Monday, 30 March 2015

Rent a car in Iceland: Car Comparison by price in Iceland + Tips for Renting a Car in Iceland

If you’re planning to tour Iceland by car, then Iceland car rentals provide the cheapest and best way to explore the vast island. With public transportation being scarce outside major cities like Reykjavík, renting a car becomes the cheaper and most viable option for tourists to explore the island fully. Though it may seem expensive initially, it is much cheaper and less strenuous than having to purchase a car or travel by bus. With plenty of car rental companies in Iceland at your disposal, you will never fail to get a deal that suits your budget. 

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The wide array of vehicles available for hire also makes it possible for you to get a car that can take you almost anywhere on the island from SUVs, four wheel cars, luxury cars, 4×4 rental cars and jeeps just to mention a few. In this article, we give you some tips on picking an Iceland car rental provider as well as taking a look at some of the best car rental companies on the island. 

July 7th to July 14th - 2015 (7 days)

Option A - New cars:

Toyota Aygo                              790,96€
Toyota Rav4                              1.573,9€

Hyundai i10:                               786,4€
Suzuki Grand Vitara 4x4:           1.573,1€

REYKJAVÍK CARS *                  BEST COMPANY JULY 2015 (1st place)
Hyundai i10:                                  498,3€
Suzuki Grand Vitara 4x4:               863€ 

Hyundai i10:                               718€
Suzuki Grand Vitara 4x4:           1.484€

CARS ICELAND                      BEST COMPANY JULY 2015 (2nd place)
Kia Rio Diesel:                            602€
Dacia Duster 4x4:                       922€
*prices with all insurances included

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Option B - Old cars:

REYKJAVÍK CARS (they also rent old models)
Hyundai i10:                              487,8€
Suzuki Jimny 4x4:                     708€

Hyundai i10:                                546,8€
Toyota Rav4 4x4:                        1.030€

Toyota Yaris                               616,34€
Toyota Rav4 4x4                        1.240,2€

Hyundai i10:                              585,8€
Toyota Rav4                             1064,2€

Hyundai i20:                              619,8€
Hyundai Tucson:                       900,2€

Car Rental Iceland - Iceland Car Rental - Rent a Car in Iceland

Renting a car is really the best and only way to see the country so be sure to factor it into your budget. We went there thinking we would just take a bus to other areas -wrong. The only buses that exists outside the capital city of Reykjavik are tour buses. So technically you can take a bus but you will pay for it because it will be part of an organized tours and it will add up fast. If you are traveling with another person a car is the cheapest way to see the country. Plus, driving in Iceland is very easy and there isn’t much traffic.


Renting a car in Iceland may not be the cheapest way to explore Iceland (it’s tough to beat hitch hiking) but it doesn’t have to blow your budget. With public transportation being non-existent outside of the larger cities, like Reykjavik, renting a car gives you the freedom at a fraction of the cost when compared to the sightseeing tours sold at tourist information centers.

Below are seven ways to save money on your Iceland car rental:

Don’t buy it: You don’t need theft insurance for the vehicle. According to our agent, car thefts in Iceland are rare and he actually told us not to bother with any of the additional insurance (yes, they have insurance for ash from the volcano) either, so we didn’t. 

Go online: The best deals can be found online for Iceland car rentals. By booking online, you will find a better deal than renting directly from a tourist center in Iceland. Some online companies even offer discounts if you book online therefore you will be able to save a lot by booking online. There are a variety of car rental companies on the island so take your time and visit their websites, compare prices, and look at their packages and whether or not they offer discounts for booking online. By doing this, you will be able to get a good deal at a pocket friendly price. 

Pick up at Keflavik International Airport: Because the airport is located about an hour from Reykjavik, you will have to spend €15 – €20 each way to get to and from the airport. So, you might as well just rent your car from the airport and roll your shuttle bus fees into the car rental. 

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Get to know your vehicle: The longer you keep the rental car the cheaper it becomes.

Petrol Blues: When considering renting a car be sure to factor in the cost of gas. In Europe, petrol is sold by the liter not the gallon; therefore, expect to pay about $5 per gallon. 

