Living in Vancouver my whole life, I never really understood why volcanic eruptions in Iceland was such big world news. That was until I took my first flight to London. You see, I thought that in order to get to London, we would fly across Canada, and then across the Atlantic Ocean, finally reaching the UK in a left to right trajectory around the Earth. But I was so wrong; flying from Vancouver, we flew OVER the north pole of the earth (where Greenland is) and then DOWN to the UK, right over Iceland, which is home to over 130 volcanoes, 12 of them considered to be active.
Ever since I learned of our trajectory, Iceland has always seemed a mystery to me. Its country’s name “ICE”land, makes me wonder if it is a barren country covered in ice and snow. Perhaps, the same way many American’s view Canada. (and for the record, No, Canada is not covered in ice and snow. Some of it is, but the majority of Canadians (99.999999% of us) do not live in igloos or drive dog sleds. Hey, we barely even get snow in Vancouver most years!) But I digress, I wanted to learn what Iceland was really about.
Let the Iceland Planning Begin!
We are hoping for about a week, and don’t like to rush from place to place! With two little kids, we want to be able to stay at a playground if they are having fun, or head back for a quiet afternoon if the kids are exhausted. So traditional tours do not really work for us. So this itinerary was going to be up to me!
Winter and Summer offer different experiences. In summer, experience the midnight sun, but in winter, gaze at the northern lights dancing in the sky. Our friends at Zig Zag on Earth have some suggestions on the Best time to visit Iceland if you are looking for more tips!
Want to know what to expect in the Winter In Iceland?
Why I want to take my family to Iceland
AN OUTDOOR DREAM:
When I started doing my research on Iceland, I learned a lot about the land of FIRE and ICE. While I struggled to read, let alone pronounce the foreign sounding Icelandic words ( you try and figure out how to say Snæfellsjökull – it is a 700 000 year old volcano by the way ), I was flooded by beautiful landscapes of all types, from volcanos reaching for the sky, to enormous glaciers and beautiful waters such as the famous Blue Lagoon, a geothermal salt water spa. Its warm waters originate 2000 meters below the surface and on its way to the surface, it picks up silica and minerals. The surface temperature can range between 89-104 °F (37-40°C)!
Here is a great post about the Blue Lagoon for Families
I cannot wait to see what the kids think when they see an actual erupting volcano. I have never even seen a volcano up close, let alone an active one! (You can find useful information about the volcano activity here). Then look up to the expanse of the night sky to wonder at the amazing aurora borealis, or northern lights as most people know them as, as they dance across the sky. I haven’t seen these since I was a child in Northern British Columbia and still remember those days staring up at the dancing lights.
If you only have a limited stopover in Iceland – here is what to do in 48 hours!
But wait, we are not finished with the natural wonders, like the Strokkur geyser which can erupt up to 70 meters into the air! Or how about a a snowmobile tour or a dog-sledding ride while visiting Iceland! Did you know you can do this in the middle of summer? No, it is not just a winter activity in Iceland!
Visiting Iceland is not all about the landscapes, its unique animals, hardened to the tough climate just add to this amazing place! With abundant wildlife from Icelandic horses and puffins, the kids will want to take one home with them and I am certain my camera will get quite the workout capturing these creatures in their natural habitat!
SAFE AND FAMILY FRIENDLY:
Iceland is a small country by population, which in 2014 was 325 000 people. It is well known as a very safe country to visit, especially with kids. It enjoys a low crime rate and very friendly locals. The larger hazards are the changing weather conditions and the dangers associated with the outdoors (injuries or getting lost). English is widely spoken, which is a comfort to many travellers.
Our Big Iceland Bucket List
So what did we come up with
- Visit an Active Volcano
- Experience the power of the Strokkur geyser
- Swim in the Blue Lagoon
- Explore the barren lands in search of puffins
- Catch the Northern Lights
- Drive the Golden Circle
- Snowmobile across the barren land
- Photograph a glacier
2017 seems so far away, but we are already filling up school holidays with our must-visit destinations, including visiting Iceland with kids.
Have you been to Iceland? if not, what draws you to this land of contrasts? Let me know in the comments.If you found this page helpful, i would love it if you would pin, share or tweet it on whatever social media platforms you use! Every little bit will help us fund our travels and continue to bring great content to our site!
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photo credits: Stokksnes Iceland by Emmanuel Milou, Icelandic Horse by Emmanual Garcia Crater lake by Lovepro Blue Lagoon Iceland Sarah Ackerman Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon by Moyan Brenn used under C.C 2.0