Are you looking for a unique way to bond with your family? Are you done with the same old beach vacation and searching for something more adventurous to bring your family closer together? Look no further than a family vacation in Iceland!
Iceland is fast becoming one of the top destinations for families seeking an unforgettable experience. The country's geothermal hot springs and picturesque views of the northern lights add to its appeal. In this post, we’ll provide all the information on how to plan the ultimate Icelandic adventure for your family.
We'll cover the best time to visit Iceland with kids, which, it's not always summer. Transportation options for getting around Iceland, what to pack for a family vacation in Iceland. And finally, provide a 5-day self-drive Iceland itinerary with kids. So if you're ready for an Iceland family adventure, read on and get ready to plan the adventure of a lifetime!
Is Iceland Child Friendly?
Iceland is very friendly for families and children. Plenty of indoor and outdoor activities include educational trips to the Saga Museum to epic horseback riding experiences. Iceland is also an excellent destination for kids of all ages, as most activities can be tailored to suit their preferences and interests.
Can Kids Travel to Iceland?
Kids can travel to Iceland. However, travelers must be aware of specific regulations for traveling with minors in Iceland. For children under the age of 18 traveling alone or with someone other than a legal guardian, it is required to carry an authorization letter. The letter should be from both parents or legal guardians.
Can Unvaccinated Children Travel to Iceland?
Unvaccinated children can travel to Iceland. Iceland doesn't require any certificates or limitations for entry. Plus, once your family arrives in Iceland, there's no need for testing or quarantine.
Is It Easy To Travel Iceland With Kids?
Iceland, for kids, is an incredibly easy destination to travel to with kids. The roads are well-maintained and easy to navigate for those looking for a self-drive tour. That said, there are plenty of other options for getting around Iceland like:
Renting a campervan
Taking the bus
Or enjoy a guided tour with an experienced local guide
In terms of food, you’ll find that Iceland offers plenty of tasty options for kids. From burgers and hot dogs to seafood, Icelandic cuisine will surely please even the pickiest eaters! You can also read more about traditional Icelandic cuisine to try something different.
Iceland With a Toddler
Traveling to Iceland with a toddler may sound daunting, but it's possible and not as challenging as you think. Iceland is a safe, clean, and family-friendly destination. The country offers plenty of activities and attractions for all ages, including toddlers.
One of the best ways to explore Iceland with a toddler is by renting a car or a motorhome. It provides a comfortable and familiar space and the freedom to travel at your own pace. Also, many campsites in Iceland offer family-friendly facilities like playgrounds and baby changing stations.
When planning your itinerary, you'll be happy to know that plenty of activities can be enjoyed with your toddler in tow. From exploring natural wonders like geothermal pools and waterfalls to visiting child-friendly museums and attractions, Iceland offers many opportunities for families to make great memories.
Additionally, Iceland's cuisine includes many dishes suitable for children, and one of the most popular is Skyr. This delicious and nutritious dairy product comes in a variety of flavors.
What To Do In Iceland With Kids
Finding things to do in Iceland for families is as easy as 1-2-3! Iceland is bursting with activities that are suitable for the whole family. From museums and Viking sites to hot springs and whale watching, there is an array of activities for the entire family.
Here is a list of some of the best things to do in Iceland that you and your family can enjoy:
Explore the Surrounding Nature on Horseback. You and your family can explore the breathtaking Icelandic nature on horseback. Whether you're an experienced horse rider or a beginner, there is an adventure suited for you. The tours are made even better using Icelandic horses, known for their friendly nature and great balance. Exciting rides range from gentle family trips to more daring adventures!
Discover the Healing Properties of the Blue Lagoon. The Blue Lagoon in Iceland with kids is one of the most popular tourist attractions, and for a good reason. It's a geothermal spa that offers fun activities for the whole family. Kids can splash around in the warm waters and explore the lagoon's natural environment.
Experience the Thrill of Dog Sledding. An experience not to miss, dog sledding in Iceland is a thrilling way to explore the Icelandic countryside. This activity is great for families looking for an extra dose of adventure. Kids and adults will love learning about the fascinating history behind this traditional form of transportation.
Discover the Unique Features of Iceland's Ice Caves. Adventure seekers looking for something unique should explore the ice caves! These natural wonders are formed by melting glaciers and are an incredible sight for all ages.
Marvel at the Spectacular Elephant Rock. Just east of the Blue Lagoon lies Elephant Rock, a popular destination for families exploring Iceland's natural wonders. The rock formations are spectacular, and kids will love exploring the stunning scenery.
Visit One (or More) of Iceland's 12 Best Museums. Immerse yourself in Icelandic culture with a visit to one of the country's many museums. From the Saga Museum to the Maritime Museum, you can find something exciting and captivating for the entire family.
Discover the Beauty of Camping in Iceland. Camping in Iceland is one of the best ways to explore this incredible country. With many camping spots across the island, you can find a perfect spot for your family.
