Art Lover’s Guide to Reykjavik
Reykjavik is one cultured place. From its myriad museums and public artworks (like the Sun Voyager) to its architectural highlights, this is a city with art and design in its DNA. During your next visit the Icelandic capital, get ready to admire paintings, sculptures, photos, and more: Here are Reykjavik's top artistic addresses.
National Museum of Iceland
The perfect destination for first-time visitors to Iceland, the National Museum of Iceland hosts temporary and permanent exhibitions devoted to the country’s long history. Included among the treasures on display are collection highlights such as the Valthjófsstaðdur door, which features medieval engravings, as well as pottery, photographs, and other objects.
National Gallery of Iceland
For a crash course in Icelandic art, make your way to the National Gallery of Iceland. The wide-ranging collection focuses primarily on Icelandic works from the 19th and 20th centuries (though some works by international artists are also displayed, including Edvard Munch, Pablo Picasso, and Richard Serra).
Reykjavik Art Museum
One of Iceland’s most important cultural stops, the Reykjavik Art Museum occupies three different locations in the Icelandic capital. Hafnarhús, situated in an old harbor warehouse, showcases modern and contemporary artists; Kjarvalsstaðir displays pieces by one of Iceland’s most celebrated painters and sculptors, Jóhannes S. Kjarval; and Ásmundarsafn is located in a modern, domed building where sculptor Ásmundur Sveinsson lived and worked.
Reykjavik Museum of Photography
If you’re passionate about photography, the Reykjavik Museum of Photography can keep you entertained for hours. Part of the Reykjavik City Museum—which includes other major stops such as the Arbaer Open Air Museum, the Settlement Exhibition, and the Maritime Museum—it showcases upwards of 5 million photos from 1870 to today.
Gerðarsafn–Kópavogur Art Museum
Located on the edge of Reykjavik proper, the boundary-pushing Gerðarsafn–Kópavogur Art Museum, named after sculptor Gerður Helgadóttir, features more than 1,400 of her works (and is the only Icelandic art museum named in honor of a female artist). Today, in addition to Helgadóttir’s works, it displays wide-ranging modern and contemporary art exhibitions.