Reykjavik is the capital of Iceland and lies on the south-west coast of Iceland. Two-thirds of Iceland’s population call Reykjavik and the surrounding area home.
As you approach Reykjavik by plane, the windswept volcanic landscape encompasses your sight in every direction. But the question is, will a visit to Reykjavik with teenagers be a great family vacation? We think Reykjavik puts the “C” into cool for teenagers.
Let’s take a look at what there is for teenagers in Reykjavik to do.
See the Northern Light in Reykjavik with teenagers
Seeing the Northern Lights in Iceland is one of the main reasons a lot of people come to Iceland. Peak viewing season for the northern lights is always September through March when the nights are long in Iceland
Seeing the Northern lights is never guaranteed as no one controls the weather or Mother Nature. In Reykjavik, you can first visit the Aurora Reykjavík, The Northern Lights Centre.
The Aurora Centre has an exhibition on the aurora through stories and legends from around the world, learn about the science behind the amazing night skylights.
After this, there are 2 cinemas in the building for you to see a 4K time-lapse film of the Aurora Borealis. Projected onto a 7-meter-wide screen, then put on a set of virtual reality goggles to watch a 360° movie of auroral displays captured at Iceland’s most exciting places.
Next thing to do when on the hunt for the Northern Lights is to book a tour and head out into the darkness of Iceland. There are plenty of companies just waiting to take you and your teenagers out at night to find the lights.
We used and recommend a tour with Gray Line Iceland. When we did the tour they gave you a second chance for free if you did not get to see the lights on the first opportunity. Most tours last around 7 hours and can have you travelling over 100 kilometres out of Reykjavik.
What I will say is do not expect to be alone because many bus companies offer the same tour and all of them know the spots where the lights show up most regularly. If you want to be alone then hiring a car and asking for advice at the Aurora Reykjavik is the best bet.
Does your teenager like laser tag, or paintball? Located just on the outskirts of the city is the Skemmtigarðinn theme park. I would not call it a theme park in a traditional sense of roller coasters etc. There are a number of activities on offer that families on holiday in Reykjavik will love. You will find:
There is a cafe on site that sells pizza, fries and drinks for you to grab something to eat. You will work up a hunger after all the action here.
Gufunesi, 112 Reykjavík
Office hours Monday-Friday 9 am to 5 pm. Check website for opening hours as they differ from season
How to be Icelandic in 60 minutes
*This activity discusses topics better suited to teenagers 16+
How to be Icelandic in 60 minutes has been playing at the Harpa Concert Hall and Convention Centre for the last 9 years. It is one mans take on what it’s like to be Icelandic. In seeing “How to become Icelandic in 60 minutes” teaches you to walk, talk and behave like a regular Icelander.
Cultural norms such as eating sheeps balls, yes sheeps balls and the misconception that Icelanders are grumpy and the women are easy is discussed. All in all it is a comedic look at what makes this country in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean so unique.
Austurbakki 2, 101 Reykjavík, Iceland
Box Office Hours Weekdays: 10:00 – 18:00 Weekends: 10:00 – 18:00 Phone hours: 12:00 – 18:00
Prices will vary on times of the day the show is offered
Meet the Vikings in Reykjavik
Iceland has a long and proud Viking history, Afterall it was the Vikings who first discovereed and settled Iceland. Vikings have had a resurgence in popular culture of late with Tv shows and Movies depicting them.
In and around Reykavik you can explore the Viking History of Iceland and afew different sites. The National Museum of Iceland is home to a exhibition has over 2,000 Viking artifacts that have been discovered around the country.
Viking World which is out near the Blue Laggoon some 40 minutes from Reyjkavik. At Viking World, you’ll get to see an exact replica of the Gokstad Viking ship, some displays and multi media exhibits.
The Settlement exhibition is based around an excavated 10th-century multi- turf longhouse. These types of house where once lived in by eight to ten people. Interactive media stations will tell about how the vikings life day to day.
A family photoshoot in Reykjavik
What better way to capture the magical holiday memories your family makes in Reykjavik than by doing a holiday photoshoot. Book your private photographer and guide in Reykjavík who will immortalize your picture-perfect memories while visiting amazing sites!
Eat Hotdogs in Reykjavik
Reykjavik has a well know hotdog stand that has been visited by the likes of Bill Clinton and Kim Kardashian just to name a few. The famous Reykjavik Hotdog stand is Baejarins beztu pylsur (English: The best hot dog in town).
Its popularity grew after The Guardian Newspaper selected Baejarins beztu as the best hot dog stands in Europe in 2006. Ever since then tourists have been flocking to try these tasty lamb hotdogs. It is one of the cheapest meals you will find in Reykjavik.
