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Reykjavik, Iceland

Whales of Iceland

The largest whale museum in Europe allows visitors to walk among life-size giants. 

Iceland has a rich history with the giants of the sea, and while visitors to the country can sign up for a variety of whale watching tours, the only way to really take in the full scope and beauty of the country’s whales is in the massive Whales of Iceland museum, which may be the largest of its kind in the world. 

Opened in February of 2014, the huge exhibition is designed to recreate a stroll through a peaceful underwater wonderland right alongside life-size replicas of some of the largest animals on the planet (that we know of). In fact there are 23 foam and steel giants hanging from the walls and ceilings of the museum, each depicted in an accurate-as-possible 1:1 scale.

The collection includes a variety of species including oversized dolphins such as the Beluga whale and the Orca, as well as massive baleen varieties such as Bowhead, Humpback, and Blue whales. Each specimen is bathed in a haunting blue light and aquatic sounds that sells the sensationalized illusion of seeing the beasts in their natural habitat. Each of the peaceful animals is accompanied by an information stand that gives visitors information about what makes each species unique.

The Whales of Iceland exhibition was explicitly created to cater to the growing tourist population in Reykjavik but it is also devoted to educating visitors about the country’s conservation efforts, hoping to escape their image as a whaling nation. If getting up close to the fake titans is still not enough whale, the museum also partners with local whale-watching tours that can take you out to see a little bit of the real thing.       

Know Before You Go

Free parking and complementary tea and coffee. However in 2017 the admission price was ISK2900.

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