The coastal city of Reykjavik and the capital of Island warmly welcomes all the visitors and especially families with kids. Besides numerous attractions, visitors can spend an energetic vacation and experience different activities like whale watching, caving, hiking, and many others.
PLACES TO VISIT
Hallgrimskirkja, a Lutheran parish church in Reykjavík, is a modern Cathedral with an unusual 73m-high tower inspired by Icelandic tradition. It was constructed in 1896, and it is among the tallest structures in the country and the largest church in Iceland. It was named after Hallgrímur Pétursson, an Icelandic poet and clergyman.
Harpa Concert Hall and Conference Center is an outstanding modern concert and meeting hall. Its honeycomb-like surface is home to the national opera and symphony orchestra.
Sun Voyager is a massive stainless-steel boat sculpture beside the sea on the granite base constructed in 1990. It depicts a dreamboat or an ode to the Sun. It is devoted to a dream of hope, progress, and freedom.
Saga Museum is a Viking Museum that shows the early history of the Island and its important moments. There, history is brought to life in a unique and exciting way, with life-like wax figurines. An audio-guide is available for visitors.
Laugavegur, one of the oldest shopping streets meaning wash road (it used to lead to the hot springs where women once washed laundry), is today well known for its boutiques, restaurants, and bars.
REYKJAVIK FOR FAMILIES
There are so many exciting things for kids in Reykjavik. One of them is Whale Watching and Puffin Spotting Tours that several companies organize outside the city.
Perlan Museum offers a lot of excitement to kids through its unique exhibition, science, photography, and design - a real 100-meter long ice cave, an interactive glacier exhibition, Forces of Nature show, a virtual aquarium, and the Áróra 8K Planetarium Northern Lights show. It is located on a hill above Reykjavik, so visitors can get a beautiful view of the city. There are a café and a restaurant, too.
What can make kids feel better than a good ice-cream? In Reykjavik, you should take them to Valdís Ice Cream Shop and let them take time choosing their favorite flavor.
An excellent way to get kids engaged is by spending time outdoors, so if they feel bored, you can just let them walk and jump on the big rocks along the seawall from the Sun Voyager sculpture to the Harpa Concert Hall.
There are18 thermal pools in and around Reykjavik, and this experience of the Icelandic lifestyle is not to be missed, especially on a family holiday. Laugardalslaug Pool may be the most convenient one because of many family-friendly facilities like an outdoor children’s pool, a paddling pool, two waterslides, numerous hot tubs, a steam bath, and a mini-golf course. It is suitable even for babies with little baby baths and high chairs in the change rooms.
MUSEUMS & GALLERIES
The most distinguished museums and galleries in Reykjavik are the Reykjavik Art Museum, the National Gallery of Iceland, the Culture House, Kjarval Museum, the Asmundur Sculpture Museum, the Einar Jónsson Museum, the Reykjavík Museum of Photography, the Marshall House, the Nordic House, the Hafnarfjörður Center of Culture and Fine Art, and Gerðarsafn.
Reykjavik is a truly kid-friendly place. Visitors can arrange their accommodation in hotels with spacious family rooms with high chairs and cots available. Cottages are also a great way for family accommodation at the price of a hotel. Camping with kids 2-12 years old is charged less. In restaurants, kids are offered discounts and baby changing facilities with toilets.
WHAT TO EAT
Undoubtedly, the most popular food in Reykjavik are Icelandic Hot Dogs made with a blend of lamb, pork, and beef in natural casings with different toppings like ketchup, sweet mustard, fried onions, raw onions, and a remoulade sauce, Reykjavik Fish and Chips, meat soup made of lamb, root vegetables, rice and herbs, and Skyr Yogurt. As for the beverages, microbrew beers and orange soda are the most popular.
· Iceland is an expensive country, so visitors should plan their trip carefully.
· They should book the activities in advance.
· Visitors don’t need much cash as they can use a credit card for nearly everything.
· They can get their VAT back if they buy souvenirs greater than 6,000 ISK.
· They should obey the law because although you can’t see the police often, there are many traffic cameras.
TIME TO VISIT
It depends on what you want to see. For Northern Lights, February, March, September, and October are the best time to visit the Island, but warmer temperatures and midnight sun are best for some visitors in the summer.
In the summer, The Nauthólsvík Geothermal Beach in Reykjavík uses geothermal water to keep the lagoon warmed up to a 15-19° C. It has golden sands, a hot tub, steam bath, and a heated kiddie pool. The nice view of the small lagoon can be enjoyed by visitors.
The Reykjavík Botanical Gardens relatively close to the city center are a peaceful place with beautiful trees and flowers from all over the world that blossom in the summertime. Visitors can rest in the idyllic atmosphere beside tiny ponds with water lilies and ducklings or sit in a nice restaurant, called Café Floran.
Elliðaárdalur valley located in the heart of Reykjavík is a real hidden gem. Not many visitors have heard about this peaceful recreation area. The beautiful river of Elliðaá runs through the valley with several tiny waterfalls. Fishing with an amazing number of Arctic char, salmon, and brown trout is possible with a fishing license.
Úlfarsfell, a small mountain on the outskirts of Reykjavik is popular for hiking. Hikers can enjoy a fascinating view of the city, Mount Esja, and the little islands in the Faxaflói bay from the top. You can even look through the Snæfellsnes peninsula on a clear day.
Besides taxis, the only form of transportation around Reykjavik are the city buses. You can’t pay for the ticket on the bus by a credit card nor do drivers return the change. Different tickets are available, like discount tickets for adults, youth, children, elderly, and disabled. The bus routes can be confusing, so you will need help from the city transportation website straeto.is.
Reykjavik is a truly family-friendly city with a lot of places designed just for kids. There are a lot of things for young ones to discover and for their parents to enjoy, so it should certainly be on your list of must-see cities in Europe.