There are few places on Earth as incredible as Iceland. Jam-packed with otherworldly landscapes, geothermal activity, volcanos, waterfalls, geysers, hiking and more, you will never forget a trip to Iceland with kids.
With incredible destinations such as the Golden Circle, the Snaefellsnes Peninsula, Reykjavik and the Blue Lagoon, there are so many reasons to take an Iceland road trip with your kids.
Below we share the details of our 7-day Iceland itinerary for our family vacation. The possibilities for an amazing Iceland family vacation are nearly endless. We hope you find inspiration within our 7-day Iceland itinerary and use it as a launching pad for your trip to Iceland with kids!
Visit Iceland with Kids
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Planning an Iceland Family Vacation
When to Visit Iceland with Kids
High Season in Iceland
High season for travel to Iceland with kids tends to be between June and August. A family vacation to Iceland in high season offers endless daylight and the best chance for good weather. Average daily temperatures in Iceland are at their highest during this period, while average monthly rainfall is at its lowest.
In exchange for the best weather of the year, a visit to Iceland with your kids in high season also means expensive accommodations and big crowds at the best things to do in Iceland. Book your accommodations early if you plan to visit Iceland during summer.
Shoulder Season in Iceland
Shoulder season for an Iceland family vacation tends to be in May or September. During shoulder season in Iceland, your chances for good weather are still quite good, but the odds of inclement weather also increase.
If you can schedule your Iceland family road trip during shoulder season, you will be treated to fewer crowds and more affordable accommodations. If you visit Iceland in May, you’ll also enjoy wildflowers and good birdwatching opportunities.
Winter in Iceland
Families adventurous enough to visit to Iceland in winter can enjoy seasonal activities such as exploring ice caves, skiing and snowshoeing. With little-to-no daylight, low season is the best time to see the Northern Lights in Iceland. The Northern Lights season generally spans from mid-September to mid-April.
The 7-day Iceland road trip with kids we describe below was in mid-May. We didn’t have the best luck with the mid-May weather in Iceland for our family vacation – in fact it’s fair to say that the weather was awful. It rained heavily with fierce winds nearly every day.
Although the weather wasn’t perfect, it didn’t change how we felt about visiting Iceland with our kids. As we look back on our Iceland family vacation, we remember all the amazing things we did in Iceland with kids. In fact, persevering through the inclement weather made the memories of our Iceland family vacation even more special!
How Long to Travel in Iceland with Kids
The question of how long your family trip to Iceland should be entirely depends on what you wish to do with your kids.
Many families have a very enjoyable 2-3 days in Iceland with kids. Simply base your family in Reykjavik and take day trips to iconic Iceland locations such as the Golden Circle, the Skogafoss waterfall, the Blue Lagoon etc.
We spent 7 days in Iceland with our kids and felt it was the perfect length for a family vacation to Iceland. Rather than racing around Iceland along the Ring Road, we focused on a few select regions of Iceland, including the Snaefellsnes Peninsula, the Golden Circle, Southwestern Iceland, and Reykjavik. This strategy gave us a more in-depth experience of each region.
If you wish to circumnavigate Iceland with your family via the Ring Road, it is often done in 7-9 days.
Where to Stay on your Iceland Family Vacation
Vacation Home Rentals in Iceland
When traveling with kids, we have a strong preference for staying in a vacation home rental. We find that the kids sleep better when they have their own bedrooms, and it’s nice to have laundry facilities to wash and dry our clothes.
Another big benefit of getting a vacation rental is having a kitchen to cook some of your own meals. Eating at restaurants is very expensive in Iceland, so having your own kitchen helps have an Iceland family vacation on a budget.
On a typical travel day with kids, we’d start with a healthy family breakfast at home, pack a good lunch, then reward ourselves to a great meal at a restaurant in the evening. Due to the expense of eating out in Iceland, we made nearly all our meals at our vacation home rental.
If your Iceland family vacation takes you outside of Reykjavik, you’ll almost certainly have a rental car. This freedom opens a wide choice of locations for your Iceland vacation rental.