The Haunted Walk of Reykjavik
The midnight hour is close at hand, Creatures crawl in search of blood, to terrorize y’all’s neighbourhood said Michael Jackson in Thriller. Well, Reykjavik has its own Thriller tour in the Haunted Walk of Reykjavik.
The Haunted Walk of Reykjavik delights in telling tales of Icelandic history, folklore and even tries to catch a glimpse of some well known local ghosts. The stories are all based on well knowm folklore and have been thoroughly checked by a local historian to be accurate.
These types of tours are great for teenagers, they are both entertaining , engrossing and culturally accurate. This providing a great mix of fun and learning.
Hop on hop off bus Reykjavik
The Reykjavik hop on hop off bus is always popular with family travellers. The Reykjavik sightseeing bus is a great way to give you an overview of the city. The bus route takes you to all the Reykjavik attractions where you can get out and visit and hop back on the next bus when it appears.
There is an on bus Multi-lingual audio commentary in 8 languages (English, Spanish, French, German, Italian, Swedish, Icelandic, Russian).
Some of the highlights of the hop on hop off bus in Reykjavik include:
- Harpa Concert Hall
- Laugavegur Shopping Street
- The Old Harbour
- Kringlan Shopping Centre
- The National Museum
- Reykjavik Art Museum
Going to the pool in Reykjavik
Swimming, bathing and just soaking in the water is a popular pass time in Reykjavik. In the city area there are no leas than 9 different places to go to hit the water.
You will find indoor and outdoor pools, you will find hot tubs and water slides, you will find indoor and outdoor pools. Many places have steam rooms and gyms. A little something for everyone wanting to get wet in Reykjavik.
Go on a free walking tour of Reykjavik
We are big lovers of the ‘Free Walking Tours” offered in many cities around the globe. They market the tours as free but you are encouraged to make a small donation at the end of the walking tour if you enjoyed it. The tour in Reykjavik will take you through the city and show you all of the sites you should be vising. The best about the tours is that the guide works really hard for your tips at the end.
Sights that you can see on the walking tour of Reykjavik:
- Reykjavik Street Art
- Icelandic Parliment
- The Tree of the Year
- Laugavegur Street
- The Harpa Concert Hall
- Arnarholl Park
- The Oldest Street in Reykjavik
- City Hall
- Hallgrimskirkja Church
Walking tour of Reykjavik with teens tips
The walk is an easy walk. You may find that in the winter you will need extra layers to stay warm while you are outside. Please make sure you take some water and a light snack if your teens need that as there are no stops on the walking tour of Reykjavik.
Day trips from Reykjavik
There are so many amazing day trips from Reykjavik to do with your teens that it was hard to pick the best. Here we have included some of the best and most trusted day trips in Iceland that will make your trip memorable.
The Blue Lagoon with teenagers
The Blue Lagoon is one of Icelands most iconic attractions. Located some 50 minutes out of Reykjavik close to the Keflavik Airport. The Blue Lagoon is a milky colored geo thermal pool made popular by instagramers and Iceland travel guides.
You can soak in the waters or get a spa treatment, you can have a drink or sit in the sauna. The Blue Lagoon is loacted in a lava field that is out of this world. Some people will tell the Blue Laggon is over rated, for many it is the highlight of their trip to Iceland.
Vik (Reynisfjara Black Sand Beach)
This amazing black sand beach has been in a few movie and television series over the last few years. The Sand stacks that rise out of the water are simply stunning and are well worth the drive out there to be seen.
You can see them from one side at the Reynisfjara Beach and then from the town of Vik itself. If you drive up to the Church on top of the hill in Vik you will get fabulous views of the sand stacks.
Visiting the Reynisfjara Beach with teens tip:
Reynisfjara Beach is one of the most deadly in Iceland. There are waves there called ‘sneaker’ waves and they do just that…sneak up on you. Please make sure that you read all that information on the boards at the car park before you walk out onto the beach. This will help you understand the weather patterns at the beach and it will help you to stay safe while you visit Reynisfjara Beach with your teens.
Dyrholaey Rock Arch and light house
The Dyrholaey Rock Arch and the Lighthouse are located on the South Coast of Iceland and are around 2 hours 30 minutes from Reykjavik. You will find beautiful nature on the way and if you get a perfect day you will be able to see brilliant views from the Lighthouse.
In the summer time you may also be able to see puffins in this area.
Visiting Dyrholaey Lighthouse tips
Beware that driving up to the lighthouse can be dangerous and you must make sure that your insurance covers the car if you have a crash. many policies do not cover damage to the underneath of the vehicle.
You can include the Dyrholaey Rock Arch and the Lighthouse on your day trip to Vik if you have time.
