporary fashion. Along the way, you'll "meet" a medieval chief and a 14th-century nun, among others, and you can hear about their life experiences via a one-way telephone conversation.

Most recent travelers praised this museum's detailed look into Iceland's past. Some also recommend stopping by the museum's in-house restaurant and gift shops.

Admission to the National Museum of Iceland is 2000 Icelandic króna (about $19) per person, which includes access to the museum's facilities, exhibits and free parking lot, plus complimentary guided tours at 11 a.m. The property is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. (and only Tuesday through Sunday from September 16 to April 30). You'll find the museum in downtown Reykjavik near the University of Iceland and multiple bus stops. For more information, visit the National Museum of Iceland's 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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