Kid-Friendly Hotels in Iceland
If you prefer to stay at hotels in Iceland with kids, you’ll find an excellent selection of kid-friendly hotels in Reykjavik. Outside of Reykjavik, the selection of hotels drops quite a bit, but you can always count on finding kid-friendly hotels in the major tourist regions of Iceland.
7 Day Iceland Itinerary for a Family Road Trip
Based on our mid-May family vacation, here is our 7 day Iceland road trip itinerary. This was a self-drive Iceland road trip itinerary with no multi-day tours.
Family Road Trip – 1 Week Iceland Itinerary Overview
Day 1: Reykjavik arrival
Days 2-3: Snaefellsnes Peninsula, Western Iceland
Day 4-5: Golden Circle, Iceland
Days 6-7: Reykjavik and Southwest Iceland
7 Days in Iceland Itinerary with Kids
We loved our incredible 7 days in Iceland with kids and couldn’t be happier with spending a full week on a family road trip. Our Iceland road trip itinerary gave us enough time to explore the best of West Iceland, Southwest Iceland, the Golden Circle and the Reykjavik area.
Along our family road trip we discovered some of the best things to do in Iceland with kids!
Day 1: Arrival in Reykjavik, Iceland
Our Iceland family vacation was at the tail end of a spring European trip with our kids. We flew from Canada to Europe and back with Icelandair, taking advantage of their Stopover program, effectively giving us free flights to Iceland!
We chose to begin and end our 7-day Iceland road trip in Reykjavik as that is where Icelandair flies into. Reykjavik is also a convenient central location to many of the Iceland destinations we wanted to visit on our family road trip.
Our Icelandair flight from London to Reykjavik was right on time. We had some major delays with our Reykjavik rental car though… waiting for the shuttle bus, waiting for the car rental staff to help us, trying to get the car seat rentals installed…
Our plan was to drive straight from the Keflavik Airport to the Snaefellsnes Peninsula. Due to the car rental delays, we stopped in Reykjavik for dinner and then grabbed some groceries for our vacation home rental.
The 2-hour drive from Reykjavik to our Snaefellsnes Peninsula cabin rental went well, although the cloud was so low, we didn’t really get to see much Icelandic scenery. The kids fell asleep during our drive to Arnarstapi and we put them straight to bed upon our 10pm arrival.
Days 2-3: Snaefellsnes Peninsula, Western Iceland
Day 2: Arnarstapi to Hellnar Hike
When we visit a place as beautiful as Iceland, we make a special effort to do a lot of hiking with the kids. We began our 2-day visit to the Snaefellsnes Peninsula with kids with a beautiful coastal hike through a lava field between Arnarstapi and Hellnar.
This kid-friendly Iceland hiking trail begins in Arnarstapi and heads south towards Hellnar on an easy and well-maintained trail. The Icelandic scenery in this first section is breathtaking with crashing waves on rocky beaches inside charming little fjords, towering cliffs and hundreds of seabirds soaring all around.
To provide hikers with opportunities to enjoy the incredible West Iceland scenery, the Arnarstapi to Hellnar hiking trail has many viewing platforms where you can soak in this world-class North Atlantic scenery.
There are several highlights on this easy Snaefellsnes Peninsula hike between Arnarstapi and Hellnar:
Your kids will love running around (and through) the towering statue of Bardur Snaefellsas, the half-man, half-troll for whom the Snaefellsnes Peninsula is named.
The Arnarstapi to Hellnar coastal hike also features Gatklettur, a dramatic natural stone arch just off the coastline. There is a viewing platform along this easy West Iceland hike which gives the best vantage point of Gatklettur.
As this kid-friendly hike leaves Arnarstapi you begin walking through a massive lava field, created by an eruption from the nearby Snaefellsjokull volcano. The hiking trail surface becomes rockier, making it a little harder to find footing, especially if it’s wet. Despite this being an easy hike in Iceland, be sure to have hiking shoes with good grips on.
