The Settlement Exhibition

#10 in Best Things To Do in Reykjavik
The Settlement Exhibition picture
Courtesy of The Settlement Exhibition

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Adalstraeti 16

Details

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

As its name implies, The Settlement Exhibition gives visitors a chance to learn more about Reykjavik's first settlers. The museum's main exhibit is an excavation site, which features the remains of a hall inhabited between A.D. 930 and 1000. Travelers can also learn more about how early Icelandic homes were constructed and see Viking artifacts found throughout Reykjavik and on the island of Videy.

Budding archaeologists, history lovers and Viking enthusiasts will love wandering around The Settlement Exhibition. To gain a complete understanding of the museum's collections, recent visitors recommend joining a free guided tour, offered on weekdays in June, July and August at 11 a.m. Complimentary audio guides are also available year-round.

The Settlement Exhibition is located in central Reykjavik within walking distance of Harpa and the National Museum of Iceland. A bus stop is also situated nearby, but there is no on-site parking. The property is open daily from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., and tickets – which cover access to the museum's exhibits, restrooms and gift shop – cost 1,600 Icelandic króna ($15.50) each. Disabled visitors, seniors, Reykjavík City Card holders and children 17 and younger visit for free. Visit The Settlement Exhibition's website to find out more.

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Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights)
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#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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