Family Adventures in Reykjavik: Uncovering the City’s Distinctive Food Culture

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Iceland is a superb spot for a family vacation, particularly if you and your kids love to eat! Alongside Iceland’s wealth of cultural experiences and remarkable natural beauty, its unique food culture is an absolute delight, with an array of fascinating, delicious, and downright weird dishes to discover. A vacation in Iceland is an opportunity to combine a cruise to some of Europe’s natural wonders with an exploration of one of the most original food traditions around. 

Reykjavik, the dynamic capital of this frozen island, is a wonderful place for a foodie family to explore. From traditional Norse flavors to the innovative experimentation of New Nordic cuisine, a culinary journey through the streets of Reykjavik is an unforgettable adventure and one well worth exploring.

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Exploring Local Markets

Your culinary journey in Reykjavik starts at one of the city’s bustling markets. Spots like Kolaportið or the Reykjavik Farmers Market are bursting with an array of locally sourced produce, traditional delicacies like kleinur (Icelandic twisted pastries) and rúgbrauð (rye bread), and the freshest and most amazing seafood you’ll find anywhere. It is a great place to get a feel for the foundations of the cuisine, as well as being an exciting experience in its own right. Your kids will love the sounds, smells, and sights of a working market, and the chance to cook up something yourselves as a family is a lovely experience.

Family-Friendly Food Tours

One of the best ways to get a comprehensive, overarching, all-in-one taste of all the best culinary hotspots of the city is to join a family-friendly food tour. These expert guided tours take you on a journey through traditional Icelandic flavors and specialties, from harðfiskur (dried fish) and skyr (Icelandic yogurt) to the famed fermented shark. These tours are almost always interactive in some way, making them extremely accessible to kids of all ages.

Aerial panorama of downtown Reykjavik at sunset with colorful houses and snowy mountains in the background

Cooking Classes for All

A cooking class is a lovely way to spend time together as a family, and Reykjavik is blessed with an abundance of excellent options. Get a hands-on experience learning how to prepare and cook authentic dishes and more modern recipes, from pancakes and hot dogs to Icelandic fish stew. A cooking class is a fun, educational experience that is just the right amount of messy, perfect for fun-loving families.

Traditional Icelandic Restaurants

When it comes to a deep dive into serious Icelandic food culture, you have to go to the older, more traditional eateries. These are somewhat old-fashioned Fiskmarkaðurinn or Sægreifinn, smartly-dressed waiters serve up a plethora of delicious seafood specialties like lobster soup, as well as other traditional dishes such as smoked lamb or sheep’s head. For families with courage and eclectic tastes, this is a must-try.

Sampling Street Food Delights

Although not especially well known, Reykjavik has an excellent street food scene with loads of quick bites to keep you full and satisfied. Don’t miss the chance to taste pönnukökur (thin pancakes) or langoustine skewers as you explore the charms of the city.

Sweet Treats and Ice Cream Parlors

Amazingly, given the frosty climate, Iceland loves ice cream. Reykjavik is full of delightful old-style ice cream parlors like Valdís or Ísbúðin, serving up delicious sweet treats in an array of flavors from the traditional (vanilla) to the bizarre (licorice).

Reykjavik’s food scene is delicious and exciting in equal measures, with plenty of family-friendly options to keep adults and kids happy. From markets to fine dining there’s an immense amount to discover in this wonderful city and exploring the culinary traditions of Iceland makes for a fantastic family vacation.

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Karen Beddow founded Mini Travellers in 2014 while doing what she loves most...going on holiday!

Mini Travellers is for parents looking for holiday ideas, destination reviews, days out and things to do with the kids. We also have family travel tips, activity ideas and all other things family holiday related. Take a look at some of our latest reviews for holidays and day trips in the UK.

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