Hiking with your kids is a great family activity. There are many family-friendly walks in the vicinity of Reykjavík, just remember to bring good shoes for all family members, even the smallest ones. Also, bring plenty food and water, and check the weather warnings on www.safetravel.is before you head out.
If you head out to Mt. Helgafell (340m) in Hafnarfjörður, you will find accessible, easy trails for all levels of hikers, including young children. Helgafell’s hills are not steep and despite not being particularly tall, the landscape surrounding Helgafell is relatively flat which means that the view from the top over Hafnarfjörður and a bit further away, the city of Reykjavík, is pretty great.
In Garðabær, you can go for an easy Sunday afternoon walk to Búrfellsgjá canyon. Búrfell erupted once over 8,000 years ago and changed the landscape significantly. The hike provides the ideal opportunity to show your children the effects of earthquakes and eruptions. There is a clear gravel path up to the canyon and it is possible to walk through it. Close to the canyon are historical sheep pen ruins dating back to 1839.
Viðey island has a long and rich history – for centuries it was considered one of the best farmlands in the country, it had a monastery, and the oldest stone building in Iceland. The island is only 1.7km2 and 32m at its highest peak, so a tour of the island is perfect for a short walk with the kids and a long picnic. The island is also home to interesting works of art, the most famous being Yoko Ono’s Imagine Peace Tower.
The Heiðmörk nature reserve is one of the best recreational areas of Reykjavík. Heiðmörk is popular for long and short hikes, horseback riding, and even cross-country skiing, and the area has excellent paths and trails for each. Furulundur is a family area in Heiðmörk with a fort with a slide, a sandbox, a sports field, picnic tables, BBQ facilities, and restrooms.
Elliðaárdalur is a lush valley surrounding the Elliðaár river network in Reykjavík. There are several small waterfalls in the valley, of which Kermóafoss is the most impressive one. Next to waterfalls, you can look at wildflowers, trees, and rabbits! There are many walking paths along the river and plenty of benches for short breaks with the little ones. The area is perfect for a picnic and an afternoon of exploring.
Öskjuhlíð is Reykjavík’s largest forested area, but this does not mean it is huge. It is easy to find as it is the home of Perlan, the pearl-like dome built on top of Reykjavík’s hot water tanks (Perlan’s exhibition Wonders of Iceland is worth a visit, too). There are paths that criss-cross through the forest and picnic benches are scattered throughout the area. Do not be surprised if you run into a bunny or two. Right by Öskjuhlíð is the Nauthólsvík beach, a golden-sanded beach with heated seawater, particularly popular on sunny summer days.
For more information and other family-friendly hikes in the Reykjavík area, contact [email protected] or visit our information office at Laugavegur 5.