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Planning a Trip to Iceland with Kids: For a Lifetime of Great Memories

Touring Iceland with kids is an adventure like no other. The land of fire and ice (yes Game of Thrones was filmed in many locations in Iceland) offers an array of spectacular sites that promise to enchant both young and old. From the warm, milky blue waters of the Blue Lagoon to the thundering waterfalls and steaming geysers, every stop is a chapter in an unforgettable family saga.

Best Time to Visit Iceland with Kids

  • Summer (June to August): Ideal for warmer weather and longer daylight hours, making it perfect for exploring. The sun only sets for about 4 hrs.
  • Winter (November to March): Great for Northern Lights viewing, but be prepared for shorter days and colder weather.


  • Family-Friendly Hotels: Look for hotels with family rooms or adjoining rooms. Reykjavik offers the most options.
  • Vacation Rentals: Ideal for families wanting more space and kitchen facilities.
  • Camping: An adventurous option in summer, with numerous campsites across the country.


  • Renting a Car: The most flexible option, allowing you to explore at your own pace. Ensure you have a suitable vehicle for Iceland’s varied terrain. We opted to use Sixt rental car and got a van with all season tires.
  • Public Transportation: Limited but feasible for travel between major towns.

Packing Essentials

  • Layered Clothing: Weather can change rapidly; include waterproof and windproof layers.
  • Sturdy Footwear: Essential for hiking and exploring natural sites.
  • Swimwear: For the Blue Lagoon and other geothermal pools.
  • Sun Protection: Long daylight hours in summer mean more sun exposure.

Must-Visit Attractions

1. The Blue Lagoon: A Warm Welcome

Our journey begins at the Blue Lagoon, a geothermal spa known worldwide for its healing waters. Imagine the joy of your children as they dip into the warm, mineral-rich waters, a stark contrast to the cool Icelandic air. The lagoon’s shallow areas are perfect for kids, and the in-water masks provide a fun spa experience for all ages. It’s not just a spa; it’s an otherworldly playground. Note that kids need to be 2 years or older but we just told them Rylie was (even though she was only 1 at the time).

Blue Lagoon Iceland with Kids

2. Sólheimajökull: A Glacier Adventure

Next, we trek to the majestic Sólheimajökull, a part of the larger Mýrdalsjökull glacier. Here, families can safely explore the ice with guided tours tailored for children. Witnessing the ancient ice formations and learning about glaciers is both educational and thrilling. It’s an extraordinary way to introduce kids to the wonders of nature and the importance of environmental preservation.

3. Skógafoss: Where Rainbows Play

Skógafoss, one of Iceland’s most iconic waterfalls, is next on our list. The waterfall’s massive drop creates a mist that often results in beautiful rainbows, much to the delight of children. There’s a legend of buried treasure in the area, which adds an element of mystery and excitement to the visit. The nearby Skógar Folk Museum, with its turf houses, is also worth a visit, offering a glimpse into Iceland’s past.

Visit Skógafoss waterfall in Iceland with kids

4. Geysir and Glima: Geothermal Wonders and Traditional Wrestling

In the Geysir area, the Strokkur geyser erupts every few minutes, a spectacle that never fails to amaze. Nearby, families can learn about Glima, a traditional Icelandic form of wrestling, which is both entertaining and culturally enriching. It’s an excellent way for children to engage with Icelandic traditions.

Geysir and Glima thermals are perfect for kids

5. Suderland: The Land of Fire and Ice

Suderland, less known but equally mesmerizing, offers a landscape that looks like it’s straight out of a fairy tale. The contrast of fire and ice in this region is a fantastic way to explain natural phenomena to kids in an engaging and memorable manner.

Planning a visit to Suderland in Iceland

6. Reynisfjara and Halsanefshellir: Beaches Like No Other

Reynisfjara, with its black sand and basalt columns, is a beach experience redefined. Nearby, the Halsanefshellir cave provides an atmosphere of mystery and exploration. It’s important to keep a close watch on children here, as the waves can be unpredictable, but the awe-inspiring scenery is worth the visit.

7. Other Top Things to See in Iceland

Besides these highlights, Iceland is filled with experiences that cater to the curiosity of children. The capital city, Reykjavik, is home to the interactive Whales of Iceland exhibit and the imaginative Icelandic Elf School. For animal lovers, horseback riding on Icelandic horses or puffin watching tours are delightful activities.

