Back in January 2016 I wrote a post about why I wanted to visit Iceland and that the destination was top of my “without the kids” bucket list.
I don’t why, but I never thought of Iceland as a family friendly destination, however, on a recent trip to World Travel Market at Excel London, I was introduced to the Iceland Tourist Board who changed my mind.
Flights to Iceland take just 3 hours from the UK and you can fly from London, Manchester and Bristol with flights being offered by WOWair, Iceland Air and Easyjet and it was recommended that we self drive, that way we are not bound in by a strict timetable of activities.
Iceland has more children per family than any of the other Nordic countries and is thus an extremely family friendly place to visit. I would love to see the Northern Lights which are visible between the months of October to April, however when visiting with a family, I was advised to visit in the summer months as the days are longer.
Iceland is a safe and clean country. Tap water, local foods and the environment present no health hazards and you can take in the beautiful landscape without worrying too much about the little ones. Their tip was to take the kids out in the morning and explore some of the amazing scenery and then chill out in the afternoon and take advantage of the geothermal pools that are available in every town.
We are a very outdoorsy family and Iceland really is nature’s ultimate playground. Where else can you search for whales and puffins, track down trolls, skiddoo across an icecap, climb a volcano and walk across a lava flow all in the space of a few days?
So what would we do on our ultimate Icelandic family holiday?
- Visit the Golden Circle – The Golden circle is the one thing you must do when visiting Iceland. It is accessible all year round and you will be able to see the breathtaking waterfall Gullfoss, the Geysir hot spring area where you can witness the geysir Strokkur erupting every few minutes and if we can tear the kids away, visit Þingvellir National Park and see and walk along the rift valley that marks the crest of the Mid-Atlantic ridge and tectonic plates that separate North America from Europe.
- Go Elf, Troll and Fairy hunting – Eliza strongly believes in elves and fairies and she will be right at home in Iceland as according to Icelandic lore, hidden beings inhabit a parallel world that is invisible to human eyes, and can only be spotted by physics and little children, unless they willingly decide to reveal themselves to people.
- Go Whale Watching – since our cruise in the summer we have truly found our sea legs and we would love to see whales in their natural habit. Spotting minke, humpback and even orca whales would be a dream come true.
- Take a family friendly Glacial Tour – They offer easy 2 hour Glacier Walk on crampons which will take us on to the Svínafellsjökull glacier tongue, a breathtaking outlet glacier of the Vatnajökull glacier. Can you imagine walking through a wonderland of glacial ice sculptures, meandering through ice ridges and the deep crevasses of the glacier, although the sight of snow would be the icing on the cake for the kids.
- Visit the Ice Caves in Iceland – Each cave is unique and has the most gorgeous colour of blue, but it vital that you go with a guide for safety reasons.
- Go inside a Volcano – I have long been fascinated by volcanoes and what a fabulous learning opportunity for the kids by visiting Þríhnjúkagígur. This volcano has been dormant for the past 4000 years and shows no signs of activity, so you can descend right to the bottom of the magma chamber!
- Mingle with the locals in Reykjavík – The colourful capital city is filled with public art, sculptures, restaurants and parks for the kids to play in. You can visit the National Museum of Iceland to learn about the heritage and the incredible history of the country, or do some shopping for Icelandic wool products and souvenirs in one of the many shops along the main street through town.
- In Reykjavík they also have several family friendly festivals throughout the year, including; Children’s Culture Festival in April, First Day of Summer in April, Festival of the Sea in June, Independence Day on June 17th, and Reykjavík Culture Night in August.
- See seals, arctic foxes, reindeer, mink and all the Icelandic farm animals are residents of Iceland in the Laugardalur valley at Reykjavik Family Park and Zoo. It is also home to the botanical gardens a recreation park with fairground rides and even segway tours.
I have certainly managed to convince myself that a visit to Iceland with the family would be the perfect family friendly holiday. It may be the best location for a paddle on the beach, but a dip in a geothermal pool complete with waterslides would certainly wow the kids.
Have you visited Iceland with the family – where would you recommend we visit?
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