Five Reasons to Visit Iceland with Kids
Images of a desolate landscape and erupting volcanoes are common assumptions about Iceland. But the Land of Fire and Ice greeted us with an otherworldly, awe-inspiring, raw beauty during our visit last summer. Almost 24 hours of sunlight provided us with plenty of hours for sightseeing and experiences. It was family-friendly, and here are some reasons to visit Iceland with kids.
We drove the Golden Circle, a 190-mile circular route through some spectacular landscapes and scenery of moss-covered volcanic rocks, sweeping vistas, farmlands, glaciers, waterfalls and geysers. This easy drive was an educational field trip in geology and science. Kids can hop between continents or see the Strokkur geyser erupt every 5-8 minutes.
Safe and child-friendly
Iceland is a safe and peaceful country. It has a low crime rate and cops don’t carry guns. There were plenty of playgrounds and a walkable capital city of Reykjavik. Friendly locals welcomed kids with open arms. One restaurant we ate at even provided our kids with a DVD player while waiting for food.
Icelandair, its national airline, proudly states that “Kids are our most prized possessions.” They offered complimentary kids meals and activity kits regardless of flight time. They also offer free layovers to/from Europe.
Iceland’s most famous attraction, the Blue Lagoon, is a geothermal spa believed to have some healing powers for skin ailments. Soaking in the Blue Lagoon has long been on our travel wish list and we spent a few hours soaking in its warm waters surrounded by volcanic and lava rocks.
It was a natural water playground and a giant hot tub to float around for my kids. It had massaging waterfalls, caves, a swim-up bar, hot tubs and plenty of places to sit and relax. My kids didn’t want to leave despite wrinkled fingers and toes.
Unique Food and Culture
One of the joys of travel is exposing kids to foreign food and culture. I was quite nervous with Iceland’s cuisine and fondness for whale and puffin meat and putrefied items. But, Iceland’s most popular food is a delicious and addicting hotdog or pylsur; it was covered with a sweet mustard sauce, a tangy remoulade sauce and fried onions. Seafood, black licorice and a dairy product called Skyr were common too. There were plenty of food options to satisfy everyone’s appetite with an Icelandic twist.
Reykjavik was both charming and quirky with unique architecture and street art including its spaceship-looking church, Hallgrimskirkja, the tallest Icelandic structure. Tales of Vikings, trolls and elves were also prevalent in Icelandic culture to capture kids’ interests.
Iceland was filled with captivating wildlife. Seeing hundreds of puffins in the wild was the highlight for my kids. My daughter, the horse lover, loved seeing the rare and pure bred, Icelandic horses roaming the farmlands. Rare birds were everywhere and whale-watching tours were also plentiful.
Iceland was a pleasant surprise. Its beauty, wildlife, culture and friendly residents easily made this one our favorite countries we’d gladly return to again.
Use Hilton Reykjavik Nordica as your base to explore the city and surrounding areas.
More Inspiration: See more vacation photos from Iceland.
Mary lives in San Diego, California with her husband, 13 year-old daughter and 10 year-old son. She was born in the Philippines, grew up in the U.S. territory…