We travelled to Iceland in the summer with our one year old daughter and quickly added this beautiful rustic country to one of our favourites!
Overcoming Jet lag
We arrived to the main city Reykjavik and had booked a one bedroom suite for the first night. This was so we could have a separate sleeping area for our daughter while we were all fighting jet lag and adjusting to our new time zone (8 hours ahead). While not a perfect system, this definitely helped as our daughter sleeps well, but very lightly in her own room. We regretted instantly not bringing a playpen along as our hotels & bnb’s did not have any. Thankfully, were able to buy one at a department store quite easily!
The first 3 nights were definitely rough in terms of sleeping for all of us, but this is something we expected. Each day we all became a little more adjusted to the time schedule.
Activities & pit stops
We tried to cater the trip somewhat to our daughters routine and would start driving the ring road each day (1-4 hours of driving) based on her nap times which kept our car rides quiet and peaceful. My husband and I took turns exploring rugged waterfalls so one of us could be with our daughter during her nap time, to maximize the trip.
We would get her out of the car frequently to crawl around beaches and enjoy the scenery with us. At one year old & not walking, she was very portable! Older children would be happy exploring the rapidly changing landscapes & towns around iceland I’m sure. We already hope to bring our child back when she’s older to do some day hikes!
We heavily relied on the ergo carrier while visiting places such as the famous black sand beach.
On our last night as a special treat, my husband and I took turns at the very popular Blue Lagoon.
Keep in mind that you must book weeks ahead online and children under the age of 2 are not allowed. As our daughter was to young to partake, we both thoroughly enjoyed our solo visit to the lagoon and saw it as the perfect destressor to have some alone time & reflect on a wonderful trip across the globe with our one year old!
Restaurant food in iceland is very expensive (were talking $18 USD for a small bowl of beef soup at a casual diner). We bought snacks frequently from gas stations and did our best to get our daughter eating nutritious foods she enjoys such as eggs, bread, cheese etc. Reykjavik had a lot of kid friendly pubs and cafe’s.
We stayed at a different place each night and enjoyed the one bedroom suites the best as we could have our daughter sleeping in a separate room from us in her playpen and we all slept better that way!
The official tourism site has tons of links to a variety of accomodation options.
We rented a car (a must if you have more than 2 days in Iceland, especially with children).
We wish we had a little more rain gear and better shoes for some of the rainier days we experienced. A “muddy buddy” or full rain gear suite for our child would have been perfect!
We’re glad we brought lots of her favourite snacks along from Canada to enjoy, as well as a couple small books and toys to keep her entertained on the road.
The cool detailed map above is courtesy of martynj.com/driving-around-iceland-ring-road-1 and has links to more detailed blog posts for each day of the road trip.
Visit Iceland Tourism Site
Guide to Iceland
A couple Iceland Instagram accounts for more inspiration: