Everyone who comes to Iceland is pretty keen make the most of their time here, and whether that means a week of carefree holiday meandering or a laser-guided approach to finding the best stuff, a couple of insider tips are always useful. In this fast-changing city, new places spring up from week to week, begging the questions: which pool has the best hot pot for your first morning here? Where’s the best Icelandic art at? And what’s the best road trip to see some of this amazing nature we’ve heard so much about?
Laugardalur Laugadalur The Laugardalur area is full of fun activities for kids. There’s a skate park, playing fields and botanical gardens, but the star of the show is Húsdýragarðurinn, which translates to “farm animal zoo”—a petting zoo with farm animals, foxes, seals and reindeer. A footbridge takes you over to the Fjölskyldugarðurinn (“The Family Garden”), which has fairground rides and a boating lake (during summer). The greenhouse coffee shop, Cafe Flóra, is also only open during summer, but Laugardalslaug compensates—it’s the best pool for kids, with plenty of play pools and water slides.
Whales Of Iceland Fiskislóð 23-25 This one was more of a hit with kids than the parents. Whales Of Iceland is a cavernous, hangar-sized space populated by life-sized plastic whales, with information plaques and flat-screen devices containing information about the different species. “Once you’ve seen this place, you’ve seen it,” said the panel, “but our kids keep demanding we go back.”
Reykjavík City Library Tryggvagata 15 For some free and wholesome family time, the parents on our panel also enjoyed the Reykjavík City Library. “There’s an excellent play area for younger children between one and three,” they said, “and—you guessed it—there are books for kids of all ages to look at.” Don’t miss the photography gallery on the top floor.