If you are or plan a holiday with kids in Reykjavík, you might wonder what are the best things to do with them? The Icelandic capital is becoming more and more visited by families in the recent years, especially when children star to appreciate trail adventures and exploratory walks. But it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t bring young children either.
The Icelandic landscape is beautiful no matter where you go or what you do. From whale watching or swimming in a hot lagoon, to spotting street art, you will certainly have plenty of choice.
The city has also some fantastic museums that are very attractive to children, from Vikings history to real life whales replicas exhibitions.
FUN FACT: you wont’ find any national railways in Iceland due to the limited population in the country. So locals use mainly buses or cars to circulate around.
So let’s explore all the best things to do in Reykjavík with kids:
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1. Reykjavík Maritime Museum
Located by the old harbour in Reykjavík, the museum is part of the Reykjavík City Museum since June 2014 which means you can visit all or some of 5 cultural destinations.
Fishing is also a big part of the Icelandic history, the museum collects items that will able them to offer great exhibitions based on those findings.
One of the main attraction is to do a guided tour of the Coast Guard Vessel Óðinn which sits right next to the museum on the harbour.
Note: extra fee to visit the ship but free for kids
Opening Hours: Daily 10am – 5pm
2. Whales of Iceland
Located close to the old harbour and the city centre, this is the biggest whale museum in the world.
The exhibition shows 23 real-life sized whale species that you can find in Icelandic waters. Kids and grown-ups alike will be mesmerised by the beauty of this exhibition.
We recommend the 45 minutes guided tour if the whole family wants to learn more about the different species, as well as the VR experience allowing you to observe the giants all around you.
Opening Hours: Daily All Year Round 10am – 5pm
3. Saga Museum
Experience a time travel journey into some of the most dramatic events of the Icelandic history.
The museum has tried to recreate lifelike replicas of historical Iceland figures.
Clothing, weapons and everyday objects were constructed using traditional methods passed down through the ages.
The most fun part for your kids will be of course to dress up as Vikings and have their photo taken to create great memories of your holiday in Reykjavík with your children.
Address: Grandagarður 2, 101 Reykjavík
Opening Hours: All Year Round 10am – 6pm
4. Settlement Exhibition
Below ground museum in downtown Reykjavík, this open excavation uncovers the city’s Viking Age history.
This one is mostly for our little archeologist fans as the exhibit focuses on what life was in that excavated longhouse during the city’s Settlement Age between 930 and 1000AD.
The remains of the hall have been methodically reconstructed and many archeological finds are also on display.
Address: Aðalstræti 16, 101 Reykjavík
Opening Hours: Daily 10am – 5pm (check website during the holidays period)
5. National Museum of Iceland
Yes Icelandic people are proud to introduce their visitors to the country’s fascinating history through many different museums. This one is no different, offering a good introduction to Iceland history and culture.
It is small which is perfect for young children. The permanent exhibition includes over 2000 objects dating from the settlement to the present day, as well as a “hands-on room” where visitors can play games, dress up in historical costumes and wield ancient weapons
Address: Suðurgata 41, 101 Reykjavík
Opening Hours: Tuesday to Sunday – 10am-5pm
6. The Blue Lagoon
This activity is not suitable for children under 2 years old
Probably the most iconic activity to do in Iceland, this natural Spa is a truly unique experience. So if this is your first visit to Iceland, you simply must take the kids here.
If you fancy an organised transfer to Blue Lagoon from Reykjavík, have a look below at a great this option which includes admission to the Spa as well. And don’t forget to bring your swimwear too!
7. Árbær Open Air Museum
At the Árbær museum, you will discover all about Icelandic culture and its early history.
This large open air museum, located on the outskirts of Reykjavik, recreates daily life in the 19th century. For example, you can walk around a town square, a village and a farm, soaking up the atmosphere.
It is very family friendly, with lots of hand-on exhibitions and events highlighting specific periods in Reykjavik’s history.
In addition, everyone working at the museum wears period themes costumes, for an authentic feel.
Most importantly, they also have an interactive toy exhibition that the little ones will love.
Opening hours: Open daily 1pm – 5pm (September to May) and 10am – 5pm (June – August)
8. Whale Watching Tour
Probably the tour your children will look forward to the most. Firstly, watching the gigantic whales and pint sized puffins in their natural habitat is just incredible. Secondly, the Icelandic scenery is equally as beautiful – wild and dramatic, in every season.
