Written & Photographed by Kelly Ryerson
I had always wanted to go to Iceland. Then, last Christmas, when my son was spending the holiday with his father, I booked a trip there. I know that most would think to go somewhere tropical and sit by the pool, but that’s just not my style. I needed to do something big and touch some nature. Though of course, the entire trip I thought, ‘I wish my son was here.’ I knew he would really love it. It's a fantasy land. So I took him there last August. This time, it was a well planned trip. I love an itinerary. It makes traveling with kids easier. And the fact that I was prepared, having been there already, made it fun for both of us. I'm sharing my itinerary in hopes that you too will get out and enjoy this fantasy land with your kids.
Sidenote: I have a thing about booking hotels with pools. Besides the fact that I'm a daily swimmer, it helps you recover from jet lag. Even if it's not a long flight, the effects of altitude on the body, you will recover faster from a little swim.
This is a trip I’d recommend for late summer with kids aged six and older. Bring their scooter. It will make all the walking around town easier:
A flight will get you in first thing in the morning. Get on the plane and behave like you are at your destination. If it’s night time, go to sleep.
August 24. Arrive 7am
Take bus from airport to Blue Lagoon. You can book your bus shuttle through the blue lagoon web-site. After you are finished at the Lagoon they take you to town on the shuttle. There is luggage storage, so pack your swimsuit in your carry on.
Do the Lagoon until noon and then lunch. They have a simple café or a restaurant Lava, which is fabulous. But my son was more interested in the Krap (Blue Slushee) they serve in the Lagoon bar.
There are little toys placed all around the town on Stop signs, Street signs, and buildings, so he enjoyed the little scavenger hunt.
Then back to our hotel to end the day with another spa session.
Check into CenterHotel Thingholt.
Nap for a couple of hours. Seriously, take a nap.
Take a walk around town. I let my son use my underwater Fujifilm XP90 to take pics of his own.
AUGUST 25, 7:30AM
Car rental at Thrifty, they picked us up which was nice.
If you decide not to take a car out, every hotel has a listing of day trips which I did when I came out alone.
Bridge Between Continents (images BBC1-5) It was a bit of a drive out but worth it. Simply walk to the bridge and climb down to the black sand and see the divide between the EuroAsian plate and the North American plate. And a failed attempt at holding the bridge up, a la leaning tower of Pisa.
Check out the Seljalandsfoss waterfall. You can walk behind it, which is such a grand feeling, and also the Seljavallalaug Geothermal.
Seljavallalaug is one of the oldest geothermal pools in Iceland, built in 1923 and was the first pool used for swimming lessons. It’s based in a narrow valley on the south coast - very close to the volcano/glacier Eyjafjallajökull. During our trip there were no active volcanoes. Dine at Skogarfoss café for late lunch. I had soup and my son had fish & chips.
The best part about travelling with a 7 year old is they have the energy to keep going so we did one more waterfall. The Skógafoss waterfall is a beautiful waterfall that you can walk around the back and up the stairs to take in the majestic views.
Check into Icelandair Hotel Vik
Klettsvegur 1 to 5, 870 Vik.
It was a big enough day so we chilled at our hotel and had dinner there.
I ask the hotel to arrange horseback riding for us on Black Sand Beach for 11am.
August 26, 8am
Breakfast at our hotel followed by Reynisfjara beach in Vik: Black Sand Beach. This was a perfect time to go because the tours start to show up around 9am. Check out Dyrhólaey overlook, on cliffs. It’s too long of a hike for our schedule but if you have a more time then this is definitely worth it.
Vik Horse Adventure
Manabraut 32, Vik 870, Iceland
Phone Number: +354 787 9605
Horse back riding on the black sands beach.
Back to the hotel to clean up and check out and hit up Secret Lagoon - Gamla Laugin, a natural geothermal bath with a walk path around it so you can look at all of the geysirs.
You can also do the below:
Hafnartún, Selfoss, Iceland
Little boys love this one; it’s active every 5-10 minutes.
If you have time, we did not.
AUGUST 26 - 29
Apotek Hotel by Keahotels
Austurstraeti 16, Reykjavik, 101 Iceland
Tel: 354 512-9000
AUGUST 27, 9AM
Fylkisvegur 9 110 Reykjavík
We took a taxi and when we were finished the staff kindly called one to pick us up.
It’s a local swimming pool with water slides and several different temp hot tubs.
Dine at Laundromat café for lunch.
AUGUST 28, 9AM
Hallgrimskirkja Church. This was the perfect time, it was before the service and the town is lit by morning light.
At 11am we did the Laugardalslaug pool and stopped at Bæjarins Bestu for hotdogs; I ordered one with everything and my son had just ketchup. We were then off to Harpa Reykjavik Concert Hall a beautiful building and a must see with kids before dining at Forréttabarinn for dinner.
Nylendugata 14, Reykjavik 101
This is a wonderful restaurant and great end to our trip. Then we walked across the street to the piers and had some ice cream on our way back to our hotel. It was a fabulous trip and I look forward to more locations to conquer as my son grows up.
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