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If your family are a cool bunch, Reykjavik should be the next destination on your holiday list! The city is the capital of Iceland, one of the coldest countries in the world but don’t let that cool you off – Reykjavik has the perfect balance of a bustling city centre, and the peace of the surrounding countryside.
Reykjavik was established over 1,000 years ago and has been the centre for Icelandic culture and economy for hundreds of years. Whilst it might not be as big as other capital cities, it still holds some pretty big international ‘claim to fames’: being amongst the cleanest, greenest and safest cities in the world. So, if you’re looking for a child-friendly, environmentally-friendly environment, Reykjavik’s got you covered!
More than being a nice place, this city has plenty to keep you busy. Take a wander down to the Old Harbour and you’ll get to experience the fantastic bustling marketplace and the historic marina. This area has always been the hub of the city, having acted as the centre for trade since 1917. It’s recently been transformed into a centre for pop-up boutiques, shops and restaurants, which is popular among locals and tourists alike. Your little ones will love going in and out of the tented attractions of the Kolaportid flea market of this area, before having a wail of a time watching the whales and puffins! The Old Harbour is one of the main areas of the city for getting a boat tour to go and watch the wildlife on the open water!
If it’s nature that your kids are looking for, then Reykjavik has got plenty! The city is less than an hour away from the country’s major natural attraction: Mt Esja. This 914-metre-high mountain provides a dramatic background to the city’s skyline and provides a breath-taking view from its summit. There are several routes up the mountain which range in difficulty from one boot (easy) to three boots (challenging). So, depending on how old your little ones are (or how much energy you have to carry them) you can pick a route that’s suitable for you. Most climbers tend to stop at ‘Steinn’, a large rock formation which provides a great view and marks the spot where the climb gets pretty tricky. If you’re looking for the peak of your Icelandic holiday, this is the spot to come to!
For an attraction that’s a bit more city-bound but still very Icelandic, you should check out one of the city’s many water complexes. The Reykjavik locals love to make splashes down at outdoor pool complexes, as going swimming is seen as an essential part of Icelandic culture – even in the winter! There are plenty of places to choose from, and many will have outdoor pools, slides, hot tubs and saunas. One that should be near the top of the list is Laugardalslaug. It’s the city’s largest pool with extremely extensive facilities, including a 50m outdoor pool (same as an Olympic swimming pool), a smaller kiddie’s pool, a paddling pool, two waterslides, a number of hot tubs, a steam bath, a mini-golf course and a zoo with Icelandic animals! That should be enough to keep the little ones entertained!
Last (but not least) on the Reykjavik to-do list is the number of cultural attractions in the city. The highlights being the Harpa Conference Centre and the Hallgrimskirkja Church. There are a number of events, concerts and exhibitions happening at Harpa all year round, and has become one of the most popular spots for visitors to the city. The Hallgrimskirkja Church is Reykjavik’s main landmark and its 74.5m tower can be seen almost everywhere in the city, the architecture of this building is breath-taking, looking almost like practically flat from the outside. Both of these attractions are firm-favourites for tourists and are sure to impress your little ones too!
Fancy a hip holiday somewhere different? Reykjavik is the place for you! The temperatures may not get much over 15 degrees in the summer but this city is a hot spot for culture and nature. You’ll be stunned by what the capital of Iceland has to offer, and may provide a totally different experience you and the little ones have been looking for!