Here is a comprehensive list of the best museums in Iceland every traveler should visit.
Iceland’s culture and history dated back to centuries ago, making it worthy of learning and understanding. Its long history has seen a fusion of various cultures, but it’s the heritage of the Viking warriors that remain prevalent up to this day. Various kings with different cultures have also ruled the country leading to rich diversity.
To better understand these rich cultures, do visit Iceland‘s various museums. There, visitors will find rare items and materials dating back to the time before the first humans settled in the country.
Expect a learning-filled experience that will take visitors to the ancient times and lead them to the post-modern era that shaped the country.
While most of the museums are within Reykjavik, the capital city of Iceland, there are also structures found in remoter towns. Thus, expect meaningful cultural activities wherever you are in Iceland. Let’s go.
Table of Contents
- Top 10 Must-See Museums in Iceland
- → Check out these activities in Iceland
Top 10 Must-See Museums in Iceland
1. The National Gallery of Iceland
Considered one of the best art museums in Iceland, the National Gallery of Iceland began operation in 1884. But for better access, it moved its premise in 1987 and, since then, evolved into one of the most visited historical museums in Iceland. It showcases an extensive collection of arts depicting the history of Iceland from the 19th to the 20th century.
There are also exhibitions showing the talents and skills of both Icelandic and international artists. Widen your aesthetic visualization and appreciation while relishing the beauty and richness of Icelandic art.
2. The National Museum of Iceland
The National Museum of Iceland will lead you into the origin and evolution of Icelandic culture through the centuries.
Visitors who want to understand how the Vikings settled in the country and founded a thriving society will find it wise to come here. One can know almost everything about the significant events and milestones of Iceland.
To promote an interactive setting, the museum showcases exhibits with graphics and audios to provide essential information to guests. Expect an increase in awareness and understanding about Icelandic history when visiting the museum.
3. Viking World Museum
The Viking World Museum lies within the coastal town of Reykjanesbaer. It showcases different exhibitions about the Viking way of life. One of the main attractions here is a ship model representing the 9th Century Viking ships.
The same model depicts Norse ideology and Viking mythology worth knowing. Video archives have recently been added to further modernize the museum and appeal to younger generations.
4. Aurora Reykjavik
The bizarre Northern Lights or the Aurora Borealis is one of the most iconic attractions in Iceland and has been immortalized worldwide. The museum is dedicated to this rare phenomenon, thus, the name.
Visitors who fail to see the Northern Lights during their Denmark travel can visit this museum to have a visual depiction of it. But of course, nothing beats seeing the rare occurrence yourself.
5. The Culture House of Iceland
The Culture House of Iceland was originally meant to house the National Archives and the National Library of Iceland. Many tourists tout it as one of the most impressive buildings in the entire country. It now houses the scenic Reading Hall while serving as a national monument.
The museum is part of the government’s national campaign to showcase the different aspects of Icelandic heritage. Among its different exhibitions are the Points of View, which is a must-see for every traveler.
6. The Settlement Exhibition
The Settlement Exhibition, also known by its Icelandic name Landnamssynigin, will lead visitors into a deeper understanding of the Viking Age. Visitors will have a feel of how the Vikings eke out their lives during the 930 AD to 1000 AD.
They will delve deeper into the rich Viking Culture via touchscreen displays. These displays present information that is not found in any other museum but here.
7. Akureyri Arts Museum
Akureyri Arts Museum is Iceland’s first visual arts museum to start operating outside the capital city. Serving as an important cultural hub in Northern Iceland, the museum gears to supporting and revitalizing all forms of visual arts in Akureyri and Iceland.
Visitors will not only a glimpse of Icelandic artworks but those of emerging international artists too. It’s one of the best art museums in Iceland for those chasing creative platforms.
8. The Saga Museum
Experience how the Viking and Icelandic sagas come to play at this museum, dubbed as one of the most amazing museums in Iceland.
Get to see life-like statues of controversial and historical figures to give you a deeper perspective of Europe‘s rich history. These statues portray the dramatic events, including the wars and persecutions that ravaged the continent throughout the past centuries.
9. Reykjavik Museum
Fishing has long played an important role in both the subsistence and economic activity of the Icelanders since time immemorial.
Therefore, the government established the Reykjavik Maritime Museum to showcase the fishing community of Reykjavik and the life of its fishermen.
The exhibitions provide perspective and information about the sailing community and maritime fishing of Iceland. They also depict the blockades, the various wars, and the daily hardships that affected them during the Cold War. The management installed audio guidance to help visitors understand the displays, regardless of languages.
10. The Settlement Center – Borgarnes
The Settlement Center documents the life of Iceland’s first inhabitants, particularly their houses, culture, practices, and living traditions.
The museum consists of two sections. Among the main attractions here are the materials depicting the life of Egil Skallagrimsson, one of Viking’s famous warrior and poet whose father was among the country’s first landowners and settlers.
So there’s a list of the must-visit museums in Iceland every traveler should not miss. Consider them in your itinerary to have a deeper understanding of Iceland’s rich and thriving culture and history.