Family Guide to Iceland | Ultimate Guide to Traveling in Iceland with Family

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Iceland is a beautiful country that attracts many visitors throughout the year. It is a place that embraces gigantic mountains, luscious rivers, magical waterfalls, and mystic forestry. It is one of the most adventurous and thrilling travel destinations for hikers, travelers, campers, trekkers, and adventure enthusiasts. But it is also one of the best and safest places to travel with your family, especially with kids.

Iceland stands out to be a family-friendly travel destination with hospitable and convivial human settlement and comforting environment. The place also topped the Global Peace Index (GPI) for ten consecutive years. You will feel absolutely safe in this incredible country as it has a low crime rate. Your kids will feel like home as Icelandic kids love playing outside even after dark, and your kids will love making new friends.

Iceland Family Travel at Skogafoss waterfall in south Iceland

How to Get to Iceland with Kids

With limited time with your kids during the everyday life, it is ideal to spend some quality time with your kids by taking them to an ever-adventurous trip. Trips like these boost your bonding with your kids as you spend plenty of time with them doing fun activities and consuming the best of nature. Traveling to Iceland from any state or country is accessible by taking a flight, or a cruise. 

Since Iceland is an island, it is not possible to drive to the country. However, it is great to rent a car when you arrive to Iceland and have a great road trip experience with your family. You can rent a car at the airport or in the capital city of Reykjavik. We find it best to rent the car at the airport so you can start your journey right away. If you’re up for an adventure, hiring a camper van or caravan is the perfect option; you can sit back, relax, and enjoy the ultimate beauty with your family. Ensure that each mode of traveling is safe for your kids, and your family is comfortable traveling in that particular conveyance. Carry along with all the essential stuff that is required throughout the way to the beautiful and mesmerizing country.

Some Steps to Help You Save Money While on Your Trip

Traveling to Iceland can with no doubt be a costly affair, especially when you travel with your family. There are some pro tips that you can follow to limit your expenditure without compromising on the ultimate fun and excitement of traveling to Iceland.

  • Pre-booking your accommodation and rental car can save you a lot of money and protect you from the spot surge in costs.
  • If possible, travel in off-season months because things and services are cheaper in this period, witnessing fewer tourists.
  • Carry along all the essential items along with you to avoid buying them in Iceland. If you’re traveling with toddlers, don’t forget to take extra milk bottles, diapers, wipes, milk bottles, clothes, and medicines.
  • Eating local will help majorly in two things; first, it will help you save money because dining in restaurants daily can be a costly affair. Second, knowing the culture and trying out local food will keep you closer to the Icelandic community and enables you to experience the local culture.
  • Traveling with your family means a lot of shopping because everyone wants to buy something for their friends and other close people. So, save money by shopping at flea markets as they offer a wide variety of souvenirs at affordable prices.
  • Saving money also coincides with sustainable tourism, which means you can adopt practices like drinking tap water to conserve water. Also, the Icelandic water is among the world’s purest water, so don’t worry about your kids getting sick after drinking the tap water.
  • If your family loves camping in the wilderness between luscious green forestry and great mountain heights, then you can camp around in different places across the country, which will help you save on your accommodation bills.

When in Iceland, Explore these Amazing Places with Your Family

If you think traveling to Iceland with your family means less of fun and adventurous activities, then you’re wrong. Iceland has so many things to offer for tourists of different ages including hiking, sightseeing, bird and whale watching, trekking, and so much more.

Sightseeing

Iceland Family Travel with a glacier

Iceland is one of the most beautiful countries in the world. Each part of this incredible country offers a visual treat to every tourist. The country has many famous natural attractions which you can explore with your family. You can rent a car and self-drive to the Golden Circle, or you can choose to go on one of the guided tours that will take you to this most popular route in Iceland. Visit some of the fantastic locations like Gullfoss waterfall, Geysir geothermal area and Thingvellir National Park. 

