Visiting Iceland with Young Children: Tips & Activities

Halló from Iceland! We're in Reykjavic on a five-day stopover before we continue on to France. Did you know you can stopover in Iceland for free when flying Iceland Air to or from Europe? This is our first time doing so, and we've had an amazing experience. We exchanged homes with an Icelandic family through HomeExchange.com and staying in their home has been one of the best blessings of our stay. We've also had a chance to visit one of our former exchange students and her family, so we've truly had a great time! In case you get a chance to visit here or know someone who will, here are our tips for a great family vacation in Iceland:

  Our flight over the Canadian Rockies with Iceland Air

Our flight over the Canadian Rockies with Iceland Air

  • If you visit in the summer, eye masks are useful for falling asleep and staying asleep during these Artic nights that are never dark. Even our kids are using them.

 

  My husband and a friend kayaking around 8pm near Reykjavic  

My husband and a friend kayaking around 8pm near Reykjavic 

  •  Take the Flybus from the airport into Reykjavic. A local bus would take 30 minutes longer and is only a fraction cheaper. The Flybus is incredibly convenient for families with its airport pickup, luggage handlers, and option to drop off passagers directly at their hotel if needed. You can buy Flybus tickets on their website, on your Iceland Air flight, or directly at their kiosk as you leave the airport.
  •  Skip the Blue Lagoon and go to a public geothermal pool instead. The Blue Lagoon is nice, but it's over-hyped, overpriced (starting at $50/person), and overcrowded. Children under age 3 aren't allowed there. In contrast, Reykjavic & other towns have public pools with hot tubs, waterslides, and water toys for around $5/person; children over age 6 enter for about $1, and kids under age 6 are free. The Laugardalslaug pool is a local favorite. My daughter is begging to go back!
  • Speaking of Laugardalur, the park there has a sweet little zoo and many imaginative family attractions such as mini-cars, pirate and viking ships, rides, and interactive play equipment.
  A raindeer at Laugardalur's zoo

A raindeer at Laugardalur's zoo

  A playful viking ship at Laugardalur  

A playful viking ship at Laugardalur 

  The playful paradise for children of all ages at Laugardalur in Reykjavic

The playful paradise for children of all ages at Laugardalur in Reykjavic

  • Amble around downtown Reykjavic (the oldest part of town) & visit the pond to feed the ducks (corn, birdseed, lettuce, & peas are healthy options for ducks).
  • Experience science & nature: For starters, Iceland is a perfect place to learn about volcanoes, glaciers, whales (the new Whales of Iceland exhibit may be the largest whale exposition in the world), puffins, and earthquakes (Iceland is the only place besides Kenya where techtonic plates are visible above sea level).

We're heading to Thingvellir National Park tomorrow. You can find photos of our Iceland stay and our upcoming time in France here on Instagram. Have a great weekend, and to those of you in the U.S., happy Fourth of July!