Drive the Golden Circle
One thing you will notice about Iceland is there is a photo opportunity around every single corner and driving the golden circle is one of those places that you will never stop taking pictures.
Places you can see on the golden cirlce are:
- Gullfoss Waterfall
- Thingvellir National Park
- Geysir Geothermal Area
Tips for driving in Iceland
- Make sure you have the very best travel insurance that covers all roadside issues and crashes
- Double-check your policy to see where you are covered for when driving in Iceland
- During winter the weather in Iceland can change quickly. Be prepared to alter your plans
- Take some spare clothes with you in the car. The waterfalls in Iceland like to make sure you know you have visited!
If you are unsure about driving in Iceland with teenagers
If you are not confident driving in Iceland or you come from a country that does not have the kind of extreme weather Iceland is known for you may want to opt for a day tour of the Golden Circle. Below we have found some for you that will keep all budgets happy.
Visit the Sólheimasandur Beach plane wreck
Many a teenager loves a good Instagram shot and this one would be an epic addition to your trip to Iceland. The plane crashed on the Black Sand beach back in 1973 and has been there ever since. No one was killed in the crash.
Travel with teens tip
If you plan on visiting the Sólheimasandur Beach plane wreck be aware that you are no longer allowed to drive onto the beach. There is a car park about 4kilometers from the crash site and you will need to leave your car there to walk. The walk to the Sólheimasandur Beach plane crash will take you between 45 minutes and one hour depending on the weather and how fast you are able to go.
Go on a hunt for the Atlantic Puffin
These amazing and very unique little birds are definitely worth a day trip from Reykjavik. Puffins usually make their burrows in the cliffs and small islands around Iceland. In summer is the best time to see them.
Seeing Puffins in Iceland tips:
The puffin is a very unique bird and one that is on the top of many lists to see. Please use a guide to see them and not go out on your own to see them your self. You may go into a place that is not safe or you may accidentally endanger the Puffin.
Tips for day trips from Reykjavik
There are many things you should consider if you are going to make some day trips from Reykjavik with teens. You need to understand the weather at the time you are visiting especially in the winter. The weather in Iceland can be unpredictable with road closures at times if the weather turns bad.
Winter in Iceland
Winter in Iceland is a brilliant time to visit. With epic sunrises and sunset to be seen, it is also the ‘quieter’ time of yeasr in Iceland.
One problem is that there is not that much daylight hours in Iceland during winter. You will find that the sunrises at about 10 am and starts to fade at about 3.00 pm. It never gets quite sunny and fully light at this time of year in Iceland as well.
While we did not find the weather in Iceland at this time crazy cold we did ,make sure we had layers and spare clothes in the car if we did get cold or wet. This helped us stay warm during our winter vacation in Iceland.
Summer in Iceland
The time of the eternal sunshine. It would be a fabulous time to visit Iceland and this would have to be the busiest time as well. You will find that most of the popular tourist sites in Iceland will be packed to the rafters with fellow travellers at this time.
It may also be hard to adjust with the constant sunlight.
Going to the Gym with teenagers in Reykjavik
Fitness is very important to a lot of teenagers these days. Working out is a big part of a healthy lifestyle. Just because one is travelling it does not mean you need to stop working out.
In Zurich, you can go to a number of Gyms that sell passes ranging from a day to a week and a month. Day passes start at 16 euros a day while a week pass costs 45 euros. You can find a list of Gyms in Zurich at the Trainaway fit website
Escape rooms in Reykjavik
For those new to Escape Rooms, this is a quick run down.
An escape room, also known as an ‘escape game’, is a physical adventure game in which players solve a series of puzzles and riddles using clues, hints, and strategy to complete the objectives at hand.
Escape rooms may consist of a large, single room, or span multiple rooms. Players are given a set time limit to unveil the secret plot which is hidden within the rooms
There is only 1 escape room in Reykjavic for experience. It however does comw highly rated when you search reviews online you can find it at
Reykjavik Escape – Borgartún 6, 105 Reykjavík,
Cinemas in Reykjavik
Watching a movie is popular with teenagers anywhere in the world. Going to the cinema with teenagers in Reyjkavik is a great evening activity.
With the unpredictable weather in Iceland tye cinema is a great backup for your family vacation. You will find state of the art screens and sound.
Icelanders’ in general love going to the cinema. A quick look on google maps indicates atleast 8 active movie theatres located within the city.
Sambíó multiplex cinemas are the most popular in the city, showing the latest blockbuster movies.
Sambíó mulitplex cinemas are located in three location in Reykjavík: Álfabakki 8, Kringlan Shopping Centre and Egilshöll (Fossaleyni 1).
