Traveling to Iceland in the Summer with Kids + My Sample Itinerary



Traveling to Iceland is an experience you'll never forget. It had been on my bucket list for quite some time and finally last year I was able to go. I wanted to find a place that my 5 year-old would enjoy and be exposed to nature and what better place than Iceland. I went with my mom, my son as well as my sister-in-law and her 7 year-old daughter. We went in the summer (July to be exact) which in my opinion is the best time to visit with kids since they offer the warmest weather and the most amount of light. Did you know the sun stays visible for more than 21 hours? It was so weird to look outside at 11pm and still see the sun out. Thanks goodness for blackout shades. The weather was in the 40's-50's, which was absolutely gorgeous and at times we even went without a sweater. But if your plan is to see the Northern Lights, then you'll want to visit between December-April.

Iceland was unlike any other place I'd ever been. Seeing all the greenery, animals roaming around and so much untouched land was magical. The water is so clean and pure you can literally grab a cup and drink from the country's streams and rivers and straight from the tap.

If you're planning a trip to Iceland (which I highly recommend, especially with kids) here's everything you need to know from where to stay, how to get around, things to do, plus my very own itinerary that I used.


How to get there:

From Miami, we took a Delta flight to Reykjavik (KEF) airport, which made a stop in Minneapolis. The total flight to get there is approximately 10 hours and you can find them for under $700 bucks. You'll also find that Expedia has some really great flight+hotel save bundle packages. For example, there are some that start at $900/per person that included flight, plus 5 nights in a hotel. (oh and this is not sponsored by Expedia in any way, I just really like them).

Where to stay: 

There are no 5-star hotels in Iceland (although that will probably change soon), but there are quite a few 4-star hotels like the one we stayed at, which was the Radison Blu 1919.  The hotel was perfect for us, it was clean, spacious and walking distance to many restaurants, the bus stop and about a 10 minute walk from the famous Hallgrimskrkja church. We also got a package which included complimentary daily breakfast (you'll quickly realize that the food prices in Iceland is pretty expensive--we're talking $30 for a burger--so having breakfast included is a great perk!)

Quick Tip:  Outside of Reykjavik, Iceland's capital and largest city, settlements tend to be tiny and the places to stay is very limited. You'll find the broadest range of accommodations in Reykjavik, so I recommend you stay there.


How to get around: We contemplated renting a car, but being that we were traveling with small kids we thought it would be best to look for a group bus tour. Honestly, I'm not the best driver either and I can get lost pretty easily and I couldn't imagine running out of gas in the middle of nowhere haha. I absolutely loved the bus tour. The groups were fairly small and we got to see so much. Not having to drive and admiring the views was also a perk. After searching several companies, we decided to use Grayline (I'll go into detail in regards to the tours we did below).


Things to do:

DAY 1: 







Anytime I travel, I like to keep the first day pretty open and not to jam-packed just in case our flight gets delayed (which it did!) or if we need time to get over the jet lag.

Whales of Iceland Museum: Our first day there we took the kids to the Whales of Iceland Museum. It's fairly small and you'll probably finish in less than 1 hour, but the kids really enjoyed it. We took an Uber from our hotel (approx. a 10 minute drive).

Museum of Iceland: The kids also enjoyed visiting the Museum of Iceland (also close to the Whales of Iceland Museum). They got to learn some history of the Vikings and even dress up.


DAY 2: 

On our second day in Iceland, we took the Golden Circle Day Trip from Grayline. It took us through the heart of Iceland's Southern Region, stopping at some of Iceland's most iconic sites. It was $63 per person and lasted 8 hours (10:30am-6:30pm), but they also have different starting times. Here's what it included:




Þingvellir National Park- An attraction of great historical, geological and cultural significance. Located in a rift valley where the Eurasian and North American tectonic plates meet, the UNESCO designated world heritage site is also the birthplace of the Althing—Iceland’s parliament founded in 930 AD—where the nation’s most powerful leaders would meet to decide on legislation and carry out brutal Viking-age justice.


