Iceland is an amazing country to explore and it definitely can be done with a toddler in tow. You need to do some advance planning but you can have a fabulous time travelling with a toddler in Iceland. Here are some tips from my experience from our trip in March.
Should you hire a car?
Yes! All the advice we researched before our trip was to hire a car and drive yourself when travelling with a toddler. We looked into lots of different options. But the reality is, with a two-year-old, you will struggle to book and take part in regular excursions from Reykjavik. There are tour companies that offer private tours for families. However, we opted to go with the freedom of hiring a car and exploring ourselves. This meant we could make stops when we wanted to and change plans without hassle. Plus we had the safety of a car seat too!
Meal times and eating with a toddler
I planned ahead and made sure we were prepared for meal times as food can be expensive in Iceland. When you are travelling around you don’t know when you are going to stop for snacks or lunch. We brought my own Weetabix from home for breakfasts, along with cereal bars for everyone. I also brought along our own tea and coffee and a flask for our hot drinks. When we arrived we stopped at a supermarket and bought bread, butter cheese and ham to make sandwiches for our lunch each day and fruit, milk and yoghurts as well. I even brought our own ziplock bags and lunch box so our lunches were well prepared and ready to go. It turned out really well as we could stop for lunch wherever we wanted. Once with views of Gullfoss waterfall and another time looking out onto the Diamond Beach.
For dinner, we ate out once in Vik which was reasonable and a meal of burgers and fries meant it went without a fuss. We also just ate microwave meals and pasta pots for the other two days. Not the healthiest choices but it saved us money. And it gave us the opportunity to relax in our apartment before a long day of sightseeing.
Where to stay
If you are used to travelling with kids as we are now, you will probably find an apartment is the best way to go when it comes to accommodation. I feel staying in an apartment or apart-hotel gives you more freedom and a home from home feel which is great with a small child. You get the cooking facilities and living area which you use as a family rather than just a bedroom when you stay in a hotel. Personally, we stayed at A Townhouse Hotel in Reykjavik and Black beach suites in Vik. We paid a bit more for our Vik apartment but the views and location were absolutely worth it. This country is very family friendly so travelling with a toddler in Iceland is well received by local people.
What to do when travelling with a toddler in Iceland
You can see more about what we did during our trip here but although there are restrictions there is still plenty you can see and do in Iceland with kids. We explored Reykjavik and drove the Golden Circle route seeing all the sights. Then we drove to Vik. Exploring here then over to Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon stopping at the lava fields on the way. Our daughters favourite was the black sand beach at Reynisfjara. Even in the cold she sat and made sandcastles with the sand and ice!
I would say that in the winter it can be too cold to be out with a toddler for a long time. On some occasions, we had to stay with her in the warm car and explore in turns. This was most relevant at the diamond beach where the winds were so cold we didn’t even attempt to get her out of the car. But we did manage to have lunch looking out onto the glacier filled beach.
Is travelling with a toddler in Iceland a good idea?
Yes, it is. There are compromises in terms of what you can do and your budget .But you can do a lot as a family in Iceland even in the winter. Of course, I am not an expert and although we have travelled A LOT with our young daughter we have only visited Iceland once. But please feel free to ask any questions about our trip below and I will respond with what I do and do not know!