Enjoy Hiking Through Iceland's Rugged Landscape. Explore Iceland's volcanic landscape by hiking through the island. Plenty of family-friendly trails offer breathtaking views and a great educational experience. You will also encounter many of Iceland's animals along the way, including fluffy Icelandic sheep and wild horses.
What Is the Best Time of Year To Visit Iceland With Kids?/When To Visit Iceland With Kids
The best time to visit Iceland with a toddler or preschooler is early fall and late spring. Temperatures are mild, and there is plenty of daylight for outdoor activities like hiking or horseback riding. Plus, you'll still see the famous Northern Lights this time of year!
Here is a breakdown of what to expect during each season:
Spring (March through June): During these months, the days are longer, and temperatures get warmer. There is still a chance of snow, but this time of year is great for exploring the outdoors with your kids.
Summer (June through September): Iceland in summer is an excellent time for family-friendly activities, even when traveling with a toddler. However, summer is the peak season for tourists, so be prepared for more crowded attractions. On the bright side, you experience Iceland’s midnight sun, where you can enjoy 24 hours of daylight.
Fall (October through November): During this time, temperatures are mild, and the days are shorter. This is an excellent time for outdoor activities, as there is still plenty of light.
Winter (December through February): Winters in Iceland can be cold and dark, but if you’re looking for a unique experience, the Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights) will be visible in the night sky. It’s also an excellent time for skiing, snowshoeing, and other winter activities.
How to Get Around Iceland With Kids
Believe it or not, Iceland does not offer Uber services. Fortunately, you and your family have several alternative transportation options to explore the country. Here is a comprehensive list of the most popular ways to get around in Iceland:
Renting a car - Public transportation is not as extensive in the country as it is in other places. You'll then need to consider your options when deciding on how to get around. Renting a car in Iceland is a great way to explore, as you can take your time and make stops along the way.
Taking the bus - This is a great way to get around Iceland if you're on a budget. Taking the bus is convenient and cost-effective, but you don’t have as much control over when and where you go, and you'll be limited to larger cities.
Using taxis - Taxis are a viable option if you hurry to get from one place to another and don't want the hassle of finding parking or waiting for a bus. The downside is that they’re more expensive than other transportation options.
Tour companies - This is an excellent option for those who want a more organized experience. They offer different packages tailored to your group's interests and travel plans. The only downside is that they may be slightly more expensive than other options.
Touring by bike - This is an eco-friendly way to get around that also works out your body! Plus, you'll have plenty of time to take in Iceland's breathtaking scenery while pedaling along its gorgeous roads. Remember that cycling long distances in Iceland with a teenager can be tiring, depending on the season and terrain.
Iceland Self-Drive Tours With Kids
Family travel to Iceland with self-drive tours is becoming increasingly popular. Not only do they give you the freedom and flexibility of having your car, but they also make planning your trip easy. Many providers offer day trips and multi-day packages tailored to family travel.
Iceland Family Vacation Packages/Iceland Family Tours
Many family-friendly resorts in Iceland offer tailored Iceland family vacation packages for those who want a stress-free vacation experience. These Iceland family tours include day trips, family activities, meals, accommodation, and transportation. This can be an excellent option for those who want to get the most out of their family vacation in Iceland.
Here's a look at some of the most popular hand-picked packages:
Natural Blue Ice Cave Tour of Vatnajökull Glacier from Jökulsárlón: This is a great way to explore Iceland's incredible ice caves. The family package includes transportation, a guide, and all necessary safety gear.
Northern Lights tour from Reykjavik: If you're visiting Iceland during wintertime, don't miss out on the chance to see the Northern Lights. This family-friendly tour package includes warm clothing, homemade hot chocolate, and snacks.
Whale Watching Cruise on a Yacht in Reykjavik: Get an up-close and personal look at some of Iceland's most majestic creatures. This package includes professional guides, warm blankets as well as Wi-Fi.
What To Pack for a Family Vacation in Iceland?
Iceland, for a family vacation, can be a fantastic experience, but you'll need to prepare for all kinds of weather. When headed to a new destination, packing can be one of the most difficult parts. That’s why we created an ultimate packing list for road trips in Iceland. But if your flight is leaving soon, and you’re rushing to pack your bags, here are the essential things everyone should pack for family trips to Iceland:
Lightweight and waterproof jackets - The weather in Iceland can be unpredictable, so make sure you're prepared for rain and snow.
Comfortable and sturdy shoes - You'll be doing a lot of walking, so make sure your shoes provide good support.
Swimwear and quick-drying towels - Pack swimwear and towels if you plan to dip in one of Iceland's geothermal pools.
Hat, gloves, and other warm clothing - For winter trips, pack extra layers so everyone can stay warm and comfortable.
Sunscreen and sunglasses - Even if it's cloudy, the sun can be strong in Iceland, so protect your skin with sunscreen.
Binoculars - If you want to spot whales and birds, bring a pair of binoculars for the whole family.
5 Day Self Drive Iceland With Kids Itinerary
Planning an Iceland family adventure doesn't have to be complicated. With the right planning and preparation, you can create a fantastic experience that your kids will remember for years. Whether you choose to rent a car, a family camper van in Iceland or hotel accommodations, there's plenty of fun.
