Home » Lifestyle » Travel » Iceland Vacation

Iceland Vacation

Reykjavik Iceland Family Vacation Experiences and Tips

by Shirley
Published: Updated:
Iceland Family Vacation Tips and Experience

Our family recently completed an Iceland family vacation, it was such a unique experience.

What’s more, if you are thinking about visiting continental Europe during the summer, but are discouraged by the long flight and super expensive airfares, I might have a solution for you. Read on.

Iceland vacation - visiting Iceland tips

Reykjavik, Iceland is a perfect gateway to visiting Europe from North America

Iceland might sound like a faraway place. However, if you live in the US, it actually a mere 6 hours direct flight from major US cities such as Chicago, Washing DC, and New York to Reykjavik, the capital of Iceland. The airfare is also surprisingly reasonable, usually ranging from $300 to $900 for a roundtrip ticket.

Once you are in Reykjavik, it is easy to hop on a flight going to large European cities such as Copenhagen, Denmark, or Amsterdam, Netherlands. The budget airline Play Airline also operates a few early bird flights every week that only cost less than a $200 round trip from Reykjavik to Copenhagen or Amsterdam. What a bargain.

These two factors combined, a shorter direct flight plus cheap airfares, makes Reykjavik a perfect gateway for people living in North America to visit Europe.

Iceland Whale Watching Experience

Reykjavik, Iceland Impressions

First of all, people here appear to be very well-educated. They all speak good English and appear to have an American accent. While walking down the street in its capital Reykjavik, you will notice tourists make up a significant portion of the population, and most of them are from North America.

Reykjavik Iceland Impressions
  1. Black Sand Beach
  2. Punk Museum in downtown Reykjavik
  3. Rainbow Road leading to Hallgrimskirkja, Iceland’s largest Church
  4. A bookstore/Coffee Shop in downtown Reykjavik
  5. Window display in front of Iceland’s hand knitting association
  6. Black Sand Beach

Dining at a restaurant in Reykjavik is expensive, and they do not offer lots of fast food choices. We did see pulled lamb hot dogs, which cost about $15 a piece, but that’s about it.

However, if you buy groceries from supermarkets such as Kronan or Bonus, which are the largest two supermarket chains in Iceland, the price is very reasonable. Other than seafood, lamb is their local meat. The price is about a quarter of that in the US, extremely affordable. Plus the lamb is fresh, lean, and high quality.

food in Iceland

Because there is plenty of lambs, wool products are also abundant. Hand knitting appears to be popular here too. I can’t help noticing Iceland Airline’s blanket is superb and potentially has a wool blend content. They are thick while light and soft, absolutely one of my favorites.

Geothermal Energy and Blue Lagoon Spa

Iceland, dubbed as the “ice and fire land” is extremely rich in geothermal energy. As a matter of fact, there are many active volcanos in Iceland.

Blue Lagoon Spa is perhaps the most promoted hot spring spa. You see the large commercial display as soon as walk out of the gate at the Reykjavik airport.

The standard ticket comes with a facial mask, a drink, and a towel. You can buy tickets directly from the spa, which is not refundable; or you can secure the tickets from 3rd parties, which usually have a 24-hour cancellation policy. Because of the popularity, you will need to book the tickets well in advance for a specific entry time.

By the way, if you forget to bring your swimming trunk, no worries, you can rent one from them for a little over six dollars. A nice service they offer.

Blue Lagoon Iceland experience

Nevertheless, it appears there are many public swimming pools in the Reykjavik area that are heated by geothermal energy, which just cost a fraction of what you pay for Blue Lagoon.

Well, if you ask me, it is still worth going to Blue Lagoon once just for the experience. The black volcanic rocks piled mountains along the path leading to the lagoon, the blue water, and the interior & exterior spa setting all present a unique view.

blue lagoon iceland experience

Whale Watching – Iceland Vacation

Whale Watching is one of the popular things to do while in Iceland. Basically, there are two types of options for different experiences.

Option One is the original classic cruise which typically lasts 3 hours. This is what we took. The speed of the boat is kind of slow and you can either stay inside in the enclosed area or on deck. The boat usually has toilets and snacks/coffee for purchase. Nevertheless, the cruise is slow, and you only get to watch the whale from far far away.

However, we did get to see tons of sea birds, especially classic Icelandic puffins at relatively close distances.

Option Two is the closer-up view offered by a speedy boat. You put on the waterproof wind blocker jumpsuits and sit on the open-air bench. Of course, the boat doesn’t have amenities such as toilets or serving food. The boat travels very fast, so could be bumpy if the waves are high and it could be extremely cold. But you get a chance to get very close to the whales.

Iceland Whale Watching Experience

Golden Circle of Iceland

Thingvellir National Park, Geysir, and the Gullfoss waterfall are three major points of interest along the iconic Golden Circle of Iceland.

Iceland Vacation Must Do – Thingvellir National Park

Pingvellir {Thingvellir} National Park, Iceland Experience

Pingvellir {Thingvellir} National Park is also a historic site, known as the site of Iceland’s parliament from the 10th to 18th centuries. During those times, people would gather here once a year during the summer for two weeks. It was a major event of the year at the time. People would build temporary shelters, called “booths” for accommodations.

There are plenty of parking spaces. Parking is a flat fee of about $7 per car for the day. Pay stations are on-site in the park lots, and also inside the visitor center.

Pingvellir {Thingvellir} National Park, Iceland Experience

Iceland Vacation Must Do – Geysir Geothermal Site

The Golden Circle Geysir Geothermal Site appears to be the most popular stop. The visitor center has nice food, coffee, and gift shops. It also has a standalone restaurant and hotel. We arrived here around noon after visiting the Thingvellir National Park in the morning. We enjoyed our lunch outside while taking in all the beautiful views.

visiting Geysir Iceland, golden circle drive

Geysir Geothermal Site is just a short walk from the visitor center. The major Geysir erupts every 10 minutes or so. Not as high as the Old Faith in Yellow Stone National Park, but still quite grand, and you have to admire its diligence.

Geysir Goethermal Site in Iceand Experience

We enjoyed the raspberry cake and chocolate cake from the Geysir visitor center. Also interesting to find out they accept Zhi Fu Bao {支付宝} and Wechat pay {微信支付}.

Legend also says the last troll of Iceland Bergþór of Bláfell was buried nearby behind a church. See the top right picture for his tombstone. It was a short ride from the Geysir. By the way, along the way, we also found a small hot spring off the road.

Gullfoss Waterfall of Iceland’s Golden Circle

Gullfoss Fall of Iceland is simply impressive. We arrived on a sunny afternoon and were pleasantly amazed by the giant rainbow spanning the cliffs over the waterfall.

Gullfoss Waterfall Iceand Experience

You got to climb along the unpaved path and got a closer look at the Gullfoss. Along the way, you can enjoy different views.

Gullfoss Fall Iceand Experience

Leave a Comment

You may also like

This website uses cookies to improve your experience. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. Accept Read More