Activities for Kids in Iceland

Exploring Iceland with children opens up a world of wonder, blending natural beauty with fun, educational experiences. Here are some activities that are sure to delight and engage kids of all ages:

1. Whale Watching Tours

  • Locations: Husavik and Reykjavik are prime spots for whale watching.
  • Experience: Setting sail in search of these majestic creatures is thrilling. The waters around Iceland are home to various species, including humpback whales, minke whales, and sometimes even orcas.
  • Educational Value: Kids learn about marine life and the importance of ocean conservation. It’s also an exercise in patience and observation.
  • Tips: Choose tours with guides who provide insightful commentary. Ensure you dress warmly, as it can be cold on the water.

2. Horse Riding

  • The Icelandic Horse: A unique breed, known for being gentle, friendly, and easy to ride, making them perfect for children and beginners.
  • Experience: Riding through Iceland’s stunning landscapes, from lava fields to lush countryside, is a magical experience.
  • Safety: Always opt for guided tours with reputable companies that provide helmets and necessary safety gear.
  • Cultural Insight: Learn about the role of horses in Icelandic history and folklore.

3. Glacier Tours

  • Suitable For: Recommended for older children who can handle a bit of adventure.
  • Glaciers: Sólheimajökull is a popular choice, offering a safe yet exhilarating glacier experience.
  • Experience: Walking on a glacier, seeing ice formations, crevasses, and maybe even ice caves, is an unforgettable experience.
  • Safety and Education: These tours are led by experienced guides who ensure safety and provide fascinating information about glaciology and climate change.

4. Museums and Cultural Sites

  • Variety: Iceland’s museums cover everything from Vikings to volcanoes, and even elves and trolls.
  • Interactive Museums: Places like the Perlan in Reykjavik offer interactive exhibits, making learning fun and engaging.
  • Cultural Sites: Visiting historical sites like Þingvellir National Park can bring to life the stories of Iceland’s past.
  • Educational Value: These visits offer insights into Icelandic culture, history, and natural phenomena, sparking curiosity and learning.

Dining in Iceland with Kids

  • Icelandic cuisine is diverse but not my cup of tea. Reykjavik has various family-friendly restaurants.
  • Grocery stores like Bonus or Kronan are great for stocking up on snacks and essentials.

Safety and Health

  • Weather Awareness: Be prepared for rapid weather changes.
  • Safety in Nature: Supervise children closely near waterfalls, beaches, and geothermal areas.
  • Healthcare: Iceland has excellent healthcare. Travel insurance is recommended.

Budgeting for a Family Trip to Iceland

  • Iceland can be expensive. Plan your budget considering accommodations, food, activities, and transportation.
  • Pre-booking some tours and activities can save money.
  • We found that dining out in Iceland was the biggest expense and least gratifying.

1. Accommodations

  • Range of Options: Accommodations in Iceland vary from luxury hotels to guesthouses, hostels, and camping sites. Prices can fluctuate based on location and time of year.
  • Booking in Advance: To get the best rates, book your accommodations well in advance. Consider staying outside major tourist areas for better deals.
  • Alternative Accommodations: Airbnb or vacation rentals can be cost-effective, especially for families, offering more space and kitchen facilities to cook your own meals.

2. Food and Dining

  • Eating Out: Dining out in Iceland, especially in touristy areas, can be expensive. You can save by having one big meal out per day and opting for lighter, less expensive meals for the rest of the day.
  • Grocery Stores: Shopping at local grocery stores like Bónus or Krónan is a budget-friendly option. You can stock up on essentials and prepare meals if your accommodation allows.
  • Picnics: Consider packing picnic lunches for days when you are exploring. Iceland’s beautiful landscapes offer plenty of scenic spots for a meal.

3. Activities and Tours

  • Pre-Booking: Pre-booking tours and activities can often save you money, as last-minute bookings might be more expensive.
  • Free Activities: Balance paid tours with free activities. Exploring natural wonders like waterfalls, beaches, and hiking trails often costs nothing but gets you up close with Iceland’s beauty.
  • City Passes: In places like Reykjavik, consider buying city passes that offer discounts on multiple attractions.

