Some would say that Iceland is the perfect family holiday destination. Known as one of the safest countries in the world with some of the happiest citizens, Iceland is a colourful, beautiful and friendly place to visit with the family.
Travelling with young children can be intimidating for parents especially when visiting a country you’ve never been to before. But rest assured – bringing a young child to Iceland can be an enjoyable experience for the whole family. We’ve pulled together our top tips and advice into a guide containing everything you need to know about visiting Iceland with a young child.
As we said, Iceland is a very safe destination in terms of crime rates, but the terrain can be dangerous and the roads can be intimidating for non-locals if you don’t follow all the appropriate protocol.
The first thing you should do when arriving in Iceland is to make sure you have the correct car seat for your young child. We offer a range of high-quality boosters and child seats which you can reserve with your booking and collect when you pick up your rental car from us.
Once you’ve collected your car and child seat, you and your family are ready to start exploring Iceland! There are a few safety tips you should follow at all times in Iceland, especially when travelling with young children:
-Pack plenty of warm clothing for your children. Conditions in Iceland can change quickly, and young children are more sensitive to the cold than adults.
-Follow safety advice at all times, whether driving, visiting attractions or pools
-Watch children at all times, especially in areas with warning and safety signs and roped off areas
-Ensure your child is capable of walking over terrain you may encounter when exploring or going on tours
-Check road and weather conditions daily
Attractions, Activities & Tours
The majority of the attractions in Iceland will be suitable for children. Museums, swimming pools are just a few examples of places children can really enjoy themselves. But some of the more natural attractions in Iceland like national parks, waterfalls, canyons, volcanoes and glaciers may not be suitable for very young children, at least on foot. This is because the terrain can be very uneven and sometimes there can be long walks from the parking areas to the attractions.
We would suggest doing as much research as possible on each of the attractions you want to visit to make sure your child will be able to cope with the physical requirements of actually getting there. For example, if you’re planning on visiting somewhere like Reykjadalur, it’s worth being aware that there is a fairly long walk/hike from the parking area to the actual springs, which may be too far for children. Other attractions like the Strokkur geyser have a parking area located conveniently across the street and requires very little walking.
You can also speak to tour guides for their opinion on whether or not an attraction is suitable for young children. It’s worth bearing in mind that some attractions do have age restrictions. For example, the Blue Lagoon does not allow children under the age of 2 in the water, though they are welcome on the premises. Most areas are very accessible in Iceland, but it pays to do your research beforehand. You might find that you’ll simply need to carry your child part of the way or have a sturdy stroller available.
For adults, eating out in Iceland can be a real adventure. Some of the native foods here in Iceland are unlike anything you’ll be able to get at home and many people want to try to eat unusual things like sheep’s head, fermented shark among many other things.
Children can be very picky eaters, so they probably won’t want to try eating strange Icelandic delicacies. Restaurants in Iceland are usually very accommodating and most of them have a children’s menu. There are also many different types of restaurants in Iceland catering to many different cultures, so you shouldn’t have a problem finding a restaurant with food from home that your children are used to, whether it’s American, British, Japanese or Chinese!
Children will also love all the wonderful ice cream parlours in Iceland. Ice cream is a big part of life for Icelanders, and they eat it all year round. This will be a wonderful treat for the children and adults in your family alike!
Most children love animals – that’s just how it is! Iceland is a wonderful place to experience wildlife. From birds to sea creatures, horses, sheep and foxes, children are sure to be delighted when they spot the unique wildlife of Iceland.
Organised tours such as whale watching are fantastic ways to spend the day with your young children in Iceland. Depending on the age of your child, horseback riding tours might be another option that you could consider. There are also plenty of opportunities all over Iceland to glimpse birds like puffins and many other species that children will be sure to enjoy. Seals can also be glimpsed from many different locations in Iceland, including the beautiful Jökulsárlón glacial lagoon.
Even in cities like Reykjavik, there are plenty of parks and open areas where you might spot mink, many species of birds, and if you’re lucky, perhaps even the beautiful arctic fox.