Exploring the rugged and wild corners of Iceland is a dream trip for eager travelers. However, it can also seem incredibly daunting to do with young children in tow. But, that’s not the case! We are here to tell you that traveling around Iceland is completely achievable with children and you will make the most wonderful memories together. Today, travel blogger and UK mom of two, Aimee K, is here sharing her family’s 7-day camper van tour of Iceland with kids. She’s included tips for traveling around Iceland and fun family-friendly outdoor activities.

Exploring Iceland with kids

If you’re dreaming of embarking on a breathtakingly beautiful and nature-filled journey with your little ones, look no further than the awe-inspiring landscapes of Iceland. With its dramatic waterfalls, rugged mountains, and vibrant geothermal wonders, this Nordic island is a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts of all ages. And what better way to experience it all than by embracing the freedom and flexibility of a family adventure in a cozy camper van?

In this post, we’ll take you on a virtual tour of Iceland’s incredible outdoor wonders, as well as provide you with a sample 7-day itinerary to make the most of your time on this magical island. We’ll also share valuable tips and tricks for planning a successful Icelandic adventure with your kids, ensuring that every moment is filled with joy, discovery, and unforgettable memories.

Prepare yourselves for a once-in-a-lifetime adventure that will captivate both you and your children. Iceland offers an incredible array of natural wonders, and with the freedom of a camper van, you’ll have the flexibility to explore at your own pace. From thunderous waterfalls to geothermal marvels and majestic glaciers, this country is a playground for outdoor enthusiasts of all ages.

Top tips for visiting Iceland with kids

  • Book ahead: Attractions, tours, hotels and campers become fully booked months in advance. Get in early with booking key aspects ahead of your visit, most are refundable if your plans change and you need to cancel. 
  • Be prepared: Make note of the Met Office and Road Administration websites which provide real time updates on road, weather and geological conditions along your route. Staying safe is at the front of our minds when traveling with kids.
  • Dress for the elements: Iceland’s weather can be unpredictable, so make sure to pack layers, waterproof gear, and sturdy shoes for the entire family.
  • Safety first: Prioritize safety during your outdoor adventures. Teach your kids about the environment, follow marked trails, and be aware of weather conditions.
  • Essentials: Stock up on supplies such as food, water, and warm bedding. Campsites are plentiful, allowing you to enjoy the serene beauty of Iceland’s nature while having essential facilities nearby.
  • Embrace Icelandic cuisine: Encourage your children to try traditional Icelandic delicacies like lamb soup or skyr yogurt, providing them with a taste of the local culture.
  • Unplug and immerse: Disconnect from technology and encourage your kids to engage with nature fully. Let their imaginations run wild as they explore Iceland’s majestic landscapes.

Camping in Iceland with kids

Iceland is incredibly well set up for campers with well-equipped campsites found easily across the country and no pre-booking is needed. Prices range from £18-25 per night for a small camper van pitch. The facilities can vary between sites, some campsites have only bathrooms, while others are equipped with playgrounds, kitchens and cafés.

We would certainly recommend staying at:

  • Skógar Campsite: Located at the base of the thundering Skogafoss waterfall. Waking up to this epic waterfall was unforgettable, and being able to explore early when there was no-one around was magical.
  • Vík Campsite: This one is only open in summer and located in the heart of beautiful Vík. Perfectly located for a walk to the beach… or the local pizzeria!
  • Grindavík Campsite: One of the only camp sites we found with a playground and perfectly located near the airport and just a few minutes from the Blue Lagoon. This campsite is ideal if you are planning to visit the Lagoon early!

We often get asked if camping in Iceland was cold, and we can honestly say it was absolutely fine! Although, we would recommend renting a camper van with insulated sides, a heater and warm bedding. 

Campervan in front of glacier, Iceland

What to pack for Iceland

Flying with just cabin/carry-on bags not only saves money when you travel with budget airlines, but also drastically reduces the amount of time spent waiting for luggage in airports, which is always good when travelling with children! While that means less room for packing, it can be a really practical choice for camping when space is limited.

For Iceland, layers are key as the weather is highly changeable. progressing from scorching sun to ice rain in just a few hours. Thermal base layers, wool socks, wool jumpers and a waterproof coat are essential, along with a good pair of waterproof boots (snow boots or hiking boots depending on the time of year). Don’t forget swimwear if you plan to take a dip in any geothermal pools!

