Lonely Planet Writer

Reykjavik visitors can now have an ice cave experience without leaving the city

Visitors to a major new exhibition on glaciers in Reykjavík can walk through a simulated ice cave, reports MBL. The exhibition features multimedia exhibits, images and interactive displays. But the star of the show is an ice tunnel and cave whose temperature, light and sound are designed to mimic the conditions in a real cave within a glacier. Bright, shimmering sections of ice contrast with darker sections, and a panoramic display gives a sense of the wintry landscape.

The Perlan mirrored dome in Reykjavik
Perlan dome Reykjavik. Image by Patricia Hamilton/Getty Images

The exhibition is being held at Perlan (‘the Pearl’), a mirrored dome 2km from central Reykjavík on Öskjuhlíð hill. The landmark building contains geothermal water tanks as well as a wrap-around viewing deck, a cafe, several shops and a restaurant. Telescopes help visitors examine the surrounding city and mountains.

The exhibition has been put together by the Icelandic Museum of Natural History. The Icelandic Natural History Society was founded at the end of the 19th century, but the Museum of Natural History has not had a permanent exhibition space since it was officially founded in 2007. The museum’s use of Perlan’s display spaces has raised hopes that it could one day be home to the museum, which is one of three public central museums alongside The National Museum of Iceland and The National Gallery of Iceland .

Reykjavik's Pearl museum
Reykjavik Iceland’s Pearl museum and Perlan gallery. Image by Education Images/UIG/Getty Images.

A vast cave was dug into Langjökull glacier, in West Iceland, in 2015. It has proved a hugely popular attraction. But alongside the country’s many volcanoes, glaciers, waterfalls and fjords, there are several indoor displays for visitors interested in Icelandic natural history. The simulated ice cave joins exhibitions including the new LAVA centre, the Whales of Iceland museum and natural history museums in Kópavogur.