The city of Reykjavik is proving to be a popular destination for tourist from Europe and all around the world. But there is more to Iceland than just its natural beauty and wildlife, with plenty of cultural places to go. The city of Reykjavik actually has some fantastic museums and art galleries that are perfect for visiting in between your trips to other landmarks in the country. There is plenty of history about the country to see in the different museums and many works from local and international artists alike. Take a look at our guide to some of the best art galleries and museums in Reykjavik.
Reykjavik Art Museum
One of the most well-known and celebrated art galleries and exhibition spaces in Iceland is the Reykjavik Art Museum. The museum is housed in Hafnarhús and the building actually has a great deal of history in itself. Located near the Old Harbour, the building first housed a fisherman’s warehouse all the way through to the 1930s. Within the museum, you can expect to find postmodern works from Icelandic artists such as Erró, along with plenty of other artists local and international. Entry to the museum is included in the Reykjavik City Card and the museum is open all week, with late opening times on Thursday.
Find out more here.
If you want to find out more about the history of Iceland, then the Saga Museum is one of the best places to go. It is located centrally in Reykjavik, close to the harbour, and is housed in a historical building with a story of its own. The museum includes a detailed history of Iceland during Viking times and even includes life-like replicas of figures from that era. It recreates key moments in Icelandic history that have helped to form the country and determine its shape today.
Find out more online.
The National Gallery of Iceland
Listasafn Íslands, also known as the National Gallery, is another one of the most popular museums in the country. The focus within the gallery is on 19th and 20th century works from Icelandic artists, with some of the most valuable artwork in the country. But there is also more to the museum than traditional art forms, as they also display work in other mediums, too. The museum recently opened the new Vasulka chamber in 2014 to display electronic art from Steina and Woody Vasulka.
Get more information here.
Einar Jónsson Museum
This museum is a must visit if you are heading to Reykjavik, as it features the works of one of the most important artists and sculptors in Icelandic history. It houses an incredible sculpture garden located just next to Hallgrímskirkja, with an array of different pieces from the artist. Many of his works are sculptures based on different mythical figures and stories, both from Iceland and elsewhere in the world. The work of Jónsson is appreciated worldwide and the museum is housed in what was his home in Iceland.
Read more about it here.
Reykjavik Museum of Photography
If you are interested in photography, then one of the museums you need to visit in Iceland is the Reykjavik Museum of Photography. You can find the museum on the top floor of the city library in downtown Reykjavik, with several large exhibitions each year. There are also smaller exhibitions held at the museum so there is always something to see and do there. The museum looks to provide visitors with knowledge about the craft and care taken in photography, along with displaying some great work from local artists.
Take a look at the museum online.