To help make your decision easier, here is an example of an excellent 5-day self-drive itinerary that you can use as a starting point for your trip to Iceland. It's also worth reading The Best Tips for Iceland Self-drive Tours if you want to get the most out of your adventure.
Day 1: Explore Reykjavík
Distance and Travel Time: 29 miles/46 kilometers, 50 minutes
Start your journey in Reykjavík, exploring the city and its attractions like Hallgrímskirkja Church, the Sun Voyager Sculpture, and Harpa Concert Hall. You can also visit the Viking World (one of the best things to do in Iceland with kids) or explore the scenic waterfront.
Where To Stay With Kids:
Day 2: Exploring the Blue Lagoon and Beyond
Distance and Travel Time from Reykjavík to Blue Lagoon: 31 miles/50 kilometers, 43 minutes - Blue Lagoon route map.
Head out to the Blue Lagoon, one of the top attractions for kids in Iceland. This geothermal spa offers a fantastic experience with its calming blue waters and lush landscape. After a relaxing soak, head to the Hopsnes Lighthouse for a fantastic view of the surrounding area. Finish your day by hiking to Fagradalsfjall Active Volcano, where you can admire the lava flow and its otherworldly beauty.
Where To Stay With Kids:
Day 3: Exploring the Spectacular Thingvellir National Park and Geysir Hot Springs
Distance and Travel Time from Blue Lagoon to Thingvellir: 55 miles/89 kilometers, 1 hour and 15 minutes - Thingvelir & Geysir route map.
Head to Thingvellir National Park, one of the most beautiful areas in Iceland that is perfect for a family outing if you do not know what to do in Iceland with kids. Explore the area and its stunning scenery, and you can even take a boat tour to see the sights or go snorkeling. Head to Geysir Hot Springs in the afternoon to experience nature's hot springs.
Where To Stay With Kids:
Day 4: Experiencing the Majestic Waterfalls and a Trip to the South Coast
Distance and Travel Time from Thingvellir to Seljalandsfoss: 74 miles/118 kilometers, 1 hour and 50 minutes - South coast route map.
Start your day off at Gullfoss Waterfall, one of the country's most iconic waterfalls. You can also take a trip to Seljalandsfoss Waterfall, a beautiful cascade of water you can walk behind. Afterward, explore the black sands and secluded coves of the South Coast. End your day with a visit to Reynisfjara Beach, one of the most beautiful beaches in Iceland.
Where To Stay With Kids:
Day 5: Head to the Active Hekla Volcano and Stop in Skógar
Travel Time from Reynisfjara to Hekla: 103 miles/166 kilometers, 2 hours and 20 minutes - Reynisfjara to Hekla route map.
On the last day of your trip, visit the Hekla volcano, one of Iceland's most active volcanoes. Take a guided tour and explore the area, as there are many fascinating sites around it. Afterward, stop in Skógar to visit the natural waterfall Skógafoss and its museum.
Where To Stay With Kids:
Where to Stay in Iceland With Kids?
When traveling with kids, you'll need to find suitable family-friendly accommodation. Here are some of the most popular spots in Iceland for families:
Family Hotels in Iceland
Sem Apartments: Sem Apartments is a great family-friendly option in the heart of Reykjavík. This hotel has comfortable rooms, a garden, and a terrace for outdoor activities with the kids. The apartments are close to some of the city’s top attractions, such as Hallgrímskirkja Church, Solfar Sun Voyager, and Harpa Concert Hall & Conference Centre.
Reykjavík Treasure B&B: Reykjavík Treasure is a great family BnB in downtown Reykjavík. The property is only a 5-minute walk from the Laugavegur shopping street and is close to some of Reykjavík’s top attractions. Each room has a private bathroom, and the BnB offers free Wi-Fi.
Iceland Family Resorts
Borealis Hotel: Located in South Iceland, Borealis Hotel offers the perfect blend of luxury and family-friendly amenities. From its sophisticated suites to its cozy restaurant, you can experience quality comfort with magnificent views of the surrounding landscape. The hotel is only a 10-minute drive from Thingvellir National Park, making it ideal for those exploring this stunning area.
Hotel Örk: This family-friendly hotel is located in Hveragerdi, 45 km from Reykjavik. Family rooms include a refrigerator, work desk, satellite TV, and a bathroom with a bath and shower. The hotel has an outdoor pool, hot tub, sauna, and a restaurant serving traditional Icelandic cuisine. Hiking trips and horseback riding excursions can be arranged by Hotel Örk staff.
You can also read our Iceland Accommodation Guide for more family-friendly hotels in Iceland.
Unforgettable Family Adventures: Discovering Iceland with Kids
A family vacation in Iceland can be an incredible experience for everyone involved. Plan your journey, and bring the right gear and clothing to stay warm and comfortable. And don't forget to bring those binoculars for spotting whales and birds along the way! With that, you're all set for the best Iceland family adventure. Happy traveling!