Choose Your Rental Dates Wisely: Sept. 1 in Iceland signals the beginning of the low season, which runs until May 31. Renting a car in Iceland becomes even cheaper during that time. And by cheaper I mean €35/day vs. €85/day – it’s a HUGE price difference. 

Consider your budget: Look for a car rental company that falls within your budget. Remember you do not have to spend a fortune on car rental therefore try to get a car rental service that will leave you with some cash to spend on the road.

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Driving Conditions in Iceland are in many ways unusual and often quite unlike what foreign drivers are accustomed to. It is therefore very important to find out how to drive in this country. We know that the landscapes are beautiful, which naturally draws the driver’s attention away from the road. But in order to reach your destination safely, you must keep your full attention on driving.

-The speed limit in populated areas is usually 50 km/hr.
-The speed limit is often 60 km/hr on thruways, but in residential areas it is usually only 30 km/hr.
-The main rule in rural areas is that gravel roads have a speed limit of 80 km/hr, and paved roads 90 km/hr.
-Signs indicate if other speed limits apply.

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Driving in the Icelandic highland is quite different from driving in the lowland. The conditions can change fast due to weather, rain and even sometimes snow. Therefore roads can be closed and rivers can be too big to cross. Before you start your travel you should get information about the area as well as leave your travel plan with someone who can check up on you if needed.

You can make your travel plan here:

-Start by checking if the area you are going to visit is open
-Get as much information about the area as you can
-Information centers, rangers and hut wardens can help you get the information needed
-Are you sure that you have the experience and knowledge needed to go the highland?
-If you are driving be on a 4x4 jeep, other cars will only get you into trouble
-If you are no sure how to cross a river skip it or wait for the next car to assist you over

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When the fact that the country lies right below the Arctic Circle is taken into consideration, along with the fact that the growing season is short, it is apparent that the environment can take many years, decades or even centuries to recover. For example, many people don't realise that by uprooting or driving on moss, damage is caused that can take at least a decade or, more likely, some hundreds of years to mend – and we're not even talking about the highlands where the summer is much shorter.

Whilst travelling around the country, the highest respect for the Icelandic environment must be shown. It's good to remember to take nothing besides photographs and leave nothing behind except footprints.

-Check out the road map and see where the roads and trails are.
-Get information about the appropriate routes at visitor centres, and from rangers or staff.
-Find out in advance when mountain roads are likely to be open, along with other related information, at visitor centres or here.

While on your trip around the country you’ll quickly see that in many places, road ruts and paths have formed from other people. Often they are closed off with nothing more than a row of small rocks. Don’t be caught in the pitfall of following those paths; only stay on roads and marked trails. Instead, think about the damage off-road driving has caused, take photos and educate friends and acquaintances. See how long such damage takes to heal. Notice that ruts don’t just look ugly; they draw in water and thereby cause even further damage, leading to erosion of soil and vegetation. Walk around a short distance or turn around if you can’t go any farther by driving. That’s the only right thing do. Besides, you can easily expect a sky-high fine or prison term for offences.

We should all set a good example. Together we share the responsibility of ensuring that everyone gets the chance of enjoying a pristine natural environment for years to come.

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One thing is for sure when you go hiking in Iceland and that’s that you’ll not get far without coming to the first stream. Usually they’re little brooks, which are good to get a fresh drink from. On the other hand, they can be large rivers and you will need to wade them, in which case you should bear some things in mind:

-Rivers often have less volume earlier in the day, so organising hiking trips accordingly is not a bad idea.
-Look around for suitable locations to ford. Be aware that places that are good for crossing with jeeps are seldom good for crossing on foot.
-Look for meanders in the river which are places where there is loose gravel and sand and the current dies down as the river expands.
-Meanders are usually the best location you’ll find for fording a river though the river may be wider there.
-Preferably wade the river with two or three other people at a time by clasping arms together at the elbows.
-Loosen any straps on backpacks and be sure not to have anything tied tight that could complicate things if you or someone else might fall.
-It’s best to have special wading shoes as it is not wise to cross barefoot - this can increase the likelihood of a fall.
-Before fording, it’s smart to decide on a spot farther down the river where everyone will go to if someone might unfortunately fall.
-If you fall, roll onto your back, keep your feet in front of you and trudge to the place - or near to it - that was previously decided upon.

