To Iceland with Kids. A Guide for the Whole Family
We couldn’t agree more that traveling as a family is a great way to open up the world to our children and fill their lives with fond memories. But the reality is that kids come in all different ages, and finding something that everyone can enjoy and participate in can be a challenge. That’s why many travelers have a question: what to do with children in Iceland? There is so much to do, see and try in our country, but the hardest part is finding just the right thing for everyone in your family.
We wrote this post to help you do just that! So, straight to the point. Here are our top attractions and activities to visit in Iceland with kids.
Let’s start with what’s available to you no matter what part of the country you’re in:
- Public pools . They are affordable, located all over the country, and can be visited in any weather. Each facility usually includes at least one large pool, several geothermal baths, and a sauna or steam room. If you look around, you can even find a pool with a slide! Iceland’s best geothermal pools are in Akureyri, Selfoss, the Vestmannaeyar Islands, and the Laugardalslaug pool in Reykjavik!
- Try the skur . This local delicacy is already sold all over the world, but Iceland is still a Mecca for its lovers. Nowhere will you find as many different flavors of skur as in Iceland. Why not try them all! Skir is sold in small jars with disposable spoons – handy to take on trips. The perfect combination of simplicity and flavor!
- Rent a Car . A road trip with your family is the perfect day out in Iceland. You can visit the most popular attractions, including the Golden Ring with its magnificent Gudlfoss Falls, the mighty Strokkur Geyser and the historic Tingvellir National Park. Or you can just take the road wherever the wind takes you. Iceland is a safe country and the perfect place for an adventurous family vacation. Feel like real explorers as you travel through Iceland!
Where to go with children in Reykjavik
Discover the wonders of nature in Perlan
Perlan is one of Reykjavík’s most famous attractions. The complex consists of six huge water tanks supporting an interior structure and a glass dome. Perlan has an excellent restaurant, cafe, viewing platform with panoramic views and, of course, interesting exhibitions.
There you will find the largest artificial ice tunnel in Iceland, an almost exact replica of the bird rock Latrabjarg and an observation deck with views of the whole of Reykjavik and even the neighboring peninsula. It’s a place you’re sure to love!
Visit the family park and zoo
In downtown Reykjavik you’ll find a small zoo and amusement park, a local gem called Fjolskyldu – og Husdyragardurinn. Icelandic horses, cows, sheep, chickens, seals, foxes and many other friendly animals await visitors there. The staff is very knowledgeable and always ready to answer all your questions. After meeting the animals, you can visit the amusement park with a playground.
Next to the zoo, in the nearby gardens, stands the charming greenhouse cafe Flóra, which offers delicious cakes and cookies.
Go to the exhibition “Whales of Iceland”.
This is one of the most modern museums in Iceland. All replicas of whales here are life-size, and next to each one there is an interactive information plaque telling visitors about these amazing creatures! The museum has a cafe where you can order whale meat as well as a souvenir shop. I love bringing my nephews here. Five points from me to this museum!
What to do on the County Road? A family trip to Iceland
Take a whale watching tour.
Many of the tours available in Iceland are considered unsafe for young children. Glacier climbing or scuba diving between continental plates is best postponed until they’re older. However, there are many other interesting options that are suitable for the whole family. The whale watching tour has no age restrictions. It’s a superb sea walk of a couple of hours that everyone will enjoy. You can even take one of these tours right from downtown Reykjavik! This has always been and still is the number one attraction for families with kids!
Take a hike
In Iceland, you’ll find many hiking trails suitable for different levels of fitness. Some of them, like Mount Esja, can be reached by public bus from Reykjavik. It is well signposted, with which you will have no trouble getting to the top. This is one of the most popular places for outdoor activities with the locals!
You can also drive a little farther out of town and explore the island’s even more interesting hiking trails. For families who prefer outdoor activities, a hike through the Icelandic plateau with an experienced guide might be great. The most popular of the longer trails is Löygavegur. A trip through the highlands from the magical Skaugafoss waterfall to the geothermal paradise of Landmannalöygar awaits you!
Take a trip to an Icelandic farm
There are so many amazing farms scattered throughout Iceland that invite families with children to come visit and meet the animals. Some of them even offer overnight accommodations, a great way to get to know farm life better. In addition, many farmers also sell their own produce right on site. That way, you can taste freshly made cheese, ice cream and other natural products right there and now.
