Iceland isn’t as touristy, or crowded, like other European countries. Add in natural beauty, wide-open spaces, and thrilling activities and you may start to understand why this country is moving up on the list for family vacations. If you have been searching for a destination that is off the beaten path, Iceland may check off all the boxes for you. The locals are friendly and most of them speak excellent English. You won’t lack things to do during your family vacation in Iceland either. So, if Iceland is looking better and better, keep reading to learn what you should know to have a fabulous time in this country. I can’t share everything with you, because that would have you reading for hours. So, I’m sharing the highlights now and can answer any other questions you may have as I am planning your personalized family vacation itinerary.
The history in Iceland is vast. Let’s begin with how this country formed about seventy million years ago. A magma pocket is located directly below this island. That pocket is called the Iceland Plume. Underwater eruptions created Iceland.
This country is also part of the Mid-Atlantic Rift. All that geothermal activity is why Iceland has more than two hundred volcanoes, geysers, and volcanic fissures.
It was back when the Book of Settlements, or Landnamabok, was written that the first people settled in Iceland. This occurred during the 9th and 10th centuries. Detailed information is shared within this book, which is helpful in learning more about how this country has changed over the years.
Irish monks were the first people to settle in Iceland. Yet the name of the country was not given until sailor, Floki Vilgeroarson, saw drifting ice floating in a fjord when he arrived. The first people settling in Iceland lived in traditional Viking longhouses. Then Icelandic turf houses became popular when timber was in short supply.
Many of the locals were killed during the eruption of the Laki Volcano in the 18th century. Livestock was also killed. That led to a famine in the country and other parts of the world.
Iceland finally became independent of Denmark in 1944.
There have been many changes in this country over the centuries. However, one thing that has never changed is the fact that Icelanders are very warm and welcoming to anyone who arrives in the country.
Iceland does have four seasons like we do here in the US. It just always doesn’t seem that way. The weather can be really surprising on a day-to-day basis in this country.
The first day of spring in Iceland arrives in April. It is common to still see snow flying around during the spring here. The average temperature at this time of the year is between thirty- and fifty-degrees Fahrenheit.
The southern parts of the country see more rain during spring, while Northern Iceland is much drier.
The summer months are the most popular time to take a family vacation in Iceland. This season usually begins at the start of June and goes through late August. During this time of the year, you should expect temperatures between forty and seventy-five degrees.
Rain does fall occasionally, and it can be windy. Despite all that, it is the perfect time to visit to attend festivals and see the Midnight Sun.
Fall begins in September and lasts until early November in Iceland. The temperatures fall to the range of where they are in the spring. It feels much colder, especially with the wind and the rain.
The good news is you can experience the changing colors of the leaves, as you explore all bundled up. You may even capture a glimpse of the Northern Lights or the first snowfall of the season.
The rest of the year is considered winter in Iceland. These are the darkest months of the year and sunshine is limited. The temperatures continue to drop during this season. However, the average temperature in the winter is thirty-two degrees. It is the wind chill that makes it seem so much colder.
What you pack for your family vacation in Iceland will be dependent on a few factors. One of those factors is what you are planning to do while on vacation. Another is the time of year you visit.
However, no matter when you visit, you should be prepared for cooler, or cold, temperatures. Therefore, I recommend packing layers. This will allow you to bundle up early in the morning and later in the day, while removing layers during the warmer parts of the day.
Sturdy boots, raincoats, bathing suits, hats, and sunglasses should be near the top of your list. Waterproof shoes can be helpful during the rainy season. And scarves and gloves will keep you warm when the wind is blowing and making the temperatures feel even colder.
There are so many things you can do to make memories with your family during a vacation in Iceland. During the winter months, seeing the Northern Lights should be at the top of your list of things to do in Iceland.
I can help you determine where you should see this dancing light show during your family vacation. I usually recommend taking a Northern Lights tour, because the locals know the best areas for viewing. While I can’t guarantee you will see the Northern Lights, I will make sure you have every chance to!
If you have younger children, you may need to have them do something else on the day you want to relax in a geothermal spa. I mean, there is no reason to skip this opportunity while in Iceland! And if your kids are older, they can join in on the fun with you!
There are also plenty of natural hot pools scattered around Iceland. You may have a chance to discover a few, and use them, during your travels.
Whale watching is an excellent family activity in Iceland. Especially if you want to escape the mainland for a few hours and make a few memories together. During a whale watching tour, you will have the chance to see as many as twenty different whale species. You may even spot porpoises and dolphins during this family adventure.
Most of the time, you will see humpback whales and mink whales. However, I have had clients see killer whales while they were out on the water.
Other activities you should embrace during a family vacation in Iceland include:
As you are planning your family activities in Iceland, you may quickly notice there are so many places to do them all. It can be difficult to narrow down the best places to see in this country.
One of my favorite places to see in Iceland is the Golden Circle. This area used to be called the Golden Triangle. It contains ꝥingvellir National Park, Gullfoss Waterfall, and a Geysir area. Inside the park, you can see the opening between the tectonic plates that separate Europe and North America.
It is best to spend a full day in the Golden Circle. Oh, and you will need to either have your own vehicle to explore or have me arrange a tour for your family.
The Blue Lagoon is one of the attractions in Iceland that almost everyone has heard about. Or it is the first thing they learn about once they decide to vacation there. This gorgeous blue geothermal pool is nice and warm. Simply soak in the geothermal waters or add a silica mud mask for even better results.
Please note that you must make reservations for The Blue Lagoon in advance. This is a popular place, and they book quickly. If this is something you want to do during your family vacation in Iceland, I can make sure it is on your itinerary and tackle the reservations for you.
Heimaey Island is one of the best places to see puffins while in Iceland. This island is the largest of all the Westman Islands. It is a remote island. Which is why there is a lot of wildlife there. You will even have the chance to see Beluga whales at the whale sanctuary.
You will need to take a ferry to this island. I can easily arrange that as I am personalizing your family vacation itinerary.
Oh, and don’t forget to spend a little time in Reykjavik. This capital city is full of family friendly things to do. You can admire Hallgrimskirkja, which is a church in the city. Explore the natural wonders of the country during a visit to the Perlan Museum. Add in a little shopping and eating the local foods and you won’t regret spending time here.
Other amazing places you should see in Iceland include:
There are quite a few festivals held in Iceland every year. Many of them are held during the summer months. However, you will find a few going on during the dark, cold days of winter.
The Reykjavik Arts Festival is one of the oldest art festivals in Europe. This arts festival is only held every other year during the month of May or June. Art is on display. Plus, you can watch theatrical and dance performances.
This musical festival features national bands and musicians every year. The line up is announced in February, which gives you plenty of time to plan your vacation before the festival in November. The music is performed in different venues around Reykjavik. This is a four-day event, and you can attend every day if you want.
As you can see, music festivals are popular in Iceland. This popular festival is held around June 21st every year. This is when the midnight sun arrives. There is always one secret headliner for this event. However, you will know all the other popular performers well in advance. This is another music festival that lasts for four days.
I can’t end my travel guide for Iceland until I have shared some of my most important tips for visiting this country. These tips are designed to ensure your family vacation in Iceland is as incredible, and memorable, as it should be.
This is a lot of what you should know if you are considering a family vacation in Iceland. I can share more information with you as I am planning your family trip. I can also tell you that no matter where you go, or what you do here, you will make tons of memories with your family.
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