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When planning your hiking trip get information about rivers, if they are possible to cross on foot and then what time is best and etc. Never cross a river unless you are 100% sure of how to do it and feel safe doing it.

Helpful Tips on 4x4 Driving in Iceland

If you have plans to visit Iceland's country side then you should also pick a 4x4 vehicle since you will most likely be driving on some gravel roads. And should you go off the beaten path to visit the Iceland highland then you are sure to encounter some F-roads that are only driveble by larger 4x4.

Iceland gravel roadsAll major roads in Iceland are paved. But keep in mind that of 13.000 km total roads in Iceland only about 5.000 is paved with asfalt.

Most gravel roads are not difficult to drive on or dangerous, you just need to keep special attention while driving and make sure you are not going to fast. These roads are often narrow and many bridges only have one lane. You are also likely to meet some sheeps and Icelandic horses so make sure you are paying attention.

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List of the most popular F-roads

Here is a list of the most popular F-roads in Iceland and average opening times:
F-RoadNameAvg. opening date
F206 Lakagígar June 12th
F208 Fjallabaksleið nyrðri
(Landmannalaugar and Eldgjá)
June 12th
F225 Landmannaleið, Landmannalaugar June 15th
F35 Kjölur (Hveravellir) June 11th
F26 Sprengisandur June 27th
F88 Askja June 20th
F902 Kverkfjöll June 19th
F52 Uxahryggir June 5th
F550 Kaldidalur June 13th

Driving in snow and difficult weather conditions

Make sure you are always driving according to road and weather conditions. If there is snow and the roads are slippery make sure to take it slow and drive safe. If you are driving outsite of populated areas make sure to find out the conditions of the roads on your route. You should also check out the weather forecast.

Check road conditions in Iceland here:

Check weather forecast here:

Carpooling in Iceland:

Map of Iceland:

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Kolla, Iceland24
© 2015 Iceland24

Saturday, 28 March 2015

Askja volcano travel guide (Iceland)

For many years now, Askja has been the most popular excursion from Lake Mývatn and one of the top destinations in Iceland.

You will travel through the largest wilderness of Iceland, filled with marvels of nature, driving across lunar landscapes where US-astronauts trained before they ventured to the moon in 1969.

Askja volcano travel guide (Iceland)

You will see scenes of unforgettable nature and exiting geology. Askja, the huge caldera, is still in the making through bedrock subsidence above a deep-seated magma source. It lies centrally in the mountain massif Dyngjufjöll and is an active centre of a volcanic system.

Askja volcano travel guide (Iceland)

Askja was not explored until the 19th century. In 1874-1875 there was a series of volcanic eruptions in the system, culminating in a very powerful eruption. Some 2 billion cubic metres of ash and pumice where blown from vents now on the bottom of Lake Öskjuvatn . This 11 sq. km-lake formed within a few years, following the event. It is the deepest lake in Iceland, 220 m. The latest eruption in Askja occurred in the autumn 1961.

Askja volcano travel guide (Iceland)

We recommend you to walk at the slopes of a 1961-crater. An easy 30-min.-long walk leads you to the explosion crater Víti (Hell) at the rim of Lake Öskjuvatn.

Askja volcano travel guide (Iceland)

A small, milky and warm lake adorns the crater. Amazingly, it turns into a heaven if you care to take a bath in it. After enjoying the unearthly quietness and bizarre landscape our passengers return to the bus.
Askja volcano travel guide (Iceland)

Víti is a popular bathing site, but if you intend taking a dip, please be aware that the sloping path is very slippery in wet weather.

Askja volcano travel guide (Iceland)

Route back to Lake Mývatn, you could make a stop is made at Herðubreiðarlindir where clear water flows from springs in an old lava flow. The springs sustain beautiful vegetation and form small ponds providing conditions for flowering plants and birdlife in the otherwise barren, volcanic landscape. The high bulk of the old sub-glacial volcano (tablemountain) Herðubreið (1682 m) rises about 3 km distant and provides a breathtaking background to this wilderness oasis.

