Iceland with Kids: The Ultimate Guide

LEARN EVERYTHING ABOUT TRAVELING IN ICELAND WITH KIDS

|September 1, 2020
Vita has hiked glaciers in Alaska, climbed fourteeners in Colorado and is all about sharing her stories and promoting responsible tourism. These days she is often wandering the streets of Vilnius with a film camera in her hand or reading.

Is traveling to Iceland with kids on your bucket list? Good call — Iceland is the safest country on earth and nature’s greatest playground. But planning a family trip can be a tough task, so read up on exploring Iceland with children before you embark on your travels.


You probably have tons of questions about your Icelandic family adventure. Let me take a wild guess at some of them: 

  • (Why) is Iceland the perfect place to travel with kids?
  • What tours can kids of different ages go on? 
  • What’s the best time of year to visit with kids? 
  • Which hotels and restaurants are most suitable for families?
  • What are the estimated costs for a family trip?
  • What should you pack when going to Iceland with your family?

And probably many more. We’re here to answer all of these questions and give advice on the best things to do with kids in Iceland. Whether you have toddlers, teens, or any age in between, exciting adventures await the whole family in the land of fire and ice.

Father and son near Skogafoss Waterfall, a family-friendly nature attraction in Iceland

Father and son near Skogafoss Waterfall, a family-friendly nature attraction in Iceland

WHY ICELAND IS THE PERFECT PLACE TO TRAVEL WITH KIDS

If you’re looking for a tiny bit of reassurance before you start putting plans in place, know that Iceland is the best you can do for a family vacation.

Iceland is one of the safest and least polluted countries in the world. It has a very low crime rate, clean air and water, and a number-one ranking in the Global Peace index ten years in a row. These all point to Iceland being the perfect destination for a family trip.

What does that look like in real life? You’ll notice local kids being kids and running around freely, sometimes even after the sunset. You can also spot an occasional stroller on the side of the street. The parents are probably just around the corner or inside a nearby building, and they feel comfortable letting the child nap in peace outside.

So yes, the general feel of Iceland is as kid-friendly as it gets. You can’t go wrong choosing Iceland as a destination for your family vacation.

Happy Kids Iceland in Svartifoss Iceland

A warm coat, a smile, and a teddy bear — just like that, every child is ready to explore Iceland

THINGS TO DO IN ICELAND WITH TODDLERS AND PRESCHOOL CHILDREN (0-6)

As with any travel, having small children may limit certain activities. But not to worry, there is still an array of choices! Iceland’s interactive museums, geothermal pools, and animals make for the perfect trip to Iceland with toddlers and children of six years and under.

EXPLORE REYKJAVIK’S PLACES OF INTEREST

The capital city’s incredible museums open the minds of both adults and children. Many visitors overlook these world-class museums. However, for families with small children, visiting these interactive exhibitions guarantees a fun and educational day out.

We highly recommend getting a Reykjavik City Card so that you can get the most out of the capital city. The Reykjavik City Children’s Card costs even less and gets you big discounts at the city’s best places. You’ll have free access to the Reykjavik Zoo and Family Park, all of Reykjavik’s geothermal pools, and many museums. 

If we had to choose just one museum to visit in Iceland, it would be Perlan. This futuristic dome is Reykjavik’s most striking building. But the real treasure is inside. The Perlan Museum’s interactive exhibits allow kids to feel the force of a volcano, wander sea cliffs, and walk through an ice cave.

Perlan Museum in Reykjavik Iceland

Perlan museum in Reykjavik

The Saga Museum in Reykjavik teaches visitors all about Iceland’s mythology and legends with kid-friendly displays. Kids can also explore the best of Iceland in the Reykjavik City Museum. It is home to the Settlement Exhibition, which introduces spectators to the world of Vikings, as well as a special children’s exhibition. Plus, admission to the museum is discounted with the Reykjavik City Children’s Card.

Saga Museum in Reykjavik Iceland

Meet Vikings and learn about their everyday life by visiting the Settlement exhibition

Continue to explore Iceland’s wildlife at the Reykjavik Zoo and Family Park or Whales of Iceland Museum. The zoo is home to wild species and farm animals that kids can pet, including adorable baby goats and Icelandic horses. The museum features 24 life-sized models of various water creatures, which are bound to leave your little ones astonished.

