This unusual glass-domed structure combines the practical aspects of the city’s water heating system with spectacular architectural vision.
In the early 1990s, the architect Ingimundur Sveinsson created an exciting tourist attraction by resting a glass and metal dome on top of the city’s six hot water tanks. The structure includes a huge exhibition space, a revolving restaurant and a 360-degree viewing platform.
Five of the six aluminum tanks still contain the city’s hot water, with over 1 million gallons (4 million liters) of water in each one. Hot water is pumped through the metal framework of the dome in the winter to keep the building warm, while cold water cools it in the summer. It is an incredible feat of engineering.
Within the dome is the Winter Garden, a large open space used for exhibitions, conferences and concerts. Go to the fifth floor to find the famous Perlan restaurant. Book a table here to combine fine dining with ever-changing views; it takes 2 hours to do a full rotation. From the ground floor a fountain spouts water every few minutes, simulating Iceland’s geysers.
Don’t miss the hexagonal outdoor viewing platform with a panoramic telescope at each of its six corners. After taking in the spectacular views, check out the gift, gourmet and Christmas shops on the fourth floor.
One of the tanks has been converted into the Saga Museum. Important moments from Icelandic history have been recreated using life-sized waxwork people. All the clothing, weapons and props have been made using authentic methods. The sculptors modeled the waxworks on Reykjavík residents, so you may see familiar faces when you walk around the city streets.
Perlan is located in Öskjuhlíð, a green space that has been replanted with trees. Explore the hiking and bike trails or take the path down the hill to Nauthólsvík Geothermal Beach.
Perlan and the Saga Museum are open year-round. There is an entry fee for the Saga Museum. To reach these attractions, walk the short distance from the city center or take a bus.