Perlan wonders of Iceland is an exhibition including a bird cliff, a real ice cave, Iceland's glacier exhibition and icelandic nature in general. Reykjavik is the northernmost capital in the world but is fortunately blessed with hot springs which provide heating and electricity. The hot water tanks on which Perlan is built were in full use storing geothermal water up until the late 1980´s when after a few boreholes had been created in various parts of the city which made them mostly obsolete. Instead of tearing them down it was decided to build the glass dome and an observation deck since there is a great view of Reykjavík City from on top of the tanks. The glass dome also opened a restaurant and a café, as well as a gift shop making it a must for any visitor to the city.
Perlan is one of the most instantly recognisable landmarks in Reykjavík along with Hallgrímskirkja lutheran church, Harpa Concert Hall and The Sun Voyager. Whatever day tours you might be doing and whether you are doing a full tour of the city or not then Perlan is a really great stop. There is free entry to the building itself although there is an admission to the exhibitions and the observation deck. During high seasons in Iceland such as some of the music festivals and the northern lights peak time in mid-winter it is worth checking how busy it is and remember that in Reykjavik pretty much every single neighbourhood has a lovely geothermal swimming pool where there is always time to soak and get to know a few locals.
The area around Perlan is also of historic importance since to west between the hill on which it is built and the domestic airport was the location were a large portion of the troops stationed in Iceland during World War II stayed and the army barracks stood for quite a few years after the war. The importance of the allied forces coming to Iceland during the war can not be underestimated. Just the amount infrastructure that was accomplished during that time is what helped Reykjavík develop into a modern city. Road construction went on all through the war and both the domestic airport as well as the international airport were built during that time. Foundations that proved to be of immense value to Reykjavík and Iceland in general.
The panoramic view from Perlan is absolutely fantastic. The Reykjanes peninsula to the south west with the international airport and The Blue Lagoon. To the North West there is Snæfsellsnes peninsula with Snæfellsjökull volcano at its end that Jules Verne used as the gateway to central earth in his novel Journey to the Center of the Earth. Also to the north lies Mount Esja and to the east towards the south coast and Golden Circle is Hellisheiði pass with one the biggest Geothermal Power Plants in Iceland easy to spot due to the great columns of steam rising from it.