I’ve never been to Iceland and I heard it’s not the place to go. I mean, who would want to be blown away with endless natural beauty? What about waterfalls that leave you speechless? Or the mesmerizing Northern Lights?
So I asked several top family travel bloggers about their experiences and will share with you their grim warnings.
1. Dogsledding In Summer!
Tamara from We3Travel.com told me you can dog sled on a glacier… in summer. Poor kids will get so confused since they always considered this a winter activity.
“There are family adventures that are memorable and then there are experiences that will never be forgotten. Dog sledding in Iceland is one of the latter. Where else can you dog sled on a glacier in summer? After spending an hour greeting the dogs and helping to outfit them in their harnesses, we headed off onto the Langjökull glacier, about two hours northwest of Reykjavik. With no one else in sight, we had unimaginable views of the pristine white glacier snow that stretched out for miles. In the distance were the black peaks of volcanic hills jutting out of the snow and the only sound to be heard was the panting of the dogs and the swish of the sled along the snow. The views, the dogs and the unique experience made for an epic day.”
IMAGE CREDIT: We3Travel.com
2. Chasing Waterfalls!
Tamara also told me that a roadtrip is the best way to see Iceland and some pretty magnificent waterfalls. If my kids ever saw these I’d have no idea how to drag them to any other waterfalls elsewhere in the world. They would have been spoilt with the best. You can compare rental car prices at EasyTerra for this epic waterfall roadtrip.
“If you made a list of Iceland’s must-see places, visiting a few of the country’s magnificent waterfalls would be on top. We road tripped through South Iceland, stopping first at Seljalandsfoss, where you can walk behind the thundering falls. Just down the road is a “secret” waterfall, which you access through a narrow canyon at Gljúfrabúi. A bit further along the ring road, you can’t miss the powerful Skogafoss falls. Here you can walk right up to the base or climb up to see the falls from up above. Just make sure to bring full rain gear!”
Walking On Travels agreed with Tamara. Do I really want my kids that impressed?
“Gullfoss, or any other waterfall for that matter, shouldn’t be missed when you are traveling through Iceland with your kids. Even in the winter months, this roaring beauty is worth a stop. The sheer power of the water is sure to impress kids of any age, and the history behind this waterfall is even more impressive. Rent a car to drive out on your own, or hop on a Golden Circle bus tour to see Gullfoss, Thingvellir and Geyser all in one day. It’s a long day, but if you are strapped for time because of a short layover, or you want to see more of the island, it is the easiest way.”
IMAGE CREDIT: Guide To Iceland
3. Riding Horses!
When GlobalMouse Travels told me how much her kids adored the distinctive breed of horses in Iceland, I knew that’s not something I wanted my kids to hear about. I mean horse riding is a very regal and expensive sport; let’s not have them fall in love.
“One of our favorite Icelandic activities was riding the horses which the children just adored. The Icelandic horse is a unique breed, no horse has been imported into the country for 800 years and it has adapted to suit the harsh environment and they are beautiful creatures. We stayed on a farm in the countryside near Selfoss where the owner had her own horses and organized rides. Our children loved the opportunity to take these majestic creatures out into the fields - it felt like a really special moment.”
IMAGE CREDIT: GlobalMouse Travels
4. Fairytales Come True At The Blue Lagoon
If your kids believe in fairytales, then Iceland is not the place to take them. Goodie Goodie Gumdrops told me that the Blue Lagoon was so magical her kids felt fairytales had come true.
“I am almost embarrassed to admit this because it is touristy and a bit expensive, but the Blue Lagoon was like a fairytale. My kids absolutely loved it and still talk about it to this day. The water is deliciously warm and the air is a prickly cold, but when you descend into the Blue Lagoon you feel like you have entered into a magical paradise. Our kids spent ours applying natural facial scrubs to each other, admiring the striking blue color, exploring the grounds and soaking up the landscape that surrounds the Blue Lagoon. I have heard that there are other hot springs which are free and more private, but we were unable to find them. The Blue Lagoon was a great introduction to the hot springs of Iceland.
IMAGE CREDIT: Goodie Goodie Gumdrops
5. They Will Never Sleep
The World Is A Book told us about the 23 hours of sunlight in Iceland’s summer. With so much light and things to do how would I ever get my kids to sleep?
“We visited Iceland during the summer and enjoyed many activities while taking advantage of over 23 hours of sunlight. But, my kids’ favorite activity and one they still talk about was our puffin tour. The one-hour, guided tour took us near an island filled with thousands of puffins. It was incredible to see so many of these adorable animals in the wild and learn about them. They were amazing to watch fly and swoop into the ocean. This tour was a highlight of our Iceland trip.”
IMAGE CREDIT: The World Is A Book
6. Dreams Come True When Spotting The Northern Lights
Despite several attempts in Canada and Finland we never got to see the Northern Lights. And now my dear friends at Travel Deep & Wide tell me they took all 9 kids to see the Northern Lights in Iceland. My kids are dying to see the famous Aurora Borealis, why would I want to make their dreams come true?
“Everyone comes to Iceland with hopes of seeing the dancing northern lights. This site has good pointers for seeing the Aurora Borealis. We had a spectacular vantage point from the quaint fishing village in Grindavik. The key is to wear layers, wait for a clear sky and be in an area away from light pollution. Although no tour group can make guarantees, if your family spots the Northern Lights it will be a lifetime highlight.”
IMAGE CREDIT: Guide To Iceland
7. Plenty Of Space For The Family
Travel Deep & Wide also bragged about the open spaces available in Iceland for kids to run around. Do I really want my kids getting used to all the open space when they’re around city traffic on a regular basis?
“Our favorite kid-friendly outing close to the city center was our day trip to Viðey Island. Even without a rental vehicle, Reykjavik transit serves each of the three ports. A 38-passenger ferry takes a picturesque ride to the island. You will find a restaurant, renovated historical church and school buildings as well as a covered picnic shelter. Best of all were the well-marked nature trails throughout the island, perfect for viewing wildlife and its 30 species of birds. Bring your own picnic lunch, connect with nature and romp around on the island for a family-sized dose of pristine Icelandic air.”
IMAGE CREDIT: Travel Deep & Wide
So perhaps my fellow family travel bloggers have me convinced. They’ve been to Iceland with their kids and discovered it lives up to its well-deserved reputation. I’m already looking up flights to Iceland right now.
How about you? Have you been convinced to take a family vacation in Iceland?