Reykjavík is a beautiful and homely city, well suited for family travel. Kids will enjoy exploring the colourful streets of the downtown area as well as visiting famous landmark buildings and interesting museums. Unspoilt nature is also always a stone's throw away and the whole family can enjoy fun outdoor activities in and around the city. Here you have 5 suggestions for fun outdoor activities to do in Reykjavík with kids.
1. Have a Fun Beach Day at Nauthólsvík
Nauthólsvík is a man-made geothermal beach in Reykjavik that is the perfect place to visit on a sunny day. The beach has a playground nearby, a small pool built along the shore that is pumped with warmer water, and lots of space for the little ones to run around and play.
There is also a hot pool at the beach so if it is a cooler weather day you can still have a beach day while enjoying the beach and ocean views from the comforts of the beachside hot tub.
2. Walk the Trails at Elliðaárdalur
A short 10 minutes from downtown Reykjavik, Elliðaárdalur valley is the perfect spot to escape the city center for a little bit and spend some time with nature. In this recreational area you will find a 10 km pathway with several different access points so you can pick and choose how long you would like to be out walking for based on the needs of your group.
No matter how long you walk the pathway you will still be in for a treat with some lovely nature! The pathway will take you walk alongside a river, through the forest, and up to a waterfall, a nice sampling of different nature elements in one spot!
Be sure to keep a look out for the bunnies hopping about all over this area. You will even find one hillside where the bunnies call home that your kids will love stopping by to say hello to the animals. All ages in your family will enjoy a few hours exploring Elliðaárdalur valley!
3. Spend an action-packed day at Laugardalur Valley
For a fun filled family day head just a few minutes outside of downtown Reykjavik to Laugardalur Valley. Here you will find several activities and locations to enjoy that will keep all your family members busy and happy explorers!
Some activities/locations to check out in this area are:
● Reykjavik Family Park and Zoo - Here you will find a mix of Icelandic farm animals and a recreational park with a large play structure area and several other activities for children of all ages. This is a perfect place to spend a few hours with a little bit of something for all to enjoy.
● Botanical Gardens - A beautiful park full of unique flowers, small ponds, and pretty fields to run around in. This park has several walking paths taking you around the garden and is a great place for little ones to run around while the parents enjoy the peaceful landscape.
● Laugardalslaug Swimming Pool - While in this area make a stop at the Laugardalur pool. With a big slide and large pool full of activities for kids this is the perfect local pool to spend a few hours playing at.
Reykjavik Botanical Gardens in the Autumn
In the children’s library you will find books in the Nordic languages, arts and crafts, large building blocks for the kids to play with, and fun structures for them to explore. Every few months a new children’s exhibit is installed that your children will love checking out. The Nordic House is a great place to go for some (free!) family fun.
4. Take a Whale Watching Tour
If your family is looking for a bit more of an action packed experience while in Reykjavik joining a whale watching tour from the Reykjavik harbor is a great activity for you all. Open for children of all ages, this tour leaves from the harbor right next to downtown Reykjavik year-round (weather permitting) and takes you out on the water for 2-3 hours in the search for whales. Your guide will share fun facts and information about the whales in the area while you keep a lookout for any whales playing close by.
An added bonus of the tour, the different views of the landscape surrounding Reykjavik from afar!
5. Take a Leisurely Stroll Around Grótta
At the northern part of Reykjavik you will find a beautiful peninsula called the Seltjarnarnes peninsula. At the tip of this peninsula, which is only about 5 minutes from downtown Reykjavik, is the lovely Grótta nature reserve. Here you will find walking trails along the rugged coastline, a black sand beach often frequented by wind suffers, an active birdlife, and the Grótta lighthouse which you can walk out to during low tide.
This area is a great place to catch the Northern Lights or the Midnight sun while in Reykjavik. There is even a small hot pool that you can soak your feet in while you enjoy a quiet family moment taking in the lovely surroundings :)
At Perlan you will find several exhibitions, such as Wonders of Iceland, that will have the whole family learning more about the Icelandic nature in a fun and interactive way. Enjoy the amazing views over Reykjavik from the observation deck, and take a stroll through the forest that surrounds Perlan. There is a lot to do and see at Perlan so make sure to add it to your list for your family trip to Reykjavik!
As we said, Reykjavik may be a small city but it has plenty of fun to offer for the entire family! Head over to this blog post for more ideas and tips on activities to do with your family in Iceland.