Meet the Icelandic horses
The Icelandic horse (not a pony, which is important if you don’t want to hurt the locals) is one of the most beloved animals on the island. These friendly creatures have been with us since the island was settled, and the bond between us is very strong. In winter, they grow a thick layer of fur to keep warm and look like funny balls of fur. And in summer, horses shed their wool and become graceful again, just as they should be.
Visit Fákasel Park and see their amazing show, which presents the Icelandic horse in the most interesting way! If you wish, you can go on a horseback ride. The Icelandic horse is famous for its unique allure of the tölt . It is gentle but can be fast. This is a horse ride you will never forget.
Go berry picking (August-September)
Every local resident looks forward to the berry season, when the hills are covered with blueberries and lingonberries, and everyone can enjoy these tasty and healthy berries in plenty. Some people pick them by the pound and just freeze them for the winter. Enjoy!
Visit interesting museums
In case of bad weather, it’s a good idea to have a list of interesting museums handy. Iceland’s museums range from archaeological and historical to niche museums like the Witchcraft Museum in Hólmavík, the Rock and Roll Museum in Keblavík, and the Lava Museum in Hvolsvödlúr.
See the northern lights
During the winter months, the northern lights delight the Icelandic people with their neon lights dancing proudly across the dark, frosty sky. Early and late season aurora borealis sighting tours are usually late in the evening, but if you decide to tuck the kids in later in the season, you’re in for an extraordinary thrill of seeing the phenomenon! Mid-season tours usually leave at 8 or 9 p.m. and usually last until midnight.
Throughout the country you will be offered many northern lights tours led by real experts who will find the most suitable places for it. The northern lights should definitely be on your bucket list!
Exploring a natural ice cave
Luckily, the minimum age to visit an ice cave tour is usually pretty low. You travel all the way to the cave on a super jeep. The caves change every year, but they never cease to amaze! It is one of the many privileges the locals can enjoy on their glaciers, and a worthy sight you will never forget.
A little English-Icelandic vocabulary for a family trip to Iceland
Interesting facts for parents traveling to Iceland with children
- You can buy diapers and formula in even the smallest grocery stores. But if you plan to travel to the plateau region, you’ll have to stock up.
- Many Icelandic children’s books have been translated into English, French and German. If there is a desire to purchase one, I personally recommend Gudrun Helgadottir’s books. They are full of amazing stories about trolls and the hidden inhabitants of Iceland.
- The locals perceive breastfeeding to be completely normal. No one will stare at you and ask you to cover up. If it happens, it’s usually tourists from other countries. Enjoy the freedom to feed your baby anywhere at any time!
- You should not worry if you see a stroller with an unattended baby sleeping in it on the street. This is a perfectly normal part of child development in Iceland. It is believed that sleeping outdoors helps to strengthen the immune system. In addition, children are very warmly dressed, and they usually have baby monitors in their strollers.
- Children in Iceland are very fond of the local misingur paste . It could pass for Icelandic Nutella, but it tastes more like caramel and is made from milk. It’s really delicious!
- Here are two websites that are essential for any trip around Iceland, but especially if you take your most precious cargo out in the car: en.vedur.is (weather) and road.is (road conditions). Check these sites especially often if you’re traveling in the winter.
- The minimum age to visit the famous Blue Lagoon is 2 years old.
- If interested in children’s clothing, here are the best Icelandic brands: 66 North, Cintamani, Zo-on, Tulipop, As We Grow, Farmer’s Market, Moi and Iglo+Indi. Many of these stores are located on the main shopping street Löygavegür in downtown Reykjavik.
- Iceland Travel offers special tours with activities suitable for the whole family.
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Family vacations with children in Iceland – where to go
Despite its outward harshness and unfriendliness, Iceland is ready to offer a terrific time to tourists with children. Capital water park “Lagafellslaug” offers several outdoor and indoor pools with varying temperatures of water – from cold to hot, sea and thermal water, as well as water slides and saunas. This water park is good to visit in bad weather. Höbn has a popular “Höfn Swimming Pool” – a 25-meter pool, in addition, visitors are offered a children’s pool, whirlpool, ice and steam baths. Remember that before diving in the water in a public place, as is customary throughout Iceland, you need to wash in an open shower, so shy people should choose another entertainment.
