Iceland may not be equipped with adventure parks or high-profile attractions for children, but the whole country is an adventure with its wide-open spaces, wildlife and science projects brought to life. It's a fairly easy place to travel with kids, and parents will find it free of most urban dangers, but do keep toddlers away from those cliffs and unfenced waterfalls!

Dramatic scenery, an abundance of swimming pools and the friendliness of the locals help to keep kids happy, and they will probably love the bird colonies, waterfalls, volcanic areas and glaciers. A number of activities can keep them busy, such as short hikes, super-Jeep tours, horse riding, whale watching, boat rides and easy glacier walks (for the latter, the minimum age is around eight to 10 years).

Reykjavík is the most child-friendly place simply because it has the greatest variety of attractions and facilities. Distances can be long in the rest of the country, so you may want to limit yourselves to one or two regions.

Families might like to check out the Íslandskort barnanna (Children's Map of Iceland), aimed at young kids and published by Forlagið (Mál og Menning) with text in Icelandic and English.

Practicalities

  • Admission for kids to museums and swimming pools varies from half-price to free. The age at which children must pay adult fees varies (anywhere from 12 to 18 years).
  • On internal flights and tours with Air Iceland Connect (www.airicelandconnect.is), children aged two to 11 years pay half-fare and infants under two fly free.
  • Most bus and tour companies offer a 50% reduction for children aged four to 11 years; Reykjavík Excursions (www.re.is) tours are free for under 11s, and half-price for those aged 12 to 15.
  • International car-hire companies offer child seats for an extra cost (book in advance).
  • Changeable weather and frequent cold and rain may put you off camping with kids, but children aged two to 12 are usually charged half-price for camping, hostel, farmhouse and other accommodation. Under-twos usually stay for free.
  • Many places offer rooms accommodating families, including hostels, guesthouses and farmstays. Larger hotels often have cots (cribs), but you may not find these elsewhere.
  • Many restaurants in Reykjavík and larger towns offer discounted children's meals, and most have high chairs.
  • Toilets at museums and other public institutions may have dedicated baby-changing facilities; elsewhere, you’ll have to improvise.
  • Attitudes to breastfeeding in public are generally relaxed.
  • Formula, nappies (diapers) and other essentials are available everywhere.