Askja volcano travel guide (Iceland)

Askja is a 50 km2 caldera in the Dyngjufjoll mountains. The mountains emerged in eruptions under an Ice Age glacier cap. Askja itself was formed, for the most part, at the end of the Ice Age in a major ash eruption which caused the roof of the magma chamber at the heart of the central volcano to subside. Askja is a part of Vatnajökull National Park. The caldera contains several volcanoes, including Víti (explosive volcanic crater). Water has accumulated in the crater, its temperature is variable - it is around 30°C on average.


The road to Askja goes from road 1 to road 901 and onto mountain road F905. Onward to F910 to Drekagil. On this route there are two fords to cross, usually small. From Drekagil goes mountain road F894 (8 km) to the car park at Vikraborgir.

Askja volcano travel guide (Iceland)

Another option is to go from road 1 to mountain road F88 via Herðubreiðarlindir to Drekagil. On this road ther are fords on the rivers Grafarlandsá and Lindá that need to be crossed. The fords can be difficult or even impassable for small jeeps.


So what do you have to keep in mind when planning a trip to the highlands?

-You have to be driving a 4x4 vehicle.
-It is strongly advised that people travel together in 2 or more cars.

Askja volcano travel guide (Iceland)

-You should check information about the conditions of the roads before you start your journey. It is best to call 1777 or check
-Make sure that the F road you plan to travel on is open for traffic.
-Driving outside of the roads in the highlands is strictly forbidden. Actually, driving off road in Iceland is always forbidden!

Askja volcano travel guide (Iceland)

-Buying a detailed map of the route you will be travelling is much better than using the standard free map you can get at tourist information centers and gas stations. This is not necessary but can be very helpful.
-Whenever possible, try to talk to local people about conditions in the area, such as rangers.
-Tell somebody about your travel plans. You can for example tell the good people over at (or just the ranger you talked to before).

-It is good to be prepared for all types of weather as the weather in the highlands can change almost with a blink of an eye.
-Be aware that telephone signals in the highlands are not very stable and you can go for a long while without a mobile connection.
-The emergency number in Iceland is 112. You are able to call it in the highlands, even without a mobile connection.
-There is no petrol station in the highlands so make sure you fill up! :)


When you cross rivers, make sure that the 4 wheel drive has been engaged before going into the river. Drive very slowly and use the low range if possible. Never switch gears in the middle of the river.

Askja volcano travel guide (Iceland)

Glacial rivers usually have less water in the mornings. During warm summer days, the flow of the river can increase a lot. Heavy rain can also increase the flow of a river substantially. Be aware that rivers can sometimes not be crossed even if the road is open and you are driving a 4x4 vehicle.

A good rule of thumb regarding glacier rivers is that if you would not want to wade through a river you should not drive through it. Crossing rivers can be a serious matter if people are not careful. Whenever possible, cross with someone with experience in crossing rivers.

Askja volcano travel guide (Iceland)

Fords over rivers are usually marked and should be easy to spot. Be aware of big rocks that might be under the surface of the water. The worst place to cross is where the water is most calm because that is usually the deepest part of the river. The best way to cross is to follow the torrent diagonally down the river, that way the torrent helps the vehicle over.

If you prefer a guided tour, we recommend a guided tour from Lake Mývatn to the Askja Caldera with this Icelandic company.

Peter and Helga
Iceland24, March 2015

Tuesday, 24 March 2015


Skagafjörður is a wide fjord, maybe even a bay, in Northwest Iceland (not the Westfjords) which is home to the large town of Sauðárkrókur and some lovely natural surroundings.


Another great thing about Skagafjörður is that it’s a little bit off the beaten track because, despite the presence of Sauðár- krókur, the Route 1 highway does not pass through. Or, more accurately, it only passes through very briefly and you could easily miss it.


Skagafjörður is a fertile farming region and particularly famous for its horses. Apparently it is even the only part of Iceland where horses outnumber people. For the record, sheep outnumber people in Iceland as a whole. Just so you know.


The people of Skagafjörður are known for being open and eccentric, in a nice kind of way. The tiny town of Varmahlíð – which Route 1 actually does pass through – is the base of North Iceland white water rafting on the East Glacial River. This is one of the top spots for rafting in all of Iceland.


Sauðárkrókur has over 2,500 people, which makes it the second biggest town in the north, after Akureyri. Icelanders generally find it hilarious to translate the name of the town directly as Sheep River Hook. Weird, right?