Not sure how to tie all of this together? Grab a ticket for our hop-on-hop-off bus tour, which features Reykjavik harbor, Hallgrímskirkja Church, Harpa Concert Hall and many more places of interest. The bus runs in regular intervals and your ticket is valid for 24 hours, so you get to explore at your own pace.

CHASE WHALES AND PUFFINS

Is your toddler an animal lover? Bring them close to Iceland’s rarest and most beautiful creatures. Our whale and puffin watching tour from Reykjavik suits even the smallest of children. You can’t find whales or puffins at the zoo!

Whale Watching Tour in Dalvik Iceland

Few things can top a sighting of a humpback whale during a family vacation in Iceland

ADMIRE A GLACIER FROM THE INSIDE

Venture into a natural wonder together with your children, no matter how little, with our Langjökull Glacier Ice Cave Tour. Langjokull Ice Cave is man-made, meaning the surfaces are smooth and easy to walk on. 

The tour takes 3-4 hours. During that time, you get to explore fascinating tunnels, listen to interesting information brought to you by our guides, and take a few (or many) photos you’ll treasure forever!

Into the Glacier guided tour in Ice Cave

Langjokull ice cave is home to ice so blue it's hard to believe it

SPLASH IN THE BLUE LAGOON AND OTHER GEOTHERMAL POOLS

Hoping to take the kids to the Blue Lagoon? Luckily, the minimum age for entry to the Blue Lagoon is just two years old. Even toddlers can have the best pool day ever at Iceland’s most famous hot spring.

There are many hot pools in Reykjavik designed with kids in mind. We especially recommend Laudardalslaug Pool in central Reykjavik, which has three water slides and an outdoor children’s pool. The kids can have a blast in the pool while the grownups can enjoy soaking in Iceland’s mineral-rich thermal water. These geothermal pools are free with the Reykjavik City Card and Children’s Card.

Laudardaslaug Pool Reykjavik Swimming In Iceland

Laudardalslaug Pool in central Reykjavik welcomes families

THINGS TO DO IN ICELAND WITH YOUNG KIDS (6-12)

You’ll notice that many of our Arctic Adventures tours have a minimum age requirement of 6, 7, or 8 years old. At these ages, kids are already able to get out and explore nature’s playground. Sightseeing tours, horse rides, and adventure activities are perfectly suited for curious young children. 

Here are a few suggestions of the best Iceland tours with kids:

GO SIGHTSEEING IN THE MOST BEAUTIFUL PARTS OF ICELAND

Our small group sightseeing tours are the most efficient way to see the best of Iceland. Our minibus day tours will bring your family to Iceland’s most jaw-dropping locations. Marvel at the island’s powerful waterfalls, dramatic mountains and valleys, enormous glaciers, and serene black sand beaches.

Children Running Reynisfjara Black Sand Beach Family in Iceland

You and your little ones will be amazed by Reynisfjara black sand beach

The best way to see Iceland’s greatest hits is our bestselling Golden Circle Tour. Kids six years or older can gape at geysers and waterfalls, run through Thingvellir National Park, and pet friendly Icelandic horses.

Another great way to show the kids Iceland’s natural wonders is our South Shore Adventure Tour. Explore Iceland’s fourth-largest glacier, walk behind Seljalandsfoss Waterfall, and put your toes in the black sand of Reynisfjara Beach.

If your kid loves “Frozen,” then our tour of Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon will be their ice fantasy come true. Spend the day in the Nordic oasis of Skaftafell Nature Reserve and Diamond Beach. Top it all off with a boat ride on the glacier lagoon.

Family Jokulsarlon Glacial Lagoon with Kids in Iceland

Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon is dotted with icebergs

RIDE HORSEBACK THROUGH THE ICELANDIC COUNTRYSIDE

A horseback ride through Iceland’s fields, valleys, and forests brings people incredibly close to nature. Both you and your kid will feel like Viking warriors or goddesses on our Heritage Horseback Tour of South Iceland. Trot your way through lava fields, meadows, and rustic farms. The day ends with coffee and home-baked cake.

Children Family Horses Wildlife in Iceland

Your children will fall in love with the beautiful Icelandic horses

For the ultimate family horseback adventure, you can’t do better than our Black Beach Horse Riding Tour. This tour is designed for families with children ages seven and up. Take a scenic horse ride across Víkurfjara Beach and through the charming coastal village of Vik. Expert guides make sure that conditions are safe for your young horseback riding enthusiasts. 

