I’m not really into travelling. I think the UK has so many beautiful places, and on a warm sunny day, there’s nowhere I would rather be than on a beach in North Wales. Cheesy but true. However, there is one place that I’ve wanted to visit for many, many years, and that is Iceland.
There just seems something so utterly magical and mystical about Iceland. It’s often referred to as ‘The Land of Fire and Ice’ and you can see why – fiery and volatile volcanoes contrast against the dramatic icy glaciers. It really is a country of complete contrasts. It’s not difficult to see why the landscapes are often used as the setting for films and TV shows – James Bond movies, Batman Begins and Game of Thrones to name just a few of them.
Iceland is a place that isn’t often on people’s radars as a ‘family friendly’ holiday destination, but with almost 24 hours of daylight in the summer and plenty of things to do and see, I fail to see any reason not to take the kids!
Today, I’m sharing 7 things to see and do in Iceland. A lot of these activities are suited for slightly older children, aged 7 and above, but there are plenty of places to explore with the younger ones.
1. Jump in the Blue Lagoon
I’m pretty sure that when anyone thinks of Iceland, they think of the Blue Lagoon. It’s a huge geothermal spa about 25 miles away from the country’s capital, Reykjavík. Water that has been super-heated by a lava flow is used to produce electricity and heat homes in nearby towns. The excess is pumped into the lagoon and is refreshed every forty hours. It’s apparently got healing powers for those suffering from skin conditions such as psoriasis and eczema. It’s a great place to visit with kids over the age of two, although anyone under 8 years old needs to wear armbands – and they are pretty strict about it! There’s plenty of space for the kids to swim, float and explore, whilst adults can sit back and relax with silica mud masks and be amazed at the landscape. Sharp, black volcanic rocks sit side by side with the milky blue waters of the lagoon, giving it an ‘otherworldly’ feel.
2.Go glacier hiking
Maybe not one for the younger kids, but kids aged 8 or over might want to go glacier hiking in Iceland. What better way to explore the frozen heart of Iceland than by climbing the sharp icy walls which plunge down into hidden crevasses – all a little bit scary but incredibly exhilarating at the same time. There are plenty of guided tours to help you out – make sure you choose one suitable for children and beginners if you’ve never done it before!
3. Stay awake to see the Northern Lights
Seeing the Northern Lights is on my bucket list – the stunning natural light show just looks absolutely mesmerising, even on TV, and to see that in ‘real life’ must be out of this world. The best time to see the lights is between September and Mid-April and is something that again may be suited to slightly older children who have a little bit more patience. It’s created by particles being emitted from the sun in solar explosions reacting with the magnetic fields in Earth’s atmosphere. The energy that is released creates this magnificent display of dancing lights.
4. Spend time whale watching
Although children of any age would appreciate the beauty of these wonderful creatures, most whale watching tours have a lower age limit of 7. The best time of the year to get up close with these gentle giants is the summer, but if you are unlucky enough not to see one, most tour operators will take you again for free.
5. Go on a puffin tour
Iceland is home to one of the largest puffin colonies in the world – it’s the breeding home for around 60% of the world’s Atlantic puffin population. They build their nests on rocky cliffs and their eggs are shaped so they won’t roll out! There are plenty of operators offering puffin tours in Iceland.
6. Drive the Iceland Ring Road
The Iceland Ring Road is a highway stretching 830 miles through beaches of black sand, imposing fjords, volcanoes, thermal lakes and some of the world’s biggest glaciers – everything that Iceland is famous for.
7. Visit Skogafoss waterfall
Skogafoss is one of the many breathtaking waterfalls in Iceland and is well worth a visit. The immense amount of water mist it creates means on a sunny day you may see some spectacular rainbows – every Instagrammer’s dream photo!
Have these places tempted you to consider Iceland for a holiday, or have you been before and can recommend anywhere else to visit? I’d love you to leave your comments below!