I have always believed that traveling is not for the weak of heart. Language barriers, different currency, rules of the road, cuisine, and so much more! It takes a brave person to board a plane and land in a foreign country ready to explore. However, it was only after becoming a mom myself that I realized the bravest of them all were the parents who were heading out to explore new countries with their children in tow. Parents who find themselves in a position that I now find myself in, who want to show their children the world, explore new cultures, taste new foods and see new landscapes.
I can promise you; Iceland is the place to do all of those things, and more. Living in Iceland gives me the fortunate experience to immerse myself in the culture and I am so excited to share it with the world. While there are some expected activities you have probably prepared for such as hikes and group tours, there are some other things you maybe wouldn’t have thought about doing in Iceland such as swimming or indulging in lots of different foods. Here are the top activities we enjoy doing while we travel around Iceland.
Traveling to a country as north as Iceland you may not think to pack your swim suits, but you absolutely should! This country has more community pools then I can count. Most of the larger areas have at least one (if not more than one) amazing indoor/outdoor pools. There is no better way to burn off some energy or unwind from a busy day then visiting one of the heated outdoor pools. Many of them have toys available and even slides for those brave enough to venture up the tower despite the weather! While your kids enjoy the large heated pool, or even the small kiddy pool (warmed up a little more for the extra littles), you can relax in the hot tubs which are often filled with naturally heated spring water. The available high chairs and other toddler seats are perfect to keep your little one safe (and in one place) while you get changed. The added safety of locking up your belongings ensure that you can truly relax in the pool.
No matter where we are travelling (within Iceland) we are always packing our hiking boots. This country has more terrains in a small area then many other countries can offer. Hiking up a mountain, through a lava field, or even through wild berry patches is enough to keep us out in the countryside weekly! Keeping in mind to watch the weather (and pack for changing weather), the best way to enjoy a long hike in Iceland is to babywear. As a family we prefer our Tula Soft Structured carrier but know that there are lots of other options out there to help you carry your child safely. Hikes through Iceland almost always include breathtaking views and if planned well, can even include a waterfall or two! In the summer months you may even encounter some Icelandic sheep (though it is always important to respect their space), there isn’t much out there cuter than some lambs and their mama in the beautiful Icelandic countryside. As a young family, I love that we can enjoy so much of the beautiful nature in Iceland for free! While the spring, summer and fall seasons are best for the more difficult hikes, there is no lack of beautiful walks in the winter for the more devoted hiker. No matter the season, Iceland’s nature is always incredibly beautiful and something you will want to experience with your family.
Enjoy the food!
I would have never expected a small country to have so many food options. Exploring Iceland, we have enjoyed so many traditional dishes such as fresh seafood, lamb, and even foal! We even enjoy dining out with our 1 year old. Having done a bit of traveling to other countries, I find eating out is the time when people believe children should be seen, but not heard. As a mum of a young toddler this thought strikes anxiety into my heart. I always worry if my daughter will fuss, or cry, or disrupt other patrons enjoying their meal. However, I have found Iceland to be one of the most welcoming countries to the young families. Most restaurants have high chairs and kid menus available (as well as cups with lids for the littlest patrons). We have always found staff warm and welcoming towards our daughter which makes it much easier for us to enjoy our meal. If you are more in the mood for something on the go, there are almost always fresh bakeries, or even local food trucks (hot dog stands) to keep your bellies full.
The bottom line
I know that traveling with kids can be stressful. Whether you’re looking for activities your kids will actually enjoy, or even footing the bill for it all, there are a lot of factors to consider. Iceland is such a well-rounded country that I firmly believe there is something for everyone here. As my daughter grows up, I’m sure she will voice her opinion more and more on what she wants to do, but I am looking forward to getting to experience more of what this country has to offer us. Throughout the country there are paid tours (whale watching, glacier tours, fishing, bird watching and more!) There are also places where you can get up close with the local animals – two of our favourites are the Family Fun Park in Reykjavik, and a cattle farm called Vogafjos where you can experience farm life and enjoy one of the best meals, I’ve had in Iceland to date. This country is truly a hidden gem in the North and with so many family friendly activities to enjoy, what are you waiting for? It’s time to come see Iceland first hand!