TREK THROUGH THE WILDERNESS

Families with children aged 8 and over can go on our family trekking tours of Laugavegur, Iceland’s most famous hiking trail. On these small-group treks, you’ll hike over geothermal fields, black sand beaches, and through the stunning Thorsmork Valley.

Mom Daughter Selfie Family in Hiking Tour

Family photos during the Thorsmork hike are a must

You can choose between a 4-day and 6-day trekking tour of the Laugavegur trek. Both versions feature Landmannalaugar Geothermal Area, known for its black sand deserts and glaciers, and of course the breathtaking Thorsmork Valley.

With the 6-day option, you have more time (two days as opposed to a few hours) in Thorsmork. The 6-day one also tacks on a hike through Fimmvörðuháls Mountain Pass to Magni and Móði, two craters formed by a volcanic eruption in 2010. 

Your luggage is transported from location to location by vehicle, so you just need to carry a day bag. Our powerful jeep takes you across rivers to reach stunning pockets of land that most visitors can’t get to. After an eventful day you will get some quality rest at our rustic huts with all meals included. 

This trekking tour is an excellent way to bond with your family and make friends with other families visiting Iceland.

SNOWMOBILE ACROSS THE GLACIERS

Kids will feel as if they’re starring in their own action movie as they glide across Iceland’s glaciers! Snowmobiling is a great way to see Iceland’s scenery at a thrilling pace. Children eight years and up can visit a mysterious ice cave and ride a snowmobile on Langjökull Glacier all in one trip. Expert guides ensure maximum safety throughout the ride. 

Langjokull Glacier Snowmobiling Activity Group Of People Iceland

Speaking of bonding experiences, how about a thrilling snowmobile ride with your loved ones?

THINGS TO DO IN ICELAND WITH TEENS (12+)

Kids ages 12 and up can take full advantage of Iceland’s incredible water sports and hiking. As they get active in Iceland’s nature, your teenagers will agree that these outdoor adventure sports are way better than gym class.

SNORKEL BETWEEN THE CONTINENTS

Snorkeling is an exciting and safe water sport that the whole family can enjoy. If you’re looking to get in the water on your vacation, you’re in luck. Iceland is home to the best snorkeling spot in the world. 

Snorkelling Silfra in Thingvellir National Park

Check swimming between continents of your bucket list together with your family

Snorkeling in Silfra Fissure was rated as a Top 5 activity in the world by TripAdvisor in 2019. The fissure is an underwater rift between the North American and Eurasian continental plates – you and your young ones literally swim between two continents! Take in the world’s clearest waters and the rock formations on the ocean floor. The snorkeling tour of Silfra Fissure is ideal for teens who love to spend time in the water.

RAFTING AND KAYAKING

Rush through Iceland’s river rapids or paddle along its tranquil coastlines to see nature from a new angle.

For an exciting white water rafting adventure, we recommend our Gullfoss Canyon rafting tour. Even beginner rafters will experience a huge adrenaline rush as they tackle the white waters of the river canyons.

River Rafting On The Hvita River in Iceland

Work as a team when you take on the river canyons

If you’re looking for a combination of ice and water, check out our glacier hike and Jokulsarlon kayaking tour. It’s a combination of the two most desired locations in Iceland, Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon and Europe’s largest glacier  Vatnajokull. Keep in mind, though, that the minimum age for this tour is 14 years old.

Group Of Friends In Red Kayaks Near The Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon

Peaceful kayaking tours allow to soak in the beauty of surrounding landscapes

HIKE ICELAND’S BEST TRAILS

Older kids are able to explore the Earth’s most beautiful places on foot. Each corner of Iceland is home to incredible hiking trails for all experience levels.

Landmannalaugar is a geothermal wonderland with hot springs and blue lakes in the Icelandic Highlands. The hike is only 5 hours and takes hikers to the Laugahraun lava fields and colorful Mount Brennisteinsalda. Kids from 10 years of age can join our Landmannalaugar hiking tour with optional pick up from Reykjavik.

View On The Beautifully Colored Mountain Volcano Blahnukur Iceland

How can you not stop and take in the beauty of surrounding landscapes?

