Reykjavík is an incredibly child-friendly destination, with no shortage of activities and attractions targeted towards the younger generation, whether they’re toddlers or teenagers.

 
A lot of the attractions and activities mentioned below are included as part of the Reykjavík City Card. With it you get free entrance to some of the best museums in the city, free use of the public bus system and ferry to Viðey Island, free entrance to all the geothermal swimming pools in the city, and special discounts and offers at stores and restaurants.
 
Here are 15 fun things to do in Reykjavík on your next family vacation.
 
 
 
Visit Reykjavík’s Geothermal Beach
In the summer, Nauthólsvík Geothermal Beach is a wildly popular place for Icelandic families to spend a day out. Kids will love playing on the sand and in the water (there’s also a small warm hot tub built into the shallows of the ocean for kids to splash around in), while adults will appreciate the steam baths and long hot tub next to the change rooms. Admission during summer is free (15th of May until the 15th of August), at other times it’s 650ISK per person.
 
 
 
Hot Pots and Swimming Pools
Iceland is crazy for a good swimming pool, which are different from anywhere else around the world thanks to one reason: they all use geothermally heated water. Reykjavík has plenty of neighbourhood pools that are perfect for a morning or afternoon of swimming. Not only will you find hot tubs, saunas, and steam baths, but there are usually shallow pools for the kids, and some pools even come complete with water slides. The best pools for kids are Laugardalslaug, Seltjarnarneslaug, or Árbæjarlaug.
 
 
 
The Laugardalur Recreation Area
Just outside of the Laugardalslaug swimming pool is a large recreational area that holds plenty of activities for families. There’s the ice-skating rink Skautahöllin, Reykjavík’s Botanical Gardens, and kids can meet seals, arctic foxes, reindeer, minks and all the Icelandic farm animals at the Reykjavík Family Park and Zoo. On top of the animals, there’s also a train that chugs around the park, a carousel, boats for hire, a café and BBQ facilities – it’s the perfect spot for a day of fun in the Icelandic capital.
 
 
 
Parks and Outdoor Activities
The Laugardalur valley isn’t the only area in the city to enjoy some outdoor activities. You can find playgrounds at the central park of Hljómskálagarður just next to the pond, walk through the lovely paths of Elliðárdalur valley and try to spy the rabbits that live there, or play a round of frisbee golf and enjoy the expansive areas of grass at Klambratún Park in the 105 postcode. A little bit further afield but still within the city limits are the Heiðmörk and Grótta Nature Reserves, and Viðey Island has a wealth of bird life and walking trails.
 
 
 
Adrenalin Adventure Park
Located in the foothills of the Hengill volcano only 35kms out of Reykjavík is the Adrenalin Adventure Park. Built in the large tectonic rift that is Nesjavellir Valley, this is a great day out for both older kids and teenagers, featuring a huge ropes course with 50 different obstacles, a giant swing, and 85m zip line. Everything you’ll need is comes with the entrance fee, including a 20-minute training and safety session. Minimum age is 6 years old. 
 
 
 
 
Ice Cream and Hot Dogs
Take a stroll downtown and partake in an age-old Icelandic tradition: eating a hot dog and getting some ice cream. Whether it’s raining, snowing or the sun’s out, Icelanders are always in the mood for ice cream and stores over Reykjavík give you plenty of opportunity to indulge. Check out Valdis in the Grandi neighbourhood, and for hot dogs you can’t go past Bæjarins Beztu Pylsur, the most popular hot dog stand in the city.
 
 
 
Hallgrímskirkja Tower
While kids might not be so interested in the Hallgrímskirkja Church itself, they’ll surely love the outstanding views from the top of the tower. This is the second tallest building in Reykjavík, the vantage point offering unique views over the colourful houses that make up Reykjavík as well as the incredible landscapes right on the city’s doorstep. And don’t worry – there’s an elevator that takes you up the 74m to the top, so you won’t have to climb any stairs.
 
 

Kid-Friendly Tours from Reykjavík

 
 
Horse Riding, Whale Watching and Puffin Tours
Always a winning idea for travelling with children in Iceland is getting up close and personal with the local animals and wildlife. The Icelandic horse is a favourite of many visitors to the country, friendly and always happy to meet tourists. Riding tours that start in and around Reykjavík delve into the surrounding lava fields and rocky landscapes. Whale watching tours leave from the Reykjavík harbor year-round, while if you’ve got your heart set on seeing the iconic Icelandic puffins, tours leave only during the summer when they’re in the country.
 
 
 
Lava Cave Tours
Kids and adults alike will be wowed by the lava cave tours on offer at multiple different locations around the country. These multi-coloured underground caverns are ancient places where lava flowed from volcanic eruptions, hardening to create the tunnels and caves. If kids don’t mind a 40 to 50 minute hike to begin with, you can book yourself onto the Into the Volcano tour – the only place in the world where you can explore the inside of a dormant volcano. Otherwise the lava cave closest to Reykjavík is Víðgelmir, which can be experienced on a fun day tour that also takes in some waterfalls and a stop at a geothermal pool.
 