The town is pleasant, modern and open with a few good attractions including a museum and a surprisingly interesting rock exhibition. In the winter there is a well-liked ski area by Sauðárkrókur and plenty of hiking opportun- ities. There are also a couple of islands in the fjord and boats in the harbour you may be able to get there on.


Skagafjörður is home to Glaumbær farm, a beautiful old fashioned agricultural centre, now open air museum – and one of the cutest opportunities to take quaint oldy-worldy photos anywhere in the country.


The Icelandic Emigration Centre is in the Skagafjörður region and you will find it in the town of Hofsós, which is a pleasant village of 200 people which has recently been remodelling itself to better cater to tourists. This means, among other things, that the place is well-maintained.


Skagafjörður is roughly a hundred kilometres from Akureyri and 300 kilometres from Reykjavík. There is an airport in Sauðárkrókur which is not used for scheduled flights. Akureyri, on the other hand, has lots of scheduled flights and there are plenty of coaches (and even city buses) along Route 1.

Peter, Mars 2015

Wednesday, 18 March 2015

Seljavallalaug: A Hidden Swimming Pool in South Iceland

Seljavallalaug is a protected 25-metre outdoor pool in southern Iceland. The pool is one of the oldest swimming pools in Iceland and was built in 1923.

Seljavallalaug: A Hidden Swimming Pool in South Iceland

Seljavallalaug is located not far from Seljavellir. The construction was headed by Bjorn Andrésson Berjaneskoti, who received the Ungmennafélagið Eyfelling for the work. Courses in the pool were initiated as part of compulsory education in 1927. The pool is 25 metres long and 10 metres wide and was the largest pool in Iceland until 1936.

Seljavallalaug: A Hidden Swimming Pool in South Iceland

Seljavallalaug is one of those places many visitors in Iceland miss because they are busy checking off all the highlights of the south on their Been There Done That list. It’s nestled in a narrow valley below the infamous Eyjafjallajökull and it’s the oldest pool in Iceland that is still standing. It was built in 1923 by some visionaries that wanted to provide the locals with a place where they could learn how to swim.

Seljavallalaug: A Hidden Swimming Pool in South Iceland

Unlike today, where Icelanders won’t graduate school without passing a swim test, most Icelanders didn’t know how to swim in the beginning of the 1900s which was a problem since many of them lived off fishing. It was important to get these things in order and those who built this pool knew that.

Seljavallalaug: A Hidden Swimming Pool in South Iceland

Today I believe the pool is mostly maintained by volunteers and of donations but you can still very much swim in it while enjoying the spectacular surroundings. It’s built next to a rock wall that makes up one of its four walls and the water comes from a natural hot spring close by. It’s 25 meters long, 10 meters wide, and even offers dressing rooms where you can change but no showers.

Seljavallalaug: A Hidden Swimming Pool in South Iceland

There is no entry fee and you are asked to treat it with care and respect but alcohol consumption is strictly forbidden. I don’t think you want to be wasted in that location with something happening and no life guard anyway!

How to get to Seljavallalaug

When you are driving in the direction from Reykjavík you turn of the ring road (No.1) into road 242 marked Raufarfell. It’s just past Þorvaldseyri (The Iceland Erupts exhibition) so make sure you don’t miss it (like we did). You drive until you see a sign that says Seljavellir but if you follow that road you get to a new pool that was built later where you can park. There's a parking area close to the Seljavellir Farm and from there it's a 20 – 30 minute hike to reach the pool. You can’t see it until you get to it so if you think you’re going the wrong way you probably aren’t. You will have to jump over a little stream and the way is a bit uneven but it’s an easy walk and everyone should be able to do it.

Seljavallalaug: A Hidden Swimming Pool in South Iceland

It’s been a few years since I was there last time and I’m sure that the access to the pool changed a bit in the eruption because it didn’t look anything like I remembered. So if you have a guide book that says it has a nice trail to it and you feel confused when you don’t find it – don’t worry about it. It’s there!

Source: I heart Reykjavík / Wikipedia / Iceland24
Iceland24, Mars 2015

Friday, 13 March 2015

Visiting Iceland with children

Iceland is a superb family holiday destination because all the things that make it merely unique and special to you will make it an amazing world of adventure for your kids.

