Iceland is an indescribably beautiful country where my family and I enjoyed one of the best weeks together ever. I knew Iceland would blow me away, but I was shocked at how much my kids loved it as well! Surprisingly, the country is very family friendly and offers up a lot for kids to enjoy. While I am sure there are a plethora of activities that others might mention (we didn’t get to go to the east or northern part of Iceland), these are my top 5 places to visit in Iceland with kids based on our experience.
- Into the Glacier
- Geothermal pools/springs
- Exploring Reykjavík
- Icelandic Horses
If you only have a few days in Iceland, this has to be on your list. Old missile truck, ice cave, snow…what more could you ask for? My daughter thought she was Elsa and my son loved playing in the snow. My husband and I were just blown away by the fact that we were standing in an ice cave, on a glacier, in Iceland.
The tour guides are very helpful, informative and accommodating of families. They even had tiny crampons for my 22 month old! While the tickets can be expensive, children 11 and under are free, making it a great deal in my opinion! You seriously cannot skip this if you are coming to Iceland!
Geothermal pools & springs
Iceland has an abundant supply of geothermal waters, and it shows with a plethora of city pools to swim in and several hot springs to relax in.
The city pools we visited were Stykkishólmurand Selfoss. Stykkishólmur had a huge indoor and outdoor pool, a water slide, two shallow wading areas and several hot tubs. We loved the shallow wading pools as my toddler could just walk around in them. Even though it was 30 degrees outside, the water was so warm it didn’t matter. It was actually very refreshing and invigorating. Selfoss was a perfect pool for kids. Along with your standard indoor pools, the outdoor pool had a large water slide, two smaller slides that my 22 month old could use, and a good mix of shallow and deep areas to swim in. If I had to choose one to bring my kids to between the two, I would pick Selfoss. Even though we didn’t make it there, I have heard the Reykjavík city pool is wonderful for kids as well.
Instead of going to the very commercialized Blue Lagoon, we opted for the more remote and natural Secret Lagoon, and we were not disappointed. While you don’t get that beautiful bright blue water, we loved the more intimate and natural setting that surrounded us. There are zero entry areas where the kids could walk around in, and the pool provided floaties and noodles as well. The water is hotter than the city pools, so we could only stay for about 30-40 minutes with the kids, but boy was I relaxed for those 30 minutes!
Geysir might seem odd to recommend for kids since it is a hot spring, as it is a little dangerous for young ones, but my kids loved watching Stokkur erupt! They thought it was the coolest thing. There aren’t any barriers to the hot springs and boiling mud pits other than a tiny rope a few inches off the ground, but as long as you hold your kids hand (or him/her) and walk along the pathway, you will be fine. It is definitely an exciting natural attraction worth seeing!
My kids loved walking around Reykjavík and exploring the city. We played on a playground we found, explored the harbor and saw lots of different boats, and walked around the streets as they were lit up at night. We ate dinner at The Laundromat Cafe, which provided the perfect relief from the cold outside with their delicious hot chocolate and large play area in the basement. If your kids need to get some energy out, this is the place for them! The food was great and the entertainment options were plentiful!
It seems like at every turn when we were driving around, gorgeous Icelandic horses were roaming the fields. My kids loved seeing them when we were driving, and commenting on their beautiful colors and manes. My daughter would even give them names.
We bought apples one day at the store and pulled over when we saw some of the horses near the fence. As soon as we pulled over, the horses started walking towards us (I think they knew what was coming!) They were very gentle, and we were able to pet them and feed them. My kids loved this free, simple yet meaningful activity and still talk about it today!