Iceland, the land of fire and ice where the sky seems to stretch on forever and the warmth of the people will fill your heart. For us, Iceland marked the fourth country to be ticked off of our oldest son’s passport during his first year and a half, and boy we were excited! Iceland is known for amazing adventures for adults, but if you decide to explore Iceland for kids, rest assure that there is plenty to experience for the whole family!
While not many people decide to visit Iceland with toddlers. We found that it’s a mind-blowing destination for kids. Reykjavik offers an incredible assortment of activities and adventures, but if you really want to see the country in depth you’ll need to rent a car and hit the road. Here is our list of the most incredible adventures for a family trip to Iceland.
Check out Strokkur Geysir on your tour of the Golden Circle
A tour of the famous Golden Circle is a must on any visit to Iceland with kids. The geothermal field in Geysir features Strokkur, a fountain geyser that erupts in dramatic fashion every 5-10 minutes. Strokkur Geysir is sure to delight kids as it spews steaming hot water high into the sky!
Search for Fairies in Songhellir, the ‘Singing Cave’
Iceland is known for its rich mystical history. Many Icelandic people believe in fairies, trolls and other incredible creatures and Icelanders are known to have small houses in their garden for elves and the like to take shelter in. Songhellir is a cave located just off the Ring Road in an area famous for mythical sightings. The cave, known as the ‘singing cave’ due to wind pushing through the lava tubes is easy to climb into and the walls feature graffiti from explorers dating back hundreds of years.
Walk Through the Flowers Along the Countless Rivers and Tiny Waterfalls
Iceland is famous for its massive waterfalls and spectacular rivers, but kids can be overwhelmed by roaring waters and the cold mist. For a more laid-back experience, Iceland has countless streams with smaller, picturesque waterfalls that are perfect for tiny explorers. If you go in the spring, they are often lined with dazzling wildflowers that make for incredible photos. It’s amazing to say, but we were hard-pressed to find Iceland destinations that didn’t have waterfall!
Meet a Giant Viking on the Snæfellsnes Peninsula
Near the bird cliffs of the Snæfellsnes peninsula sits a massive rock depiction of Bárður Snæfellsás, a descendant of trolls who still exerts his magical influence on the region. A visit to Iceland with kids is never complete without stepping into its rich mythological history.
Tip: If you do the hike along the cliffs, make sure to stop at the cafe in Arnarstapi for some hot coffee and cake.
Go to the Beach
No trip to Iceland with children is complete without a visit to the beach! The greatest thing about the beach in Iceland is that you don’t need to worry about crowds. Just drive right on out, park in the sand and get ready to make sandcastles. Just make sure to grab some hot chocolate. The water can get a bit chilly!
Get up Close and Personal with Puffins at the Latrabjarg Bird Cliffs
Puffins are so cute. Kids will love how close you can get to them along the cliffs of Latrabjarg. The puffins line the stunningly beautiful cliff walls and they walk amidst the tiny wildflowers. Do be careful, only a line of pegs marks the safety zone along the cliffs so keep a tight grip on any little ones, it’s a long way down.
Go Grocery Shopping
Seriously! People in Iceland take great care of kids. From restaurants to grocery stores, it seems like there is always something set up to help keep children entertained. This grocery store even had amazing race cars so we could practice drifting!
Swim in One of the Many Public Pools
If your kids are anything like ours, the first thing they ask when they go somewhere is “Is there a pool?” Well here’s something AMAZING about Iceland: Almost every town throughout this country has a public geothermal pool! If you need a break from the road or just a quick refresh, check out the pool closest to you and hop in for a warm swim.
Whale Watching on a Schooner
Iceland has incredible whale tours, but none of them will offer the experience of Iceland’s original whale watching company North Sailing. North Sailing takes whale-watching to a whole different level by taking you out on one of their two schooners (tall ships) where you can get a classic experience and unbelievable photos. The folks at North Sailing were amazing with C. They gave him a place to nap in the lower level of the ship and even let him be Captain!
