Live From Iceland!

Tuesday, July 26 update: Keflavik Museums: Viking World, Rock ‘n’ Roll, Duushús

In our post about things to do around Keflavik Airport, we mention a lot of museums. We’ve been to the ones in Garður and Sandgerði, but today it was time to cover all the rest.

Starting with … Viking World. Viking World, like everything else in this post, is only about 10 minutes from the airport. But unlike everything else, Viking World opens up at 7 AM most of the year; the early opening is from February through October. That makes them a good option if your flight arrives in Iceland early in the morning. And, they offer a completely unadvertised breakfast special that could make this a very inexpensive visit.

viking world outside

Admission to the museum is 1500 krona for adults, and free for kids 14 and under. You can save 10% if you book online, which may not be worth it for the flexibility you lose. But the breakfast specials, available from 7 AM – 9 AM, cost 1800 krona and include free admission:

viking world breakfast

Only people in your party 15 and older would have to purchase these breakfasts (you can get parts of the meals a la carte as well, for you or the kids), and the whole family can get admission to the museum.

The main feature of Viking World is the replica Viking ship that dominates the building:

viking world viking ship

Head upstairs and you can get on the boat.

viking world viking ship inside

Also upstairs is an exhibit called “Fate of the Gods;” ask for your audio guide when you buy your admission tickets– or go back for them once you’ve had your fill of the Viking Boat. The audio guide is included with admission.

viking world fate of the gods entrance

The audio is about 22 minutes, and tells stories from Norse mythology. The controls on the audio player are confusing, and there are audio files in 4 different languages. If you want English, make sure the file name displayed on the player ends in “ENG”.

There are a few small exhibits downstairs, and a few computers with activities. But if the boat and the mythology part don’t interest you, there isn’t much left. If you’re here in time for breakfast, you can’t go wrong. Otherwise, you’ll have to decide whether you want to spend your money and time here, or elsewhere.

A few minutes down the road is the Icelandic Museum of Rock ‘N’ Roll.

rock n roll outside

To be honest, I very nearly skipped this one. I imagined a museum with a detailed history of rock music in Iceland, with information about a lot of singers and bands I had never heard of. And, there is a fair bit of that:

rock n roll history part

But there are also several very impressive music stations where your kids, or you, can play music, or sing, or both. There’s an electronic drum set, as well as an electric guitar section:

rock n roll history guitars

Just walk in, pick up a guitar, put on the headphones, and start playing. There’s also a sound mixer station, where kids can take a song and tweak the volume of different tracks to create their own sound.

rock n roll history mixer

And all of us spent a significant amount of time in the soundproof karaoke booth, where you can record yourself and e-mail the resulting song to yourself. I imagine this being a big draw, and if the museum is crowded, there may be a long wait. But since it was nearly empty while we were there, we all had our fill of karaoke.

rock-n-roll-museum-karaoke

Admission costs about the same as the Viking Museum, except the age cutoff is slightly more in your favor: 1500 for adults 17 and older, and free for kids 16 and under. If you’re not in town in time for breakfast, or music is more your style than Vikings and mythology, The Rock ‘N’ Roll museum is a surprisingly good option. And you’ll probably get your fill of Vikings over the rest of your vacation …

Continuing up the road toward downtown Keflavik, you pass by lots of restaurant options. It seems like almost all of the restaurants in town are on Hafnargata Street; this is the same street the Rock ‘N’ roll Museum is on, though its name is Njarðarbraut down there. We settled on Fernando’s Pizza; you can see their extensive menu right on their home page.

Everyone enjoyed their pizza; the kid’s pizza cost 1450 krona, and includes a small ice cream bar for dessert. The more adventurous eaters in the family can choose from a variety of toppings. Here is the Parmesan Garden pizza (minus the peppers); the larger size of this pizza is 2595 krona, or about $21.50.

fernandos pizza

That’s not cheap for a 12″ pizza, but we all thought the pizzas were excellent. And you can get a 12″ plain cheese for 1650 krona, or under $14.


Keep going, and you’ll reach the end of the road. The Duushús museum complex is here, and we’ll get there soon. But first, you’re going to find a surprising number of interesting things to do and see outside. First you have a sculpture by Ásmundur Sveinsson. If we learned anything at the Ásmundur Sveinsson museum in Reykjavik, it’s that kids are allowed to climb on his large sculptures. This one is huge– climb away!

keflavik asmunder sculpture

If you can pull your kids away from the sculpture, note that you can see some other things in the background to the right. There’s a boat you can climb on, and a few monuments and sculptures you’ll find along the way. But see that tiny house way off on the far right side? Here’s a closer look:giantess outside

That’s the house of the Giantess in the Mountain. Feel free to skip any and all of the museums; just let the kids climb on the sculpture, and check this place out. I can’t do it justice with pictures, but there is a Giant who lives in there. She makes snoring noises (and if you wait around for a while, other noises too …)

giantess

She’s huge– 8-10 feet tall, sitting down? And you can see her huge bed.

giantess bed

And her pacifier tree. I think this is a place you can wean your kid from their pacifier? The giantess is based on a series of Icelandic children’s books. If you’re nearby, don’t miss this.

Once we pulled ourselves away from all of the free stuff outside, we headed to the Duushús museum complex. Here, you pay 1 admission price for access to three different museums. Admission is 1500 krona for adults, but free for kids 18 and under. And, if you visited the Rock ‘N’ Roll museum on the same day, adults will only pay 1200 krona to get in here.

The three museums are a Maritime Museum:

duus boats

An art museum (no pictures allowed!), and a heritage museum.

duus heritage museum

There’s also a Geopark Visitor’s Center with a small exhibition, but you don’t have to pay to see that:

geopark visitors center

Given that you get to see 3 museums for one price, it isn’t a bad deal. But with so many things to see within walking distance that are free, you may choose to skip this one.

Sharing a building with Duushús is the restaurant Kaffi Duus. They have a fairly extensive children’s menu if you’re here for lunch or dinner:

kafi duus kids menu 1 kafi duus kids menu 2

But we were just here for a snack. And they offer a nice selection of desserts in the display case:

kafi duus cakes

For 950 krona, this chocolate caramel cake seemed fairly priced for Iceland:

kafi duus cake yum

That covers almost all of your options in Keflavik. (We did miss the fire museum, but I think that’s it!) All of these things are 10 minutes from the airport, and can make for a solid start or end to your trip. Check out the Giantess!


Thanks for looking at our live updates. For help with planning your Iceland vacation, check out our main page: www.icelandwithkids.com. Or see other live updates here. Thanks for reading!

Or, take a minute to sign up for our e-mail list. We'll send rare e-mails with curated content about traveling to Iceland. And, you'll get a chance to receive a preview copy of our book! We will not share your information.

                           

You can also join us in our new forum, and ask us any questions you may have!
Tuesday, July 26 update: Keflavik Museums: Viking World, Rock ‘n’ Roll, Duushús was last modified: January 11th, 2017 by Eric