Aside from clothing, we packed basic camping items (such as torches) and entertainment for the kids on long journeys (e.g. colouring books, games, toys). We were able to pre-book all of the bulky items such as towels, bedding, cooking equipment and chargers through our camper van provider including towels, blankets, cooking equipment and charger packs.

The one challenge we experienced was being able to dry wet clothes when there was very little space to hang anything so it’s best to only take quick-drying layers rather than thick clothes such as jeans.

Iceland family waterfall

Iceland with kids: Seven-day itinerary for camping

Exploring Iceland is a wild adventure which can can take weeks, or even months to do fully. We initially had big plans to travel the entire ring road, exploring the lesser travelled parts of the island, however we soon realised this was overambitious with only seven days. Instead, we prioritised the waterfalls, black sand beaches, and glaciers of South Iceland.

Our 7-day itinerary is action-packed and completely manageable with young children so it’s a great starting point for planning your own Icelandic adventure! We built in down-time for the boys and some activities we knew they would really love.  

Day 1: Arrival – Reykjavik and Grindavik

Keflavik is a small international airport near Reykjavik where most flights to Iceland arrive. It’s very quick to get through as there are not many flights which is perfect for travelling with young children!

From the airport, we collected our campervan from nearby CampEasy HQ, which we had pre-booked to include car seats, towels, bedding and chargers, and set off on our Icelandic adventure!

The first stop was the supermarket to stock up on food for the week. It is incredibly expensive to eat out in Iceland at around £20 for fish and chips or £10 for tomato soup. Netto and Bonus supermarkets were reasonable, easy to find and stocked everything we needed. 

Camp overnight at Grindavik campsite to be close to the Blue Lagoon for opening time.

Woman with campervan in iceland

Day 2: Blue Lagoon – Seljalandsfoss – Skogafoss – Vík

Blue Lagoon: The bright blue geothermal pools of the Blue Lagoon were a highlight of our time in Iceland and despite our initial concerns around taking small children and ruining the ambiance, it was very well set up for kids! The boy’s entry was free and armbands were provided (and compulsory) for children under eight. To beat the crowds, head to the Blue Lagoon when it opens at 8am. 

Seljalandsfoss Trail: This stunning short hike starts at the car park near the impressive 130ft Seljalandsfoss waterfall. Seljalandsfoss was the only waterfall we discovered which has a narrow path leading into a cave behind the falls! There’s a short 1km gravel trail up to Gljufrabui, another impressive waterfall hidden away inside a cavern.

Skogafoss: Casting rainbows in its spray, this waterfall was truly magical and has featured on the big screen many times.

Along the section of the ring road near Vik you will travel through the other worldly mossy lava fields of Eldhraun. Created hundreds of years ago, and now protected, this expanse of undulating green domes is certainly worth a short stop. 

Camp overnight at Skogar campsite if you want a chance to visit with no-one else around in the evenings or early morning! Or head to nearby Vik and camp there..

Family stood in front of waterfall in iceland

Day 3: Vík – Jökulsárlón

Vik: Vik is an enchanting small town steeped in folklore and mythology. The black sand, dramatic rock formations and moody seas create a particularly cinematic atmosphere. The culinary delights of Vik tempted us away from self-catering for a few meals as we indulged ourselves at the epic Black Crust Pizzeria and the Skool Beans café (located inside a repurposed school bus).

Katla Ice Caves: A short guided super jeep tour from Vik will take you to the Katla Ice Caves. These are some of the only ice caves which are open all year round. They allow children over the age of six on group tours or you can book a more expensive private tour to take younger children. Helmets, crampons and headtorches are provided for this epic three hour adventure. 

Icelandic Lava Show: Watch volcanic sand transform back into lava in this impressive demonstration! Learn about volcanic eruptions in Iceland, how lava tunnels are formed and take home a little shard of dragon glass. Situated in Vik (with a second location in Reykjavik) goggles are provided… be warned though, it does get hot!

Reynisfjara beach: Follow the instructions at the entrance to this beach to avoid the deadly sneaker waves which claim lives on a regular basis. This dramatic black sand beach hosts a huge cave made of enormous basalt columns formed by volcanic eruptions. Follow the advice displayed, dont turn your back to the ocean and keep the kids close. If you are lucky you might even spot a few puffins!

Continue the journey east along the ringroad and camp near Jökulsárlón.  

