Please sign in to post.

24 hours in Iceland Family of 4-Should we rent a car?

My husband and our two daughters ages 9 and 6 will be in Iceland for 24 hours. I have not made accommodations yet but was thinking of staying in Reykjavik. I am wondering if we should rely on public transportation or if we should rent a car. We will be on our way back from a 13 day vacation from Norway and will be spending one night in Iceland. We probably will want to go to Blue Lagoon and walk around Reykjavik. Since we have never been to Iceland we are wondering if having a car would be more of a burden (trying to find parking, etc). Or would it be convenient just to rent a car from the airport and drive ourselves to Blue Lagoon then to our hotel. Any advice would be much appreciated!

Posted by
679 posts

The Blue Lagoon is located approximately 20 minutes (by car) from KEF. By contrast, Reykjavik is almost an hour from KEF - depending on traffic - and keep in mind, most motorists are not Icelanders. If your plans could be arranged so that you arrive at KEF, pick up a rental car, drive directly to the Blue Lagoon and spend your time there - then drive on to Reykjavik for the remainder of the day and night - stay overnight there and drive back to KEF to catch your return flight - it might make optimum use of your 24 hours. All of these Iceland based activities require reservations.

Posted by
6321 posts

Google Flybus and price out what it would cost for 4 people if you bought round-trip tickets to/from the airport (or with a Blue Lagoon stopover - that's what I did when I went, but I was traveling solo). I would guess that a rental car may be less expensive since the Flybus is not cheap. Compare the two options side-by-side (I have no idea how much a rental is right now). Driving should be no issue, the roads are practically empty. But if you rent a car, then just pick lodging that's not off the main commercial drags. It should be easy to park in a residential area of Reykjavik, and everything there is walkable so you won't need the car except to get in and out of Reykjavik.

Iceland is extremely tourist friendly and has a great tourist infrastructure. Also, I assume one of you can watch the kids while the other is in the Blue Lagoon. The water is quite hot, too hot for small kids. It's definitely not a waterpark for kids, and it's quite pricey.

Posted by
2365 posts

A car is reasonable in Iceland - you can park even in Reykjavik without too much difficulty. Of course city center hotels won't always have their own lots, but they can easily point you to one. We stayed in an airbnb a very short walk from the center and street parking was free and abundant. The Blue Lagoon has plenty of parking.

Kids of 6 and 9 are fine at the Blue Lagoon. Mine were more like 8 and 11 when we went, but they enjoyed it. There were plenty of kids there. Kids under 8 have to wear arm floatation things. I'd be very worried if your kids can't swim, but if they can swim and won't dash around trying to have a splash war they will be fine.

Now, I actually disliked the Blue Lagoon - too spa like and touristed for me. I'd suggest driving the golden circle, see the geyser and waterfalls - can be done in a 3/4 day. But so many people talk about the Blue Lagoon that I understand why it's a must. It's fine, you will enjoy it, I just wanted to present another option.

Posted by
19 posts

My 9 year old can swim, but my six year cannot. Will the arm floatations act like a life jacket? Also I realize Blue Lagoon is super touristy, but feel like it's something you just do once. For those of you who have brought children, did your children think the water was too hot?

Posted by
21 posts

If you’re landing at Keflavik airport you are outside of Reykjavik and will need transportation there. You can easily take a taxi/bus there. Reykjavik is an excellent city to walk in, no car needed. Even with kids. You have such limited time, I would skip the BL. It’s expensive and not even natural.

Posted by
2365 posts

The arm floatations act a bit like a life jacket - they are a good extra safety measure, but not a true life jacket.

No, the heat was fine. There are some areas of pretty hot water, but most of it is more warm than hot. Their website says 98-104 F in general, which my kids liked. It's huge and you can easily find a spot with less-hot water.

Posted by
173 posts

There is so much more to see in Iceland than the Blue Lagoon!

If it were me, I'd take a Golden Circle tour; maybe there's one that will pick you up at the airport. You will see lava and waterfalls, and gorgeous scenery, and even get to pick an Iceland horse. Then return to the airport and spend the night close by for your flight out.

If you do decide to go, this is from the Blue Lagoon website:
Admission fee
Children aged 13 and younger are admitted free when accompanied by a parent or guardian.

Minimum age
The minimum age for using the Blue Lagoon is two years old. This is because children younger than two are highly sensitive to the water’s elevated mineral content.

Children aged 8 and younger must wear floaties. These are available at the entrance to the lagoon and can be used free of charge.

Parental supervision
With the depth of water reaching 1.4m/4.7ft., it is imperative that all children using the Blue Lagoon are supervised by a parent or guardian. One adult can accompany a maximum of two children.

Posted by
7 posts

Seconding and thirding those people who recommend a car. Don't waste your time on public transport (even if it's fairly reliable). You'll save a bunch of time with a car, particularly on the journey to / from the blue lagoon. Speaking of, sure it's touristy. But nothing like you'd expect at the Colosseum or NYC. It really is a must-do if you've just got 24 hours to spend.