The hiking trail snakes through volcanic rocks of all sizes with vibrant moss filling the gaps in-between. You cannot help but feel you are on another planet as you wander through this uniquely Icelandic scene.
As the Arnarstapi to Hellnar hike nears the end, the easy hiking trail transitions to a long, wide wooden pathway. It’s an easy walk to Hellnar allowing your family to enjoy outstanding views of West Iceland.
Read more on the scenic, kid-friendly Arnarstapi to Hellnar hike in this post.
Saxholl Crater – Snaefellsjokull National Park
After our Arnarstapi to Hellnar hike, we drove to the nearby Snaefellsjokull National Park to climb the Saxholl Crater. This popular Icelandic volcano crater is easy to climb via a set of stairs which wind their way around the edge of the tiny Saxholl volcano to the top.
Upon arrival, we were introduced to the raw power of the weather in Iceland in May. The wind was so strong, the small drizzle of rain actually hurt as it hit our faces.
The strong metal stairs made climbing the Saxholl crater easy and enjoyable. The strong wind was at our backs, making the crater climb that much easier. But halfway up the Saxholl crater, the strength of the wind made us reconsider our priorities – it just wasn’t safe enough to bring the kids to the volcano viewing platform at the top.
The kids stayed with a parent at a bench halfway up as we took turns climbing to the top of the Saxholl Crater. As much as we wanted the kids to have this experience, we made the right call as the wind was so strong, we could barely stand at the top of the Saxholl Crater.
Day 3 – Snaefellsnes Peninsula Road Trip with Kids
The howling winds overnight resulted in a crystal-clear sky in the morning. We could finally see the mountain behind our vacation rental cabin and the vistas all the way down the coast. What a beautiful sight!
The kids have been waking up very early in Iceland due to the fact it never really gets dark here, so we were in the car for our Snaefellsnes Peninsula road trip with kids by 7am. We enjoyed a beautiful drive from Arnarstapi on Highway 54 across a mountain pass to the Kirkjufellsfoss waterfall.
By itself, the Kirkjufellsfoss waterfall is nice enough, but when you pair it with the majestic Kirkjufell Mountain in the background, it becomes a magical Iceland experience.
There are kid-friendly walking trails which lead to a bridge over the Kirkjufellsfoss waterfall. If you are visiting Iceland with a toddler, watch them closely as the safety ropes are not effective.
There isn’t a lot of area on the walking trail where you can get pictures of the Kirkjufellsfoss waterfall with Kirkjufell Mountain in the background, so arrive early to avoid battling the crowds.
Berserkjahraun Lava Fields
From the Kirkjufellsfoss waterfall, our next stop on our road trip around the Snaefellsnes Peninsula with kids was the Berserkjahraun Lava Fields. Exploring a lava field will be an unforgettable experience on your family vacation to Iceland.
Exploring the Berserkjahraun Lava Fields is an incredibly fun thing to do in the Snaefellsnes Peninsula with kids. Your kids will love climbing on the large lava rocks, running around them, hiding behind them, etc.
What makes the Berserkjahraun Lava Fields extra fun is the spongy moss which is growing everywhere – it’s like walking on a bed of marshmallows! Our daughter kept falling flat on her back as it was so soft, despite our pleas for her to stop in case she whacked her head on one of the volcanic rocks.
The Berserkjahraun Lava Fields was one of our favorite things to do in the Snaefellsnes Peninsula with kids.
Our next stop on our Snaefellsnes Peninsula road trip was a visit to Stykkisholmur, the largest town on the peninsula. We took the time to visit Stykkisholmur as we had read it’s the most charming town in all of Iceland.
Stykkisholmur is a nice little town, but we felt it wasn’t worth the driving time to see it, unless perhaps you are going on the Viking Sushi trip.
After a fun morning exploring the Snaefellsnes Peninsula with our kids, we stopped at the Kolgrafarfjordur Fjord on our way back to our Arnarstapi cabin. The Kolgrafarfjordur Fjord is known for plentiful marine life sightings including whales, dolphins, etc.
