Iceland with Kids: Travel with a Baby, Children, or Teenagers

We’re excited to take our first international trip with our son, who will be 9 months old when we go. I’ve scoured the internet to learn about travel with kids in Iceland — what to do, where to stay, and how to get around. Here’s what I’ve found.

We’re Going to Iceland! What Should We Do, Eat & Drink?

When we first started talking about going to Iceland, my knowledge of the country was limited to Björk and the fact that Iceland is green while Greenland is icy — not a whole lot to get excited about. But now that we’ve done our initial planning, I can’t wait to visit Iceland. It’s beautiful and, compared to other European countries, quiet. The population is just over 300,000 — about 8% of the population of Los Angeles — and there’s much wildlife to see (can you say puffin chicks?). We’ll be traveling east from Reykjavík along the southern coast for 10 days, and one of our favorite things to do is eat. We also like light hiking and we’ll be traveling with a baby. Leave a comment and tell us what to do!

Here’s where we’re staying overnight:

  • Reykjavík
  • Eyrarbakki
  • Westman Islands
  • Vík
  • Vagnsstaðir
  • Kirkjubæjarklaustur

Help us plan our trip to Iceland! Here’s what we want to know:

  • What should we do?
  • What should we eat?
  • What should we drink?
  • What else should we know?

puffins-iceland

Tell us in the comments what you think we should do. Thanks for helping us plan our trip to Iceland!

photo credit: Luca Venturi Oslo

Where to Eat in Reykjavik, Iceland: Best Restaurants

Reykjavik is home to some of the best restaurants in Iceland. And because one of our favorite things to do while traveling is to eat, we managed to squeeze plenty of dining experiences into our short stay in the capital city. If you’re wondering where to eat in Reykjavik, Iceland, we’ve got you covered — from fancy restaurants to cheap street stands.

Best Overall: Grill Market

At Grill Market (Grillmarkadurinn), which features local food and works with local farmers, we had a delicious meal of fried vegetables, lamb, fish, wine, and two fantastic desserts. It was expensive, but absolutely worth it.

Delicious desserts at Grill Market in Reykjavik

Delicious desserts at Grill Market in Reykjavik

Best Seafood: Fish Market

If you want to sample amazing seafood, don’t miss Fish Market (Fishmarkadurinn). We skipped it because of a shellfish allergy, but our friends who went loved it. You’ll find fresh lobster, crab, shrimp, and even puffin on the menu.

Best Bakery: Bakari Sandholt

Looking for a good cup of coffee or a sweet treat? Stop by Bakari Sandholt on Laugavegi 36, one of the main streets in Reykjavik. We had the most delicious chocolate pastry there. (Note the website is in Icelandic, so you’ll need to translate it to read the menu.)

Best Take Out: Austurlanda Hradlestin

If you’re in the mood for Indian, check out Austurlanda Hradlestin (on Hverfisgotu 64a). We got a ton of fantastic Indian food for a reasonable price — reasonable by Icelandic standards, anyway. You can dine in or get take out.

Best Hot Dog: Baejarins Beztu Pylsur

For a true Icelandic experience, don’t miss the best hot dog in the world at Baejarins Beztu Pylsur. Before you turn up your nose at that suggestion, know that hot dogs in Iceland are far better than American hot dogs. They’re made with real meat — usually a combination of lamb, pork, and beef — rather than the processed mystery meat you’ll find in hot dogs in the U.S. They are delicious, and cheap.

best-hot-dog-world-iceland

Reykjavik is home to some of the best hot dogs in the world.

Although dining out in Iceland is expensive, it’s worth the splurge. There are some fantastic restaurants in Reykjavik, so take advantage of them — especially if your Icelandic travels will take you outside of the city. Once you leave Reykjavik, the pickings are slim for eating out. Whether you’re in the mood for something fancy, take out, or a cheap meal, there are great options in Reykjavik, Iceland.

