Open Air Museum - Things to Do, Reykjavik Iceland

Sign up for Kate's newsletter and receive a free travel photos e‑book.Subscribe


Best of Iceland – Open Air Museum

By  | 

On this trip to Iceland, I met Heather who is a solo traveler like me. I noticed her Nikon camera, and we struck up a conversation while we were on a bus tour searching for the Northern Lights. Well, we didn’t find the Northern Lights, but we discovered a travel buddy. We decided to go to breakfast the next day at Sandholt. At breakfast, we decided to go sightseeing in Reykjavik, and after a quick internet search, we decided to see the Open Air Museum.

Best of Iceland – Open Air Museum

At breakfast, we realized my bus pass paid for two people. Now this doesn’t sound like a big deal, but it was a tremendous gift because the buses in Reykjavik require exact change and we were both using credit cards. Heather looked up where the Open Air Museum was, and found we could take the local buses. Before we head out to locate the museum, we finished our sandwiches. Here is a sample of the delicious breakfast sandwiches.

How We Got to the Museum

Heather’s AirBnB, located in the heart of the city, made her theReykjavik travel expert. She knew where the bus terminal was and how to get around town. So off to the bus terminal we went. We walked around the terminal and found the number 15 bus.

It seemed like it was waiting for us. We asked for directions from the bus driver. Like most people in Iceland, the bus driver spoke excellent English and pointed us in the right direction. Finding the museum was very easy and straightforward.

We walked a few blocks because we just missed the number 5 bus which drops riders off at the Museum.

Best of Iceland - Open Air Museum

Buy Local

We were the only tourists at the Open Air Museum! Since the whole place is, our and our tour became a private tour. In the shop, we purchased a few gifts and our guided tour. I bought a CD of Icelandic music. It turned out that our guide’s friend made the CD – the music is lovely.

Our guide told us he had worked here for ten years. Since the country is similar to a socialist economy, everyone gets healthcare, education, with controlled housing and incomes.

In Iceland, there isn’t a lot of wealthy or poor and most people consider themselves middle class. Therefore, I think it’s important to support smaller and local business rather than big organizations.

Best of Iceland - Open Air Museum

On Our Private Tour

Heather likes being incognito – our guide is a very tall man

Open Air Museum

Best of Iceland - Open Air Museum

Best of Iceland - Open Air Museum

Best of Iceland - Open Air Museum

The Brides House

Best of Iceland - Open Air Museum

Inside the Church

Best of Iceland - Open Air Museum

Best of Iceland - Open Air Museum

Homes Built into the Earth

Best of Iceland - Open Air Museum

Best of Iceland - Open Air Museum


Best of Iceland - Open Air Museum Best of Iceland - Open Air Museum

Families Slept in the One Common Room

Best of Iceland - Open Air Museum

It’s hard to see, but there is a Christmas tree in the room – decorated with heather from the fields.
It is on the right side at the foot of the first bed on the right by the window.

Best of Iceland - Open Air Museum

Best of Iceland - Open Air Museum Best of Iceland - Open Air Museum

Best of Iceland - Open Air Museum

Best of Iceland - Open Air Museum Best of Iceland - Open Air Museum

Best of Iceland - Open Air Museum

Early Indoor Plumbing

Best of Iceland - Open Air Museum

Best of Iceland - Open Air Museum

From my point of view, this was an amazingly perfect time. We had the whole village to ourselves. Honestly, going off-season to Iceland in December has some strong reasons for traveling there during the off-season.

My top three reasons for travel off-season are:

1. fewer tourist

2. a more authentic Icelandic cultural experience

3. see the fantastic elements of nature that make Iceland unique.

We took tons of pictures, asked all the questions we had, and took as long as we wanted at each location. Best of all, we spent a lot of time inside the buildings and out of the rain. But, when we walked through the village, we appreciated the stamina that early Iceland settlers had to live in this part of the world successfully.

Interesting note and facts: The history of Iceland is incredible. What amazed us is how closely related everyone is on this island. Also – how the culture is flexible, tolerant and patient compared to the USA rat race. I think the people who visit Iceland are pretty special too. They are ‘outdoor folks’ who love nature. If you are one of those people, you will love Iceland like Heather and I do!

If you like history and want a break from the hiking you will do in Iceland, stop by the Open Air Museum for a relaxing day. Do you like art? The Reykjavik Art Museum is pretty cool. How about Natural History – there is a great Icelandic natural history museum too. There are a lot of places to go to get away from the weather. But, get out there in the natural environment and enjoy the view in Iceland.

You might like to read – Iceland Birthday Bash

Our Jim’s Frugal Iceland

Copyright © 2020 Capetown-Rio, Inc. USA. All rights reserved. Republishing is allowed only with written permission. All photography rights on this page belong to Capetown-Rio, Inc. and the author. Do you have a question, business proposal, or speaking opportunity? Please contact me here.

Kate started traveling for work. Now with grown children, who are travelers, she travels for pleasure looking for great travel experiences. Currently, her home is in Bellevue, WA, and lives with her cat Angelina Jolie. She has a Bachelor's of Fine Arts, Studio Arts and Art History from the University of Colorado, an MBA and Master of Arts, Management. Her favorite things are exploring new cultures, traveling the world, creating a painting and sour or spicy foods.


  1. Jim

    December 24, 2016 at 9:31 am

    I heard the same thing when I was there–everybody knows everybody! I wish you could have gotten some northern lights pics!? Always enjoy reading your articles Kate!

    • Kate

      December 24, 2016 at 11:44 am

      Stay tuned – you and Heather can make the call… more to come! You will have to wait for the next post.

  2. Heather

    December 23, 2016 at 6:37 pm

    What a fun day that was! So glad to have met you!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.