DO SOME ALTERNATIVE SIGHTSEEING

If you’re all about waking and want to leave planning behind for a day, take a look at our Reykjavik City Walking Tour. This won’t be a regular tour of all the popular predictable places, though. Instead, a guide who knows Reykjavik inside and out will introduce you to what’s at the heart of Iceland’s capital.

The fascinating history of seemingly unremarkable buildings, incredible street murals, and anecdotes only a local would know - that’s how you truly get to know Reykjavik. Stories that will pique even the most unexcited teen’s curiosity are guaranteed!

Binoculars With Panoramic View In Reykjavik At Wintertime Iceland Perlan In Iceland

Interesting stories will let you make a close connection with Reykjavik

WHEN TO VISIT ICELAND WITH KIDS

ICELAND WITH KIDS IN WINTER

Winter is a magical time of year to visit Iceland. It’s also very dark and cold. If you’re traveling with younger children, you may have a difficult time managing road conditions and chilly temperatures. We’d recommend saving a winter trip for kids who are slightly older.

Dalvik Road Winter Snow Mountain in Iceland

Winter roads can get tricky, be careful

If you’re traveling with older kids or teenagers, winter can be an excellent time of year for a family adventure. The average daily temperature in Iceland in winter is 32 °F (0 °C). Bundle up and get exploring! 

You may even like to stay in Reykjavik and catch a glimpse of the Northern Lights!

ICELAND WITH KIDS AND TODDLERS IN SUMMER

With clear roads, mild temperatures, and long daylight hours, summer is an easy time to visit Iceland with kids and toddlers. More activities will be available, all open-air museums will be open, and it will be easier to get from place to place. The average temperature in July is 50–55 °F (10–13 °C), making for comfortable sightseeing. 

Summer is also the busiest time to visit Iceland, so be sure to plan ahead to make sure your dream family vacation doesn't turn into a nightmare!

Northern Lights Family Sightseeing in Iceland

Seeing the Northern Lights with your family is an experience that's hard to match

And, even if you won’t be visiting Iceland in winter, that doesn’t mean you have to miss out on the Northern Lights! Although during the summer the Northern Lights are difficult to spot in nature, you can find the next best thing at Aurora Reykjavik.

Lean back and watch the light show of Iceland’s most impressive aurora displays. Admission to Aurora Reykjavik is 50% off with the Reykjavik City Card and Children’s Card.

ICELAND WITH KIDS AND TODDLERS IN FALL AND SPRING

Early fall and late spring offer families the best of both worlds. You’ll avoid tourist season, enjoy plenty of daylight and mild temperatures, and still get to see the Northern Lights. Good times to visit range from late August in fall to late April in spring. 

The pleasant temperatures in fall and spring may surprise you. In September, the weather isn’t so different from summer — temperatures hover around 43–52°F

Iceland Autumn Yellow Trees in Thingvellir National Park

Magical colors of Iceland during the fall

(6–11°C). May is similar, with average daily highs of 40-50 °F (4–10°C). That being said, you might be treated to a little bit more rain than in summer months. Stay positive and look at it as the true Icelandic experience!

WHERE TO STAY AND WHAT TO EAT IN ICELAND WITH KIDS

Finding housing may require a little extra effort. The standard hotel room in Iceland has two twin beds or one double bed, so you may need to find rooms with extra beds or a suite. That being said, there are many great places to stay with your kids in Iceland if you know where to look.

Here are our top picks for places to stay with kids in Iceland:

  • Airbnb. An apartment can be more flexible and affordable than a traditional hotel room. You’ll be able to find Airbnbs that suit your family’s size and needs in Reykjavik and throughout the country. An Airbnb also gives you more freedom and separate rooms. After the kids go to sleep in their bedroom, you can pop open that bottle of wine in the kitchen. 
  • Icelandair Hotels. Iceland’s national airline has a chain of hotels throughout the country. You can choose rooms that have space for families of three, four, or even six. The hotels also provide families with children’s bedding and toys. Icelandair hotels are chic and sleek, so you’ll travel in style while meeting your family’s needs.
  • Icelandair’s hotels are a safe bet if you roadtrip outside Reykjavik. Their location in Vik and Akureyri also offer suites and triple rooms.
  • Adventure Hotel HOF. Located in the South of Iceland, Adventure Hotel HOF will suit any family looking to explore Icelandic nature. The lands of Öræfasveit are known for having Iceland’s highest peak and Grímsvötn volcano nearby. The hotel has triple and family room options, so rest assured it can house you and your little ones comfortably.
Adventure Hof Hotel in South Iceland
  • Alda Hotel. This boutique hotel in downtown Reykjavik has two great options for families. You can book the Family Room, which has a double bed and a pull-out sofa. Or book the Alda Suite, which has a master bedroom, a living room with pullout couch, and two bathrooms. Perfect option for experiencing Reykjavik with kids!
  • Center Hotel Plaza. The downtown location of the Center Hotel chain has various options for families. You can book connecting twin and double rooms and request additional beds in each room. Not every Center Hotel location works well for families, so be sure to choose the Plaza when booking. 
  • Adventure Hotel Geirland. Hótel Geirland makes for the perfect family getaway. Surrounded by nature, you are likely to see the Northern Lights and have pleasant hikes the minute you step out the door. However, it might not be suitable for larger families as the rooms can house only up to three people.
Adventure Geirland Hotel South Iceland

Now when it comes to food Icelandic food and kids, it can get tricky. If your child is picky and accustomed to very specific foods, the Icelandic cuisine might not impress them very much.

Giving the famous Skyr a shot is a must unless you or your children are lactose intolerant.

Icelandic Skyr Yoghurt Dessert With Berries

You don't have to taste Skyr plain

Another staple Icelandic food is hot dogs—universally likable and easy to grab on the go, your young ones are bound to enjoy them.

Four Icelandic Hot Dogs

They're delicious!

In other news, fermented shark or other types of cured fish are a roller coaster to anyone’s taste buds. Trying it is a challenge not everyone might be up for, especially young kids. Keep that in mind before tasting all never-before-encountered Icelandic foods.

Care to dive deeper into the wonders of Icelandic cuisine or wondering which restaurants are worth your time? Check out our numerous guides detailing where to eat in Iceland.

COSTS FOR A FAMILY TRIP TO ICELAND

It’s no secret that you won’t find Iceland on the list of cheap destinations for a family vacation. For example, hotel rooms typically range from 13,500ISK (€85; $100) to 33,800ISK (€210; $250). Renting a car for a family might come to ISK 203,000 (€1,280; $1,500) per week, assuming you want insurance.

Here are some tips to make sure you don’t exceed your budget:

  • Get a hotel in Reykjavik. They are cheaper than those in the countryside. It’s a good idea to book tours if you wish to explore other parts of Iceland as most of them will offer pick up from Reykjavik.
  • Drink tap water. Icelandic tap water is among the purest in the world, so get a reusable water bottle and drink away!
  • Hit the flea market for souvenirs. Located in Reykjavik, Kolaportid flea market is your best shot at bringing back unique souvenirs for a very reasonable cost.
  • Don’t eat out every day. Dining at a restaurant with a family will surely add up to a good sum. Consider visiting a nearby supermarket and don’t look down on street food halls. You’ll get a taste of not only local delicacies but foreign cuisine as well.
Family Money Planning Savings

Iceland is expensive, but your trip there doesn't need to be

WHAT TO PACK WHEN VISITING ICELAND WITH FAMILY

As the name of the country indicates, it gets cold there. Winters can get extra harsh. If that’s when you decide to go, thermal underwear, waterproof boots, and gear, wool socks and sweaters are absolutely mandatory for both you and your little ones.

Other seasons usually don’t present such challenging weather conditions. However, with Iceland you can never know, so your suitcase should be crammed full with similar gear no matter the season.

One more thing is don’t forget swimsuits! Your family vacation will not be complete without soaking in a hot spring.

If you want to be on top of everything when packing, see our guide to dressing for Icelandic weather.

Family Packing Trip Luggage

Pack your suitcases, the land of ice and fire is waiting for you and your little ones!

FURTHER FAMILY ADVENTURES

Iceland offers a number of group activities that have proven popular with school trips and families who want to bring excitement to their holidays: snowmobiling, caving and glacier hiking are among our most popular group activities.

New experiences have a way of bonding people, and countless families have returned from Iceland with incredible shared memories that they will cherish for the rest of their lives.

We look forward to meeting all of you!

And don’t forget to share this post with someone planning a family holiday in Iceland!

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