Although we didn’t see any marine life at the Kolgrafarfjordur Fjord, it was a scenic spot for a picnic in the Snaefellsnes Peninsula. The kids were pretty excited about the sheep skull and the duck skeleton they found.
Bardur Snaefellsas Troll Statue
Our toddler fell asleep in the rental car on the way to Arnarstapi, so we decided to quietly sneak in some Snaefellsnes Peninsula attractions without waking him up.
Our first stop was the statue of Bardur Snaefellsas, which we missed on our Arnarstapi to Hellnar hike. We took turns going with our daughter to see Bardur Snaefellsas, while the other parent stayed in the rental car.
The Bardur Snaefellsas statue is pile of rocks shaped like a troll. It’s a quick and fun Snaefellsnes Peninsula attraction for kids and adults alike.
Djupalonssandur Beach – Snaefellsjoekull National Park
Our toddler woke up while we were getting gas, so we stopped in our nearby vacation rental for a quick snack, diaper change etc. Soon we were off to see the best of the Snaefellsjoekull National Park with our kids.
Our first stop in the Snaefellsjoekull National Park was to see the black sand (with a little snow) at Djupalonssandur Beach. The hiking trail to Djupalonssandur Beach descends through a little canyon of interesting rock formations, which your kids will love climbing on.
Once you set foot on the beautiful black sand at Djupalonssandur Beach, spend some time playing with the lifting rocks. Sailors used to use the lifting rocks to see who could lift the heaviest rock – see who is the strongest in your family!
Another thing which makes Djupalonssandur Beach a fun thing to do with kids in the Snaefellsnes Peninsula is the rusted remains of a 60-year-old shipwreck.
But the best thing about Djupalonssandur Beach is the crashing waves. I imagine the waves differ each day, but on the day we visited the Djupalonssandur black sand beach, the waves were massive.
It was mesmerizing to watch the giant waves crash onto the black sand beach in-between towering black rocks jutting out of the surf. The raw power of nature in Iceland was on full display at Djupalonssandur Beach.
Our final stop in the Snaefellsjoekull National Park with kids was the Londrangar Cliffs. There are three reasons to visit the Londrangar Cliffs with your kids:
1) the views of the majestic Londrangar basalt rocks. These massive rock formations dominate the skyline for miles around.
2) The Malariff lighthouse, and
3) The rugged oceanside Londrangar Cliffs.
As you near the Londrangar Cliffs, the ground becomes black lava rock which extends towards the ocean where it terminates at the edge of a tall cliff. A similar experience to the Djupalonssandur Beach, the views of the rough and powerful North Atlantic waves crashing ashore are awe inspiring.
Abandoned Farmhouse Hike
On our way back to our vacation rental in Arnarstapi, we wanted to check out a short hike to an abandoned farmhouse, just east of the Snaefellsjoekull National Park. It turned out to be a highly enjoyable kid-friendly hike in the Snaefellsnes Peninsula.
The abandoned farmhouse is highly photogenic against the Snaefellsnes Peninsula backdrop. The simple hiking trail led to the edge of the oceanfront cliff. The views of the powerful North Atlantic waves crashing onto the cliffs was spectacular, but without the crowds at the Londrangar Cliffs.
Our family just sat on the grass, watching the waves. It was a special moment and a nice way to end our third day in Iceland with kids.
Day 4 – Drive from Snaefellsnes Peninsula to Golden Circle
The endless daylight led to another early wake-up on our final morning in the Snaefellsnes Peninsula with kids. We left our Arnarstapi cabin at 7:30am to drive to the Golden Circle. We stopped at a few Snaefellsnes Peninsula attractions on the way.
The Bjarnafoss waterfall is a very striking waterfall you can see from Highway 54. This Iceland waterfall starts with a long freefall from the top of a cliff, then becomes a long cascade down the second half of the mountain. There’s a short walking path towards the Bjarnafoss waterfall providing nice close-up views.
