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National Museum of Iceland

Thjodminjasafn Islands

For anyone looking to learn about Iceland’s history, this is the place. The National Museum of Iceland covers everything you need to know from Viking to modern times and leaves no stone unturned.

Iceland is renowned for its incredible history. A history of Viking settlers, of vicious feuds, of volcanic eruptions and melting glacier floods. One one hand you have these unbelievable tales of resilience and pride but on the other, you have sagas filled with love and human emotions. In many instances, in world history, these two aren’t easy to find. Especially not in documents reaching back to the year 930 but Icelanders did excellent work in preserving their history and wrote down remarkably detailed testimonies to the lives that were lived in Iceland.

Vikings in Iceland

The National Museum of Iceland is a place where this extraordinary keeping of history comes to life. It is where the Icelandic Saga and the Icelandic culture throughout the years are displayed in the most fascinating of ways through exhibitions and artifacts. There is no doubt that Iceland’s National Museum is where you should go to find out about the story of Iceland.

The museum covers the history of Iceland from settlement to the present day and will give you an excellent insight into everything from the life of Vikings, history, and culture, to the modern day life of an Icelander. The National Museum of Iceland is truly a highlight in Reykjavík!

The National Museum and the Culture House/Safnahúsið down at Hverfisgata street is a part of the same organization and a ticket for one is valid for the other. Both have a wonderful café and a gift shop which is an excellent place to pick up a souvenir from your trip to Iceland.

Safnahusid | Culture House


  • 16th of September to the 30th of April: 10 am to 5 pm (closed on Mondays).
  • 1st of May to the 15th of September: 10 am to 5 pm.
  • The museum is often closed on big holidays, please refer to the website for more information regarding openings during national holidays.

  • In Icelandic, it is called Þjóðminjasafn Íslands
  • The National Museum audio-guide is free!
  • You are able to connect with the audio-guide at the museums through your smartphone at any time
  • The National Museum of Iceland covers the history from settlement to modern times
  • During winter the Museum is closed on Mondays
  • The National Museum is located right next to the University of Iceland
  • The Museum was established in 1863!

Admission fee ISK
Adults 2000
Adults only for the Photo Gallery 1000
Children (under 18) Free
Seniors (+67) 1000
Seniors (+67) only for the Photo Gallery 500
Students 1000
Disabled Free
Audio guide Free

 


The museum is open daily (closed on Mondays in winter) and hosts both permanent exhibitions and temporary ones. Guided tours are available and on Saturdays at 11 am they are even available for free if you have the admission ticket. There is no need to book just show up. If the plan is to visit at any other day or at a different time you might need to book in advance to get a guided tour but if you pop in unannounced and aren’t able to get on a guided tour the audio guide is none the lesser!

The audio-guide is an excellent choice for those who feel less confident listening to the tour in English but the tour is available in nine languages: Icelandic, Spanish, Danish, French, Polish, German, Italian and English.


The National Museum of Iceland is located at two different locations. Both of which are in central Reykjavík but the main one called the National Museum of Iceland is at Sudurgata 41, 101 Reykjavík and the Culture House (the additional museum) is at Hverfisgata 15, 101 Reykjavík. They are in walking distance of each other, but the path will take about 18 minutes.

 

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As the museum is located in central Reykjavík it is within walking distance of most major hotels, hostels and guesthouses downtown. To give an idea, the walk from Hallgrímskirkja to The National Museum of Iceland is about 17 minutes, from is about 21 minutes and from Austurvöllur square about 13 minutes. You can also take the bus but the bus stops around are called Háskóli Íslands or Þjóðarbókhlaðan.


The local caféshop chain Kaffitár is located at the ground floor of the museum right across from the Museum’s gift shop. The offer delicious refreshments and fantastic coffee and the seating area is inside a glass-roofed room creating a stellar setting in any season. The café is also a wonderful spot to try some of the traditional baked good Icelandic food cultures has to offer, including both kleina (a twisted doughnut) and snúður (a cinnamon bun).

A cup of coffee