Located down the waterfront road from the Oddsson, where we were staying, is the Saga Museum. This small building contains the history of Iceland, which of course means Drew and I had to head in to take a look (and get warm). We really do have a love affair with museums. I hear travelers say meeting with the locals is the best way to get to know a country, and while I agree with the statement, sometimes that’s not always possible especially for introverts. In those cases, I always recommend heading to a museum!
I had previously read a little information on Saga Museum, however I wasn’t really prepared for the size. On any map of Reykjavik, the museum looks huge, however it’s a small building that takes around 35 – 45 minutes to walk through. Of course, this didn’t stop us as we love all museums (except art) and we happily paid the 2100kr (around $21 US) and hung up our coats to head into the warmth.
Saga Museum is open everyday from 10:00 – 18:00 and admission is 2100kr for adults and 800kr for children. You can have a guided tour and you will be issued an audio device that can play in 7 languages, (including German, English, Spanish, Swedish, French, Russian and Icelandic) and the recording takes a little over 30 minutes. Cameras and pictures are welcome, and a coat rack is provided so you don’t have to sweat your way through the museum.
The exhibits are recreations of important moments in the Icelandic history and offer insight into how people have lived in Iceland since the beginning as well as how people came to live in Iceland. Some of the exhibits are quite shocking (there was a lady with a sword in a ummm unique area…I won’t spoil that surprise for you!) The Icelandic figures were created from based on descriptions found in Viking sagas and are quite fascinating.
The museum building also has a small gift shop and a restaurant that serves traditional Icelandic cuisine, with a little modern twist. The menu looked interesting (grated lamb heart anyone?) we did not have a chance to try any of their food as we had to catch the shuttle back to the airport, however let us know in the comments if you have eaten there and recommend it.
So is the Saga Museum worth it? While 2100kr might seem like a lot, please realize Iceland is very expensive to start with. It’s definitely worth the walk through and it doesn’t take long to learn about the history of the beautiful country you are visiting.