Travel Guide: What to See and Expect in Iceland with a Toddler

August 9, 2017

Iceland is somewhere Zack and I have dreamed of traveling to since we met in high school and were obsessed with Sigur Ros and their film Heima. When we left NYC we didn’t necessarily have intensions of coming here, but when we were trying to figure out what place we should briefly visit in between Hvar and Montreal (to break up the travel days) it seemed like a no brainer. I think the conversation went something like, “Why wouldn’t we do Iceland?”. Zack didn’t take much convincing.

Despite our excitement to cross one of our bucket list locations off the list, were nervous to say the least about exploring Iceland with a toddler. Especially a toddler like Owen who is known for his quick ability to get sick in the car. His capacity prior to this trip was an average of 30 minutes. Luckily we worked out some ways to make him more comfortable and had the best time taking Owen on his first ever road trip. He did so much better than we expected in the car and the whole trip was a lot less stressful than we imagined it might be.

We stayed in Reykjavik our first night, Hofn the second night, Selfoss the third and fourth night and came back to Reykjavik for our fifth night before flying out. By doing so we were able to get settled quickly after flying in as well as having a quick drive to the airport the morning we flew out – Reykjavik is just about 30-40 minutes from the airport.

Reykjavik is a great little town, plenty of restaurants, coffee shops and small parks to let your little ones run around in, but I think a day there is plenty. It’s expensive and we had so much more fun exploring outside of Reykjavik.

I had the opportunity to partner with Lagoon Car Rental while we were here so we could drive to each of our Airbnb’s along the way which was such an incredible experience from start to finish. They picked us up from the airport, brought us to their office, and we were quickly off in one of their vehicles. The car was absolutely perfect for our journey and we had no issues whatsoever. I highly recommend checking them out if you have a trip planned to Iceland.

Below you will find the stops we made between Reykjavik and Hofn (Day 2) and then Hofn and Selfoss (Day 3) and our favorite spots along the Golden Circle (Day 4). We spent three solid days driving and stopping at each of these locations and highly recommend doing more than just the Golden Circle if you have the chance to. Our thought was by driving from Reykjavik to Hofn and essentially back the same route we would have the opportunity to catch all the spots we wanted to even if it didn’t workout on the way there. It was perfect.

From Reykjavik to Hofn & Back

Seljalandsfoss. This was the perfect first stop. There are restrooms here, plenty of space to let your kiddos stretch their legs, I saw that they had a little coffee stand and it’s of course a great spot for photos. It was definitely the most crowded of our stops outside of the Golden Circle, but still beautiful to see!

Skógafoss. This waterfall is epic! There’s a great little place for burgers called Fossbud here, restrooms and again, plenty of space for your little ones to move about. We didn’t catch a rainbow, but it’s fairly common here.

Black sand beach. We opted for a quieter beach in Vik rather than the black sand beach spot most people go to. It was really nice, open and we were able to grab coffee and gas in this little town too!

Moss fields. This was one of my favorite stops. It’s a small climb up which we did while holding Owen. It’s definitely an area you want to keep a close eye on your kiddos in since you’re elevated, but it felt like another planet. We loved it!

Fjaðrárgljúfur. This spot was at the top of my list and it did not disappoint. It was unbelievably beautiful. There are essentially four spots to take photos and an easy walking path to each (although they’re uphill). Owen walked most of the way and we carried him the rest. We visited three out of four stops and it was helpful that to the right of the canyon there’s tons of open grass so we took our time and let him run around too! There are also restrooms here too.

Vatnajökull Glacier/National Park. There was parking here, no restrooms and it was a bit of a walk, but Owen did it no problem. Zack hiked up a little further than we did to take some photos, but it’s not necessary. Owen had the most fun just playing with rocks along the path and near where were sitting here.

Fjallsárlón Glacier Lagoon. You’ve gotta see this! There are a few different points to see the lagoon and they are all truly unbelievable. There’s a black sand beach where you can let your kids get some energy out at, a bridge (which I would recommend for photos) and a smaller spot on the other side of the road.

The Golden Circle

Strokkur Geysir. We stopped here briefly and got to see one of the Geysirs go off which was super cool. There’s restaurant here where we grabbed lunch, but it’s super crowded as most spots are on the Golden Circle so it was hard to really let Owen run around without getting in everyone’s way.

Gullfoss Waterfall. This was absolutely gorgeous but SO CROWDED. We really didn’t take too many pictures here because there were just so many people. If Owen wasn’t with us we probably would have explored a bit more, but since it was a little crazy we made this stop rather quick.

Kerið Crater. The colors here are just magical. This was the only place that required payment to see (I believe it averaged to $9 per person). Since it’s a crater, it’s not the type of environment you want to let your toddler run around at, but it’s definitely worth a stop and some photos.

That’s it guys! This was such an incredible vacation and I’m so proud of Owen for handling the road trip so well. If you guys are thinking about taking your families here and have further questions please feel free to comment. If you’re looking for some great, affordable, private room style Airbnb’s visit the links below.

Reykjavik Airbnb (we stayed here the first and the last night), Hofn Airbnb & Selfoss Airbnb.

If you’re looking for a rental car company make sure to check out Lagoon Car Rental. Big thanks to them for providing our wheels for this journey!

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  • I just went in February and this brought so many memories back! We missed out on visiting the canyon and glaciers so I guess I’ll have to go back! My sister got an EPIC photo of Skogafoss with a rainbow! Everything is so beautiful!!

    • So glad you’ve had the chance to see this beautiful place Jessica! The canyon and glaciers are so worth it. Next time 😉

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