4. Transportation

  • Car Rentals: Renting a car offers the most flexibility but can be one of the biggest expenses. Compare prices online and book in advance. Consider fuel costs in your budget.
  • Public Transportation: Using public transportation where possible can save money, though it’s more limited in Iceland compared to other countries.
  • Plan Your Route: Efficiently planning your travel route can save time and fuel costs.

5. Miscellaneous Expenses

  • Souvenirs: Set a budget for souvenirs and stick to it.
  • Emergency Fund: Always have a small buffer in your budget for unexpected expenses.

6. Travel Insurance

  • Peace of Mind: Don’t forget to factor in the cost of travel insurance. It can save you a lot of money in case of unforeseen circumstances.

Traveling to Iceland doesn’t have to be prohibitively expensive if you plan carefully. Prioritize what’s most important to your family – whether it’s comfortable accommodations, unique experiences, or gourmet meals – and adjust the rest of your budget around these priorities. Remember, many of Iceland’s most memorable experiences, like its stunning natural scenery, are free to enjoy. With smart planning, your trip to Iceland can be both economical and unforgettable.


Iceland provides a unique playground for children to learn, explore, and marvel at the wonders of nature. Whether it’s the excitement of spotting a whale, the joy of riding an Icelandic horse, the awe of standing on a glacier, or the intrigue of diving into Icelandic culture and history, these activities offer something special for every young traveler. If you have any questions feel free to email me or drop some comments below!

FAQ: Planning a Trip to Iceland with Kids

1. Is Iceland worth visiting with kids?
Absolutely! Iceland is a fantastic destination for families. It offers unique natural wonders, such as geysers, waterfalls, glaciers, and volcanic landscapes, which are both educational and exciting for children. Activities like whale watching, horseback riding, and visiting interactive museums make it an enriching experience for kids of all ages.

2. What is the best age to travel to Iceland?
Iceland can be enjoyed by children of all ages, but kids aged 5 and above might appreciate and remember the experience more. They are typically more engaged in outdoor activities and can handle the walking and exploration involved. However, with the right planning, even toddlers can enjoy the natural wonders of Iceland.

3. Can kids go to the Blue Lagoon Iceland?
Yes, children can visit the Blue Lagoon, but there are age restrictions. The minimum age for entry is 2 years old. Children aged 2 to 8 are required to wear arm floaties, which are provided free of charge. Kids under 14 need to be accompanied by a guardian. The Blue Lagoon is a unique and fun experience for children, but it’s important to supervise them closely due to the warm temperatures and depth of the water in some areas.

4. How long to visit Iceland with kids?
The ideal length of a trip to Iceland with kids depends on what you want to see and do. A minimum of 7 to 10 days is recommended to explore the highlights without feeling rushed, especially if you plan to travel around the Ring Road. This duration allows for a mix of sightseeing, adventure activities, and relaxation. Shorter trips of 4 to 6 days can be fulfilling too but would be more focused on specific regions like the Golden Circle and South Coast.

5. Can we find food options suitable for children in Iceland?
Yes, there are plenty of child-friendly food options in Iceland. Most restaurants offer children’s menus with familiar dishes. Grocery stores are also a great resource for families, providing a range of products to suit different tastes.

6. Are there educational experiences for kids in Iceland?
Iceland is full of educational experiences. From learning about Vikings and Icelandic folklore at museums to understanding geothermal energy and glaciology during tours, the opportunities for learning are vast and engaging.

7. What transportation options are recommended for families?
Renting a car is often the most convenient option for families, offering flexibility to explore at your own pace. Public transportation is available but is more limited, especially when trying to reach more remote areas.

8. How can we ensure our kids stay safe while exploring Iceland’s natural sites?
Always supervise children closely, especially near waterfalls, beaches, and during outdoor activities. Follow safety guidelines provided at each location and consider age and ability when planning activities.

9. What kind of accommodations are best for families in Iceland?
Family-friendly hotels, guesthouses, and vacation rentals are great options. Many offer family rooms or apartments with kitchen facilities, which are ideal for longer stays and provide more space for kids.

10. What kind of clothing should we pack for our children?
Pack layers! The weather in Iceland can change quickly. Include waterproof and windproof jackets, warm sweaters, thermal layers, sturdy shoes, and hats and gloves, especially if you’re visiting in the cooler months.

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