Travel Diary // Reykjavik, Iceland

If you follow along on Instagram, you know a couple weeks ago we traveled to Iceland.  In the next few days I’m going to share loads of photos and tips from the trip right here!

First I’ll start with the question, “why Iceland?”  We’ve heard it a lot.  If you’re a big traveler, you probably already know why this is a great place to go.  It’s beautiful, duh.  But there are a number of reasons why our family choose to travel to Iceland.  First, we know that soon our travel will probably be pretty kid centric, so seeing something that might be “boring” to a five -year-old was great for an 18 month old who was endless entertained by the sheep, horses, cows and even the birds.  Second, Oliver can still fly for free as a lap child, so we knew we wanted to go some place that was a little further, but still a reasonable flight time.  Last, we were on a tighter budget, which is one reason why we kept the length on the shorter side (four and a half days), and the flight prices are reasonable.  Though we learned everything else is quite expensive, but more on that later. 

Reykjavik, Iceland
Reykjavik, Iceland

We took an overnight flight from JKF and arrived in Reykjavik on Wednesday morning at 7am.  We had a little confusion with the car rental situation in the airport.  We rented from Lagoon Car Rental, which was a good price, and I might describe it as a great price when compared with the other options.  Lagoon does not have a kiosk in the airport, so the guy comes in and holds up the little board with your name on it.  We made the mistake of getting a coffee, which took about 25 minutes, and missed our pick-up all together.  We waited around for a bit, then called and they quickly came back to get us. 

By the time we made it to our hotel, Kerno Apartments, it was around 10, but couldn’t check in until 11:30, so we drove over to the city center, maybe a half mile and found a coffee shop to have breakfast.  After breakfast we headed back to the room to rest and freshen up from our travels. 

Reykjavik
Reykjavik with a baby
Reykjavik, Iceland

We all napped for a little, then went back out to the city center to explore.  There were tons of souvenir shops and touristy restaurants, and we walked down to the harbor and around some charming residential areas.  Kyle toted Ollie around while he napped.  We had a late lunch, then headed back to the hotel to rest and never made it back out to dinner as we intended.  Normally on our trips to Europe we would power through, but with the addition of a baby, it made the first day less productive.  

Reykjavik, Iceland
Reykjavik, Iceland

Our second and last day in Reykjavik, we didn’t have a great plan, because we thought we’d seen pretty much all there was to see.  So we decided to explore an open air museum a few miles outside the city.  Arbaer was once a farm, and now has a restored collection of traditional Icelandic homes and buildings.  We happened to go on the first day of the “off-season,” so we arrived about two hours before tours started, but the grounds were open to explore.  I snapped a lot of pictures here.  The charming buildings captivated me and Oliver loved the animals.  I would definitely recommend this museum, if you are spending more than a day or two in Reykjavik.  

Reykjavik, Iceland
Reykjavik, Iceland

After the museum, we headed up to the explore the closest town north, Akranes.  The drive went along the water and was beautiful!  There was not much in Akranes, besides two restaurant options for lunch, which is what we did.  After our meal we headed back, but first pulled over to visit some horses.  There are horses EVERYWHERE in Iceland!  They all seem to come right up to you, as these ones did.  Oliver was a little tepid, but did eventually get brave enough to pet.

Iceland
Reykjavik, Iceland
Reykjavik, Iceland
horses in Iceland
family trip to Iceland
horses in Iceland
Reykjavik, Iceland

We returned to the city and stopped at the , a big, beautiful church in the middle of the city.  The church was pretty and very different from other European churches that we have visited.  It is minimal and even a little cold, except for the grand organ pipes.  But outside the church, we discovered there was a whole other little neighborhood of shops and restaurants that we hadn’t seen.  We shopped around a little, and ended up coming back for dinner.  But I definitely wish we had discovered this area on the first day.  It was still touristy, but not as manufactured as the other area.  

Reykjavik, Iceland

We explored this area a little further and grabbed some dinner before heading back to rest up for our drive around the country.  Can't wait to share more on that tomorrow!