Museums around Iceland
There are a lot of interesting museums all around Iceland. To name a few out of the ordinary you will find a private musical museum in Bíldudalur, a private stone museum in Stöðvafjörður and a most unusual museum called the Icelandic phallological museum in Húsavík.
First to mention is if you stay at the Reykjavík Downtown hostel you are within walking distance from the National Museum of Iceland. The role of the museum is to increase and relay knowledge of Icelandic cultural heritage, from the nation´s earliest settlement through to the modern day. Very interesting and has a nice café.
The Reykjavík Art Museum is located at three different places around the city. One of the location is in 2 min walking distance from the Reykjavík Downtown hostel.
Árbæjarsafn is an outdoor museum opened in 1957 and there you find over 20 old houses that have been transferred there from Reykjavík downtown area. The museum tries to display life of Reykjavík in earlier times. A lot of museums and galleries are spread around the city and all museum fans should be able to find something of their like.
Just outside of Reykjavík you will find Gljúfrasteinn museum. Gljúfrasteinn was the home of writer Halldór Laxness (Nobel Prize in Literature 1955) and his family. The house has now been converted into a museum, where the author’s home is preserved just as it was when he lived and worked there. The garden at Gljúfrasteinn is open to the public and a number of pleasant walks can be made in the vicinity. Audio tours of the house are available in Icelandic, English, German, Swedish and Danish. A folder is available in French, with detailed information about the house, objects and works of art.
Driving to the west of Iceland, to Borgarnes, where you find our Borgarnes hostel. In Borgarnes you find the Settlement Center. In two exhibitions The Settlement Center tells the Saga of The Settlement of Iceland and Iceland´s most famous Viking and first poet Egill Skallagrímsson.
Driving further up the west coast you reach Stykkishólmur, which is a very picturesque village and a former important trading village because of its location in Breiðarfjörður bay. There is the Norwegian House which was the first two storied house owned privately and displays a household of gentlefolk’s in the 18th century. Just half an hour drive away is Grundarfjörður and there you find our Grundarfjörður hostel.
In the west fjords there are many interesting museums relating to the history of the area or even the folk stories connected to different parts of the fjords.
There are four hostels in the west fjords, Reykhólar, Bíldudalur, Korpudalur and Broddanes. In Bíldudalur there is a music museum run by a local singer/performer where he displays items connected to his own and local music history.
Tales of sea monsters have played a colourful role in Icelandic folk culture for centuries. Today, these elusive creatures have been given a worthy home at the Icelandic Sea Monster Museum, located in the village of Bíldudalur. Driving past Bíldudalur into Selárdalur you find an exquisite museum of Samúel Jónsson. He made huge sculptures and they are on display in Selárdalur.
The areas district museum is in Ísafjörður and there you also find a an photo museum and art museum at the villages old hospital.
Close to our Korpudalur hostel is Flateyri where you find an international doll museum and local history museum located in an old book shop.
In this area you find The Arctic Fox Center, a non-profit research and exhibition center, focusing on the arctic fox (Vulpes lagopus) and various houses that are part of the National Museum of Iceland´s house collection but old houses have been renovated all around the country and can be visited.
North of Iceland
In the north part of Iceland there are more of the buildings from the National Museum of Iceland and are worth looking at if you pass them on your travels.
In Hvammstangi on the way north there is the Icelandic Seal Centre, which offers both educational and art exhibitions all year round. A bit further north, at Hofsós, you find the Icelandic Emigration Centre at Hofsós. The Icelandic Emigration Centre is dedicated to commemorate Icelandic emigrants to North America and to promote connections between the descendants and the people of Iceland. The Center now offers four exhibits in three separate buildings, as well as a genealogical information service, library facilities and more. Close to Hvammstangi you will find Ósar hostel.
Driving further north to Siglufjörður where you also find a HI hostel, there is the Herring Era Museum which is Iceland´s largest maritime museum. In Dalvík you find a district museum which also hosts a museum about Jóhann Svarfdæling which was once the tallest man on earth. In Húsavík, which is only 20 km away from Berg and Árbót hostels you find the Húsavík Whale Museum. It is a non-profit organization that was founded in 1997. It´s foremost aim is to provide detailed and interesting information about whales and their habitat. Heading up to Kópasker there is a very interesting earthquake museum. Located next to the Kópasker hostel the exhibition is about the Kópasker earthquake that took place January 13th 1976
Next stop is Akureyri, and of course our Akureyri Hostel is conveniently located just a 10 min walk from the center. Akureyri is the capital of the North and there you find the Akureyri Art museum amongst many other interesting museums. To mention a few there is a private museum of Sverrir Hermannssonar who has collected all kinds of various items through his life. Another is The Icelandic Folk and Outsider Art Museum, a museum collecting folk and outsider art. Iceland boasts of many poets and authors and in Akureyri you can find the homes of 3 which have been turned into museums. They are Davíð Stefánsson, a loved poet, Matthías Jochumsson, another loved and productive poet and Jón Sveinsson who wrote children’s books about Nonni who have been translated into 40 languages.
East of Iceland
Going further east all the way to Skriðukluastur, right outside of Egilsstaðir there is the former residence of writer Gunnar Gunnarsson and is now a museum about him and also a residence for artists, writers and scholars. At Neskaupsstaður there are a few museums related to the nature and the sea. In the museum house there is a maritime museum, a art gallery with paintings of Tryggvi Ólafsson a well known Icelandic artist and a museum of natural history.
Going further down the east coast to Reyðarfjörður you find the Icelandic wartime museum. Still further down the coast at Stöðvarfjörður you find the largest privately owned stone collection. The hostess, Petra, has been collecting stones since 1946 and in 1974 she decided to open her home to anyone who wants to look at her collection. Now we are almost down in the south and in Suðursveit you find a fairly new museum dedicated to the famous Icelandic writer, Þórbergur Þórðarson. A must see if you are in the area.
South of Iceland
Driving down the south, past Vík, you come to Skógar. Just next to the Skógar hostel you find Skógar museum which is more than a 50 year old district museum, there is also a museum of transport which opened in 2002. Driving a little into the country up to Þjórsárdalur there is the Saga-Age Farm. The Farm was built on ruins that are believed to be from the Saga-Age. Great care has been taken to try and have all interior looking what is thought it did.
Driving further on the south coast your reach Stokkseyri and Eyrarbakki. These are two historic villages because of their importance as trading posts. In Eyrarbakki, along with Eyrarbakki Hostel, you find Húsið – the House, which was built in 1776 and is one of the oldest buildings in Iceland. There is also a maritime museum and the Árnesinga Folk museum. Two village really worth going to.