Why Iceland is the perfect destination for a family adventure
Iceland has been a destination on my bucket list for years and in the last year has edged its way to the top three. At Five Adventurers we are on a mission to find the best in family travel and Iceland is nature’s most phenomenal playground and a truly immersive educational experience. At every turn a new adventure can be found, whether you are searching for whales, soaking in a geothermal pool, climbing a volcano or swimming between two continents. A family adventure to Iceland will leave you and your children in awe of the natural phenomena, wildlife and experiences this country has to offer.
From the UK, Iceland is only a short haul flight and offers families so many options. Children are welcomed open armed throughout the country and I love that the national airline, Iceland Air, proudly states that “Kids are our most prized possessions.”. Iceland is a very safe and peaceful country, which is very important to lots of family travellers, and in fact the global peace index, stipulates that Iceland is the most peaceful country in the world. Iceland has low crime rates so you should feel really comfortable and safe walking around. The country has so many incredible experiences with lots of them family friendly. I love this article by National Geographic on why you should travel to Iceland with children.
I love to promote family city breaks and Reykjavik seems to the tick all the boxes. Voted as the Top City Destination again by Rough Guides in 2016, I can see why the city is so popular. For families, the town is perfectly sized and easy to navigate, the people are friendly and it’s quite safe making it a good base to sample some of the local food and take in a few sights before your start up your road trip with kids. In addition there are plenty of playgrounds which is perfect way to mix in culture and some downtime for children. The city’s main attraction is the Blue Lagoon and I can imagine it being lots of fun for little adventurers, especially in the winter months! Reykjavik is also perfect setting for families to day trip to other areas of Iceland including Snæfellsnes National Park, where you can take a Snæfellsnes tour and explore fjords, lava flows and golden beaches.
Iceland is a country which is perfect for a road trip, the roads are easy to navigate, there is little traffic and there is so much to see along the way. Iceland is home to some of the most unique landscapes in the world and from the amazing photographs it looks almost unworldly. The country has something for everyone, from huge glaciers, temperamental volcanoes, powerful waterfalls, bubbling hot springs and acres of countryside which could easily be something taken directly from folklore.
What I love is that Iceland’s scenery is that it doesn’t require extended back-country trips to visit these sites. This is perfect for families who are not used to travelling long distances with children or those visiting the country with young children. There are magnificent waterfalls everywhere and if you are road tripping the country, many of which could be viewed while driving on the main tourist routes.
As I have been scouring Pinterest, the amount of experiences which Iceland is home to is incredible. I could write posts on each and every one but the ones which would be top of our list are:
We are keen to have our travel having a clear focus on educational learning too. So forget those geography textbooks, no textbook will leave the lasting impression and educational value than physically seeing two tectonic plates with your own eyes. I would love to visit Thingvellir National Park, where you can see the tectonic plates on the Earth’s crust. You can show the children the continental drift happening between two plates (the North American and the Eurasian) and really bring home the ideas that are touched on in the classroom.
Exploring a volcano from inside
Volcanoes are also dotted throughout Iceland but I love that the Thrihnjukagigur volcano offers travellers an amazing and unique experience of being able to actually go inside the volcano’s chamber.
The Northern Lights need little introduction and are on most people’s bucket lists. From late August to March the ethereal Northern Lights can be seen all over Iceland. Earth’s most amazing light show is visible only in a few countries and Iceland host some the best spots across the globe to see these.
Iceland is the land of ice and fire and glaciers can be found throughout the country and the one which sounds incredible is the Glacier Beach by Jökulsárlón glacial lagoon in South-East Iceland. It is one of Iceland’s greatest wonders of nature as huge blocks of ice are constantly breaking from it and large chunks of iceberg float in the lagoon. The black beach is covered with smaller ice diamonds and sometimes big chunks of white and blue ice covers the beach, it would be a perfect trip with little adventurers in tow,
My little adventurers adore animals and seeing them in their natural habitat is even more breathtaking. Iceland is home to some fantastic animals encounters, some of which are only possible in the country itself. Iceland is the perfect location for whale watching. During the summer months, over 20 species including the Orca, Minke, Humpback, and Blue Whale can be seen in the North Atlantic and Arctic oceans. The one which would be the favourite of my children would be the Icelandic ponies. These ponies can only be found in Iceland, and the pony tours sound lots of fun especially for younger children. One that I would love to do is to drive and visit the cliffs at Látrabjarg where tens of thousands of puffins come ashore in May to nest in burrows, and are easy to observe.
Iceland for Muslim family travellers
Iceland is home to one of the smallest Muslim populations in the world with only 0.27% of the population belonging to the Islamic faith. Iceland offers little in terms of Halal meat, with the only known Halal restaurant Ali Baba in Reykjavik. However, this should not deter Muslim travellers, as Icelandic food culture includes a lot of dairy and fish, so Muslim tourists can dine on seafood and vegetarian options at local restaurants. However, for those seeking fully Halal eateries, Iceland does offer a solution and there are a number of restaurants that specialise in seafood; which is thus great for those seeking Halal food. One thing on my taste list is Skyr, similar to yoghurt, it is actually a form of soft cheese that has high amounts of protein and virtually no fat. It is a delicacy which can only be found in Iceland.
Iceland sounds an amazing country to visit and there is lots for families, I think it would be an incredible adventure with so many experiences you will definitely make a lifetime of memories.