We spent the summer of 2016 touring Iceland. Now we're writing a guidebook to tell you exactly what you want to know:

How to take the whole family abroad and survive the process unscathed.


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swimming

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
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Things to Do

Swimming with kids in Iceland: Navigating the locker room

The public pools in Iceland are beautiful and warm and a great place to take your little ones any time of year.  (Swimming outside with snow in your hair is a really cool experience!)  It is well worth the effort of getting everyone ready for the pool.  BUT yes, what you’ve heard is true–you are expected to shower naked (soap, shampoo, and all) before entering the pool.  No, you can’t skip that part.  No, your kids can’t skip that part, even if they don’t want to be naked in front of strangers.  What you need to know, then, is how it all works; that’s what we’ll tell you in this post.

With my kids, at least, part of making a new and anxiety-inducing situation more comfortable is talking through it step by step beforehand so that they know exactly what to expect.  Kids who feel like experts and who are telling you what happens next are not kids who are worrying!  So in this post, we will try to give you the info you need to let them become experts.  All the pictures here are from public pools, not the fancier spas, so they won’t be showing the upscale end of things! Read more

Live From Iceland!

Tuesday, June 28 update: Laugarvatn Fontana and the ice cream barn at Efstidalur

Today we headed to Laugarvatn Fontana, one of the two “fancy” thermal pools in the Golden Circle region. The other is the Secret Lagoon, which we will visit in a couple of days. (Update: Here is our visit to the Secret Lagoon.) I didn’t really have a great picture in my head of what Fontana looked like. As it turns out, there are 4 separate pools / hot tubs. You can see parts of all of them below:

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Live From Iceland!

Tuesday, June 7 update

We spent today in and around Akureyri, the largest town in Iceland that isn’t either named Reykjavik, or is close to Reykjavik. Our main stop was the Icelandic Aviation Museum, which proudly portrays the history of aviation in Iceland, and displays a lot of historical airplanes:

yellow plane Read more

Live From Iceland!

Sunday, June 5 update

A very small subset of us decided to try to hike to Hengifoss today. (Foss … waterfall!) Tripadvisor reviews say things like “Beautiful but hard” and “no pain, no gain.”

Maybe a third of the way up, you get to Litlanesfoss, which is nice enough to be a good stopping point if the little legs (or any of the legs) in your group have had enough walking uphill:

Litlanesfoss (1 of 1)

But we trekked on. Given how warm it has been, there has been lots of melting snow and ice, and the water was actually starting to lap up over this bridge:

crossing hengifoss bridge (1 of 1)

On we walked, taking breaks once in a while, and adding a rock or two to some of the many cairns along the way.

hengifoss cairn (1 of 1)

After one river crossing that was deep enough to get our socks wet above our hiking boots, we arrived at Hengifoss!

hengifoss wide (1 of 1)

There were some interesting chunks of ice in or near the river below the falls:

hengifoss ice (1 of 1)

And a pipe with a guestbook and a stamp (and even some food left by a generous hiker … I wonder if anyone will actually take it?) Can you spot the pipe below?

hengifoss pipe (1 of 1)

Note that it’s probaby 10-15 degrees cooler by the falls vs. in the surrounding area. It was downright cold up close to the water!

This hike was hard, but I think it was a lot easier because we knew to expect a hard hike. Oh, and Google Maps doesn’t know where the parking lot is. If you cross a bridge over the lake, and you’re 1 minute away, turn left, not right.

In the afternoon, we headed to the local city swimming pool. Admission for one adult and 2 children cost just under $10- a great deal for 2 hours of entertainment. I didn’t take any pictures, because that seems weird, but here’s the picture from their web site:

19-sundlaug[1]

Towns take great pride in their pools, and there are always lots of different pool options at lots of different temperatures. Does 36 Celsius sound good? Head to the children’s pool (which anyone can use). 38? try the cooler hot pot. 40? The warmer hot pot is for you. 4? Try the ice bath. Seriously!

We are heading out of east Iceland tomorrow toward Akureyri in the north. A couple of random (and out of focus) thoughts about this area.

First, for the first time, we had some GPS issues with Google Maps. The GPS tracking spent a fair bit of time thinking we were just to the left of the actual road:

google maps (1 of 1)

It made it so we missed a couple of turns, but it really just meant we had to pay a little more attention.

Second, there are a LOT of one lane bridges in the south and the east. Watch out for this sign, slow down, and make sure you yield if a car coming the other way gets there first!

one lane (1 of 1)


Thanks for looking at our live updates. For help with planning your Iceland vacation, check out our main page: www.icelandwithkids.com. Thanks for reading!

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