The nature of Iceland is unique and distinctive. On the island, whose northern coast barely reaches the Arctic Circle, there are almost no trees. The green … Discover
The amusement park in Reykjavík “Skemmtigardurinn Grafarvogi” is a great place to be active. Here you can play mini-golf, soccer, laser tag, paintball, soccer and other games. In Koupavogur, in the Smáralind shopping center, there is the SmáraTívolí amusement park. On the first floor there is a trampoline, bowling, driving range and much more, also children from 3 to 10 years old are looked after here. You can buy popcorn and cotton candy there. The second floor is for birthday parties, laser fights, basketball games and video games.
Those who want to enjoy the unique Icelandic nature with the whole family should dress warmly and visit the glacial lagoon Jökülsaurloun – a mesmerizing place full of glittering ice and magnificent icebergs, sometimes you can see seals there. There are various tours: around the lake on an amphibious boat (life jackets of all sizes are included), across the ice on a jeep, and walking tours of the caves. Some scenes from Star Wars and Game of Thrones were filmed in this lagoon. From May through August, Iceland offers boat tours from the capital’s harbor to where the tupik colonies congregate. Children will be fascinated by these funny birds with big red beaks. Copyright www.orangesmile.com
Iceland is located in a maritime subarctic climate zone. Two ocean currents influence the weather conditions in our country. From the southern and western … Open
In the southern village of Vik, even the littlest ones can ride small, good-natured Icelandic horses on the black beach sands of the seashore. Those who prefer to ride “iron horses” should head to Gardabayr, where there is an excellent GO-Kart Track karting park. From November to April you can ride on your own, at the ski resort “Blafjoll”, near Reykjavik. There are 15 safe elevators, ski rentals, and most importantly, the pure healthful air.
The Hvita River offers an unforgettable adventure for families with children – a 40-minute boat ride on a wilful river full of rapids, a canyon of basalt and a magnificent view of Iceland’s nature will be long remembered. Iceland is a land of amazing fairy tales, and kids are sure to love the Elf School in Reykjavik. In this school almost thirty years children are told about the myths surrounding the Icelandic fairy trolls, elves, goblins and other characters of folklore, and any child can become a graduate.
The most common mode of transportation in our country is motor transport. There are comfortable buses between major cities. On them you can … Open
There are museums in Iceland which fascinate children and adults alike. The Whale Museum in Reykjavik contains fascinating life-size whale moults, whale skeletons, a playground for children, audio tours and a free cup of coffee or tea. The beautiful Metropolitan Saga Museum is a wax museum that contains copies of Icelanders, saga heroes and key moments in the country’s history. The happy and tragic events of Iceland’s rich history seem to come alive before the eyes of visitors. An audio guide is available in seven languages. From the first settlers to the plague to the Reformation, this museum tells a truly fascinating story. The Museum has a gift store and café. The museum is open daily from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
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The most striking and unique places in Iceland
The real national symbol of Iceland is the Gudlfoss waterfall, located on the river Hvitau. This waterfall has a very unusual structure, it consists of two massive steps, which have a height of 21 and 11 meters, respectively. Even more interesting natural attraction makes the fact that the steps are located at an angle of 90 degrees to each other.
The power of the waterfall began to attract people more than a hundred years ago, back in 1920 there were plans to build a hydroelectric power plant in this area. During preparatory work, it was found that the construction of the power plant would threaten the existence of a unique natural object, so it was decided to abandon the advanced ideas.
There are many beautiful legends connected with the waterfall. According to one of them, a local girl named Sigriudur … Read more
One of the main national symbols of Iceland is the Hecla Volcano. Its height reaches 1,488 m. Local inhabitants started to control its activity in the second half of the 9th century. During this time there were more than 20 strong eruptions, the highest activity of the volcano was registered in the Middle Ages, and it was during this period that locals gave it the resounding unofficial name of “The Gates to Hell”.
One of the main features of the volcano is a unique flow of its eruptions, it is very difficult to predict the beginning of another catastrophe, as well as its specificity. Locals treat the volcano with great reverence and consider it a national pride, its current name is very symbolic and cute. In the Icelandic language “hekla” is a short raincoat with a hood, it is … Read completely
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