Our final stop on the Snaefellsnes Peninsula with kids was the Gerduberg Cliffs. A long stretch of basalt columns, the Gerduberg Cliffs look like stone tubes stacked side-by-side for over a kilometer. The road runs parallel to the Gerduberg Cliffs, giving you the option to see them by driving or walking.
Days 4-5: Golden Circle with Kids
Day 4 – Porufoss Waterfall
Our first stop in the Golden Circle with kids was the Porufoss waterfall. This impressive Golden Circle waterfall is located on a poorly maintained dirt road section of Highway 48.
Upon our arrival at the Porufoss waterfall, the wind was blowing so hard the rain was literally falling sideways. Rather than getting the kids dressed up in their winter and rain gear, we left them in the rental car and took turns walking down to the Porufoss waterfall viewpoint for a look.
Porufoss is a pretty nice Golden Circle waterfall with some easy walking paths. For us, the weather so awful we merely took a quick look at the waterfall and then jumped back in the rental car.
Thingvellir National Park
Next up was Thingvellir National Park, one of the top attractions in the Golden Circle with kids. Thingvellir National Park is of great cultural importance to Iceland, but to be honest, we came to see where the Eurasian and North American tectonic plates diverge, creating a large rift valley.
The main walking path through the Thingvellir National Park is an easy walking trail through the rift valley. This kid-friendly Thingvellir National Park hike runs along the bottom of a dramatic cliff. It’s fascinating to think that this cliff is actually the edge of North America and it’s slowly drifting away from the other edge of the park (Europe) at a pace of 2-3 cm per year.
Thingvellir National Park also offers cultural attractions (Law Rock), waterfalls and miles of kid-friendly hiking. This is a great place to visit on your family trip to Iceland if you want to sneak in something educational without them even noticing!
Reykjadalur Hot Spring Thermal River Hike
If you are looking for a kid-friendly Golden Circle hike which showcases the geothermal wonders of Iceland, be sure to check out the Reykjadalur Hot Spring Thermal River Hike.
This 3.5km one-way hike to Golden Circle hot springs leads you through some amazing mountain landscapes with many steam vents and boiling water ponds along the way. The surreal effect of this geothermal activity is exactly the type of experience many dream of when visiting Iceland with kids.
After passing a beautiful waterfall, you hike through an open meadow with ponds of boiling water from the geothermal heat below. You can feel the warmth and smell the sulphur as you walk past the boiling ponds. If you are hiking to these Golden Circle hot springs with kids, watch they don’t get too close!
The Reykjadalur Hot Springs are actually a little natural creek which are popular to soak in. Due to the popularity of the Reykjadalur Hot Springs, they have built wooden boardwalks, open air change rooms and little stairs leading down to the hot springs water.
The Reykjadalur Hot Springs were actually pleasantly warm springs – the water was not hot. As parents, we thought the weather was too cold to change into our bathing suits for a dip in the warm hot springs.
We rolled up our pants and waded into the hot springs, an experience the kids loved! If you enjoy hiking with kids, the Reykjadalur Hot Spring Thermal River hike is a great thing to do on your Iceland family vacation.
Day 5 – Gullfoss Waterfall
We love visiting the most beautiful places on earth, but we like to avoid the crowds. One of the reasons we decided to spend two nights in the Golden Circle was to get a head start on the day trippers from Reykjavik.
The Gullfoss waterfall is one of the top natural attractions in Iceland. The massive parking lot indicates how busy the Gullfoss waterfall can get. With our early start from our Golden Circle cabin, we arrived at Gullfoss waterfall around 8:30am to a near empty parking lot.
We have seen many of the world’s most iconic waterfalls, and we can confidently say that the Gullfoss waterfall is one of the world’s most impressive waterfalls. Gullfoss is the largest waterfall in Europe by volume, but what makes Gullfoss special is the beautiful two-tier cascade waterfall.
Your kids will love the walking trail to get close to the Gullfoss waterfall. Chances are good that your family will laugh as you get soaked on the way to the viewpoint for the Gullfoss lower falls. You won’t mind getting soaked as your efforts will be rewarded with an up-close view of the incredible power of this iconic Golden Circle waterfall.
