Planning a trip to Iceland is never a piece of cake. In my experience, it’s one of the most research-intensive trips ever to plan. But if – to top it off – you’re traveling with kids, your trip prep can be a real struggle. That’s why I’ve put together this post that will hopefully help you get an idea of the best places that you shouldn’t miss out on during your family Iceland trip.
- 12 Family-Friendly Places To Visit In Iceland
- 1. Golden Circle
- 2. Seljalandsfoss
- 3. Skogafoss
- 4. Reynisfjara Beach
- 5. Embark on a glacier hike!
- 6. Jokülsarlon
- 7. Westman Islands
- 8. Raufarhólshellir Lava Tunnel
- 9. Kirkjufell
- 10. Explore Reykjavik
- 11. Relax in a hot spring
- 12. Go on a whale watching tour
12 Family-Friendly Places To Visit In Iceland
1. Golden Circle
This is a must in every Iceland trip (whether you’re traveling with kids or not). It’s a route to the three most popular natural attractions in the country, listed below.
Lake Þingvallavatn & Þingvellir National Park
Lake Þingvallavatn is the largest natural lake in Iceland, while Þingvellir National Park lies on the border between the North American and European tectonic plates, causing dramatic and stunning landscape in what was one of the primary settlements in early Icelandic history.
Haukadalur Geothermal Valley
Here you’ll find Strokkur geyser sprouting hot water into the air every few minutes (up to 30 meters). But don’t worry, there’s a safety rope around the geyser so it’s a safe attraction to visit with kids! This place is also home to Geysir, which used to sprout water as high as 120 meters, but which is currently inactive, and Blesi Hot Springs.
One of Iceland’s most impressive falls, located in the Hvítá river canyon.
A unique waterfall where the water pours 65 meters (213 feet) down over a former sea cliff. It’s possible to walk behind it but don’t forget to put your raincoat on, as you might get a little wet!
Make sure to check out Gljufrafoss too, a close neighbor to Seljalandsfoss (they’re just a few hundred meters apart and it’s an easy walk from Seljalandsfoss). Gljufrafoss is a small waterfall (40 meters/130 feet high) that hides behind a slot canyon. Make sure to wear waterproof shoes if you want to see it!
This waterfall, which is fed directly from two glaciers – Eyjafjallajokull and Myrdalsjokull – is 25 meters wide (82 feet) and 60 meters high (197 feet). There’s a staircase that leads to the top of the cascade, from where you can enjoy a beautiful view of the fall from above.
4. Reynisfjara Beach
This black-sand beach is famous for its impressive basalt stacks. From the beach, you’ll be able to observe three rocky sea stacks sitting off the shoreline, which are known as Reynisdrangar. Definitely one of the most beautiful beaches in Iceland and probably in the world, too!
5. Embark on a glacier hike!
Don’t worry, it’s an easy hike and both adults and kids always love it! A certified guide will guide you on a hiking tour into Falljökull glacier, a tongue of the mighty Vatnajökull, the largest glacier in Europe.
Iceland’s most impressive glacier lagoon and probably one of the highlights of the trip. Don’t forget to also check out the Diamond Beach, located by Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon. Its popularity is due to the glistering ice chunks that you can find on the beach, which sparkle like diamonds.
7. Westman Islands
The Westman Islands, or Vestmannaeyjar, are an archipelago of 15 islands and 30 rock stacks off the South Coast. Heimaey Island is the biggest and the only inhabited of the islands. The place is beautiful and is home to the world’s largest population of nesting puffins in the summer, so kids will absolutely enjoy this visit!
8. Raufarhólshellir Lava Tunnel
Kids absolutely love this tour! The Lava Tunnel is one of the longest and best-known lava tubes in Iceland. Witness the inner workings of a volcanic eruption as you walk in the path of lava that flowed during the Leitahraun eruption about 5,200 years ago. Don’t forget to bring waterproof jackets and shoes!
Iceland’s most iconic mountain (463 meters / 1,519 ft). But don’t worry, there’s no climbing involved! You can just admire Kirkjufell from the base, where you’ll also find a small waterfall – Kirkjufellsfoss – located within walking distance.
10. Explore Reykjavik
Don’t miss the opportunity to explore Iceland’s capital. Some of its most popular attractions are:
- Hallgrimskirkja, a 74.5-meter Lutheran church.
- Reykjavik City Hall, located by Tjörnin Lake.
- Reykjavik’s busiest streets: Skólavörðustígur, Bankastræti, Lækjargata, Laugavegur.
- Harpa, Reykjavik’s Concert Hall and Conference Center, opened in 2011. It’s one of the city’s most iconic landmarks.
- Sun Voyager, a steel sculpture on Reykjavik’s waterfront that resembles a Viking longship. It was built it in 1986 to celebrate the city’s 200th anniversary.
- Perlan and its observation deck, from where you can enjoy a wonderful view of the city.
11. Relax in a hot spring
Although the Blue Lagoon is hands down the most popular geothermal pool in Iceland, I recommend the Secret Lagoon instead – it’s cheaper and less crowded. Here the warm water stays at 38-40 Celsius (approx. 100 Fahrenheit) all year. In the whole area there are several geothermal spots and a little geyser which erupts every 5 minutes, and which can be seen from the pool.
12. Go on a whale watching tour
This tour often departs from the town of Ólafsvík (Western Iceland) and takes you into the water around Snaefellsnes, where ocean giants swim in the shadow of the magnificent Snæfellsjökull Glacier. You’ll get a chance to see toothed-whales such as orcas, sperm whales, and pilot whales.