Explore the Stunning Waterfalls

Iceland Family Travel, travel to Iceland with kids, Svartifoss waterfall

Iceland is known for its outstanding natural habitat. You will experience countless waterfalls cascading a mountain or hill most unexpectedly and beautifully. You can find different waterfalls all over the country, including Glymur, Haifoss, Dettifodess, Godafoss, Kirkjufellsfoss, and Svartifoss. Your kids will love this picturesque sight!

Swim in Geothermal Water

father and daughter looking at the amazing views from Reykjafjarðarlaug swimming pool in the westfjords of Iceland

What’s better than spending time with your family, especially kids, swimming in geothermal water? These perfectly crafted spaces are great to explore after a long hiking or trekking section to relax with your family. At some of these pools, you can find small-scale water slides for children to add extra fun to the bathing/swimming experience. For an unforgettable hot spring experience, you can also travel to the world-famous geothermal spa, Blue lagoon, located near Reykjavik city. Note that the Blue Lagoon has an age limit of 2 years old. Another top-rated hot spa is situated in Laugarvatn, The Fontana Geothermal Baths, that has no age limit for the visitors. You can enjoy a perfect afternoon recuperating and relaxing in this water bath that allows free entry for children under the age of thirteen. If you are up for a more adventure with your family, you might want to look up for a natural hot spring located out in the nature. Find the one that interests you and your kids the most here. 

Learn About the Vikings

Vikings in Iceland

Educate your young children with the brief and rich history of Vikings. If your family is into learning about the history and extraordinary sculptures, you can visit museums like the Saga to know more about the new world discovered long before Columbus and the rest came into existence. The great way to start learning about Vikings history is by taking your family to the Settlement Centre, Eiríksstaðir Viking Lodge or other great sites that can be found around Iceland. 

Hunting for the Northern Lights

Family watching the northern lights in Iceland

Many people travel to Iceland to witness the magical, mystical, and glittery Northern Lights. The winter in Iceland is all about Northern lights that travel across everywhere to offer a mesmerizing sight. Your kids will love this beautiful light show in the sky that provides a fairy-tale-like appeal.  

Northern Lights Tours

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Northern Lights Minibus

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Northern Lights Bus

Whale Watching

Akureyri Whale Watching

Watching whales dance in the water is something that spectators of all ages would love to experience. Iceland is home to various water species, including minke whales, playful white-beaked dolphins, acrobatic humpbacks, harbor porpoises, and majestic orcas. Your kids will love watching these beautiful creatures, most of them for the first time. You can enjoy this beautiful sight in different parts of the country like Reykjavik, Akureyri, Husavik, and Snæfellsnes.

Whale Watching Tours

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Whale Watching from Reykjavik

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Whale Watching from Akureyri

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Whale Watching & Northern Lights Adventure from Reykjavik

Hiking Through Great Valleys and Trails

Iceland Family Travel, travel to Iceland with kids

Hiking is one of the most fun and exciting activities to be done in Iceland. It has some incredible trails that are known for the beautiful sight, adventurous pathway, and natural habitat. Iceland offers many renowned trails and trails for hiking, including Thorsmörk Valley, Mount Esja Trail, Landmannalaugar, Víknaslóðir, and Hornstrandir Nature Reserve. Some of these trails and valley are 150 km and covered with gigantic glaciers, green forest land, mesmerizing river, and hot volcanoes.

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Solheimajokull Glacier Hike

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Skaftafell Glacier Hike | 3-Hour Walk

Horseback Riding

Iceland Family Travel, little kid with Icelandic horse in Iceland

Icelandic horses are shorter and smaller than normal horses. They are known around the globe for their excellent behavior, small-statured and good-tempered qualities, making them a children-friendly ride. Children love riding on horses as it is easier and safer than other rides. 

Horse Riding Tours

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1 Hour Horse Riding Tour in South Iceland

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Horse Riding & Hot Spring Bathing in Reykjadalur Valley

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Black Beach Horse Riding in South Iceland

Adventure Sports

Be it summer or winter, the country has many fun activities to offer. In summer, you can go fishing, swimming, river rafting, and hiking, whereas, in winter, you can do skiing, skating, snowball fight, snowboarding, and downhill skiing. The country never compromises on giving you a memorable experience when traveling with your family.

