Views from Perlan

I’ll be honest here. Although Perlan (“the Pearl”) is often listed as a top tourist attraction in Reykjavik, I’m not a huge fan of the place. For those of you who don’t know, the structure is an odd mix of hot water tanks with an exhibition area, Saga Museum, an overpriced revolving restaurant and a geysir outside. Possibly the only place in the world where you can find all of these things in one place…

Somehow I made it look pretty in this picture! It’s not.

What I DO like about it is that is on top of a hill and therefore has great panoramic views of Reykjavík. There is a free viewing gallery and reasonable cafe.

The photos below are a good example of Icelandic weather. They are all taken on the same day. One morning, I was determined to go to the beach at Nauthólsvik. The weather was pretty rainy but this was the only time I was going to have free to do it so I went, via Perlan to see what the view was like.

The beach is over there somewhere

The domestic airport – I always think I’m going to see something interesting happening there – not today

Why yes, that IS one of the largest landmarks in the city looking a little fuzzy

You get the idea. No matter how good your vantage point is, when the weather is like this you don’t see anything.

I give you below a gallery to feast your eyes on – this is from the same viewpoint a few hours later as I passed back through. The sun seemed to shine only in very particular spots. Changeable weather is part of the fun in Iceland!

Perlan – love it or loathe it? Does the weather influence what you do when you’re away or do you go ahead with all plans rain or shine?


25 thoughts on “Views from Perlan

  1. I am with you, I often wonder why Perlan is such a tourist attraction other than for the great view. Sometime the weather in Iceland does rule what you do for the day. In the north we have just had our third blizzard in 3 weeks…soooo much snow.

    • I know! It gets heavily promoted, presumably because of the expensive restaurant. As a visitor, the fact that the weather is usually doing something interesting is fun (and really makes you appreciate the times when it isn’t doing much) but I can imagine as a resident it can get annoying sometimes.

  2. Perlan is OK, kind of pretty when the sun shines on it, it’s another weird thing you’d only see in Iceland. It can be striking in black and white photographs. Good place to spend a couple of hours, walking to it from the city is more interesting than driving to it. The surrounding area is also good for a nice walk.

    • I think that’s it, it’s weird, I’m not sure Icelanders appreciate how weird it is! I do like the walking paths around, although they are the only place I’ve really seen litter in Iceland. And of course you get to plane spot at my favourite airport from up there.

  3. Unlike you I kind of like Perlan, but I guess I see it in a different way. Architectural wise it’s a very interesting building, and that’s why I like it. Then the view is of course very nice and unlike Hallgrímskirkja, it’s for free! 😉

    • Yes, I think they should use the free view as a selling point, much more impressive than just another restaurant, but of course doesn’t make any money. Actually I am surprised at how many Icelanders are always there for an exhibition or a walk.

  4. I didn’t go to Perlan, for all the reasons you give, though do (slightly) regret not having had that panoramic view. I’d much rather be out on the land or suddenly seeing something unexpected around a corner or down an alley while hoofing around downtown. But your photographs, and your sequencing of those photos, are really interesting.

  5. I agree with you on Perlan, though the first photo in your post definitely makes it look pretty spectacular! 🙂 We ended up trekking out there and and from there discovered a path to Háteigskirkja church so that made it worth the trip! But yes, I wouldn’t put at top of my ‘must sees’ in Iceland!

  6. My Icelandic relative Jóhanna took me to Perlan. The view is nice (although not as lovely as the view from Hallgrímskirkja), but I agree that it’s totally overrated. Still, it’s always satisfying to be able to say, “Oh yes, I’ve been there!” 🙂

  7. Pingback: 10 free things to do in Reykjavík | I'd Rather Be In Iceland

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