Reykjavík's Perlan: Experience the Wonders of Iceland
When we were first in Iceland in 2016, the Perlan unfortunately didn’t make the cut in our itinerary. However during this last trip, we knew we had to make time to “experience the wonders of Iceland.”
After over-nighting from Detroit to Keflavík, we headed to downtown Reykjavík. After checking in at our Airbnb, we drove up to the Perlan which sits beautifully atop a hill overlooking Reykjavík and the sea.
Perlan is one of the main landmarks of the capital city of Iceland and is situated on the hill Öskjuhlíð, where there had been hot water storage tanks for decades. These tanks are now hosts exhibitions on the Wonders of Iceland, which includes an augmented reality experience of Látrabjarg Cliff, a virtual aquarium, an exhibit on the geological forces of nature responsible for much of Iceland’s geography and a man-made ice cave, claimed to be the first of its kind in the world.
Honestly Perlan might be one of the most engaging, high tech, and interactive museum experiences either one of have ever had… and Marc works in a museum! It definitely needs to be at the top of your Reykjavik list of things to do.
Forces of Nature
Perlan’s Forces of Nature exhibit is an amazing display of how volcanoes, tectonic plates, earthquakes, and geothermal have formed the Iceland we love today. Did you know the island has 30 active volcanic systems? There’s lots to learn and see here, especially if you’re into science and geology!
Glaciers and Ice Cave
As a prep for our later trip to an ice cave at Mýrdalsjökull, we headed into the man made ice cave that call Perlan home. The ice cave is said to be the first of its kind in the world. It is 100 meters long, built with over 350 tons of snow from the Blue Mountains. Is it cold? Yes. On your way in, staff strongly recommends you grab one of their loaner coats… and it’s probably a good idea.
After exiting the cave where it is warm again, you enter into the glaciers exhibit, which is an amazingly high tech experience for a museum. Your surrounded by all sides by an interactive display that responds to you as you move about the space—simply lift your hand in front of you while facing the display and you’re now in control of the content displaying in front of you. This dramatic interactive exhibition provides insight into Icelandic glaciers, their bleak future and the effects of global warming. Guests learn about Iceland’s glaciers, their effect on the land and what will happen if, or when, they disappear.
Hands down the best view in Reykjavík. The observation deck is situated on the fourth floor of the museum, giving 360°view of Reykjavík and the harbor. The deck is open to the public, without a museum ticket, for a fee of ISK 490. However the view is included with a museum ticket.
Eat, Drink & Shop
Also on the fourth floor is a Rammagerðin gift shop, Út í Bláinn restaurant, and Kaffitár cafe all with glorious views over downtown.
Before we experienced Perlan, we were mostly looking forward to the views of the observation deck and having fun in the ice cave, but we left a lot more educated on Iceland and with a serious appreciation for the designers who developed these amazing exhibitions!