Iceland is one of the most amazing places to visit. We traveled to Reykjavik with the kids for a three-night stay while traveling back to the states from Europe. I wish we could have stayed for a couple more days, but we were able to fit a lot in a short amount of time.
Where to Stay in Iceland
Where to stay in Iceland can be tricky, depending upon what you want to do. There is so much to see near downtown Reykjavik but then it’s also nice to stay outside of the city to have a chance to see the Northern Lights. Great places to stay include the Hotel Berg and the Lighthouse-Inn. Another wonderful place is the Fosshotel Glacier Lagoon.
What to Do in Iceland
From stunning glaciers to incredible waterfalls, there is so much to see. We drove the Golden Circle sightseeing route in a day, which gave us plenty of time to see some main attractions. Stops on our Golden Circle tour included:
- Crater Kerid
- Waterfalls, including:
- Stokkur Geysir
You can easily park and walk around downtown Revkjavik (but be sure to dress warmly!). The town is full of shops and restaurants and it’s very clean.
Several companies offer Northern Lights tours, and they keep track of the forecast. If the weather is good for a viewing, they will pick you up around 11 p.m. and take you to a remote location that can give you the best chance to see the Northern Lights.
We opted to roll the dice and stay somewhere one night that was a little outside the city in hopes of seeing the Northern Lights. Why? We didn’t want to load the kids up at night on a tour with other people and chance one needing to go to the bathroom or having a meltdown.
For us, it worked out perfectly. Plus, there are also some great apps you can use to watch the forecast.
This was probably the kids’ favorite place (I apologize to all the couples who were there for a romantic spa day!) and children are admitted to the Blue Lagoon for free. Our kids loved swimming around the thermal pool, which was not too hot; those under age eight are required to wear floaties. They could float over to the swim-up bar that offers slushies for kids, fresh juices, and mommy drinks. Make sure, though, that you make reservations in advance.
We actually went there on the morning before our evening flight home. The Blue Lagoon is located near the Reykjavik airport, so it’s easy to visit when you arrive or before flying out. They also have showers and everything you need before walking out in the cold.
Where to Eat in Iceland
Food in Iceland is not cheap! For example, the first night we arrived, the only thing open near the airport was a Subway. We ordered two footlongs, one six-inch sub, and two bags of chips, and drank water. The total was $38, double the price of what it would normally be in the U.S. Obviously, Iceland is an island and does have to import most food, so prepare to pay more.
Here are few more places we enjoyed:
- Saeta Svinio: Located in downtown Reykjavik, it was more like a pub, but the food was amazing. Jason had a burger and I had the fish, which was so fresh. Of course, the kids enjoyed some of the best hot chocolate they’ve ever had!
- Fridheimer tomato house: We made reservations here for the day we drove the Golden Circle and I’m so glad we did. This is a greenhouse that grows 40% of Iceland’s tomatoes. The food was amazing and the kids could learn a few things, as well, including about hives of the bees that help to pollinate the plants. The best thing on the menu is the tomato soup bar. The bread alone is worth it, but the soup is some of the best we have ever had. If the kids are not up for soup, they do have pizza and pasta, as well. And don’t forget to try the Bloody Mary! You can also walk outside afterwards and see the Icelandic horses, another favorite for the kids. This was a great stop on our journey, one that everyone enjoyed.
- Gas stations: Okay, I know this sounds crazy, but even the gas stations in Iceland have quick food options that, believe it or not, are fresh and an easy option with kids. We stopped at one with two dining options; one was similar to Chipotle and the other was an Asian option, and both were surprisingly very good.
If you have wanted to visit Iceland but were afraid to take the kids, just go! Depending on your kids’ ages, there really is so much to see and do. Be sure to check the daylight schedule when you plan your trip because there are days in the year with 23 hours of sunlight and 23 hours of darkness. We went in November and it worked out well with sunrise around 9am each morning and sunset around 5pm in the evening. Plus, don’t forget to pack warm clothes! If you do forget something, one nice thing about shopping in Iceland is how there is no tax and you get a rebate when you leave.