Culture in Iceland is reflected in the many museums, art galleries, music venues and active libraries all over the country. If you are interested in exploring culture in Reykjavik & Iceland, this is the page for you .

Icelandic Literature

The culture of Iceland goes back to the Vikings whose lives were recorded in the sagas of Iceland, one of the most popular being Grettir’s Saga. The Icelandic sagas are an interesting read for all those that are fascinated by our history and old culture in Iceland.

Literacy in Iceland is at 99,9%, taking 3rd place in the world,  so it’s no surprise that reading is a popular cultural activity. Iceland has award-winning writers, such as the Nobel prize winner, Halldór Laxness, who is widely read in Iceland and worldwide. Other Icelandic writers on the international bookshelf are mystery novelists Yrsa Sigurðadóttir and Arnaldur Indriðason as well as poet and novelist, Sjón whose works are translated into several different languages. The traditional Christmas gift in Iceland is a book from the vast collection of publications published for the Christmas season.

Icelandic Music

The music scene in Iceland is vibrant and varied and has a few international stars to its name. Björk and Sigurós are world famous, putting Icelandic music onto the global map. Other musicians such as Kaleo, Ásgeir Trausti, Emiliana Torrini, Of Monsters and Men and Mugison have also travelled the world with their Icelandic beats. You can enjoy more Icelandic bands and Icelandic music culture at various festivals in Iceland, such as Reykjavík Blues in March, Reykjavík Jazz in September and Iceland Airwaves in November to name but a few. Click here for information on more festivals in Iceland.

Museums & Art Galleries

If you are interested in Icelandic Art, then head for the many galleries in the city centre, such as the National Gallery of Iceland or the Reykjavík Art Museum.  The Reykjavík Art Festival in May is a celebration of various art forms making up the art culture in Iceland.

The Icelandic love for all things new can be seen in the interesting architecture of buildings such as Harpa Concert Hall, used by symphonic orchestras and rock bands alike and the Perlan museum with its unique exhibition of glaciers or the City Hall on the edge of the city pond.  Unusual museums such as the Whale Museum, the Penis Museum and the Icelandic Museum of Rock ‘n Roll are unique to Iceland and well worth a visit.

Culture in the Countryside

Rural Iceland has its own form of art and culture.  Wherever you go in the countryside, there will be some museum or gallery celebrating the culture of the area. Museums showing the history and lifestyle of the Icelandic farming/fishing society take on a more personal feel as they are usually private collections of people in the area. A good example is the Wilderness Centre near Egilsstaðir or Maritime Museum in Bolungarvík.

But you can also experience ultra-modern virtual reality displays of earthquakes and volcanic eruptions at the Lava Centre in Hvolsvöllur or learn about the sea monsters of Iceland in Bildudalur in the West fjords.  Art and handcrafts are also found in the many towns of the Icelandic countryside where talents often go undiscovered. In east Iceland, the art festival LungA attracts young artistic talent from all over the world.  Handcraft galleries are a feature of many small villages dotted around the country where, in each woollen jumper or carved wooden figurine, you will realize the ethic of hard work that Icelanders have.

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