Explore Natural Ice Caves

a group of people visiting into the glacier ice cave in Langjokull

The age limit for visiting these natural ice caves is low, which means you can take your little ones with you to explore these secretive and exciting space. These natural caves changes and takes a new shape every year but never fail to astound the spectators with their charming and incredible appearance. Some of the most popular natural ice caves are the Crystal Ice cave, Katla ice cave, and Skaftafell ice cave, located in areas including Breiðamerkurjökull Glacier, Kötlujökull Glacier, and Langjökull Glacier.

Ice Cave Tours

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Katla Ice Cave | Super Jeep Tour from Vik

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Katla Ice cave & South Coast – Go under the Volcano

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Skaftafell Ice Cave & Glacier Hike

River Rafting

River Rafting in Iceland

Iceland offers some of the safest river areas for children river rafting with special training. The first half of the glacier river Hvita consists of gentle currents, making it a perfect rafting venue for children over the age of ten. Children above twelve can be part of this whole rafting session. Northern Iceland is home to the beautiful Vastari Jökulsá, which is known as the family rafting tour that allows children over the age of six to river raft. You can also enjoy swimming and water-fighting in this area.

River Rafting Tours

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River Rafting in Gullfoss Canyon – Hvítá Glacial River

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River Rafting in Gullfoss Canyon – From Reykjavik

Things to Take Along on Your Trip to Iceland

It is imperative to make a list of things that you require while traveling to Iceland with your family, especially kids. Iceland is a place that embraces adventure and exciting activities, which means you have to come prepared for everything you will be experiencing in this stunning country. The weather of this European country remains cold throughout the year; even summer, you can experience unexpected snowfall. The cool breezes from the north keep the temperature cold during nights. So, make sure you carry along with warm and comforting jackets for your kids as they are more prone to winter breezes. Having an extra layer of clothes and accessories, including a raincoat, umbrella, boots, gloves, and windshield, can never go wrong in Iceland.

When talking about the weather, remember kids catch cold and fever faster than adults. So, make sure you carry all the necessary medicines with you to help your kid with any illness. Having a first-aid kit with basic things is always the best way to be safe when traveling to a new place. Also, carrying your essential medicines will eliminate the hassle of finding a pharmacist or doctor while camping or hiking in the picturesque beauty.

Baby essential items, including diapers, wipes, clothes, ointments, syrups, milk powder, and baby food is a must-have in your traveling bag. Though you will get all of these in the cities, there are chances of not getting the same product or brand that your baby consumes or is familiar with. To avoid hassling for finding all these things in a new city or country, get these kinds of stuff from home to enjoy a pleasant stay.

If you’re traveling with toddlers, remember to carry along sturdy and steady strollers. Car seats help your baby remain safe when traveling through uneven roads and dangerous weather. You can also fit in your foldable stroller in a rental car or camper for a comfortable ride to the desired destination.

If you’re traveling to Iceland or any part of the country via road, make sure you have enough water and food supply. Traveling with kids means having enough food and snacks to keep them engaged throughout the journey. Due to long driving distance between some locations in Iceland, you’ll not find many vendors on your way, so make sure you carry food that you can preserve for two or more days for a convenient stay in Iceland.

Safely keep a paper with your name, phone number, and address in your kids’ pocket or bag to avoid any unprecedented situation. If your kids are big enough to memorize the details, then make sure they know everything in case of an emergency. If possible, tie around a plastic identification card on your children’s hand or neck for more safety.

Do your research before planning out the trip to Iceland with your family and kids. Gather brief knowledge about the places you wish to travel and make sure you check the age limit for every sight to avoid problems on the spot. Look for family-safe accommodation and know about the surrounding in case you need anything around. Communicate with local guides and people if you have any problem.

Iceland Family Travel, travel to Iceland with kids
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