Iceland's incredible landscape is an endless source of wonder no matter your age and exploring it with the family will create memories that will last a lifetime.
Don't worry about cries of "Are we there yet??" as you set off across the wild landscape – there is plenty of fun to be had at stops along the way once watching from the car window isn't quite enough. From calm walks in nature to thrilling rides down ziplines, you can find fun activities in Iceland for the entire family.
Is Iceland good for kids?
Absolutely! Top tip – bring swimsuits in all seasons. In the summer, make the most of the jumping balloons (a type of outdoor trampoline that you'll never want to leave) around the country – the one in Blönduós is especially big and bouncy. It's also a good idea to bring or buy discs for the disc golf courses in all corners of the country.
Always keep a football in the car for an impromptu game – soccer pitches are scattered all over the country (often by schools). In winter, toboggans are good companions and don’t take up much space.
Where is best in Iceland for kids
In Reykjavík and the vicinity, you’ll find the most museums, restaurants and swimming pools, and the largest variety of activities. In almost every town and village along your journey there'll be at least a pool and playground, and some of the remotest places have the quirkiest museums.
Nature is an endless attraction for young and old but remember to plan long hikes and Highland tours thoroughly and make sure that your children can handle the distance and terrain before embarking on wild adventures (for safety tips, go to safetravel.is).
The best things to do in Iceland with babies and toddlers
Swimming pools, beaches and geothermal pools
Fun, relaxing and budget-friendly, swimming pools will relieve the adults’ post-hike sore backs and muscles, and help energetic kids blow off steam. Afterward, everyone feels calm and refreshed. There are pools in almost every town and village, and in some scenic locations in the countryside. Many have thrilling waterslides and all of them are heated, so it doesn’t matter what the weather is like.
The Akureyri pool is the country’s most popular and has the added bonus of the longest slide in Iceland – thrill-seeking tots will love it. The Álftanes pool outside Reykjavík has a wave pool and an indoor pool that's perfect for toddlers or first-time swimmers.
Sundhöll in central Reykjavík has jumping boards (the big one is usually open in the evenings). The Hofsós pool offers an amazing view of Drangey Island and the fjord and Lýsulaugar on Snæfellsnes is a geothermal bath that has unique green algae and a glacial view. A special mention goes to beaches with hot tubs, including Nauthólsvík in Reykjavík, Guðlaug in Akranes, Drangsnes in the Westfjords and Hauganes near Akureyri.
Meet Iceland’s domesticated animals and other more exotic creatures in Reykjavík Zoo and Family Park, also sought-after for its mini funfair in the summer. Horse farms throughout the country offer stable visits and horseback riding adventures for different ages, such as Sólvangur near Eyrarbakki in South Iceland and Finnsstaðir outside Egilsstaðir in the East.
Slakki is a cute little petting zoo on the Golden Circle and the animals at Daladýrð are always happy to welcome visitors – plus you can jump in the hay! Fellabær by Egilsstaðir is home to a Reindeer Park where friendly reindeer are waiting to greet the whole family
Into the woods
Contrary to popular belief, Iceland has a few forests, which are very popular for outdoor recreation among Icelanders. Many have playgrounds and obstacle courses for children, including Heiðmörk on the outskirts of Reykjavík and Kjarnaskógur in Akureyri.
The largest forests, like Vaglaskógur in the North and Hallormsstaðaskógur in the East, have beloved campgrounds. A project is underway all around the country to open up forested areas along the main roads that have facilities for perfect lunch breaks during road trips.
The best things to do in Iceland with kids
If the weather is nice, opt for oceanic adventures. Whale watching is possible from many locations in Iceland, most famously from Húsavík in the North. For enthusiastic fishers of all ages, sea angling is a lot of fun and tours are available from Reykjavík. The catch is often cooked afterward – it'll be the freshest fish you’ve ever tasted!
Kayaking is a calm and peaceful activity and children aged six and upwards can participate in tours in Stokkseyri, navigating narrow channels as a family. Various other locations offer tours, too. Take a ferry and combine a boat tour with a visit to one of Iceland’s idyllic islands.
Viðey lies just five minutes off the capital’s coast, Hrísey is a 15-minute ferry ride from Árskógssandur near Akureyri, Flatey is in the middle of Breiðafjörður Bay and is 1.5 hours from Stykkishólmur by ferry, and Vestmannaeyjar can be reached in 30 minutes from Landeyjahöfn ferry dock.
Sleep beneath the stars
Kids love sleeping in tents and camping also has the bonus of being budget-friendly and a flexible way of discovering Iceland – see the landscape and elements up close. There are many campgrounds in spectacular locations with great facilities around the country.
The best include Hamrar in Kjarnaskógur forest in Akureyri, Ásbyrgi in the northern realms of Vatnajökull National Park, Atlavík in Hallormsstaðaskógur forest outside Egilsstaðir in the East and the campground at Skógafoss waterfall in the South.
Discover the underworld of Iceland through dark and mysterious caves. Hella in the South are ancient manmade caves, Raufarhólshellir closer to Reykjavík is one of the country’s longest lava tunnels, and on the Golden Circle is Laugarvatnshellar, in which people lived until the early 1900s.
On Snæfellsnes in West Iceland lies Vatnshellir, an ancient lava tube situated 35 meters (115ft) below the earth’s surface. In the manmade ice tunnel on Langjökull, you can explore glaciers from the inside and a smaller ice tunnel, replicating the insides of a glacier, can be found in Perlan, the Wonders of Iceland museum in Reykjavík.
The best things to do in Iceland with teenagers and tweenagers
Hike next to craters and mountains
There are no shortage of mountains in Iceland and hiking is a wonderful way of exploring the landscape for the whole family, conquering something together and then enjoying the view. Some of the easier hikes around Reykjavík include Úlfarsfell and Mosfell. Off the Ring Road in West Iceland is the crater Grábrók – a short and easy hike that offers a welcome break from driving.
In Akureyri, Fálkafell offers an amazing view of Eyjafjörður with minimal effort. If you’re up for a challenge, try some of the longer routes, for example around Húsafell and Þórsmörk. Download the Wapp app for detailed GPS information on hikes in Iceland.
Zipline through the air
If you’re looking for an adrenaline-infused adventure, try ziplining. The country’s longest and fastest zipline opened recently in Hveragerði, 40 minutes from Reykjavík. Kids aged nine years old and up can zoom across gullies and rivers in Vík in the South and Akureyri in the North.
Combine ziplining with climbing at the Adrenaline Adventure Park in Nesjavellir in beautiful landscape just an hour from Reykjavík.
Skiing for every skill level
Nothing beats playing in the snow. Thirty minutes outside Reykjavík is Bláfjöll, the country’s largest ski resort with equipment rental, slopes for various levels and a ski school for kids. Hlíðarfjall in Akureyri is just 10 minutes outside town, offering both adventurous and easy slopes, and the same services.