Other things you can do with kids at the Gullfoss waterfall is the visitor center and some hiking trails. We had hoped to enjoy some of the Gullfoss hikes with our kids, but the Iceland weather was too bad for the kids to be out too long.
As we were leaving this incredible Golden Circle waterfall, we saw the first tour bus heading towards Gullfoss at 9:30. This was the first of a steady parade of tour buses with at least one bus per minute – no joke. Getting to the Gullfoss waterfall before the tour buses was a special experience on our Iceland family vacation.
The tour buses had already arrived by the time we got to Geysir, one of the Golden Circle’s top geothermal attractions. We had visited Geysir with our kids in hopes of seeing the Strokkur geyser erupt.
The weather was miserable with rain blowing so hard that it hurt our faces. On average, Strokkur erupts every 6-10 minutes, so we were hoping it would blow quickly.
As it happens with natural attractions, you never know what you are going to get. We were at Geysir for well over 10 minutes without a Strokker eruption. Eventually, with no certainty of when the next Strokkur eruption would be, we gave in to the protests of our kids and went back to the car, without seeing the geyser erupt.
We were disappointed to miss a Strokkur eruption, but that’s the way it goes with nature. Sometimes you win, sometimes you don’t…
Kerid Crater Hike
A visit to the Kerid Crater Lake is a really fun thing to do with kids in the Golden Circle. From the highway, you’d never guess there was a volcanic crater here. It’s so low to the ground, from a distance it looks like any old hill.
But when you get up close, you’ll be amazed at the size of the Kerid Crater. It’s 270m long, 170m wide and 55m deep. It seemed just as large as any volcanic craters on top of volcanic mountains that I’ve seen in my travels.
There are two options to explore the Kerid Crater with your kids: you can hike around the outer rim of the Kerid crater, or you can walk down into the volcano to hike around the shores of the crater lake.
We chose the Kerid crater lake hike in hopes of getting out of the blistering wind. The walk along the bottom of the Kerid crater is a unique and highly enjoyable, kid-friendly Golden Circle hike.
Days 6-7: Southwest Iceland and Reykjavik with Kids
Day 6: Skogafoss Waterfall
After 2 amazing days in the Golden Circle with kids, we drove to the Skogafoss waterfall, the star attraction of Southwest Iceland. Skogafoss is a famous Icelandic waterfall due to its beauty and power along with its prominent role in the Ben Stiller movie, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty.
We arrived at Skogafoss waterfall at 9am, just as the first tour bus arrived. Skogafoss was still pretty empty this early in the morning and there was still plenty of space for everyone.
If your kids love getting soaked, they will love a visit to the 200’ tall Skogafoss waterfall. There is a large rocky beach just below the Skogafoss waterfall where everyone stops to take pictures and admire the powerful elegance of the waterfall. You can get surprisingly close to the base of the Skogafoss waterfall and you can get soaked if you go too close.
After you appreciate the beauty and power of Skogafoss waterfall from below, climb the 300+ stairs to the lookout platform at the top of the falls. As you’d expect, the view from the top of Skogafoss waterfall is pretty spectacular.
If you have time enough time in your Iceland family vacation, the Skogafoss waterfall and the Gullfoss waterfall are the two waterfalls you must see when visiting Iceland with kids.
Waterfall Way Hike at Skogafoss Waterfall
The Skogafoss waterfall is one of the best things to do in Iceland with kids. But did you know, there’s also an excellent kid-friendly hike upstream of the Skogafoss waterfall? If you have time on your visit to the Skogafoss waterfall with kids, we highly recommend adding on the Waterfall Way hike.
The kid-friendly Waterfall Way hike trailhead is through a gate at the back of the upper Skogafoss waterfall viewing platform. The hiking trail follows the Skoga River for approximately 6-7km.
