All about ICELAND Insider info to adventuring in Iceland

By Emma

August 14, 2019

Things To Do in Iceland with Kids

Family-friendly adventures for all age groups

Are you dreaming of a family trip to Iceland but aren’t sure if the trip will be kid-friendly?

Rest assured — Iceland is the safest country on earth and nature’s greatest playground. The country is filled with incredible nature, animals, and mythology that will spark any kid’s imagination.

Family trip to Skogafoss Waterfall

Skogafoss Waterfall

That being said, there are certain things to keep in mind when planning your Iceland trip with the kids: 

  • What’s the best time of year to visit for kids? 
  • What tours can the kids go on? 
  • How old do they have to be? 
  • Which hotels are best for families?

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

Things to Do in Iceland with toddlers and children (0-6)

As with any travel, having small children may limit certain activities. However, the exciting array of kid-friendly activities opens up a whole world of choices! Iceland’s interactive museums, geothermal pools, and animals make for the perfect trip to Iceland with toddlers and children six years and under.

Explore Reykjavik’s Colorful Museums and Zoos

The capital city’s incredible museums will open the minds of both adults and children. Many visitors overlook these world-class museums. However, for families with small children, these interactive exhibitions make for an exciting 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 Reykjaviks’ 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

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 amazing world of Vikings at the Settlement Exhibition, an open-air museum. The Settlement Exhibition is housed in the Reykjavik City Museum, which also has a special children’s exhibition. Admission to the museum is discounted with the Reykjavik City Children’s Card.

Continue to explore Iceland’s wildlife at the Reykjavik Zoo and Family Park. The zoo is home to wild species and farm animals that kids can pet, including sweet baby goats and Icelandic horses.

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

Whale Watching

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. 

Laudardalslaug Pool in central Reykjavik

Laudardalslaug Pool in central Reykjavik

Things to Do in Iceland with Young Kids (6-12)

You’ll notice that many of our tours have a minimum age requirement of 6, 7, or 8 years old. At these ages, kids are now 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.

Black sand beach boy running

Boy running at Reynisfjara black sand beach in Iceland

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.

Father and son at Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon

Father and son enjoying Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon view

Ride Horseback Through the Icelandic Countryside

A horseback ride through Iceland’s fields, valleys, and forests is incredibly close to nature. Your kid will feel like a Viking warrior or goddess 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.

Family horse riding

Young boy staring at the nose of a beautiful horse

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 mini-equestrians. 

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.

Thorsmork Volcano Hiking

Thorsmork hiking with children

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 the beautiful Thorsmork Valley.

With the 6-day option, you have more time (two days as opposed to a few hours) in Thorsmork. The 6-day 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 reach. 

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 like 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 fast and thrilling pace. Children six 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. 

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. 

Snorkeling in SIlfra

Snorkeling in SIlfra

Snorkeling in Silfra Fissure is rated a Top 5 activity in the world by TripAdvisor for 2019. The fissure is an underwater rift between the North American and Eurasian continental plates – literally swim between the 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 beginnings rafters will experience a huge adrenaline rush as they tackle the white waters of the river canyons.

If you’re looking for a more relaxing time on the water, check out our kayaking trip in the calm Westfjords.

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.

Thorsmork Valley, also in the Highlands, is considered one of the most breathtaking hiking spots in the world. The whole family will get great exercise as you hike past volcanos, waterfalls, and craters for a full day. This Thorsmork Valley day hike is appropriate for hikers ages 14 and older. 

Hiking with a Family

A family hiking near the Beautiful Glymur waterfall

For a less intense hiking experience, check out our hike to Glymur Waterfall, the second-highest waterfall in Iceland. The three-hour hike takes you along gorgeous coastline and mountains to reach the beautiful falls. The Glymur Waterfall hike is available to kids ages 10 and older.

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.

If you’re traveling with older kids or teenagers, then 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, 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 for your dream family vacation.

Watching Northern Lights

Father and Daughter admiring the Northern Lights

And, even if you won’t be in Iceland in winter, that doesn’t mean you have to miss out on the Northern Lights! Although the Northern Lights are difficult to spot in summer, 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 (6–11°C). May is similar, with average daily highs of 40-50 °F (4–10°C).

Where to Stay 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 road trip outside Reykjavik. Their location in Vik and Akureyri also offer suites and triple rooms.

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.

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. 

Black Pearl Apartments

This hotel’s bedroom suites come with king beds that can be converted into two twin beds. Their standard hotel rooms include a king-size bed and a pull out sofa that can fit two children.

Still stuck on what to do with the kids in Iceland? Check out our sightseeing tours for the whole family!

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