While I was planning our trip to Iceland, I read several forums and columns that suggested you shouldn’t take your children to Iceland because they might “slow you down.”
That’s just silly. And wrong. And a load of you-know-what.
We had an awesome vacation in Iceland with Winston, and I think that Iceland is a great travel destination for any adventure-seeking family.
Here’s our four day itinerary from Iceland:
Day 1: The Blue Lagoon and Reykjavik
We took a WOW air flight from Boston to Keflavik, departing at 7:00pm on Wednesday and arriving at 4:30am local time on Thursday. The awkward flight time (only 5 hours and not quite late enough for Winston to sleep very well on the plane) made our jet lag a little worse than usual, but I think it was worth it for the cheap flight and full extra day in Iceland.
As soon as we landed, we picked up our rental car and headed to the Blue Lagoon. Since we were there bright and early, we got to be some of the first people in the Lagoon before it got too crowded.
Technically babies under two aren’t allowed in the Lagoon, so Winston got to be two for the day (shhh!). FYI: they didn’t ask for any proof of his age when we checked in.
We spent a few hours lounging in the water.
We got silica and algae masks, and they were soooo refreshing after a sleepless night!
I took frequent “belly breaks” to keep little Ella from overheating, but the water wasn’t much warmer than normal bath water.
After about two hours, we were turning into human prunes, so we reluctantly left the Lagoon.
We showered and got dressed, and then we drove to Reykjavik to explore. Winston fell asleep in the car on the way to Reykjavik, and he stayed asleep for the transition to the stroller (win!).
Josh and I enjoyed a delicious lunch at Sandholt bakari while Winston peacefully caught some zzz’s.
After we finished eating, Josh let me pop into some cute home goods stores downtown (one of my favorite pastimes), and then we went mural hunting (one of Josh’s favorite pastimes).
Winston finally woke up after sleeping for about three hours (lucky baby!). We got him a muffin and yogurt at a little coffee shop called Te & Kaffi. We also got ourselves more coffee… because we didn’t get to nap for three hours. The salted caramel mocha was delicious!
On our way to our AirBnB, we stopped at a grocery store to pick up some supplies for the next few days. Restaurant food in Iceland is pretty pricey, so we decided to pack our own breakfasts and lunches. We got Icelandic Skyr and bananas for breakfast, and supplies to make Nutella and peanut butter sandwiches for lunch.
We got to our AirBnB around 6:00pm, and we went to bed by 7:30pm. We were so tired!
Day 2: The Golden Circle and Selfoss
In the morning, we headed north on Route 1 and then took 36 towards our first stop on the Golden Circle: Þingvellir National Park.
The Autumn colors in the park were breathtaking!
We enjoyed hiking around and taking in the sights for about an hour. It was a leisurely and pregnant-lady friendly hike.
Winston enjoyed throwing rocks in the stream and searching for fish.
There was also a beautiful Icelandic Church and graveyard in the park.
On our way to our next stop, we saw some Icelandic horses on the side of the road. I insisted that we stop to say “hello.”
This little foal could sense another baby’s presence in my tummy, so he gave Ella some kisses.
After we’d had our fill of horse kisses we finished our drive to Strokkur Geyser.
Winston was a little apprehensive about the bubbly and steaming water, which is probably a good thing! The water in the geyser is about 125 degrees Celsius (aka 250 degrees Fahrenheit). A little too hot for a bath, I’d say!
The geyser erupts every five minutes on average, so we didn’t have to wait long. Josh might kill me for including this picture, but I think it’s hilarious. 😛
After we watched the geyser erupt once, we decided to walk around to the other side to get a better view. About two minutes later, the geyser had a massive eruption. Right after this picture was taken, we realized what was about to happen and started running away, but we were too late. We got completely soaked by the eruption! It was an unexpected and rotten-egg-scented midday shower.
It only took us a few minutes to drive from the geyser to Gullfoss Falls, the next stop on the Golden Circle.
Once again, Winston showed an appropriate fear of danger. He held onto us tightly whenever we got moderately close to the edge of the falls.
Our next stop, Kerid Crater, was a little farther down the road. Winston squeezed in a short nap in the car, and he was quite grumpy when we woke him up to hike around the crater.
Even mommy’s kisses couldn’t cheer him up! 😦
Throwing rocks in the water finally cheered him up. This is probably one of his favorite activities in the world. 😛
It was only a short drive from the crater to Selfoss, where we stayed for the evening.
We stopped at an adorable restaurant called Tryggvaskáli. They gave us a private room where we could relax with Winston and enjoy a delicious dinner.
Two hungry boys enjoying lobster soup and fries with “dip!”
Our AirBnB for the evening was a cozy apartment in the center of Selfoss.
Day 3: The South Coast Pt. 1 – Seljalandsfoss Waterfall, Solheimasandur Plane Crash, and Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon)
In the morning, we hopped on Route 1 and headed south.
