While the quirky land of fire and ice has done a good job putting itself out there in an appealing manner, knowing exactly what are the top attractions and which places in Iceland to visit does require a little more research and effort. Here are a few ideas to get you started on your Iceland family adventure.
Iceland certainly is different and the old adage that people on islands grow up a little out of the ordinary certainly holds true here. In a land where you don't throw rocks for fear of hitting the little goblins that hide under rocks, holds surprises around every corner. You could certainly say the same about the landscape and unusual history.
The settlement began in the eight hundreds which, at the time took advantage of the warm Gulf Stream. If any country seems like of flavor of the month right now it's Iceland. It seems you can hardly open a travel magazine or newspaper without hearing more about Iceland. Iceland's music is everywhere as other wonderful pictures you see of glaciers and the spectacular scenery. But what's the best way to approach a visit?
Many people take the ring road right around Iceland. This is a 1300 km trip, and while you can only travel at 50 kilometers an hour and 80 kilometers an hour out of town there is too much to see, and you would not want to travel faster. The roads are not in great condition and you need to take care especially in the Highlands, however, this remains one of the best ways to see the country.
Reykjavik is a great place to start a journey which will take you to the black sand beaches of the ring road. There are scores of thermal pools complete with slides and kids' activities here in the capital and hundreds more across the country to look forward to.
Amazingly Iceland has only a population of about 300,000 with most being in Reykjavík. This is also where most flights will fly into. (Worth noting is the current special from North America where you can get a free stopover here if you are traveling to Europe).
Many folk then like to travel in a counterclockwise direction travelling to the town of Selfoss and the Geyser of Gullfoss. And continue on past the volcanoes and the black sand beaches.
40 miles out of the city is the Blue Lagoon with its characteristic white mud. We always cherish the opportunity for our little one to enjoy a good frolic in the mud but the prices are a little expensive for what largely seems like marketing hype here. Fortunately the water is shallow enough for most kids to play and touch the bottom.
Along the ring road you will also see many waterfalls, complete with rainbows and spectacular views.
Each region of Iceland has its own unique charm. Along the East Coast is where you'll find the green farmlands and fishing villages. Ready to wake volcanoes, and tumbling waterfalls characterize the West Coast of Iceland. While the popular South is also known for its coastal towns, hot springs and fresh seafood. Inland there is a plateau full of mountains lava fields glaciers and rivers that flow to sea and lowlands.
An interesting perspective on the Blue Lagoon. Thanks Youtube.
In January as you can expect temperatures from -3 to 2°C while in midsummer temperatures can rise as high as 13° C and temperatures below zero don't happen often. The weather can change quickly depending on the Gulf Stream and make sure you pack warm, rainproof clothes and a sweater.
The Black Pearl is a good choice for families if you want to live it up a little. The hotel opened in 2013 and has become the top performer in Iceland. It continues to win the TripAdvisor travelers choice award for the country. You can enjoy a penthouse, deluxe two bedroom suite, or standard suite which can easily take two children with two single beds or a sofa bed.
It's worth checking out your accommodation in advance because summer is quite a hectic and accommodation can book out fast.
Seal the top accommodation choices for Iceland on TripAdvisor to get reviews.
As part of the European Union Iceland enjoys the same benefits as the other member countries in regard to travel and vases.
Iceland celebrates its traditions which hail from the late middle ages. Separation from the rest of the world has meant Iceland has kept a lot of its culture. The locals speak a language of their own which comes from the Old Norse tradition. Separation has also meant that the locals take a lot of pride in doing things their own way and not depending on others. There is also a rich tradition in literature and many of the locals are familiar with the old stories and classical works. Epic sagas and prose which celebrate old feuds and the settlement of the island.
A taste test of some of the more traditional foods in Iceland.
I spent a bit of time looking at some of the top travel blogs for Iceland. Here are some of the best:
Published in Iceland this blog has it all.
Iceland Travel blog about travelling with 4 children
TRAVEL SAVVY MOM takes a dad perspective about traveling to Iceland with kids.