There are quite a few companies providing these tours, most of them located around the old harbour.
The one we recommend takes you on a scenic boat ride in the morning to see the puffins. After that, the afternoon focuses on whale watching. Certainly a “must d0” for nature lovers of all ages.
9. Reykjavík Park & Zoo
The most family orientated activity in Laugardalur Valley is in the heart of Reykjavík.
This animal park might be small, but it has all the ingredients for a great day out. The focus is on Icelandic farm animals, but you’ll also find mammals, reptiles, amphibians and insects.
After that, children can play in the ship-themed playground which has castles, zip-lines, electric cars, boats and more.
Address: Múlavegi 2,, 104, Reykjavík, Iceland
10. Laugavegur Street and Reykjavik’s street art
Laugavegur Street is the main shopping street in Reykjavik where older kids will be fascinated by the all the graffiti.
Street art has become very popular in Iceland, giving the city an edgy and colourful look.
There are also plenty of shops, cafes and restaurants but beware of the prices as this is a very touristy area.
Address: Laugavegur Street
11. Natural History Museum of Kópavogur
Located in the south of Reykjavík in Kópavogur, this little history museum is on a ground floor below a library. You will find lots of stuffed animals including native birds like the famous puffins.
Spread over 600m2, you will find 2 different exhibitions in the museum: one section dedicated to animals and another section on geology where you learn about rocks and minerals.
So if you need an indoor activity to do with kids that doesn’t last too long, you should defintely check out this museum in Kópavogur.
This is probably one of the most popular building and attraction to do in Reykjavik due to the unique architecture and city view available to visitors.
This interactive and immersive experience at Perlan is a good choice for families willing to learn about the history of Iceland and its famous Northern Lights.
Your kids will love the planetarium where they will be exposed to a giant screen projecting Northern lights like you’ve never seen before.
There is also a 100m long ice cave to explore with your children and a virtual fish tank where you can see whales staring at your.
Overall, Perlan is an amazing venue full of activities and exhibitions that makes a perfect day out in Reykjavik with your kids.
Address: 105 Reykjavík, Iceland
We know that Icelandic culture means great modern architecture and unique design. There is no better example that the church of Hallgrímskirja to reveal the magic of a great building with a 74m tower which makes a perfect observation site.
When you enter inside the church, you are not disappointed either by how pristine and serene the atmosphere is. And I am sure you will light a few candles to remember your loved ones that passed away.
Hallsgrímskirja is probably one of the most iconic places in Iceland that is visible everywhere you stand in Reykjavīk.
14. Hljómskála Park
If you wish to find a great park in Reykjavík to let your kids go free, Hljómskála park is a great option for families.
Located close to the National Museum of Iceland, you will find a nice walk with a collection of statues and also a big lake where you can spots different birds.
Obviously, the park has different colours depending on which season you decide to visit Reykjavík.
There is also a small playground with swings and slides.
Address: 43R5+HC5, 101 Reykjavík, Iceland
15. Lava Caving Small Adventure Tour
This tour is not suitable for children under 6 years
Visiting Reykjavík and Iceland overall cannot be complete with a little bit of adventure. So why not taking a guided tour of a lava tunnel and caves.
This activity is not for small children but can easily been exciting for older children willing to explore the natural sights of lava caves.
Your guide will pick you up from Reykjavik by bus and take you on a memorable tour with plenty of photos opportunities too.
The walk inside the caves is not too challenging but you need to be equipped with warm clothing and good hiking shoes.
That’s it for now. I hope you have found enough activities and excursions to do in Reykjavík with your kids. Exploring Iceland and its capital is on a lot of travel wish list families so if you are already there, enjoy this fantastic trip. Góða ferð! (have a good trip)
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15 Things to Do in Reykjavík with your Kids in 2022
- Reykjavik Maritime Museum
- Whales of Iceland
- Saga Museum
- Settlement Exhibition
- National Museum of Iceland
- The Blue Lagoon
- Arbaer Open Air Museum
- Whale Watching Tour
- Reykjavik Park & Zoo
- Laugavegur Street and Reykjavik’ Street Art
- National History Museum of Kopavogur
- Hallgrimskirja (Church)
- Hljómskála Park
- Lava Caving Small Adventure Tour
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