You might wonder what are the best things to do in Reykjavik with children? 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 Iceland capital has also some fantastic museums that are very attractive to children, from Vikings history to real life whales replicas exhibitions.
So let’s explore all the best things to do in Reykjavik with kids:
1. Reykjavik 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.
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
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. However, be prepared for high prices and large crowds.
7. Árbær Open Air Museum
At the Árbær 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 and Puffin 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. Husdyragardurinn Park & Zoo
The most family orientated activity in Laugardalur Valley, in the heart of Reykjavik.
So 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
Opening Hours: 10 am – 17.00 pm (Winter) – 10 am – 18.00 pm (Summer)
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
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