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Exploring Iceland with a Toddler: Essential Guide for Families

Discovering Iceland is all about being out in nature and experiencing its natural wonders. So, what better way to inspire your little ones than with a free-range vacation in Iceland? Being in the great outdoors in close connection to nature is beneficial for everyone, toddlers included! Fortunately, there are many things to do in Iceland with a toddler.

A road trip really does make for an ideal family holiday, and because Iceland is a very child-friendly destination, it’s a great low-stress option. English is widely spoken and nearly everywhere is well set-up to welcome families. For example, there are designated kids areas in the swimming pools, and children are welcome in all restaurants and cafés.

In this article, we will guide you through the finer details of visiting Iceland with a toddler, from packing lists and practicalities to the best kid-friendly activities. We’ll be covering the following:

  • How, where and when to visit Iceland with a toddler

  • Things to do in Iceland with a toddler

  • What to pack for your toddler road trip

  • Eating and drinking in Iceland with a toddler

Family in Iceland with a toddler

How, when and where to visit Iceland with a toddler

The how…

We may be a tiny bit biased here, but we wholeheartedly believe that renting a car or a motorhome is the answer. Having your own rental vehicle gives you complete freedom to explore at your own pace. You’ll be able to decide when and where to go, or opt to stay put for a while if you find a favorite spot.

With a motorhome, you’ll have a kitchen, bathroom, bedroom and play area at your disposal 27/7. This makes it much easier to stick to your budget, but it also means that you can prepare meals for fussy eaters or throw together an emergency snack. Plus, you’ll have somewhere homely to hang out on rainy days and for naptimes.

Traveling with a toddler inevitably involves lots of gear, so having the extra space of a large family SUV or motorhome is very welcome. You’ll be able to spread out and unpack your cases into all that extra storage space. If you’re traveling with several kids, whether toddlers or teens, this is invaluable.

toddler in Iceland in a rental car

The when…

The summer months are definitely the favorite time of the year for taking a road trip in Iceland. This is when the Iceland weather is at its most settled and temperatures are usually mild. In summer, the roads and campsites are open and there are lots of fun activities to get involved in.

Most importantly, you will be able to spend plenty of time outdoors. From long walks and adventures to cooking and eating outside, exploring for hours in the fresh air is what any trip to Iceland is all about!

The where…

If you are visiting Iceland in summer, you’ll be able to travel pretty much anywhere. While you’ll need to avoid the rough Iceland F-Roads, which can only be driven in a 4x4 vehicle, most other parts of Iceland are open and ready for you. The important thing here is not to try and do too much.

No one wants to spend ages on the road, especially not your average toddler! So, plan a manageable road trip with plenty of stops and rest days. The southern section of the Iceland Ring Road is a good bet if you have a week to ten days. On the other hand, two weeks or more could give you enough time to drive the full Ring Road loop.

Iceland with toddlers in a black beach

Plan wisely for your driving days by setting off around naptime. Schedule in stops at sights along the way so that kids can get out and play. Blowing off some steam before the next driving stint is always a good idea. You could even opt to drive for a few hours after bedtime! With the Midnight Sun shining, it won’t be inconvenient to hit the road after dinner.

Things to do in Iceland with a toddler

Meet the local wildlife

Kids love to meet animals and are fascinated by wildlife. If you are visiting Iceland in the spring or summer months, then there are a few friendly creatures to meet. To find feathered friends, head to the coastal cliffs in search of puffins. Iceland is home to huge colonies of these curious creatures that nest on the grassy cliff tops.

For a truly awe-inspiring encounter, a whale-watching boat trip is an absolute must. In spring and summer, many species of whale visit the sheltered bays around Iceland. Joining a boat trip is an excellent way to see them in their element.

If you’re in search for another great animal encounter, join a guided horse-riding tour. Icelandic horses are famously good-natured and hardy, so even nervous or novice riders can take part. This is a fun and unique way to see the countryside from another perspective.

Toddler in Iceland in a horse tour

Plunge into a hot spring pool

Water babies rejoice! Iceland’s hot spring pools are literally everywhere. Bathing is a way of life in Iceland, so nearly every village will have a local swimming pool. Facilities for toddlers and kids are great and it’s the perfect way to spend a rainy day in Iceland. You will also find lots of outdoor hot spring pools to enjoy.

Visit Iceland’s museums

This is another great option if you happen to encounter a rainy day in Iceland. The country has loads of excellent museums and galleries to explore. The majority of these are in Reykjavík, but there are several more dotted around the country.

What to pack for your toddler road trip

The most important consideration when traveling to Iceland with a toddler is staying warm and dry. There’s nothing more miserable than a cold and wet little one! So, pack a couple of warm and waterproof all-in-one rompers and you won’t go wrong. Add to this a pair of wellington boots, plenty of socks, mittens and warm hats.

Family trip in Iceland

Cozy bedtime gear is another must, so that kids can get snug in the back of the car or motorhome and fall right to sleep. Favorite blankets and soft toys can all help them feel settled in their new environment. Bathing suits and a travel towel should definitely top the list! Other items of essential gear are bedtime reading and games for entertainment on wet-weather days.

Eating and drinking in Iceland with a toddler

You shouldn’t have too much trouble feeding the whole family in Iceland. Supermarkets are well stocked with lots of familiar foods, albeit at slightly higher prices than you are likely used to. For especially fussy eaters, it can be a good idea to bring along some favorite snacks from home. Cereal bars and dried fruits and nuts are generally easy crowd pleasers.

One very popular Icelandic food for toddlers in Iceland is Skyr. This is a kind of creamy protein-rich yogurt that comes in all manner of fruity flavors. It is perfect with fresh fruit for breakfast or as an afternoon snack. Ice cream is also very popular in Iceland, so expect to find ice cream parlors in nearly every town.

A Family-friendly adventure in Iceland

As you can see, traveling to Iceland with a toddler is not a hard task. There are plenty of activities and places to visit that your little ones will certainly enjoy. Lock in your rental car today and get ready to enjoy the best family trip ever!


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