When it’s snowing outside, it’s nice to spend time inside, and visiting a museum or two is the best way to warm up on a cold winter’s day. The Capital Area’s history reaches more than a thousand years back and it has a rich cultural heritage. What better way is there to learn more about Icelandic culture than visiting museums? This article will cover the museums outside of Reykjavík’s city centre. Read this article if you want to know more about museums in the city centre and this article if you’re interested in museums around Iceland.

Kjarvalsstaðir

Kjarvalsstaðir is devoted to one of Iceland’s most important painters, Jóhannes Sveinsson Kjarval (1885-1972). The building itself is Nordic modernism architecture with floor-to-ceiling windows that look out over Klambratún park. Kjarval left thousands of drawings and paintings, varying greatly in style. Most of his works depict Icelandic landscapes and lava formations, of which some are partially cubist and abstract. Other works contain symbolist elements, elves, and myths. The museum showcases his diverse works, and also houses a variety of temporary exhibitions. You can find Icelandic design items and knick-knacks at the museum shop. There’s also a museum café with drinks and snacks, open from 10:00 till 17:00.

Reykjavik Art Museum – Kjarvalsstaðir
Flókagata, 105 Reykjavík
+354 517 1290
www.artmuseum.is

Reykjavík Art Museum Ásmundarsafn

Ásmundur Sveinsson (1893–1982) is an Icelandic sculptor and the building he designed, worked and lived in is now serving as a museum dedicated to him. The building has a white dome structure and is surrounded by a garden in which his sculptures are on display. The museum showcases his unique figures, sculptures, and abstract compositions. His work is on display along with woks of other modern or contemporary artists.

Ásmundarsafn
Sigtún, 105 Reykjavík
+354 411 6430
www.artmuseum.is/asmundarsafn

Museum of Design and Applied Art

The Museum of Design and Applied Art’s objective is to collect, study and present Icelandic design and crafts from 1900 to the present day. This museum, the only one of its kind in Iceland, holds regular exhibitions of Icelandic and international design during the year. Exhibitions from the museum’s own collection are also regularly held.

Museum of Design and Applied Art
Garðartorgi 1, 210 Garðabær
+354 512 1525
www.honnunarsafn.is

Museum of Design
Photo: Facebook Hönnunarsafn Íslands

Árbær Open Air Museum

Standing in the middle of Árbær Open Air Museum is like going back in time, with only the distant sound of traffic as a reminder of modern times. The museum has collected household items, costumes and even entire houses to reconstruct this open air, living museum. The grounds are roughly divided into a town square, a village and farm, with staff in period costumes walking around and interacting with the guests. There are also special demonstrations that highlight certain activities like various crafts, farming methods or even how to properly milk a cow. Árbær Open Air Museum collects and conserves objects from the cultural history of Reykjavík and carries out research on them, in order to further and spread knowledge of the history and living conditions of the people of Reykjavík from the age of settlement to the present day.

Árbær Open Air Museum
Kistuhylur 4, 110 Reykjavík
+354 411 6300
www.reykjavikcitymuseum.is

Gljúfrasteinn

Halldór Laxness was one of Iceland’s most respected authors and was prolific in his writing, producing 62 books over 68 years. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1955. Gljúfrasteinn was the home and workplace of Halldór Laxness and his family for more than half a century. In 2004 it was opened to the public as a museum, unchanged from when Laxness lived there. In the reception building you can watch a multimedia presentation dedicated to Laxness’ life and work. Tickets for admission, books and souvenirs are also sold there. In the beautiful countryside around Gljúfrasteinn, visitors can take walks as part of their visit, to see where Laxness spent his childhood and later in life sought his inspiration. Audio tours of the house are available in Icelandic, English, German, Swedish and Danish and a folder in French. Gljúfrasteinn is only about 25 minutes away from Reykjavík city centre and is on the way to Þingvellir National Park and the Golden Circle.

Gljúfrasteinn
Gljúfrasteinn, 270 Mosfellsbær
+354 586 8066
www.gljufrasteinn.is

Museums in Kópavogur

Gerðarsafn

Gerðarsafn is a modern and contemporary art museum. In the museum, works by Icelandic and international contemporary artists are showcased. It’s the only museum in Iceland built in honour of a female artist. Gerður Helgadóttir (1928-1975) was a pioneer in three-dimensional and glass art. The museum has about 1,400 of her works on display and hosts a large collection of works by 20-century artists Barbara Árnason, Magnús Á. Árnason, and Valgerður Briem.

Kópavogur Art Museum – Gerðarsafn
Hamraborg 4, 200 Kópavogur
+354 570 0440
www.gerdarsafn.is

Natural History Museum
Photo: Facebook Náttúrfræðistofa Kópavogs

Natural History Museum

Kópavogur is also home to the Natural History Museum. The museum focuses on geological and zoological aspects of Iceland, with different types of rocks and minerals and Icelandic animals on display. You can find both museums at the Culture Houses of Kópavogur at Hamraborg 6a.

Natural History Museum of Kópavogur
Hambraborg 6a, 200 Kópavogur
+354 570 0430
www.natkop.is

Museum of Design and Applied Art

The Museum of Design and Applied Art’s objective is to collect, study and present Icelandic design and crafts from 1900 to the present day. This museum, the only one of its kind in Iceland, holds regular exhibitions of Icelandic and international design during the year. Exhibitions from the museum’s own collection are also regularly held.

Museum of Design and Applied Art
Garðartorgi 1, 210 Garðabær
+354 512 1525
www.honnunarsafn.is

Hafnarborg
Photo: Facebook Hafnarborg

Museums in Hafnarfjörður

Hafnarborg – The Hafnarfjördur Centre of Culture and Fine Art

Hafnarborg is an art museum that in 1988, whose objective it is to preserve Hafnarfjörður’s art collection. In 1983, Dr. Sverrir Magnússon and his wife, Ingibjörg Sigurjónsdóttir donated their house along with their collection of art and books to Hafnarfjörður on the 75th anniversary of the incorporation of the town. The museum exhibits artworks by Icelandic and international artists, both contemporary and established ones from the 20th century.

Centre of Culture and Fine Art
Strandgata 35, 220 Hafnarfjorður
+354 585 5790
www.hafnarborg.is

Hafnarfjörður Museum

Hafnarfjörður Museum showcases cultural artefacts and photographs from Hafnarfjörður and surrounding areas. The museum is spread over several buildings in the area and offers a great insight into the region’s cultural heritage. You can visit Pakkhúsið, Sívertsen’s House, The Bookless Bungalow, Siggubær, The Good Templars Hall, and Beggubúð, in which different exhibitions are on display. Next to these, a photographic exhibit along a paved shoreline path depicts the life of the people who built Hafnarfjörður.

Hafnarfjörður Museum
Vesturgata 8, 220 Hafnarfjorður
+354 585 5780
www.visithafnarfjordur.is

What's On locations in downtown Reykjavík

  • Laugavegur 5 (Main Office)
  • Laugavegur 54 (Trip)

Opening Hours:

  • Mon-Fri 9:00 - 17:00 through phone or email.
  • (Opening hours are limited temporarily)

Contact What's On

The official source for safe adventure in Iceland is safetravel. It’s located in our Laugavegur 54 location.