Grab an Ice Cream 60 km From the Arctic Circle in Akureyri
Akureyri is the second largest, and northernmost city in Iceland. Due to the North Atlantic currents, this city, that sits only 60 km south of the Arctic circle, is also the country’s most temperate area. Celebrate the warm temperature by wearing your shorts and grabbing an ice cream at Brynja!
Iceland has countless caves, some tiny and some with immense tunnels. Throw on a headlamp, some coveralls and see what you can discover! Do be careful and heed the warning signs. If there is mention of loose rock or cave-ins, then best to skip that one.
Run Around the Church Floor
In Kirkjubæjarklaustur, a small town between Vík and Höfn, in the middle of a wide field you can find the spectacular Kirkjugólf (Church Floor), a natural pavement of basalt similar to the Giant’s Causeway in Ireland. During the summer the field is a rich and vibrant green that is contrasted by the harsh mountains in the background. It’s a truly special area.
Take a Dip in the Myvatn Nature Baths
The Blue Lagoon is the big kahuna of hot springs in Iceland but there are several others that are worth your time. Our favorite hot spring was the Myvatn Nature Baths in the North-East of the country. Much smaller than the Blue Lagoon, these nature baths feel far more in-tune with nature and are much less crowded than their southern big-brother. You can sit along the natural rock edges and look out over the expanse of the landscape while kids will love splashing in toasty waters.
Splash in the Water Under Svartifoss
Svartifoss is a spectacular waterfall located in Vatnajökull National Park. The water flows over a basalt wall making for an absolutely breathtaking view. C loved splashing in the crisp, clean water at the base of the falls and splashing rocks into the stream.
Explore Petra’s Stone Collection
Located in Stöðvarfjörður, Petra’s Stone Collection is an incredible collection of rocks, minerals, and memorabilia collected by Petra María that has been referred to as a cornerstone of the nation. This collection is quirky, amazing and spectacular, featuring an odd assortment of stones from throughout the country and the world. Kids will love exploring the fairy gardens, painted rocks and beautiful gardens of Petra’s backyard while adults can visit the museum to learn about Iceland’s ‘Grand Old Lady’.
Snowmobile Across Langjokull Glacier
Snowmobiling across a glacier was not on the plan for our trip to Iceland, but we found ourselves with some extra time one day and after making a couple of wrong turns while exploring we found ourselves at a small camp at the base of the Langjokull Glacier. We spoke to the owners and learned that they were offering Jeep and snowmobile tours of the glacier. Excited for the chance, we signed up expecting to be loaded into the jeep but were instead handed helmets and snowmobile outfits. Not one to turn down a challenge, we piled on and took off across the glacier. C wasn’t sure at first, but soon got used to the bumps and glacier air before finally nodding off for one of the strangest naps I’ve ever held him through.
Chase Santa’s Reindeer Through the Mountains
Iceland has a very healthy wild reindeer population and it’s not too hard to find them grazing along the sides of mountain roads near Langjokull Glacier. These incredible animals prance along the landscape with their huge antlers sticking high in the air. If you’re visiting Iceland with kids you may not get a better opportunity to see these beautiful animals in the wild!
Take a Boat Ride Amongst the Glaciers at Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon
Watch the icebergs cut off the Jökulsárlón glacier into the spectacular lagoon while playful seals swim amongst the clear blue icebergs that float around you. As a bonus, make sure to get a taste of the delicious glacier ice scooped straight out of the lagoon!
That’s why you should explore Iceland with Kids!
As you can see, Iceland with kids can be a fun-filled adventure for the whole family! There is plenty to discover and learn in this beautiful country. The people are warm and friendly and when traveling Iceland with kids you can be sure that your presence will be cherished!
With the birth of their two boys, Kevin and Christina have made it their mission to show others that travelling with children isn't as scary as it sounds and that kids can benefit from experiencing the world outside of their front door and beyond.
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