Day 4: Jökulsárlón – Fjallsárlón – Vík

Diamond Beach: Iceland’s iconic diamond beach is located along the ringroad near the Jökulsárlón lagoon. Huge icebergs carried from the glacier lagoon by the outlet river wash up on the black sand beach. This creates the illusion of huge diamonds on the beach. There’s a car park near the beach and a cafe beside the lagoon to warm up after exploring the ice! 

Jökulsárlón lagoon: This is a quick stop or perfect picnic spot. Watch the seals frolic in the lagoon as bright blue, white and grey icebergs peacefully drift past. Lagoon boat tours are available here but the smaller (and cheaper) Fjallsárlón glacier lagoon is just a short drive away. 

Fjallsárlón lagoon boat tour: Probably the easiest way to get up close to a glacier with children in tow! Hop on a RIB boat and take a guided tour of a glacier lagoon. Minimum age of 5 but they were flexible with allowing younger children. Waterproof and windproof gear was provided for the trip.

Vestrahorn: If you have time and the weather is kind, you may be able to squeeze in a journey out to Vestrahorn and back to see the mountain. This was in our original itinerary but we scrapped it after encountering some awful weather! 

Head back to Vik to camp for the night.

Ice formation diamond beach iceland

Day 5: Golden circle: Vík – Geysir – Gulfoss – Þingvellir – Reykjavík

The golden circle is certainly the most travelled path in Iceland, and there is a lot to see. We didn’t think it really compared to the stunning waterfalls, glaciers and beaches of the south, but the boys were so excited to see the geysers we had to include it in our itinerary.

Geysir: A collection of bubbling pools and explosive geysers. The Strokkur geyser erupts every 5-10 minutes so the wait is never long. It’s an exciting opportunity to learn about geothermal activity as it happens! There’s a visitor centre and parking here. 

Gulfoss: A short drive from Geysir, you will hear this thundering waterfall before you see it! A short walking route offers views over the waterfall at a few different points. The children weren’t too interested in this one as it’s so immense you can’t get very close. Worth a stop if you choose to travel the golden circle route. There’s a visitor centre, cafe, shop and carpark.

Þingvellir: Picturesque and dramatic scenery… but not much for the kids to do. Older children may enjoy hiking along the trails but we headed to Silfra where the crack between the separating tectonic plates can be found. There was a waterfall and some short trails here. 

Head to Reyjavik for the night.

Geyser in Iceland with child

Day 6: Explore Reykjavík

Reykjavik is a small, welcoming city which is home to around half of Iceland’s residents. There are plenty of shops, restaurants and street art to explore. 

Perlan Museum: You can get a taste of all things Iceland in one place at this interactive and educational museum! Experience the Northern Lights in the planetarium and explore the longest man made ice cave. Learn about volcanoes, glaciers and Iceland’s wildlife then head to the rooftop terrace for views over Reykjavik. 

Sun Voyager Sculpture: Make a short stop at the Sun Voyager sculpture on Reykjavik’s seafront to take in the mountain views. 

You may also enjoy heading up the iconic Hallgrímskirkja church for more views of Reykjavik. 

Camp in Reykjavik or back at Grindavik campsite.

Child with sun voyager in Reykjavik Iceland

Day 7: Depart Iceland

The final day of exploring Iceland with kids! We had an early flight out of Keflavik but if you had time you could visit the nearby Hopsnes lighthouse or spend more time in Reykjavik. Head home, taking photographs and memories to treasure forever!

Traveling to Iceland with kids

The endless opportunities to learn about the natural world and the intriguing folklore stories makes it the perfect place to take the kids. So, what are you waiting for? Gather your loved ones, and get ready to embark on an unforgettable journey through the stunning landscapes of Iceland. Let the windswept beauty of this Nordic gem ignite your family’s sense of wonder and create cherished memories that will last a lifetime. It’s time to embrace the wild and experience the magic of Iceland with your adventurous little ones by your side!

Swimming in blue lagoon natural pool Iceland

Additional resources

If you love this post, make sure to check out some of our additional family-friendly travel content on Iceland, Estonia, and the Azores.

Is Iceland on your family’s bucket list?

About the author

Aimee is a humanitarian worker and photographer based in the UK. As a mum to two young boys, she spends much of her time outdoors in nature and enjoys traveling with her family. Aimee loves to support other families to explore with young children by sharing tips and inspiration.

You can find more from Aimee online in the following locations:
Instagram: @how_i_wander_uk
Website: How I Wander