Although the first thing that attracts attention is its glass dome, the most interesting part of the Perlan Museum is its exhibition on the Wonders of Iceland, its Planetarium and its panoramic viewpoint.
Perlan opened its doors in the summer of 1991 as one of the great architectural landmarks of Reykjavik: a group of converted hot water tanks topped with an enormous glass dome that gives the museum its name "The Pearl". Since then, it has become an unmissable visit for anyone wanting to know more about the wonders of Icelandic nature from geysers and volcanoes to glaciers and waterfalls.
Wonders of Iceland
The Wonders of Iceland exhibition helps visitors understand the origins and development of Iceland's geography and its most striking features in an entertaining and educational way. Through thrilling videos, interactive panels and even scale recreations of Icelandic scenery, you can learn why the island has such great volcanic activity, how hot springs like the Secret Lagoon came to be formed and why puffins live on the cliffs of Látrabjarg.
One of the most striking aspects of the Perlan Museum is the Ice Cave. Visitors can experience what it's like to be inside a glacial cave: its shape, sounds and even its temperature, reaching -15 °C (-5ºF), are a perfect recreation!
A visit to the Wonders of Iceland exhibition at Perlan is highly recommended to all on any trip to Reykjavik, as it'll allow you a deeper appreciation of Iceland's incredible nature.
The Perlan Planetarium allows visitors to learn all about the Northern Lights in Iceland in a fully immersive way. A state-of-the-art 8k projection takes you on a visual journey through the landscapes of Iceland in their aurora borealis-illuminated splendour.
While seeing the Northern Lights in person is an unparalleled experience, if you're travelling to Reykjavik in summer and won't be able to see the natural version, this one-of-a-kind planetarium makes for a good substitute.
Panoramic Observation Deck
Perlan Museum is also home to an observation deck located in its glass dome. Thanks to the building's privileged location on Öskjuhlíð Hill, the viewpoint offers spectacular panoramic views of Reykjavik, almost rivalling that of the Hallgrímskirkja Tower. Walking around the Perlan dome, you'll enjoy 360-degree views of the Icelandic capital and its surroundings - you can even see the Blue Lagoon and Keflavik Airport when the weather's good!
How to get to Perlan Museum?
There are a couple of different ways to get to the Perlan Museum. If you're renting a car during your trip, the most convenient option is to drive there from your hotel or the centre of Reykjavik, which is less than a 10-minute drive away.
Alternatively, if you prefer to use public transport, bus number 18 will take you to the bottom of Öskjuhlíð Hill, where the Perlan Museum is located. Or, you can go on foot: it's around half an hour's walk from Laugavegur in the city centre.
Wonders of Iceland: daily 9 am to 10 pm (last admission 9 pm).
Planetarium: daily 9 am to 9 pm.
Full admission to the Perlan Museum
Adults: 4,690 kr (US$ 33.30)
Children from 6 to 16 years old: 2,690 kr (US$ 19.10)
Children under 6: free entry
Perlan Museum Ticket 4,990 kr (US$ 35.40)
Bus: line 18.