Most of the Iceland holiday highlights mentioned elsewhere on this website are very much suitable for children of all ages; the main exception to that rule being the kicking Reykjavík nightlife scene.

Visiting Iceland with children

As you can see in our article on childhood in Iceland, kids pretty much rule the country and enjoy an amazing level of freedom. But living somewhere and visiting there on holiday are two very different things; so here is a random, unscientifically compiled selection of our highlights for children visiting Iceland:

1. Head up to Perlan in Reykjavík, with its spaceship-like dome and incredible water fountain inside. The kids will especially enjoy the manmade geyser outside and they will be chuffed to discover the obstacle course hidden in the forest.

Visiting Iceland with children

It is more of a collection of old wooden exercise equipment for adults than it is a specially-designed children’s playground. But that doesn’t stop it being a fun diversion. You can walk from Perlan, through the forest and down to Nauthólsvík:

2. Nauthólsvík is Reykjavík’s geothermal beach and it is the perfect place to take kids on a nice day. The water is toasty warm and the sands are golden. There is also an ice cream shop, showers and changing rooms. And talking of beaches, we would highly recommend some beach combing around many of Iceland’s beaches. Children love finding unusual stones, sea glass and odd creatures and plants!

Visiting Iceland with children

3. Skemmtigarðurinn is the name of a company running two ‘theme parks’ near Reykjavík. One is indoors and the other outdoors. This being Iceland, they don’t have any rollercoasters so to speak; but they are both geared up to keeping families entertained. Read more about them here.

Visiting Iceland with children

4. Most towns and villages across the country have children’s playgrounds for residents and visitors alike. But two that particularly stand out for mention here are the hand-built Bjössaróló park in Borgarnes and the high adrenaline family garden, Raggagarður in the Westfjords village of Súðavík.

Visiting Iceland with children

5. As above, most towns and villages also have swimming pools which are an unrivalled place to relax, play and exercise for people of all ages and eternally popular with families. A few of our favourites for those travelling with children include the biggest pool in Reykjavík at Laugardalur, and the suburban haven with commanding views of the city over in Árbær. Away from the city, your children will love the pools in Akureyri and Neskaupstaður. All of the above have fun things like water slides and toys. For the record, lots of other pools not mentioned here also have excellent slides.

Visiting Iceland with children

6. While at Laugardalur, be sure to explore the park itself. Here you’ll find not only adventurous play opportunities, but also Iceland’s only zoo. Well, we call it a zoo – but you’ll probably consider it more of a farm park than anything else. There are no giraffes or lions; but there are reindeer and seals. It tends to be a real hit with everyone – especially if you get to feed the animals.

Visiting Iceland with children

7. Horse riding is clearly not suitable for young children. However, Iceland’s strong, small and steady breed of horse makes it an ideal place for that first-time equestrian adventure a kid will remember for life. Iceland has lots of riding stables staffed by experienced and enthusiastic experts, so give it some serious consideration.

Visiting Iceland with children

8. As mentioned above, Iceland’s rugged scenery and natural wonders are no less inspiring for children than adults; but you can really go out of your way to blur the lines between reality and fantasy by taking a duck boat tour at the Jökulsárlón glacial lagoon. Drifting among icebergs and playful seals in an amphibious boat is a genuine-fake Arctic experience and will be sure to bring the North Pole from books and fairy tales to life in unforgettable fashion.

Visiting Iceland with children

9. On the cheaper front, a visit to central Reykjavík’s Tjörnin pond is a surprisingly rewarding experience for four reasons: feeding the ducks, geese, swans, pigeons, starlings, seagulls and terns is a more intense experience than most places due to their large numbers and tameness. Then you will notice Reykjavík’s modernist city hall and the interesting things inside. The pond is surrounded by pleasant parkland, and finally there is a small adventure playground and climbing net at the far end.

Visiting Iceland with children

10. Finally you’ll be wanting to take a trip out to the capital region municipality of Mosfellsbær. There are many good reasons to do this (including the pool, the Laxness museum, the walking trails and farmers market); but for this article we are only concentrating of the two children’s adventure parks on offer. One is a nature park, and the other is a Viking park. Enjoy!

Visiting Iceland with children

Peter & Berglind Rós
Iceland24 2015