On the southern end of Reykjavik, situated atop the 61 meter-tall Öskjuhlíð hill, you'll find a glass-domed building flanked and supported by 6 enormous, aluminum-covered storage tanks resembling something akin to Gene Roddenberry's dream house. Welcome to Perlan, or "The Pearl." This futuristic water storage facility/winter garden/exhibition space/recital hall/restaurant/viewing platform is the work of Ingimundur Sveinsson, although conceptually the idea dates back to renowned Icelandic painter Johannes Kjarval. With massive interior space and its own artificial "Great Geysir" outside, it's become one of Reykjavik's most important architectural landmarks since its unveiling in 1991.
So just what is there to do here? Well, first there's a sizable exposition area known as the Winter Garden that plays home to periodic galleries, markets and expositions throughout the year. Not bad. Then there's the rotating restaurant up top, although high end dining and even higher end price-tags aren't really our cup of tea. It may very well be that the best reason to visit this bizarre structure is the cost-free view afforded from its giant 360-degree exterior viewing platform, which enables visitors to look unobstructed over the capital, southwest Iceland, and the North Atlantic. If you've got a free afternoon, consider the short drive a worthwhile investment for some interesting architecture and beautiful vistas.