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National Museum of Iceland

Photo credit: Juanjo Marin / Foter / CC BY-SA
National Museum of Iceland
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  • Average
  • 2 hours

Exciting and vast museum guiding its visitors through the history of Iceland

Þjóðminjasafn Íslands, Suðurgötu 41, 101 Reykjavík
There is a cafe available on the ground floor of the museum - right opposite to the museum shop. The menu of the cafe is pretty varied consisting of variety of cold and hot dishes, as well as some Icelandic delicacies.

During the summer the café is open every day 10am - 5pm (May 1st - September 15th).

During the winter the café is open Tue-Fri from 9am to 5pm and Sat-Sun 11am to 5pm.

Closed on Mondays (September 16th - April 30th).

The National Museum of Iceland seems to be the most important and vast of all the other ones in Iceland. The museum was established in 1863 as before then most of the precious items were held in Danish collections. Jón Árnason was the first curator to create an Icelandic collection and several years after that, an Antiquarian Collection Museum was established (it gained its current name in 1911).


The modernized and completely transformed building of the museum was finished in 2004. The main function of the National Museum of Iceland is to increase the knowledge of Icelandic cultural heritage and one must admit that if you spend enough time exploring all the floors and exhibitions and carefully paying attention to the information, then indeed one can get even overwhelmed by all the interesting information, items and features that the museum provides to each visitor.

The permanent exhibition of the museum is truly comprehensive, covering seven periods in the history of Iceland – from the dawn of the Icelandic society in year 800 up until modern times – these periods can be divided into four main topics, namely: work and way of life, homes and settlement patterns, arts and crafts, and social culture and language.


The museum holds not only a notable collection of historic artifacts and items, but also hundreds of valuable photographs introducing visitors with life and customs of Icelanders. Moreover, The National Museum of Iceland offers hands-on games where every visitor can try some puzzles and games engaging them into the activities of museum even more.


Also, the museum has many multimedia features, so that the visitor can have something like “a self-made” experience in the museum. Besides the temporary exhibitions, the museum also keeps up with the time and takes care of the diversity of content by constantly displaying temporary exhibitions such as installations of photography.


Opening hours

Summer (May 1st - September 15th)
Daily 10:00 - 17:00

Winter (September 16th - April 30th)
Tuesday - Sunday: 11:00 - 17:00
Closed Mondays.

11:00 - 17:00 (except Mondays)
On Mondays from December 12th - 24th the Museum is open 11:00 - 12:00
Closed on Christmas Day, New Years Eve and New Years Day.

The museum is closed during Easter week on Sunday and Monday

How to get there

The museum is located in the central part of the city and hence, there should not be any problems in finding it just by following the map or street signs. Also, several buses (No 1, 3, 6, 11 and 12) stop in front of the museum.