27.08.18

Iceland with kids – part one

iceland with kids
Wow! Ok, so this trip happened just about one year ago and it is rather embarrassing that I only manage to get this out now. Better late than never, I know… but still. On the positive side – it is so lovely to relive everything again by going through every day and stops we made to write them down.

Because let me give you the Iceland message before I start to get into the details: This was one of our most amazing and memorable trips ever. We are still talking about it, the kids do talk about it and if there is a chance to go – take it!

Why? Because Iceland is different, it is so beautiful that you think that are driving through a postcard all of the time. Because you will discover so many different landscapes in a week and because it is energizing. I remember how ‘high’ we were for a few weeks after the trip. All glowing and full of sparkle! Iceland really does something to you…

What did we do: We rented a camper van for our family of six and did the tour of the island in one week. Yes, all the way around the whole of Iceland (staying on the main road).

Age of kids during trip: 10, 7, 5 and 2

What you need to know before going:

Iceland is/ can be windy so bring wellies and good rain/ wind jackets. We were very lucky during our trip and only experienced one full day of rain. Otherwise the weather was quite good and dry. Nonetheless temperatures never exceeded 20C and a good jacket was essential.
It is expensive! It is a fact. And when going during the ‘high season’ which is mid May – mid/ end August then everything like cars and hotels is even more expensive. We did go in August because the chances of dry days and Okish temperatures are much higher. We did not feel ‘cool enough’ to deal with cold, rain and wind and four kids in a camper.
Get all the assurances you can for your rented car/camper. Because of the wind and terrain that can easily throw tiny stones at your car windows and so on…!
Supermarkets are a little less expensive in Reykjavik and since you will start from there (usuall) it is wise to stock up. BONUS is one that has good prices (compared) but I will share what we did on our first day below.
Make the most out of all the pools and thermal hot springs. This is divine, so amazing for your skin and warms you up. Plus, if you drive in a camper, you have showers included which means you do not need to use the one in your car.
You can pay with your card everywhere. Very common in Scandinavia and so practical. Even a hot dog at a gas station or a coffee – just pay with your card. Convenient!
If you camp, you can get the Camping Card. You can pay a fee, get a card and then you can use all camp sites that participate with the card. No reservations necessary!
And please note: No wild camping and no going off main roads. Iceland is getting very strict about it to preserve their beautiful nature!
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But lets start and see what we did, step by step. Any questions or things I missed please feel free to leave a comment and/ or send me an e mail:

We arrived late on a Friday, so we could already enjoy the Saturday 100% and stayed in a nearby airport hotel.

Day one

iceland with kids
iceland with kids
iceland with kids
iceland with kids
iceland with kids
Getting up, little breakfast and off we went to pick up our camper van. We could have gone of Friday evening BUT we felt it was better to be ‘fresh and awake’. And the kids too. Because there is usually a fair bit to explain for camper vans like the cleaning of tanks, changing of gas bottles and so on. Therefore we felt it was better to have some time and children that are not about to fall asleep.

After we were ready to hit the road, our first stop was Ikea! Yes, for lunch and some shopping in the food hall. Like I mentioned above – Iceland is expensive. And Ikea is famous for their good prices. Therefore we had a lunch here for a decent price and then got some hot dogs, cookies and jam and such things from their food store. (you might want to steal this tip!)

And then we went to the supermarket to stock up on groceries. Just opposite Ikea and called Bonus! We googled before and learned that this is a good option in terms of quality and price. You need to buy SKYR – Icelands version on delicious yoghurt. And Hraun – a very crunchy chocolate snack.

Then we started our first journey and drove in the direction of: Snæfellsnes peninsula
Camping for the night: Hellissandur

On the way we stopped:

Ytri Tunga Beach. OMG. It was sunny, was saw a lot of seals and just walked by the water. One of the few beaches with golden sand instead of black.

Bjarnarfoss waterfall. Quite a dramatic waterfall!

Kirkjufell. A picturesque mountain.

Then we found our first camp site and prepared for the first evening and night in our little home for the week. And you see, so many things we already did and saw in just one day!

Day two

iceland with kids
iceland with kids
iceland with kids
First night survived!

Direction: Budardalur
Camping: Laugar
This camping had a hot pool which we fully enjoyed.

We parked our camper and went out to the nature and did some hiking. Stopped at a playground that we found close to the camp site and then had our first pool experience. Way too cold, for my liking, for just swimming in the normal pool. But the heated ones are awesome. If you are brave enough you do the hot pool and then go and sit in the cold one. A very nice person we met at the pool shared some if his pool wisdom and did a very long sit in the cold water. The kids did try as well and Romy even stayed for a few minutes.

Day three

iceland with kids
iceland with kids
iceland with kids
Direction: Akureyri
Camping: Lonsa

Stops:
We are in the North of the island now and this is the area where you may see the Northern Lights. But unfortunately not in August. The downside of going in ‘high season’. The days are very long and the nights very short.

Beautiful journey and the second biggest urban area in Iceland. In Akureyri you will find little colourful houses, an incredible fjord and Akureyrarkirkja. The Church of Akureyri which is a distinctive landmark and is sitting beautifully on the top of a hill.

Day four

iceland with kids
iceland with kids
iceland with kids
iceland with kids
iceland with kids
iceland with kids
Direction: Egilsstadir
Camping: Seyðisfjörður
We were now at the other side of Iceland and landed there with quite an impressive journey that had us driving in the deepest fog I have ever seen for the last kilometers. It was also our one full day, and luckily the only one, of rain!

Stops:
Myvatn – a must do and a great choice if you skip the Blue Lagoon as we did.
Mývatn Nature Baths is a naturally heated lagoon, with mineral-rich waters. It does smell a little, the water is ‘white’ but your skin is sooooo soft afterwards! What an experience. And it is not as crowded as the Blue Lagoon!

iceland with kids
iceland with kids
iceland with kids
iceland with kids

Hverir
Amazing geothermal spot with bubbling pools of mud and steaming fumaroles emitting sulfuric gas.
In short – the colours are incredible and so inspiring! And the children could not believe everything that was going on there.

Day five

iceland with kids
iceland with kids
Direction: Höfn
Camping: Camping Höfn

Stop: Afternoon treat at Langabúð.

The fog was gone and we were off for another day on this beautiful island!

Iceland with kids part TWO

 

PS: Talking about high season and Iceland. Yes, mid May until end of August is declared ‘high season’ however the island never feels overcrowded. More the opposite. Sometimes we drove around for a long while without seeing another car. (And we only drove on the main road.) The camp sites were never full, we always found a spot whatever the hour was we arrived…

All images: Paul & Paula

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