Iceland, the land of fire and ice, opened our eyes to the power and beauty of Mother Nature. It is a perfect destination for families, even those with young children (ours were four and two when we went). Iceland is like something out of a book, a fantasy land filled with vikings, volcanos, glaciers, waterfalls, and elves (yes, I said elves).
The rugged landscape here provides unlimited outdoor activities and the weather is constantly changing, which is where the saying “If you don’t like the weather, just wait five minutes” comes from!
Travel in Iceland is pure magic, there is no other way to describe it. With 80% of the land being uninhabited, the environment here is one huge outdoor playground for children and adults alike. It is like a living painting with mind-blowing scenery unlike anything you’ve ever seen – keep your camera battery charged!
Not only is the land beautiful, but the people are as well. They are incredibly warm and kind, making you feel very welcome (truth be told we did not want to leave). And to make things even more appealing – Iceland has the lowest violent crime rate in the world (their police don’t even carry guns)!
So if you are looking for an amazing bucket list family travel destination that is unique, safe, and not that far of a plane ride, Iceland is your country!
We have compiled a list of the three A’s: Accommodations, Adventures, and Appetite! If you have any questions about Iceland or our trip please shoot us an email!
We stayed at the beautiful Hotel Örk in Hveragerði, about 45 minutes from the airport. We arrived at 7 AM and were very tired, much to our delight the room was ready! We had a Junior Suite which was perfect for the four of us. We had a private balcony with amazing view of mountains, free wifi, free breakfast buffet (you guys it was SO good), beautiful shower, and two beds (which our daughter still claims are magic beds because she slept so well in them).
Hotel Örk has a game room with a pool table, fooseball table, and ping pong table – this was a huge hit with the kiddos. But one of the biggest surprises was the heated outdoor pool with monster slide and two hot tubs. After a fun day exploring in the cold it was fun to get back to the hotel and warm up by swimming before dinner.
The staff at this hotel is so kind – our daughter would spend most mornings talking with reception, and she even made one staff member a bracelet (which she wore the whole day, making our daughter so happy).
There is a grocery store right across the street, making it convenient to pick up any snacks, food, toiletries, etc…
Seljalandsfoss – One of the best-known waterfalls in Iceland. It is 65 meters tall, and you can walk behind it, truly a unique feature. Bring a rain coat, as you will get quite wet from the drizzle. We were told in the winter the path is closed because of ice. On clear days you can catch a beautiful rainbow, but it was overcast when we visited. If traveling with little ones, bring the carrier so you can get behind the waterfall easily!
Skogafoss – 30 kilometers away from Seljalandsfoss is Skogafoss (if you haven’t realized it yet, foss means waterfall in Icelandic). Skogafoss is around 62 meters high and 25 meters wide, and you can walk right up to it. Standing so close to a powerful waterfall is mesmerizing, and you will get soaked (again, bring a rain coat!). There is a stream the waterfall creates that our girls enjoyed throwing rocks in.
Sólheimajökull Glacier – Because Iceland is the land of fire and ice – we just had to see a glacier. Sólheimajökull is a glacier in southern Iceland, between the volcanoes Katla and Eyjafjallajökull. Part of the larger Mýrdalsjökull glacier, Sólheimajökull is easy to access by a short walk.
Reynisfjara Black Sand Beach – Its beautiful black sand, powerful waves, and the nearby Reynisdrangar sea stacks make Reynisfjara a must see when in Iceland. We should warn you though, when we visited there were wind gusts of 90+ mph, people were falling over, and we couldn’t bring the kids with us. We happened to be there during a storm and it was incredibly scary – but also very beautiful.
Lava Rental Cars – We did all of the above on our own self guided tour through southern Iceland. We rented a car from Lava rental cars and it was a super easy process! The rental car office is not in the airport, but just down the road. They pick you up and drop off at the airport.
Troll Expeditions – We used a tour company our second day in Iceland to see the Golden Circle. Dan got a day off from driving and we all enjoyed the adventure and stories told by the guide. They even put car seats in for the kiddos which was a nice bonus! Here is what we did on this tour:
- Kerið Volcanic Crater – A stunning volcanic crater with a lake in the middle which formed in an eruption 3,000 years ago. It is composed of a red volcanic rock and is a mind-blowing natural wonder. It was raining and foggy when we visited, but that did not take away from its beauty!
- Gullfoss – The melting water from Iceland´s second biggest glacier, Langjökull, falls into a deep canyon forming the majestic “Golden Falls”. It is very powerful and you can get very close – hold on your little ones! Also bring a rain coat as you get very wet – that could have been because it was raining when we went though (haha!).
- Geysir Geothermal Area – There are hundreds of colorful hot springs and two geysers. One is called “Geysir”, however, it erupts very seldom. The other geyser is called “Strokkur” and erupts every 5 minutes up to 40 meters. We saw it erupt four times, two times the water almost hit us, so be careful where you stand! It was hard for our little ones to wait that long four times, but thankfully they had fun playing in the steam clouds.
- Efstidalur farm – This was by far THE coolest place we have ever eaten ice cream! You get to order and then sit while watching the cows and beautiful views.
- Thingvellir National Park – We visited where the two tectonic plates, the North American and the Eurasian plate, are moving away from each other. Few places in the world offer a better and clearer view of this massive geographic activity. It was absolutely breathtaking – a must do in Iceland!
HVER Restaurant – This restaurant is located inside Hotel Örk and we are not sure that we could convey how delicious the food here is – but we shall try! We ate here two nights and so we got to try quite a bit off the menu, let me tell you, you will be taken on a culinary journey from pasta to fish to lamb! The food is fantastic, and they offer a kids menu (YAY!) and coloring pencils and paper. We are actually sad we cannot eat here on a regular basis. Definitely stop by for dinner, you will be glad you did!
Olverk Pizza & Brewery – Just behind Hotel Örk is this delicious pizza restaurant and brewery. We did not try any beer, but got our pizza to go and used it as lunch on our drive around Iceland. They make some delicious pizza here, we were very happy with it!