Why Vacation In Iceland?
Iceland may not be the obvious family vacation choice, but it should be. Known as the "land of fire and ice,” Iceland's breathtaking scenery is largely due to the fact that it is one of the most volcanically active areas on earth. You will see this activity first-hand as you drive along its southern coastline which showcases a constantly changing geography of flat farmlands, mountains, fields of moss-covered lava rocks, black sand beaches, and steaming geothermal pools.
Your Kids Will Love It
You’ll find towering waterfalls at every turn, small villages offering basic amenities, and kind and friendly people. As you venture further east along the southern coast, your children will be in awe in the presence of giant glaciers and icebergs bobbing in the ocean. It's your very own geological exhibition.
1. Scenic Beauty
As you leave the charming and colorful town of Reykjavik driving east along the Ring Road, you leave behind the traffic and have an open road (and spectacular scenery) ahead of you. Your journey along the southern coastline will be one Instagram-worthy photo after another.
Iceland itself is about the size of the state of New York but with about 19 million less people. The population of Iceland checks in around 337,000, and about 60% of those live in or near the capital city of Reykjavik. So once you get outside of the capital, you'll have plenty of elbow room to explore.
With almost 80% of the country uninhabited, it feels remote without feeling desolate. Along your way around the Ring Road, you'll encounter small villages offering basic amenities of food, gas, and lodging.
11% of Iceland's landmass is covered by glaciers. You can see these large glaciers from miles away, and you can walk to many of them or even hire a guide to walk on them.
Iceland's breathtaking scenery is largely due to the fact that it is one of the most volcanically active areas on earth. You will witness this activity first-hand as you hike to the top of a volcano in the Westman Islands. You’ll drive by fields of moss-covered lava rocks, steaming geothermal pools, and even geysers. It's your very own geological exhibition.
Iceland’s glacier lagoons are perhaps one of the most memorable sights in Iceland. The serene lagoons are filled with floating icebergs and swimming seals.
5. Ocean Views and Diamond Beaches
You can watch icebergs tumble in the surf while walking a black sand beach glittering with icy remnants of a nearby glacier.
6. Amazing Hikes
You'll find no shortage of walks and hikes leading you even closer to Iceland's amazing natural wonders. You can walk 5-15 minutes or hike an epic 15 miler. Your choice.
As you proceed along the Ring Road, you will lose track of the sheer number of beautiful waterfalls cascading down the mountainous cliff faces. Many of these waterfalls are easily accessible, allowing visitors to walk above or even behind them. Throw in the occasional rainbow and it doesn't get much better.
The tap water is pure, and the air is clean. Though pricey, the food is simple but tasty-- expect fish, lamb, hearty soups, delicious bread, good beer, and the best yogurt you've ever had. We loved the fish soup at Kaffivaginn in Reykjavik, the fish and chips at the food truck near Skógar, and the beer from Brothers Brewery in Vestmannaeyjar (the Westman Islands).
9. It's Easy
You'll find most signage and menus in English, making language translation practically unnecessary. Which is a good thing, because the Icelandic language to an English speaker looks like someone created words by typing random letters on their keyboard.
Iceland is also super easy to navigate with one main road (Route 1, also known as the Ring Road) circling the island. We thought we might have difficulty as "it is just off the Ring Road" is a common direction given for places in Iceland. But they are not kidding, the Ring Road is the only major road outside of Reykyavik and you will not have problems finding your way.
10. Plenty of Daylight
The sun essentially never sets during the summer, leaving you with plenty of daylight to acclimate and have fun. Close the blinds at night and fall in to bed after a day of exploring.
Plan Your Trip To Iceland
Our goal is to help simplify your trip planning by sharing all the details you need for an enjoyable family vacation.
Iceland With Kids offers a day-by-day itinerary with driving times, the best stops and sights to visit in Reykjavik and along Iceland’s southern coast, easy hikes, recommended lodging (hotels and guest houses), and dining options.
What Makes Our Itineraries Unique?
Where To Stay
The lodging choices for each destination have been carefully selected for their ideal location, price point, safety, and proximity to the day’s activities. We tell you the best area to stay so you can minimize driving or walking distances and maximize your moments having fun. Knowing what part of town to stay in is a huge part of making a trip a success, and that’s hard to do when you are not familiar with a destination. We save you time and energy by doing all the research for you.
Where To Eat
Local dining establishments are highlighted. The kind where children are welcome but isn't necessarily a restaurant geared primarily towards kids. You won't find many restaurant chains in our itineraries, just good local food mirroring the destination's culture. This could mean a food truck, a pizza place, or a nice sit-down restaurant, but always delicious. If there are any local brews, specialty foods, wines, or coffee houses around, we'll mention those too.
Where To Play
The organization of each day has been thoughtfully planned in order to group activities together by proximity, ideal time of day to visit, and the best nearby dining choices. It’s all been laid out for you, along with directions, maps, travel tips, links to more info, and more. We cover the most worthwhile activities to do in a destination (based on our own family’s reviews) without forgetting that vacations are meant to be fun and relaxing, not a list to be checked off while hauling around whining children.
You’ll find plenty of outdoor activities for the family as well as cultural and historical sites unique to the destination. Many itineraries include easy hikes, bike rides, and float trips that have been selected for their kid-friendly length and ease of difficulty as well as their scenic beauty. (Always worth it!) We are all about getting families outdoors so we include as much fresh air as we can in our itineraries, whether it is a day-long trek in a national park or just the location of a fantastic playground perfect for a break from sightseeing.
At the founding of Simply Awesome Trips, we agreed to travel as we always have with our families—on our own dime. No free nights, no comped visits, not even any swag. We continue to feel good about that decision. We do participate in affiliate marketing with some of the companies that we personally use (Booking.com, VRBO.com). They don’t pay us to write, we simply get a commission if you enter those sites through our “gate” as opposed to say a Google search.
But we also recommend lodging, restaurants, and activities, where we don’t receive any commission, such as Airbnb or private rental companies. We don’t change recommendations based on vendor. If it’s good; it’s good.