After only a few minutes of hiking on the Waterfall Way trail, you will encounter a waterfall so beautiful it’d be a major attraction in almost any other location in the world. But this poor waterfall just happens to be upstream of the mighty & famous Skogafoss waterfall, so its fate is to be largely ignored. If nothing else, you should hike the Waterfall Way with your kids to see this impressive cascading waterfall.
As you hike further upstream on the Skoga River the waterfalls keep coming. Depending on how far you hike with your kids along the Waterfall Way, you can see over 20 waterfalls!
We have done a ton of hiking with our kids around the world, and I found myself thinking that the Waterfall Way hike was among the most beautiful kid-friendly hikes I’ve done anywhere. We highly recommend the Waterfall Way hike on your family trip to Iceland.
On your way back to Reykjavik, you can visit another of Southwestern Iceland’s best waterfalls. The Seljalandsfoss waterfall is skinnier than the Skogafoss waterfall, but it’s just as high.
The Seljalandsfoss waterfall is a really fun thing to do with kids in Iceland as there is a hiking trail which allows you to go behind the waterfall. Kids of all ages will love this rare opportunity to stand behind such a majestic, powerful waterfall.
We recommend enjoying the kid-friendly hiking paths around the Seljalandsfoss waterfall which lead to three additional waterfalls, saving the walk behind the Seljalandsfoss waterfall for last.
The amount of spray which the Seljalandsfoss waterfall kicks up is enormous, so make sure you and your kids are properly dressed for it – make sure everything on you is waterproof! Make sure your camera and/or phone is well protected as there are spots in behind the waterfall where you can take some fun family photos.
Day 7: Krysuvik Geothermal Field
When many families dream of a trip to Iceland with kids, they imagine exploring otherworldly landscapes, with large towers of steam rising from oddly colored rocks. This dream-like Icelandic landscape can be found just minutes from Reykjavik!
The Krysuvik geothermal field is located within the Reykjanesfolkvangur nature preserve. The landscape as you drive through the Reykjanesfolkvangur nature preserve is amazing; the road snakes its way through moss covered lava fields, rugged mountains, lakes with black sand, and much more.
An active geothermal area near Reykjavik, the Krysuvik geothermal field is home to many steaming streams and ponds of boiling mud and water, surrounded by yellow, green and red soil. It was around 3C during our visit, so the steam coming off the bubbling ponds gave an almost spooky ambiance.
A short family walk through the Krysuvik geothermal field is a great thing to do with kids near Reykjavik. Krysuvik has wooden boardwalks and groomed, easy walking trails winding the way through the otherworldly terrain.
The whole kid-friendly hiking loop around the Krysuvik geothermal field is less than 1km, but you can optionally extend your family hike up a hill to another hot spring.
In a country as beautiful as Iceland, it’s hard to forgo time in the country to explore a city, but it’s worth dedicating a half-day of your Iceland family vacation to exploring Reykjavik with your kids.
After lunch at our Reykjavik vacation home rental, we spent some time randomly exploring the charming streets of downtown Reykjavik, walking towards the Lutheran church Hallgrimskirkja. With its 74m tall spire, the Hallgrimskirkja church is the tallest and most famous structure in Reykjavik and can be seen throughout the city.
Consecrated in 1986, Hallgrimskirkja is a distinctly modern church by European standards. The unique design of Hallgrimskirkja was inspired by the elements of Iceland’s landscape, such as trap rocks, glaciers and mountains.
We thought the simple, yet elegant interior of Hallgrimskirkja was one of the most beautiful church interiors we have ever seen (including the Vatican). I could just imagine how amazing the massive pipe organ would sound in there.
When traveling around Europe with our kids, we love climbing church towers, but the only way up the Hallgrimskirkja church tower is by elevator. The views from the top of Hallgrimskirkja are excellent and we could see quite far despite the rainy weather.
Day 8 (Pre-flight)
Blue Lagoon with Kids
We saved the best thing to do in Iceland with kids for our final morning in Iceland. We had a few hours in Reykjavik with our kids before heading back home to Banff, Canada, so we chose to visit the incredible Blue Lagoon with our kids.
