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12 Unique Icelandic Museums You Must Visit

por: Cityseeker
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Iceland and its vast, soul-stirring landscapes offer more than just displays of natural beauty. The country is home to a range of unusual museums that run the gamut from small yet interesting collections, to full-fledged museums with awe-inspiring displays, such as the Whale Museum. From Flateyri's local gems, to incisive exhibits at Reykjavík, each museum is distinct; yet, what binds them together is their solid connection to the nation's culture, spirit and legends. 


Nonsense Museum

Located in the serene village of Flateyri, the Nonsense Museum specializes in showcasing a variety of quirky and funky objects intended to delight all those who visit. And with its array of weird yet fascinating collections, this museum manages to do just that! The unique ensemble here consists of police caps, bottles, teaspoons, match-boxes and even sugar cubes.

Flateyri, Islândia
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The Museum of Icelandic Sorcery and Witchcraft

The Museum of Icelandic Sorcery and Witchcraft, an unusual repository of the dark arts in Hólmavík, carries the traces of occult and Wiccan practices from the early years of Iceland's history. Many of the museum's exhibits allude to events from the 17th Century, when Iceland was riddled with male sorcerers. Prominent among the collection is a diverse selection of rune carvings on wood, skulls, and magical staves. There is also an exhibit of a hooded skeleton, a pitch-black raven, and a Viking-era stone used in rituals that was found in the Goðdalur valley. The strangest exhibit however is 'necropants', unique trousers that when worn and used as part of a spell, were believed to make one rich. Together, the collection of exhibits offer a thrilling insight into Iceland's witchcraft history.

Hólmavík, Islândia
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Petra's Stone Collection

This fascinating museum features an exhibition on an array of rocks and minerals, painstakingly collected by the owner of the house they are showcased in. Petra's Stone Collection invites interested visitors to examine the various pieces on display while also testifying to the naturalist's love of exploration and her dedication to expanding her repository. While the colorful collection is certainly the highlight of the museum, the quaint house in itself is a delight to explore.

Stöðvarfjörður, Islândia
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Icelandic Phallological Museum

The Icelandic Phallological Museum is one unique museum with a large variety of phallic specimens that also include almost all types of mammal specimens. With more than 200 specimens and 93 animal species that range from mice to whales, this museum features fascinating exhibits and makes for an interesting visit.

Reykjavik, Islândia
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Sigurgeir's Bird Museum

Inaugurated in 2008, Sigurgeir's Bird Museum features a variety of bird specimens pertaining to the country, and offers visitors the chance to learn about their characteristics and habitats. Owing to the museum's idyllic location along the shores of the picturesque Myvatn, it is possible to study several birds in their natural surroundings in order to gain deeper insights. Informative and engaging exhibits facilitate learning and understanding, and the museum's serene premises make for an educational and fun visit.

Reykjahlíð, Islândia
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The Icelandic Punk Museum

Few people are aware of Reykjavik's connection with punk in the 70s (through the 90s); a connection so strong that it deserved to have its own little museum. Housed within a former underground public toilet in the city, this museum was inaugurated by none other than lead singer of British punk band the Sex Pistols, Johnny Rotten. It narrates stories of these eventful decades through a series of interesting memorabilia, from instruments to old photographs and posters. Visitors can also listen to punk classics through old-timey, pull-down headphones.

Reykjavik, Islândia
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The Library of Water

That a unique library capturing the essence of Iceland's famed landscapes, weather, and waters should sit facing a stunning vista of Stykkishólmur's seas seems like poetic harmony. Vatnasafn, or the Library of Waters, is perched atop a ridge overlooking the harbor. Within its glass-walled windows, the library holds distinct representations of the nation's geography that are equal parts enchanting and informative. While one area sounds audio clips and reports of Iceland's weather, the rubber-laden floor of the library is engraved with Anglo-Icelandic words used to describe the same. However, the most evocative feature at the library is the collection of 24 tall glass capsules that hold the waters of Iceland's glaciers. These giant test tubes with preciously clear waters stand as a cohesive unit, hinting at preservation.

Stykkishólmur, Islândia
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The Ghost Centre

The Ghost Centre is a unique and one of its kind exhibition that is sure to make your trip to the city memorable. The museum offers an audio guided tour across its exhibits that tell scary tales of Icelandic legends and history. The third floor of the center is specifically dedicated to the intriguing ghost legends of Iceland, thus definitely cannot be missed.

Stokkseyri, Islândia
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Transportation Museum at Ystafell

The Transportation Museum at Ystafell is a unique museum that gives you information about and historical insights into different modes of transportation. On display are several pictures and working models of cars, tractors and other vehicles. A must go for car lovers, because this museum has one of the finest collections of cars.

Húsavík, Islândia
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Whales of Iceland

Immerse yourself in the world of whales at this fascinating museum which offers a plethora of information regarding the majestic creatures. Life-size models will welcome you as you step into the space specifically designed to evoke a sensation of being submerged underwater. Put on a pair of goggles and engage in some virtual reality fun, or walk around the expansive exhibition hall to admire the models on display. You can also make a pit stop at the on-site cafe or browse through funky souvenirs at the shop located within the premises.

Reykjavik, Islândia
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The Old Bookstore

This remarkable bookshop dates back decades and is regarded as the oldest of its kind in the country. Featuring an extensive selection of books and other memorabilia, the time-honored Bræðurnir Eyjólfsson as it is locally known, allows for quiet ruminations and thoughtful meditation within its serene confines, its old-world charm accentuated by its quaint interior. Visitors can also gain insights into local history through the historical exhibit showcased here.

Flateyri, Islândia
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Toy Museum at Friðbjarnarhús

Situated in a house dating from the 19th century, this wonderful museum delights children and adults alike with its toy exhibition. Children will revel in the array of toys on display while adults can take a trip down memory lane with nostalgic reminiscences evoked by the presence of cars and dolls perhaps not unlike the ones from their own childhood. Many of these toys were formerly a part of Guðbjörg Ringsted's collection.

Akureyri, Islândia
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