Our first stop was Seljalandsfoss Waterfall.
I sure love this little family of mine. 🙂
The coolest thing about Seljalandsfoss is that you can hike behind the waterfall. It was an awe-inspiring experience!
We hiked down the trail a little bit and found another waterfall that you can climb under. If you ever visit, make sure you wear waterproof shoes because you have to walk through a stream to get there!
After we left Seljalandsfoss, we drove down Route 1 and found an open field where we pulled off to eat our picnic lunch and frolic with the friendly neighborhood cows. Winston kept saying “moo! moo!” the whole time we were there.
I loved getting to see Winston experience nature in Iceland. He doesn’t get the chance to run around in open fields a lot, since we live in the city.
Winston was pretty happy to let out some energy in the long grass. He had a close encounter with a large cow turd, but luckily he missed it by a tad. 😛
A little farther down Route 1, we reached the pull off for Solheimasandur Plane Crash. Josh has been wanting to see this plane crash for years, so the hour hike each way in the rain and wind didn’t stop us from trekking out there!
Winston was happy for the first 20 minutes of the hike… after that, things went downhill.
In 1973, a United States Navy DC plane ran out of fuel and crashed on the beach. We were SO happy to reach the plane wreck after hiking for what seemed like forever.
Like most things in life, it was worth the hike! It’s also a more pleasant place to visit knowing that everyone survived the crash.
It felt otherworldly to see the white plane crash against the black sand… almost like we were characters in a Star Wars movie! *hums Star Wars theme song*
Our last stop of the day, Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon, was about two hours farther down Route 1. Winston slept for the car ride, while mom and dad sipped on swiss mochas and listened to Sigur Ros (Josh’s favorite Icelandic band).
It was pouring rain and almost dark by the time we got to the Lagoon, but we ran out of the car to quickly to snap some pictures.
Despite the brevity of our experience, it was really neat to see and touch the crystal clear glacier fragments.
We stayed at Fosshotel Glacier Lagoon that night, which was our splurge stay of the trip. The food at the hotel was delicious, and after our long and exhausting day I think we all slept pretty well that night.
Day 4: The South Coast Pt. 2 – Vatnajökull National Park, Skaftafell Glacier, Reynisfjara Black Sand Beaches, Drangshlid Old Houses, and Laufskalavarda Lava Ridge
Our four day itinerary didn’t give us enough time to make it all the way around the Island, so we had to head back down the South Coast towards Reykjavik on the last day. Fortunately, there were still a lot of sights along our route to keep us busy that day.
Our first stop of the day was Vatnajökull National Park and Skaftafell Glacier.
The hike was an easy 30 minutes each way, suitable for all hikers—toddlers and pregnant mommas alike.
Winston loved throwing rocks in the water! He never wanted to leave, and he shed a few tears when we finally turned back to go to the car.
He recovered quickly, and we stopped along the way to rest in this soft moss field.
What a ham. I just love them both so!
After we left the park, we drove through these crazy lava fields in Laufskálavarða. We pulled over to snap some pictures.
We took some family photos with a tripod. So nerdy, haha.
After we left the Lava Ridge, we headed towards Reynisfjara Black Sand Beaches in Vik.
It was raining when we arrived, but that just added to the ominous atmosphere.
The bad weather and creepy atmosphere didn’t stop us from having a little fun at the beach!
A few miles later, after another stop for swiss mocha, it was sunny and green again. Iceland is weird like that.
We stopped along Route 1 at the Drangshlid Old Houses.
The houses were cute, but the best part of the stop was meeting an adorable sheepdog puppy from the neighboring farm. The puppy came to play with Winston, and they frolicked together in the field for a while.
I think it was the highlight of Winston’s trip to Iceland. He wouldn’t stop talking about it for the rest of the day!
Winston’s other highlight of the trip was getting to “drive” the car for a little while every time we got bundled and unbundled. For a baby who doesn’t usually have a car, it was quite a treat!
After visiting the old houses and meeting our sheepdog friend, we headed back to Reykjavik to walk around and eat dinner before my overnight flight to Poland.
We ate dinner at a cute restaurant called Íslenski barinn. Josh really wanted to try some traditional Icelandic food, so we got puffin in a jar and fermented shark in a jar for our appetizers. The puffin was okay. The fermented shark was terrible… at least in my humble opinion. Josh got whale fin for his meal, which was delicious! Winston and I got a yummy Icelandic bar burger and fries.
When we left dinner, we were surprised by a showing of the Northern Lights! We didn’t have our tripod with us, so the picture is terrible, but here’s some photographic proof nonetheless. 😛
Seeing the northern lights was an awesome way to end our trip to Iceland.
We were sad to say goodbye to this beautiful island, but I think we’ll be back someday! We’re already planning a trip around the whole island with “all our kids” in a camper-van someday. Yay for family adventure!