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Monday, July 18 update: National Gallery, Tjörnin, and Hljómskálagarðurinn

On Monday, we visited the National Gallery of Iceland.

national gallery outside

That’s a sentence that shouldn’t really be possible. The National Gallery is closed on Mondays. It says so on a fairly permanent looking sign:

national gallery not really closed on mondays

But, they are open on Mondays in the summer, at least this summer. Trust the bold “open every day” in the summer (May 15th – September 15th) on the web site.

Admission, which you can see at the same link above, is 1500 krona for adults, and free for kids 17 and under. Interestingly, this admission price includes admission to two other museums: The Sigurjón Ólafsson Museum, a sculpture museum on the water, a little over a mile east of the Sun Voyager sculpture; and the Ásgrímur Jónsson Collection, a small art museum that is less than a 10 minute walk from the main National Gallery.

These other two museums are NOT open on Monday. But, happily, you don’t have to visit the other museums on the same day. You’ll get a ticket that will give you admission to the other museums whenever you want to go. This is different from the Reykjavik Art Museums; your admission there also gets you into two other Reykjavik Art Museums, but only on the same day. Here, you’ll get a ticket you can use for free admission any time to the other two sites:

national gallery 3 museums

Sadly, I can’t really recommend the National gallery for younger kids. There were a few interesting sights. One was on the lowest level, where you could step on the squares to change what was displayed on the walls:

national gallery step

And there was a Picasso sculpture of his wife which the subject herself donated to Iceland:

national gallery picasso

And there was a good assortment of very nice paintings, as you would expect from the National Gallery:

national gallery fisherman

But it didn’t hold our kids’ interests for very long. And the very first exhibit we walked into was somewhat disturbing … with skinned horses, distorted bodies, and more. I didn’t even take any pictures of it, but if you’re curious, you can see some samples on the museum’s home page, or the exhibit page.

The National Gallery is right on the large pond (lake?) Tjörnin. You can walk all the way around it, and we highly recommend this if the weather is nice.

Tjörnin overview

On the way, you’ll see a good assortment of geese and ducks, including the goose below who seemed to enjoy posing for a picture:

Tjörnin duck looking at me

You’ll also come across City Hall, which has a large relief map of Iceland inside:

city hall relief map

This was less of a hit with my kids than I had hoped. But they did like the outside of the City Hall building; it looks like it is floating on the water:

city hall flows into pond city hall outside

[Edited to add: The tourist information center is now located in City Hall, as of January 2017.]

On the side of Tjörnin opposite City Hall (only about a 5 minute walk) you will see a couple of sculpture areas. The first is on Tjörnin itself:

sculpture einar tjornin

(That’s City Hall in the background.) If you keep walking south past the bridge, you’ll immediately come to another park called Hljómskálagarðurinn. Again, note City Hall in the far background; all of this is very close together:

other park south tjornin

We didn’t make it that far, but at the far end of this park is a new sculpture garden. It just opened in June of 2014, and features the works of female Icelandic sculptors.


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Monday, July 18 update: National Gallery, Tjörnin, and Hljómskálagarðurinn was last modified: July 18th, 2017 by Eric