Live From Iceland!

Saturday, July 16 update: Flóran Café, Reykjaik Botanical Gardens, Ásmundur Sveinsson Sculpture Museum, Laugardalslaug

Today started with brunch at Flóran Café, which is a restaurant smack in the middle of the Reykjavik Botanical Gardens. It’s inside of a greenhouse, and only open in the summer months. And, since cars aren’t allowed in the Botanical Gardens, you’re walking through the gardens to get to your food:

cafe floran outside

The inside is spectacular, though I imagine it could get a bit hot on sunny summer days:

floran inside

cafe floran seating

Flóran offers a regular menu, as well as a weekend brunch. Strangely, they didn’t have a brunch menu in the restaurant, at least not one in English. I had to know to ask for it since I had seen it online; very strange. So if you go, you may want to study the menu first.

The food was beautifully prepared, but it’s not cheap. And there’s no kids menu. Here is the smoked salmon brunch for 2700 krona:

floran salmon brunch

There is a good amount of food there- vegetable quiche, pancakes with blueberry compote, some plain skyr-type thing, smoked salmon, bread, butter, 2 kinds of cheese, and fruit.

A meal here with kids can be pricey, and there are only a handful of things on the menu that kids might enjoy. But this could be a good spot to take a break from walking around the Botanical Gardens and enjoy some hot chocolate (580 krona!)

Let’s take a step back– Flóran Café is in the middle of The Reykjavik Botanical Gardens. It’s right next to the Zoo and Family Park, and it’s free! Because we wanted to get to the Café, we parked on the other side of the Botanical Gardens, on Sunnuvegur. We were greeted with this unceremonial sign:

Botanical Gardens parking

But parking on the street was easy and free, and it wasn’t a long walk to the Botanical Gardens.

Here’s a map of the Botanical Gardens– it’s large enough to spend a good amount of time wandering around, exploring the various gardens:

reykjavik botanical gardens map

Here are some pictures to give you a sense of what you’ll find:

reykjavik botanical gardens goose

reykjavik botanical gardens another path reykjavik botanical gardens kids path reykjavik botanical gardens path reykjavik botanical gardens yellow flowers

This is a great stop on a nice day. And given that it’s free to walk around, you might be able to justify the hot chocolate at Flóran Café.

Just 5 minute drive away (or less if you park at the zoo) is the Ásmundur Sveinsson Sculpture Museum, also called Ásmundarsafn. This is the second of the Reykjavik Art Museums we have visited; note that if you pay for admission to any one, admission to the others will be free on the same day.

asmundur outside

We didn’t think the other Art Museum, Hafnarhús (the main one by the harbor) had great exhibits for kids. This one was much more kid friendly. Mostly because kids are allowed to climb on three of the biggest sculptures!

asmundur climbing

I felt a little self-conscious with my kids climbing all over famous works of art. I wanted to yell at any onlookers: “The lady at the front desk said this was allowed!”

Outside, the sculptures are by Ásmundur Sveinsson; this was his home and studio. But inside, at least right now, there are a lot of works by another artist, Elín Hansdóttir. In the entrance to the house, there was a computer generated video playing, showing progressively larger dominoes falling:

asmundur elín hansdóttir video

I didn’t think much of it. That is, until we wandered to the back of the museum and saw this:

asmundur elín hansdóttir

The video and the sculpture match; I thought it was very cool.

Admission to the museum is 1500 krona, but free for kids 17 and under. For families with younger kids, the zoo would most likely be a little cheaper (840 krona for 13+, 640 for kids 5-12) and a bigger hit. But this is in the area, and could round out a nice day at the Zoo and Botanical Gardens.

asmundu inside sculpture asmundur baby mom

Finally, we headed to Laugardalslaug, the city geothermal pool complex in the area. This is the city’s largest pool, but remember that there are a whole lot of impressive pools in and around Reykjavik– and all over Iceland!

Laugardalslaug is impressive, though:

Laugardalslaug overview

Not shown: The indoor lap pool, a huge hot tub, steam rooms, yet another small kids’ waterslide, the sand volleyball area, the rope climbing area … there’s a lot here. And it only costs 900 krona for adults, and 140 krona for children.

I recommend visiting one (or more) of the city pools in Iceland. (See our tips for navigating the Icelandic locker rooms.) I say “city pool” to differentiate from the much more expensive private pools, such as the Blue Lagoon or Laugarvatn Fontana.

We had a good time at the pool. But this is one of the most popular city pools, and it was crowded– especially the hot tubs and the children’s pool. You should find more manageable crowds either earlier in the day, or at one of the other pools around Reykjavik.


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Saturday, July 16 update: Flóran Café, Reykjaik Botanical Gardens, Ásmundur Sveinsson Sculpture Museum, Laugardalslaug was last modified: July 18th, 2016 by Eric