You simply must visit Perlan, one of Reykjavík’s most famous landmarks. This glass dome at the top of six water tanks is now home to the most incredible and high-tech nature exhibition in Iceland. Explore anything from ice caves to the underworld just moments from the city center!
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Perlan, Reykjavik’s crown jewel, is one of the most famous landmarks in Iceland and has been so for decades. Once a place of a swirling world-class restaurant and local favorite ice cream parlor the pearl has now been transformed into an idyllic natural exhibition where state of the art technology invites you to go deep into nature only a moment from the city center.
Today Perlan museum presents you with a real-life ice tunnel and a perfect replica of the largest bird cliff in Europe, Látrabjarg. You can find Iceland’s first planetarium where the uniqueness of Icelandic nature is displayed and fall deep into Icelandic history with the most knowledgeable and friendly guides.
Perlan museum is the perfect place to touch upon the natural wonders of Iceland without ever having to leave the city. It is famous for being kid-friendly and can easily entertain generations.
Another positive point to make about the Pearl is the accessibility. Going through there with a stroller or in a wheelchair is a breeze.
Perlan or The Pearl was originally not thought of as a top destination for locals and tourists alike. It was a place to store the city’s hot water and was, at first, just a block of enormous water tanks placed next to each other. The tanks had stood that way since the mid 20th century when a hemispherical glass dome was planted on top of it. Ingimundur Sveinsson was the architect of the place and his vision for multiple ways of utilizing it is still present today.
In the dome, a café and ice cream shop opened up. Soon after, a lovely restaurant on the top floor started welcoming visitors. The dome would slowly turn in circles creating the most magical experience and Perlan became one of the more sought-after places to visit in Reykjavik.
In the beginning, six water tanks were used to store hot water but with the new design only five continued their initial purpose and one became a small museum to host exhibitions. From the year 2002 and until 2014 it housed a Viking museum but today it can proudly call itself a nature exploratorium. Glaciers and ice caves sit there, waiting to be discovered. And they are only one part of a massive exhibition, Wonders of Iceland.
Today Perlan museum is home to one of the most imposing nature exhibitions you will find. Inside the buzzing capital, just minutes from the biggest shopping street and vibrant city life, you are able to step into a perfect replica of an ice cave, to take in the grandness of Látrabjarg, and to learn about glaciers and other geological forces. Did we mention the visual and interactive underwater experience and delicious meals with impeccable views? All of this you can experience at Perlan!
One of the best things about Wonders of Iceland is the awakening of all your senses. The experience isn’t only visual but also felt through smell, temperatures and other intriguing elements – the attention to detail is just incredible!
The first glacier exhibition ever to open in Perlan museum was an extraordinary ice tunnel. A few minutes from the center of the capital and all of a sudden you are inside a man-made ice cave. This magnificent creation takes you on a visual journey of the past, present and the possible future that awaits the Icelandic glaciers. The ice tunnel is 100 meters long (328 ft) and is built with over 350 tons of actual snow retrieved from the Bláfjöll mountain area (home to Þríhnúkagígur).
Another way Perlan’s exhibition Wonders of Iceland invites you to explore the icy wonders of Iceland is through the impressive interactive glacier exhibition. Guests are welcomed to learn all about Icelandic glaciers from the way they form, to how they affect the land and eventually the effects climate change has on them. All of this is displayed through the most cutting edge technology which portrays the unique nature in Iceland.
The planetarium is the first of its kind in Iceland and will present different expos revolving around Icelandic nature. It is located in an old water tank which once hosted the Viking museum and will be ever changing with new and exciting ways to teach you all about Icelandic landscapes and geology.
Next, the Planetarium in Reykjavik will take on the Auroras featuring the Northern Lights in the most stellar of ways. You will learn all about them whilst enjoying the best views of these natural wonders all from the comfort of a mushy cinema seat.
No experience can top the exploration of the underworld through the cinematic powers of modern technology. View anything from a tiny algae bit to a gigantic whale in a setting that is almost too real to handle. This is one of those “pinch-me” moments you will get used to when visiting Iceland!
At the top of the six water tanks lies the best observation deck you will find in Reykjavík. Located at the fourth floor and stretching all around the building, it offers a splendid 360° view over Reykjavik and even onto the next peninsula when weather allows. From the viewing deck, you are able to see the ocean, mountains and even natural phenomenon found in Reykjavík’s surrounding area; glaciers, volcanoes and active geothermal areas.
If you only wish to visit the Observation Deck the price for admission is 490 ISK (approx. 4 USD) for adults and free for anyone under the age of 15. However, if you are visiting the Wonders of Iceland exhibition, the observation deck is included.
Open 9 am to 7 pm but the last admission is at 6 pm.
Perlan museum is located at the top of Öskjuhlíð hills in central Reykjavík. Its location offers guests some of the best views of Reykjavík one can find. Nearby attraction, in walking distance from Perlan, are Nauthólsvík beach, Kjarvalsstaðir Art Museum, Kringlan shopping mall and Hallgrímskirkja Church.
One of the best things about Perlan is its accessibility. Located right in the center of Reykjavík, on a towering hill you can easily spot it from anywhere in the city and the walk up to it is a pleasant one. If you are not in the mood to walk there is also the Free Shuttle option or you can park your rental right outside, it’s free!
A free Perlan-Reykjavik shuttle usually operates, however, it has temporarily ceased its activity.
Perlan restaurant, with seasonal ingredients and a-la-carte menu, is the perfect option for those looking to have an exceptional dinner, lunch or maybe brunch with a view. This is a treat for your taste buds and eyes all at the same time! If you’re not in the mood for a full meal, Kaffitár will have you relaxing with a cup of coffee. Try their cream cheese bagel, you will not be disappointed!
Perlan museum is open every day from 10 am to 6 pm.
Rammagerðin gift shop welcomes those looking to buy souvenirs from 12pm to 6 pm.