 
Northern Lights Tours
For something that children will want to go home and tell all their friends about, book yourself onto a northern lights tour. From September until April buses leave every night from Reykjavík and head out into the countryside in search of this magical phenomenon, and depending on your chosen tour group, will make special stops at other attractions and geothermal pools along the way. The guides are experts when it comes to picturesque locations outside the city for watching the lights. Bring yourself some snacks, hot chocolate, and enjoy the show.
 
 
Day Tours into the Countryside
There are plenty more awesome tours that you can take that get the family out of the city and into the breathtaking wilderness of Iceland. Waterfalls, hot springs, geysirs and glaciers all await a short drive away from Reykjavík. The most popular choice is the Golden Circle and Secret Lagoon tour, which takes in Thingvellir National Park, the erupting geysir and thunderous Gullfoss waterfall before finishing up at the Secret Lagoon hot spring. South coast tours let you discover more waterfalls, as well as drive past the icy glaciers of Eyjafjallajökull and Mýrdalsjökull, and the famous black sand beaches.
 
 
 

Kid-friendly Museums in Reykjavík

Reykjavík is a city that packs a punch when it comes to museums, perfect for wiling away a rainy day in the city (of which there are a lot). Here are the best kid-friendly museums in Reykjavík.
 
 
 
The Perlan
The interactive exhibits on show at the Perlan explore the beautiful and powerful nature on show in Iceland. There’s a planetarium that plays an immersive short film about the northern lights, rooms dedicated to volcanoes and lava, and even a replica of an ice cave. The interactive displays dedicated to glaciers are both informative and fun, and the terrace on the top level offers outstanding views over the city. There’s also a café in case you work up an appetite.
 
 
 
Whales of Iceland
Kids will love coming face-to-face with the 23 scale models of whales hanging from the ceiling at the Whales of Iceland exhibit. Interactive panels and virtual reality are all on hand to entertain the kids in the museum. You can find this exhibit located in a warehouse in the Grandi area. 
 
 
The Saga Museum
Life size wax figures of the Icelandic Vikings populate this museum, recreating some of the most famous and important scenes in Iceland’s long history. At the end of the museum you can even dress up like a Viking to take some photos.
 
 
Reykjavík Maritime Museum
This museum that explores everything to do with fishing, the lifeblood of the Icelandic nation, offers a fun treasure hunt for kids that runs through their main exhibit. They’ll also love the guided tours of the vessel Óðinn, one of Iceland’s coast guard ships that sits in the harbour.
 
 
 
Árbær Open Air Museum
This fun museum in the neighbourhood of Árbær recreates a little slice of the Reykjavík of old. Staff members dress up in traditional Icelandic clothes and wander around the village-like area, made up of over 20 historic houses and buildings from around the city that were moved here for their continued conservation. You’ll find a turf-covered farm here, an old blacksmith, a general store, and more. Kids can play with olden-day toys in the gymnasium building and say hello to the horses and sheep that are in the paddocks. 
 
 
 

Kid-friendly Indoor Activities in Reykjavík

With a variety of fun and unique indoor activities you and your kids are going to love Reykjavik.  Even for colder and rainy days there are plenty of indoor activities in Reykjavik.
 
 
Fly Over Iceland
One of the newest attractions in Reykjavík, Fly Over Iceland is an exhilarating ride that simulates the feeling of flight as you careen over the volcanic landscapes, glittering glaciers and craggy valleys across Iceland. As your feet dangle in the air and the chair soars over gorgeous landscapes, you’ll experience winds, mists, and scents, all chosen to immerse yourself in the experience.  
 
 
 
Klifurhúsið
An indoor bouldering gym with climbing wall in Reykjavík. Klifurhúsið is another great option for entertaining kids on those rainy Reykjavík days. Climbing the boulders is easy and fun, and there are also short training courses that help set them up to tackle the climbing walls. Special family hours are between noon and 3pm on the weekends where the kids can meet and play with local Icelandic kids, but you can just as easily visit on any other day as well. Climbing shoes are rented on site.
 
 
 
Rush Trampoline Park
Last but certainly not least is the Rush Trampoline Park. An entire warehouse full of trampolines, dodgeball arenas, and foam pits all await here at what is the ultimate indoor activity for kids in Reykjavík. The best thing is that it’s not just for kids – there’s plenty here to keep the whole family entertained. Visitors will need to pre-book their time on the website, choosing whether to spend 60, 90, 120 or 180 minutes on the trampolines. Special socks are provided on arrival for jumping around, and there’s a small café on site as well. 
 
 
 

James Taylor is a travel journalist from Australia who lived in Iceland for three years.

Falling in love with the country, he began to write about his travels for magazines and websites in Australia, Europe and the U.S.A.