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Planning an Iceland Family Vacation

Updated: Aug 9, 2023

Planning your Iceland family vacation trip is not exactly what I would call an easy task. You have to keep in mind thousand of pending things and try your best not to forget anything. That is essential if you are traveling with kids. The longer the checklist is, the toughest the headache becomes. Avoid all the stress and plan your family adventure in Iceland with us. We will point out the most critical factors you need to think of and give you some ideas for the best family tours.

A family on Iceland family vacation trip enjoying the views

The best Iceland family holiday – Why Iceland?

Iceland is known as one of the most family-friendly countries among the main tourist destinations worldwide. Icelanders are considered easy-going and optimistic people, which may be why this nordic Iceland has the lowest crime rate. Traveling to Iceland means traveling to the safest country on planet earth.

Most visitors discover that Iceland has a quite laid-back atmosphere. You might find children playing outside when it is already dark, not worrying about a thing— no parents within sight. The first thing that might come to your mind is: Are these kids unattended? Well, in Iceland, this is perfectly fine! It is safe to do. Toddlers are even left on their own in their stroller outside restaurants and coffee shops. Parents come from time to time to check on them, but the fear of their baby being taken away basically does not exist.

This can be a cultural shock, but there is nothing to be alarmed about. The purity of the Icelandic air is excellent for their lungs; this way, they can increase tolerance to cold. And it is, of course, much better than the air they would breathing in a crowded interior.

While spending time in Iceland, you will notice that the possibilities and activities are endless. There is a wide variety of tours and excursions so everyone will find something that fits their needs. If you plan a family vacation in Iceland, you will indeed find something that's perfect for you and your loved ones.

A family enjoying their Iceland family vacation trip

Planning a family trip in Iceland.

Planning a family trip in Iceland might give you a headache. Of course, you can go for a ready-made vacation package offered by the many tour agencies out there. This, however, does not give you as much freedom and does limit the possibilities. If you decide to plan this trip on your own, you can choose the attractions you wish to visit, where, how, and when to go. However, you still will need to consider a few aspects while planning your holidays, even more, if you need to make a baby itinerary for your trip as well. Things like when or where to go or if you require a visa to enter the country.

1. When to travel to Iceland: Choosing your travel dates

The age of your children and their sleeping schedule will be determining in most cases. According to this, you should then choose the time of the year you will be coming to Iceland. Remember that the Icelandic weather is quite specific, and while during the summer, the Midnight Sun will give you many hours of daylight, winter days are very short, and it is dark outside most of the time. Summer in Iceland is more popular, which also makes it more expensive and more crowded. Spring and autumn are much more recommendable as the weather is still favorable, and it additionally gives you the option of watching the Northern Lights.

2. Settling the budget for a trip to Iceland

This is especially important if you are traveling with children. Defining the budget is an essential aspect as It will determine the length of your trip and the itinerary. It can also substantially narrow down the season in which you can visit Iceland.

This nordic Iceland has more affordable prices within the off-peak season. You can save quite a lot of money within that period. However, be aware that having a complete dinner with the whole family at a restaurant won't be budget-friendly in any way. Stocking up for your trip to a supermarket and preparing some good meals on your own is, however, the way to go.

Hotels in Iceland are also not the cheapest, so you should instead go for a more affordable option which is renting an RV. And thus, we head to the next point of planning your family holiday in Iceland.

3. Choosing the right accommodation

We've said it a thousand times, but the best way to visit Iceland is by renting a car or an RV. Iceland seems to be made for camping. For families with kids or toddlers, a motorhome is a superb option. It is cheaper than staying in hotels; it is comfy as they come well equipped and provides freedom of movement and adapted schedules.

You will have access to the toilet and shower, which is fantastic for the little ones. All the best spots in Iceland can be easily accessed with such vehicles. If you also want to discover the wild side of Iceland and head to the Highlands, you can always go for a guided tour and leave your rented vehicle at a parking lot while joining your trip.

Renting a motorhome for your family vacation in Iceland allows you also to save some money on meals. You can stock up for your trip in a supermarket like Bonus, which is very cheap. Usually, the motorhomes are already equipped with a little fridge and all the kitchenware you might need during your trip. If you book it in advance, you might also get some early bird discounts. What else can we ask for?

4. Choosing your Iceland tours and excursions

There are some tours and excursions that require professional guidance but we will discuss those in more detail later on. The selected tours must be adapted to your children's capabilities. Some excursions like a glacier hike might not be the best idea if you are traveling with a toddler. Other, like the long, 4-day Laugavegur hike, could be bothersome for your family members.

If possible, get all the family members who are going on a trip with you involved. You can all gather to decide what they would like to do in Iceland so they can all feel like they participated in the whole preparation process.

While planning your itinerary for an Icelandic trip, be flexible. Remember that the weather here is unpredictable, and you can experience all four seasons in one day. Always have a plan B if one of your tours is canceled or postponed due to bad weather conditions. Keeping an open schedule is much recommendable so you can fit in some additional attractions you might not have planned before.

Iceland family tours

You will have a wide variety of Iceland family tours to choose from. Among the most popular ones are the Golden Circle route and sightseeing Reykjavik. You can combine those and start your trip directly from Reykjavik. The stops on the Golden Circle are relatively close to each other, and you will find parking lots, toilets, and restaurants at each attraction. There is not much walking in difficult terrain, so even small children can cope. Remember not to leave them unattended and if possible, always hold them by the hand. Especially near the waterfalls, the rocks can be slippery, potentially dangerous for the munchkins.

Horseback riding tours in Iceland are top-rated among tourists and are perfect for families. Your kids will definitely love the horses and will enjoy the time you spend on the tour. Icelandic horses are much compared to other breeds worldwide; therefore, smaller children should not be afraid as they look more like ponies.

Family enjoying a horseback riding tour on their Iceland family vacation trip

If your children are really fond of animals, make sure you also book for the whale watching tour, which can be combined with the puffins watching (if you are traveling in the right season). It will definitely be a blast for the small ones to spot the whales over the waves. The colorful puffins will probably impress them too, so prepare your pocket for this extra expense. Most kids want a puffin plush toy as a souvenir from Iceland!

Make sure you have time for the Icelandic trolls and elves. They live and hide under the rocks all around Iceland, and looking for them will be a fantastic way to develop your kid's imagination. Tell them some stories and folk tales about Icelandic trolls and let their imagination go wild!

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