Visiting the Blue Lagoon was our favorite thing to do near Reykjavik with kids. A visit to the Blue Lagoon from Reykjavik is expensive, but kids under 13 are free.
The Blue Lagoon is 45 minutes outside of Reykjavik, so the easiest way to visit the Blue Lagoon with kids is to buy Blue Lagoon tickets with transportation from Reykjavik.
Being such a popular thing to do in Reykjavik with kids, there is a wide variety of day tours to the Blue Lagoon from Reykjavik. There’s sure to be a Blue Lagoon tour which is perfect for your family.
Get more details on visiting the Blue Lagoon with kids in this post.
Gunnuhver Geothermal Area
We loved the many Icelandic geothermal springs we visited earlier in our family trip, so after our visit to the Blue Lagoon with kids, we snuck in a visit to the nearby Gunnuhver Geothermal Area. This geothermal area near Reykjavik has wooden walkways leading to a viewing platform for the single dominant steam vent in the area.
The geothermal steam vent at Gunnuhver was easily the biggest we had seen during our week in Iceland with kids. The water underneath the steam vent was violently boiling, showing just how close the magma pool must be to the surface. Yikes!
It’s an incredible show of nature’s force, making the Gunnuhver Geothermal Area a really interesting thing to do with kids near Reykjavik.
Another fun thing to do with kids near the Blue Lagoon is Midlina (The Bridge between Continents). Midlina is a special bridge as it spans a valley which is being continually created as the North American tectonic plate diverges from the Eurasian plate.
This is the same tectonic phenomenon on display at the Thingvellir National Park in Iceland’s Golden Circle. If you aren’t able to make the trip to the Thingvellir National Park, the Midlina Bridge between Continents is an excellent (and much less busy) alternative.
Getting Kids to Sleep in Iceland without Darkness
If you are traveling to the Iceland with a toddler (or a baby) during the endless days of summer, your kids may have trouble sleeping without darkness.
If you are worried about your kids sleeping in Iceland, consider traveling with a Slumberpod. This ingenious product will create a dark sleeping area for your toddler, and it even works with the popular toddler travel beds like the Shrunks Junior.
If your kids are too big for a Slumberpod, travel blackout blinds are also an option to consider helping your kids sleep in Iceland.
What to Pack for a Trip to Iceland with Kids
We are minimalists when it comes to packing for family road trips, but here’s our list of things you must bring to Iceland with kids. Even in high season, you need to respect the weather in Iceland and be prepared for any type of weather at any time. This means that dressing in layers is a must.
On our shoulder-season outings in Iceland with kids, we’d all wear a wool base layer (top and bottom) against our skin, followed by a t-shirt and a fleece and/or light down jacket. We never left home without our rain jackets and rain pants on top of our inner layers.
With the wide variety of layers you’ll need to bring on your Iceland family outings, you’ll need a large day pack for each parent. We like tucking hydration packs into our day packs to ensure everyone has enough water.
We also brought a toddler carrier, which was useful on the longer hikes we did in Iceland with our kids.
To the extent possible, while driving in Iceland, try to keep your kids’ eyes looking out the window and not down at a screen. The chance to see the landscape in Iceland is a once-in-a-lifetime experience that shouldn’t be missed.
We know from experience that this isn’t always realistic for everyone’s sanity on a family road trip, so if you are looking for something a little more cerebral than Netflix cartoons for your kids, we are huge fans of the Epic! reading app. Epic offers a free basic level if you’d like to try it risk-free try during your Iceland road trip.
Kid-Friendly Iceland Tours
If you are looking for an 8-day family-friendly Iceland tour which visits many of the locations from our Iceland family vacation, check out the Geysers, Glaciers and Fjords tour by National Geographic.
In addition to many of our Iceland family vacation ideas, this epic National Geographic family tour of Iceland includes whale watching, a visit to an Icelandic horse farm, explore a lava tunnel, and an excursion to the volcanic Westman Islands to search for puffins and whales.
We hope you found some inspiration for a family trip to Iceland with kids! Have a great time!!
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