3 Fun Activities Near Hilton Reykjavik Nordica
I know firsthand that every day on a vacation isn’t, and shouldn’t be, a “planned” day, jam-packed with activities. Some days just lend themselves to sleeping in, enjoying a leisurely brunch, and meandering around near the hotel to simply see what you can see. I mean, after all, isn’t that a part of what vacationing is all about?
That being said, I’ve got three fun family activities within walking distance of Hilton Reykjavik Nordica, should you find yourself in Iceland looking for a relaxing day with your crew.
What to do in Reykjavik on a “Free” Day
1. Laugardalslaug Thermal Pools
Walking distance from the hotel: Under 15 minutes:
Here is a strange little fact about the Icelandic people: they love to swim and they have a plethora of outdoor public pools, most of which are thermally heated. Laugardalslaug is the largest outdoor thermal pool in Reykjavik and is open all year round. The water is nicely heated by mother nature (and some ingenious Icelandic geothermal engineering) to help counteract those chilly Iceland temperatures.
Let me assure you though, this place is much more than just a few swimming pools. Here you will find an Olympic-sized indoor pool with 10 lanes and a slightly cooler temperature for longer swims, plus an Olympic-sized outdoor pool with eight lanes. There’s also a slightly smaller pool with a huge 280-foot twisty slide and gigantic water play structures. This pool boasts the warmest temperature of all the pools, making it perfect for kids.
There are also four hot tubs with varying temperatures, a saltwater hot tub filled with water directly from the sea, an outdoor ice bath, a steam bath and a whirlpool. If that’s not enough, they even have this crazy obstacle activity course just to the right of the smaller pool, where you crawl under nets, hop through tires, climb ropes and swing on bars. Fantastic!
Of course they also have an on-site café, in case you need a snack, and a huge locker room for leaving valuables, showering and changing clothes. It’s great fun for the entire family and all for an extremely affordable price.
2. The Laugardalur Family Park and Zoo
Walking distance from the hotel: Around 10 minutes
Let me begin by saying that this is not the type of family park one encounters in the U.S. It is, by all accounts, more of what we might consider a cleaner and much larger version of a local fair, with super-cool playground areas and wide-open grassy spaces thrown in for good measure.
And the zoo…well, it’s more like a petting zoo. There is a nominal cost to enter the park, and the zoo includes most Icelandic animals, both wild and domesticated, with everything from foxes, reindeer and seals to cattle, horses, goats and sheep. As an added bonus, in the summer, this family park offers many carnival-type rides for an extra cost.
We thoroughly enjoyed spending hours at this fun-filled local spot and would highly recommend it to any family visiting the area. My kids especially enjoyed petting the animals and riding the super-sized, kids pedal cars and trikes around the specially designed looping and winding track, and spinning round and round on a flying tire teeter totter built for two.
Walking distance from the hotel: 10 minutes
I love how fun the name Kringlan sounds. It’s a happy word. Especially when you know that it’s really just their way of referring to Reykjavik’s largest shopping mall. I mean, just hearing the name made us want to go. Kringlan, Kringlan, Kringlan!
Here you will discover more than 150 shops, a wide range of restaurants and a multiplex cinema. Some of these are the usual suspects like Hugo Boss, Diesel, Timberland and Levi’s, but you will also find quite a few authentic Icelandic stores, where you can pick up some great souvenirs, and a grocery store (complete with a fantastic bakery). It was so much fun to meander around, check out all the stores, pick up a few things, and watch the local Icelanders get their shopping on. Kringlan was a hit!
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Know Before You Go
- An Icelandic hotdog is known as a Pylsa.
- For some of the best views, you should pay a visit to the Hallgrimskirkja. The cathedral is one of the tallest buildings in Iceland and can be seen from all around the city.
- The Golden Circle Tour is one of the most popular guides in Europe. It includes stops at the volcanic crater of Kerio, Geysir, Thingvellir, and the Gullfoss Waterfall.