Icelandair Review: What to Know Before You Book

We flew Icelandair direct Reykjavik for our trip to Iceland via Icelandair is considered a discount airline and many people fly it not just from the US to Iceland, but all the way to continental Europe. (If you’re planning a trip to continental Europe, I definitely recommend a 3-day stopover in Reykjavik or at least a half-day to visit the Blue Lagoon.) If you’re considering taking a trip to Iceland, our Icelandair review will tell you everything you should know before you book a flight. (For more about Iceland check out Where to Find the World’s Best Hot Dog, Pictures of Puffins, 24 Hours in Vik, Blue Lagoon Iceland Guide, and Iceland with Kids.)

icelandair-review

The Good

Overall, I’m a fan of Icelandair. It’s a discount airline so it doesn’t have the same perks you get on other international flights. But Icelandair does have a few perks to offer, notably:

Glacier Water

When you board the plane you get a free bottle of glacier water. The people ahead of us each took 2 bottles and said they had been looking forward to the water ever since they had flown Icelandair the year before. (It was good water, but I don’t think I’ll be craving it for the next year.)

Free Skyr (Delicious Icelandic Yogurt)

There was no free meal on the flights (more on that below), but on the flight to Iceland we received free skyr first-thing in the morning before we landed. If you’re not familiar with skyr, it’s very similar to yogurt, except not as sweet, with a stronger flavor, less caloric, and overall far better. I think the skyr company provides these to entice you to buy more skyr when you’re actually in Iceland as you don’t get a free skyr on the plane ride home. (If this hunch is in fact their marketing plan, it worked amazingly well as we consumed at least 1 container of skyr each a day while in Iceland. Even our 9-month-old son loved it.)

Movie Consoles

A final perk of Icelandair is that all of the seats had their own movie and game consoles. The selection of movies is the best I’ve seen on a plane and I definitely made use of the device being available. (Note, though, that you have to bring your own headphones or buy them onboard.)

Things to Know Before You Book (The Less-than-Good)

While we enjoyed our Icelandair experience as a whole, there are a few things to know about the airline before you book your flight.

Small Plane

Icelandair uses Boeing 757s, which are six seats across divided into three and three. There is nothing inherently wrong with this configuration, but it does have a few negative aspects. If you’re used to much larger planes on international trips with multiple aisles to pace for exercise, or less turbulence due to a larger plane, you aren’t going to find that on your flight with Icleandair.

No Bassinets

If you’re traveling with a baby to Icleand, you might expect to have access to a bassinet as you do on most international flights. International airlines can’t promise that your child will actually sleep, but at least they make bassinets available. Because Icelandair’s planes are small, they aren’t configured for the front row/bulkhead bassinet set up other airlines have. So, plan on holding your baby the entire flight. This isn’t too bad because it’s only a 6 hour flight direct from Minneapolis to Reykjavik, but it makes it difficult for you to sleep because you’re holding the baby.)

No Free Meals or Drinks

Icelandair doesn’t offer free meals or alcoholic beverages on its flights to those seated in the standard economy cabin. It is a long flight to not eat anything besides the skyr on the flight to Iceland, so be sure to pack yourself a snack. You can also purchase food inflight.

Overall Icelandair Review

Flying Icelandair is definitely better than flying on domestic flights, but it’s a far cry from fancy international airlines. I would recommend booking with Icelandair if the flight prices are cheaper and if you get a more direct flight because of it. But if flights are comparably priced and equally convenient and you have the option of airline with all of the perks of international travel, I would choose the other airline.

Iceland with a Baby or Toddler

Travel in Iceland with a Baby

Iceland with School-Age Kids and Teenagers

Iceland with Kids Travel Family Teenagers

Have you traveled to Iceland with kids? What advice would you give? Am I missing any great resources about traveling in Iceland with kids?

photo credits:  Dan Harrelson and Bill Ward’s Brickpile