10 Pin Bowling in Reykjavik
If you’re looking for a bit of fun, friendly family travel competition in Reykjavik Iceland then 10 pin bowling might be just the activity for you and your teenagers. You can go 10 pin bowling in Reykjavik at 4 different location in the city centre
Questions about Reykjavik
English is taught as a second language in Iceland and almost every Icelander speaks the language fluently
Iceland uses the standard Europlug socket with two round prongs. For these plugs, you can use adapter types “C” or “F
The currency in Iceland is the Icelandic króna (ISK). Some places my accept USD and Euro
You can dial 112 for police
In Iceland your restaurant bill will probably already include a service charge, so you don’t need to tip
Yes, it is safe to drink the tap water and 95% of all water in Iceland comes from springs.
Weather in Reykjavik
Reykjavik experiences cool weather in all 4 seasons of the year. Yes cool but not cold as it sits outsode the artic circle. Reykjavik shares similar winter temperatures to northeast coast American cities such as New York
- Between the months of June and August, the Reykjavik weather is mild with a peak of 13°C. Night times are a little colder falling below 10°C.
- In the shoulder months, September and October the weather is cold wet in Reykjavik. The average high-temperature drops to 10°C and 7°C, and night time. You can expect lows of between 5°C and 2°C
- In the winter months of November till March, it is dark and damp. January is the coldest month with an average high of 2°C and an average low of -3°C.
- In April and May the temperatures are starting to rise again to between 6 and 9 degrees. The sun starts to come back with a good 6 hours worth in May.
Travel to Iceland
Reykjavik is the capital of Iceland. Reykjavik is located in South Iceland. Travel to Iceland is via Keflavik International Airport. The airport is 50 kilometres from Reykjavik. 6.8 million people travelled through Keflavik airport in 2016,
The main carriers at Keflavík is Icelandic Air
You can check the prices of international flights to Iceland with cheapOair. Domestic flights are operated out of Reykjavik city airport which is 2 km from the city
The Airport Express return service between KEF airport and both Reykjavik and Akureyri is operated by Gray Line Iceland. Book your transfer HERE
You can book an airport transfer with Suntransfers who we have personally used on many occasions.
You can reserve a rental car and have it waiting for you at Keflavik International Airport.
Getting around Iceland and Reykjavik
The city buses in Reykjavík are yellow. The Icelandic word for them is strætó, which is short for strætisvagn (street car). These buses are the only public transport in the city.
The Reykjavik Hop on hop off bus is another excellent option for seeing the sites of the city and surrounding area. Check the current prices HERE
The Reykjavik City Card entitles you to entry to some of Reykjavik’s major attractions and free public transport on the buses. More information is available here
Where to stay in Reykjavik
Reykjavik has accommodation options for every budget from Hostels, to apartments and hotels rooms.
Hostels in Reykjavik can start from as little as 25 Euro a night for a shared dorm room.
Many families visiting Reykjavík loved staying at Hotel Phoenix, Tower Suites Reykjavík, and Kvosin Downtown Hotel. If your looking for a good family budget option we recommend Downtown Reykjavik Apartments
Hotels in Reykjavik generally start from around $209.00 a night for a double room 3star and increase incrementally as the luxury rating rises towards the 5-star average price of $271.00.
You can compare and book your stay on Trip Advisor
Let us help you plan your Iceland trip
The following articles on our site will help planning your trip to France.
Money in Iceland
The official currency of Iceland is the Icelandic króna (ISK). The Icelandic krona comes in 500, 1000, 2000, 5000, 10,000 notes and 1, 5, 10, 50 and 100 ISK coins . Most ATM’s are easy to find and have a common withdrawal limit of 1500-2000 Ringgit at a time. Icelanders usually pay for everything by credit or debit card.
Pick up your copy of Lonely Planet and start planning your trip
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We always say if you can’t afford travel insurance, you can’t afford to travel. Here at Wyld Family Travel, we recommend Fast Cover Travel Insurance for our fellow Australians and AXA Travel Insurance for the rest of the world
If independent travel is not your thing, a tour might be exactly what you’re looking for. Transport, accommodation and more are all organised for you for your holiday in Australia. We only recommend the best tours by Get Your Guide, Tourradar and Viator.
We have selected some great Iceland tours for you.
We hope Wyld Family Travel helps and inspires a visit to Iceland for you. Our Iceland page will provide more travel inspiration for your trip. Email us at mark.wyld@wyldfamilytravel if you have any questions.
About the Author
Mark Wyld is a father, husband and traveller. Having been to over 30 countries worldwide I think I know a thing or 2 about travelling with kids. I have been writing about travel on our website for the last 4 years and have featured on numerous other websites. When I am not talking, dreaming and planning travel I can be found working in disability support .