We were 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 to Iceland with kids — what to do, where to stay, and how to get around. Here’s what I’ve found before going and what I learned after going to Iceland with a baby.
Iceland with Kids: 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.
Where we’re staying overnight in Iceland:
- Westman Islands
Be sure to read the entire way through as we have returned from our trip with some great advice for traveling to Iceland with kids. Some of our research was around these questions:
- What should we do in Iceland?
- What should we eat?
- What should we drink?
- What else should we know?
photo credit: Luca Venturi Oslo
We’re back from our trip to Iceland with kids! Here’s some things we learned.
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 food in Iceland
Best Overall Food in Iceland: 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.
Best Seafood in Iceland: 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 in Iceland: 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 in Iceland: 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 in Iceland: 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.
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. (We’re back from our trip so if you want to learn more about Iceland check out Pictures of Puffins, 24 Hours in Vik, Blue Lagoon Iceland Guide, and Where to Find the World’s Best Hot Dog,.)
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:
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.)
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 Going to Iceland with Kids (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.
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.
If you’re traveling with a baby to Iceland, 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
- TripAdvisor Boards: Iceland with a Baby (6-month-old)
- Lonely Planet Message Board: Iceland hiking, camping, and hostels with a baby (8-month-old)
- Lonely Planet Message Board: Iceland with a toddler (11-month-old)
- Simon Seeks Forum: Traveling to Reykjavik Iceland with a Baby (16-month-old)
- Fodor’s Forum: Six Days in Iceland with a Toddler and Photographer Hubby (2-year-old)
- TripAdvisor Boards: 10 Days in Iceland with Toddler (2.5-year-old)
- The Guardian: What is there to do in Iceland with Kids? (4-year-old twins)
- Outdoor Baby Network: Iceland is very baby-friendly
- Travels with Baby: Various posts about one family’s trip to Iceland (toddler and big brother)
Iceland with School-Age Kids and Teenagers
- Lonely Planet Message Board: Iceland with small children (4-year-old and 6-year-old)
- Lonely Planet Message Board: Iceland with kids? (7, 16, and 17 years old)
- TripAdvisor Boards: Iceland with children (8, 10, and 12 years old)
- Pughville: Iceland with Kids, The Golden Circle with Kids, and Eastern Iceland (school-age)
- Amazing Kids! Adventures: My Travel Journal to Iceland
- TripAdvisor Boards: Iceland with teenagers (three teenage boys)
Have you traveled to Iceland with kids? What advice would you give? There are so many great resources about traveling in Iceland with kids. We had a once-in-a-lifetime trip there.