Gullfoss Waterfall- One of the many breathtaking waterfalls in Iceland. Once you are there you can take several paths around the two tiers of cascading water to explore several vantage points.





The Great Geysir: The Strokkur Geyser puts on quite the show every few minutes blasting boiling hot water high up into the air. The Geysers are roped off to prevent people from getting too close. 







Skalholt-Skaholt is a cathedral and was epicenter of culture, politics and education in Iceland for eight centuries. It was really nice to have the kids just run around the grass area and be so free in nature.







DAY 3:

On our third day, we took the South Iceland, Waterfalls and Black Sand Beach Tour, also from Grayline. It was $90 per person and children are free. It lasted 10 hours and went from 9am to 7pm. Here's what it included:




Skogafoss Waterfall - Another gorgeous waterfall with an 196-foot cascade. I took one of my all-time favorite travel pics at this waterfall. I need to take some time to frame it lol.






Reynisfjara Black Sand Beach - You can't leave Iceland without visiting Black Sand Beach. It has some insane basalt columns, lava formations and caves. We even spotted a few Puffins.





Seljalandsfoss waterfall - This was one of my absolute favorite waterfalls. We got to climb behind the waterfall, which was breathtaking. Even my 5-year-old and mom made the climb.

Quick Tip: Make sure to wear very sturdy shoes for climbing



Views of glaciers- Next up, we made a stop to Sólheimajökull glacier. It was about a 15-minute walk to the icecap. It was nice to take it all in and get some pretty pictures. They also have half-day hiking glacier tours, but I'll probably do that once Andy gets bigger


DAY 4:






On our fourth day, we visited the Blue Lagoon. This was one of the highlights of our trip. We booked a private transfer from the company 'Back to Iceland' (which we loved--and again this is not sponsored). They picked us up at 9AM (at our designated bus stop) and it was about a 45-minute drive to the Blue Lagoon.  We then scheduled the return pick-up at around 2:30pm, which was plenty of time. The kids absolutely loved it and Andy still talks about his visit to the Blue Lagoon till' this day. We relaxed, drank champagne and got some fun silica mud masks. I also recommend that you have lunch there. The restaurant is called LAVA.  It's a bit of a splurge, but well worth it. It was one of my favorite meals of our entire trip.








My sister-in-law with my adorable little niece. 






Quick Tip: Many forums that I read recommended that you visit the Blue Lagoon on the first day you arrive from the airport to your hotel to combat jet lag, but I really don't recommend it. I'm glad we didn't because our flight was delayed, so we would have arrived late. For me, the perfect time to visit is on your last day in Iceland. We got to relax with the kids, soak it all in and get relaxed before our trip the next day.



Hallgrimskrkja Church: After we arrived back to our hotel from the Blue Lagoon, we took a walk around the town and visited the Hallgrimskrkja Church. 



Where to eat: Everyone kept telling me how expensive the food is in Iceland, but it wasn't until we got there that I realized they weren't kidding. If you think about it, they have to export the majority of their food because nothing really grows there. I'm talking $40 for pizza. We found a few places that we really liked like:



El Santo: It's a Mexican Restaurant and it's about a 5-minute walk from the Radisson Blu 1919. The prices are pretty reasonable (for Iceland).




Baejarins Bextu Pylsur Hot Dogs: Everyone kept saying we had to try the hot dogs in Iceland. This stand is suppose to be one of the most famous in Iceland (Bill Clinton ate here). But to be honest, I didn't think the hot dogs were anything out of this world. I would actually skip it haha. But if you really must try it, then this would be the stand to go to.

I'll be doing a separate post on places to eat, so stay tuned.


Other Fun Facts: 

- Approximately 70% of Icelanders truly believe in elves (our tour guide did!)

- The main language in Iceland is Icelandic as well as English.

-"Bless Bless" means good-bye in Icelandic.

-The currency in Iceland is ISK, but you don't need to worry about carrying cash, since they take Credit Cards mostly everywhere.


Hope this post has helped. If you have any other questions, feel free to shoot me a comment below. Have you been to Iceland before? 


SHARE:

No comments

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...