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2 weeks, 3 kids, what/where do y'all recommend?

I pulled the trigger on an Iceland trip for our family! My husband and I will be vaccinated. Our kids are young enough to not have to quarantine fully, but my understanding is we'll need to get tested and wait for results before getting out and about. I'm fine with that. If any of you have recommendations on places to stay anywhere in Iceland that can accommodate a family of 5 (one is an infant so he doesn't exactly need a bed), where we can cook some meals, please share!
I need suggestions on fun things we should not miss, best car rentals, or food that is on the lesser end of expensive (I know it'll all be really pricey, any little suggestion helps.)

Has anyone traveled in Iceland this year and can say what local restrictions for covid look like? I am already assuming masks and reduced capacity at indoor attractions, just wondering how it went for other travelers.

We'll be in Iceland for 2 weeks in June, we like hiking and swimming, but we do have to keep our hikes relatively short for the kids. They are 7, 4, and 0 ;)

EDIT: I have booked some places to stay, so here are the areas we'll be visiting for some more specific tips.
-5 nights in Reykjavik for in town + day trips to nearby hikes, excursions, etc.
-2 nights Snaefellsnes peninsula
-4 nights South coast in Hella
-2 nights Reykjanes, near airport so we can get covid tests before we head home, hopefully do some fun things too :)

Posted by
7574 posts

Our trip was 5 years ago, and we didn’t have kids in tow. We also got a lodging deal with our airline tickets, so looking at apartments, AirBnBs, or hostels with cooking facilities wasn’t anything we sought out. Our hotel did charge separately for the breakfast buffet, which was pricey but outstanding, but any buffets you find could help you stretch your food consumption, and fill up if you’re so inclined. We had a buffet dinner at the Fontana Hot Springs one night, in addition to those breakfasts. I understand that our hotel (The Icelandair Marina) was remodeled and upgraded a year later, so its prices went up accordingly - way up.

We’ve seldom used Hertz for car rental elsewhere, but they had the best prices in our research for Iceland, and their pick-up and drop-off process in Reykjavik was smooth and easy. You’ll probably want to check current prices and rental terms for several companies, including charges for child seats and any other options. Four-wheel or all-wheel drive, even in June, would be worth considering.

One highlight of our trip was an Elding Whale Watching trip. I don’t know whether they have age limitations. Are you planning to drive the Golden Circle? Along the route, a relatively short but rewarding hike was the walk from the parking lot trailhead to the Selfoss waterfall. There’s also Efstidalur, a dairy farm that makes their own ice cream. Their ice cream parlor room has big windows along one wall that look into the cow barn, and the kids might get as big a kick out of seeing the cows as enjoying the fresh ice cream!

Posted by
26 posts

Hi Claire,
I haven't gone to Iceland (I'm planning my first trip this August), but I have found a travel guy I like on Youtube - Mark Wolter of Wolter's world - who has two boys. He has a video specifically on Iceland with kids - He also has lots of other Iceland videos (what to know before you go, 10 shocks of Iceland, etc.) that might interest you. He always travels with his kids and usually mentions what they liked in his videos.

Posted by
708 posts

There is a very active FaceBook page called Travel Iceland. In addition to answering your questions, they also post official COVID announcements as they happen. Best way to keep up to date on what is currently required.

Posted by
980 posts

I was in Iceland in 2018 with my 10yo grandson for 5 nights as an add-on to a London trip. You might want to check out my trip report for more detailed ideas. The RS Iceland guide was a huge help for planning.

We stayed in a great 2 BR AirB&B in Reykjavik and a fun tiny house AirB&B near the glaciers on the southeast coast. There was a grocery store on the drive in from the airport, and I learned later there's a Costco in Reykjavik. It took a long time to get the car at the airport, and in hindsight, one of us should have checked out the airport duty free store for groceries while the other waited in line. I was glad to have a kitchen to make lunches and stock snacks. Loved the Braud bakery and went every morning. We did go out for good seafood in the harbor at night, but food prices in grocery stores and restaurants are as high as you've been warned. We never got to the famous hotdog stand downtown, but that might be a good choice with kids.

Driving around Iceland is peaceful, the scenery is ever changing, and there are plenty of places to stop for short hikes - especially to waterfalls. What seems in very short supply out in the countryside are places to eat and sleep. Especially with kids, I would always have food on board and confirmed reservations of where I planned to sleep.

We especially liked the glacier areas in southeast Iceland. Diamond Beach is a wonder, with chunks of icebergs floating by and slowly melting on the beach. Great photo ops. Jokusarlon lagoon across the road is stunningly beautiful and has a small beach where they might play. The black sand beach at Reynisfjara is startling to see, but understand about the sneaker waves. We didn't experience any, but our helpful B&B owner was very concerned that we knew about the possibility.

On the Golden Circle they'll like watching the cows from the ice cream shop. Reykjavik's zoo is tiny but very kid-friendly. Local swimming pools are a big attraction, and your rental person can point you to the good ones. We enjoyed the Blue Lagoon, but it's not set up for babies, and maybe not even for the 4yo.

We loved Iceland, and hope to return for a longer trip soon. I don't know what kind of sleepers your kids are, but it was a little strange to sleep in rooms that never got dark and to hear birds singing outside at midnight! But I really liked that we could start out as late as we wanted in the mornings, and have hours of daylight left in every day. Enjoy!

Posted by
27 posts

Sounds like a great trip. We are also hoping to travel with our kids this summer. Can you let me now where you found the travel guidance on “kids being young enough not to quarantine fully” and also where and how they are to be tested upon arrival? Thanks!

Posted by
96 posts

Check for up to date info regarding Iceland travel and covid protocol. Children born after 2005 just have to do whatever it is their parents do. If their parent quarantines for 5 days, so does the kid. If the parent is vaccinated and only had to quarantine for one test result, the child does the same.
Absolutely everyone arriving will be tested at the airport and required to quarantine when they arrive, including children, but vaccinated adults and children traveling with them only have to quarantine until they get their negative test results back. It has been taking 4-6 hours, though that will likely change as more people travel. If you don't hear back by 24 hour mark, that means your test was negative.