Iceland is wonderful with kids and not just for the prospect of live volcanoes, endless caves, warm lakes in winter and astonishing geysers.
It’s a small, friendly country with a relaxed atmosphere and few experiences that are off limits to young visitors. So visit in summer to tour around or go during winter for Reykjavik’s snowy fun and northern lights, it’s all amazing and mostly very accessible.
Direct flights from several UK airports all year round to Reykjavik – flight time, three hours. Also, children travel for half-price on Air Iceland’s domestic flights.
Icelandic culture is very family-centred making it one of the easiest countries to visit with children of all ages.
The country has three accessible national parks: Vatnajökull; Þingvellir; and Snæfellsjökull, and a very dynamic environment, famous for live volcanoes, huge glaciers and thermal waters, Iceland outdoors is particularly thrilling for active teens.
About half the size of the UK, Iceland has a population of just 400,000 and most people live in and around the capital, Reykjavik.
From Aurora Borealis themed hotels to luxury hostels, self-catering city apartments, heritage guesthouses and child-friendly spas, families have a wide choice of places to stay in Reykjavik and larger towns across Iceland.
Family tours, day trips, cruises and guided outdoor adventures are widely available, beautifully organised and cover almost every Icelandic experience.
Small, colourful Reykjavik looks more like a prosperous fishing town than a capital city. But it’s surprisingly lively, filled with interesting things to see and do for kids and a great base for exploring the rest of rugged and magnificent Iceland. If you haven’t arranged any trips* before you arrive, you’ll be overwhelmed by choice in Reykjavik whether you want a day whale-spotting or a week getting to grips with glaciers and volcanoes.
*It’s best to book longer tours online in advance, especially during summer.
This huge national park covers over 13% of Iceland, making it the country’s largest and one of the biggest in Europe. Centred around the Vatnajökull Glacier, it’s a landscape of volcanic peaks, craters, caldera, little towns and breathtaking beauty. Camping here in summer is a fantastic adventure with older kids and there are several campsites in the park. Visiting in winter is a lot more challenging, only possible in certain areas and best as part of a guided trip or as a drive – armed with weather info and good, local advice.
Just half an hour’s drive north of Reykjavik this national park is a Nordic World Heritage site, one of the country’s most historic areas and a landscape where almost anything is possible from diving to fishing, swimming, hiking, horse riding and camping. Very accessible all year round and a fantastic, not too demanding, Icelandic adventure with younger kids.
This is one of Iceland’s most popular road trips and can be done as a two or three day drive or as an eight hour bus tour. Either option is great fun for kids, but going it alone gives you more freedom to explore.
You could manage a family holiday in Iceland without a car: day trips and longer tours from Reykjavik are easy to arrange. The larger national parks have a wide range of family-friendly breaks with transport included. And Reykjavik itself is wonderful to walk around and has excellent public transport. Driving gives you more freedom to explore further, take your time and get to know the country at your own pace. The roads are good, just keep an eye on the weather in winter and late spring.