Perlan & the Saga Museum

Perlan & the Saga Museum information

Reykjavík , Iceland
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Opening hours
10am-10pm, cafe to 9pm
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Looking like half of Barbarella’s bra, Perlan is a complex based around the huge hot-water tanks on Öskjuhlíð hill. It’s about 2km from the city centre (take bus 18 from Hlemmur).

The main attraction is the endearingly bloodthirsty Saga Museum , where Icelandic history is brought to life by eerie silicon models and a soundtrack of thudding axes and hair-raising screams. Don’t be surprised if you see some of the characters wandering around town, as moulds were taken from Reykjavík residents (the museum’s owner is Ingólfur Arnarson, and his daughters are the Irish princess and the little slave gnawing a fish!).

The hexagonal viewing deck offers a tremendous 360-degree panorama of Reykjavík and the mountains; multilingual recordings explain the scenery. There’s a busy cafe on the same level, so if it’s brass-monkey weather, you can admire the same beautiful views over coffee and crêpes. The mirrored dome on top of the tanks contains the like-named Perlan, a fine dining venue in the evenings.

Two artificial geysers will keep small children absolutely enthralled; the one inside blasts off every few minutes, while the outside geyser comes on in the afternoon. There are numerous walking and cycling trails on the hillside, including a path to Nauthólsvík hot beach.