When it comes to traveling with your baby and/or toddler you might question if it is truly worth all the extra effort it takes.
In short, it totally is!
At least that is our opinion :)
Once you have gotten that first adventure under your belt you may realize it is not as stressful as you may have expected it to be. And with a family-friendly culture, easy access to necessities for a baby, and one of the safest countries in the World, Iceland is the perfect place to head off for an international adventure with your little ones. We even have a tour package dedicated to families and their needs.
To help further ease your travel worries we have put together a guide full of helpful tips that will make traveling with your young aged child to Iceland a smooth adventure. Instead of worrying you will be able to focus on enjoying watching the wonders of Iceland through the eyes of your curious little one!
Packing for Iceland
One of the most stressful parts of traveling, figuring out what to pack. Add in traveling to Iceland, (a land of unpredictable weather) and packing for a baby, and it can make for an overwhelming situation. Questions such as, “do you pack the winter coat for your baby if you’re coming to Iceland in July?” or “should you pack snacks for your baby in case finding food is difficult?” may be running through your mind as you attempt to pack for your trip.
To make sure you don’t end up packing your entire house and keep the stress level to a minimum here are a few packing tips to keep in mind:
Type of Clothes to Pack
Layers are going to be key while traveling in Iceland, for both baby and everyone else in your group! A few ideas for different layers to have packed for your baby are:
- Warm under layer - thermal, wool, or fleece, something that will keep your baby warm and dry but is still breathable.
- Long sleeve onesie or shirt and long pants.
- Thick sweater or fleece top
- Outerwear: Coat (in winter months bring a winter coat, other times of the year a lighter coat with room for layers will work well), outer shell type pants to keep baby dry and clean from the elements, and waterproof shoes.
Swimsuit! You are going to want to take your little one to some of the Icelandic pools so be sure to pack their swimsuit and swim diaper. It is a good idea to bring a swim cap for them as well to protect their ears from the Icelandic wind.
Hats, mittens, and warm socks are items you will want to have with you no matter what time of the year you will be visiting Iceland. You never know when a chilly wind will blow through in the middle of summer so it is best to be prepared with these items on hand.
Waterproof items will always be useful to have but they are not a must so don’t stress if you do not already own them.
A bundled up Icelandic baby ready for a snowy adventure
Type of Supplies/Necessities to Pack
A baby carrier or baby backpack. The easiest way to visit the different sights in Iceland is by wearing your baby or toddler versus using a stroller. A lot of the sights you are going to want to visit will be outdoors on uneven terrain making it more difficult to reach with just a stroller. If you have the space bringing a stroller for walks around the city is nice, but not a must.
Toys for the car. Whatever your child’s favorite items are that will help keep them busy in the car are good to bring along. This way both baby and parents can have an enjoyable Icelandic road trip adventure.
Any daily necessities from home, such as bottles, favorite items or specific products. While you can find almost everything you will need for your little one in Iceland if there is something specific that you and your child are used to it is best to bring it along to have some comforts of home.
Don’t worry about packing: diapers, baby snacks, wipes and other smaller items, you can easily find these at most grocery stores. In addition, we recommend checking with your accommodation regarding access to a baby travel bed. Most likely you will have access to a travel bed so there is no need to worry about packing your own. But do be sure to confirm this before traveling.
Wearing your baby in a baby carrier is a great way to explore around Iceland with your little one
Where to Shop for Baby Items in Iceland
No matter how many packing lists you create there is always something that gets left at home. Whether this is a warm hat for your baby or not enough diapers, you can find it all in Iceland.
If you need to pick up any clothing items or restock your supplies, here are a few locations to go:
Barnaloppan is a used children’s store where individuals can come and rent a space to sell their used items. Here you will find an assortment of sizes and items, all for a great price. Children’s clothing is very expensive in Iceland so this is the place to go if you need to pick up something but don’t want to spend a ton of money.
Kringlan or Smáralind are the two malls in Reykjavik where you will find an assortment of stores including several stores selling children’s clothing. Anything you might have forgotten you will be able to find here for your little one.
Want to get some proper Icelandic wool items for your little one? If you will be in Reykjavik during the weekend head down to the flea market Kolaportið located near the harbor and you will find several booths selling a variety of Icelandic wool products. Often times you will even see the individual sitting behind the booth knitting their products!
Running low on your diaper supply? Or just need some snacks for your baby? A quick trip to the local grocery store and you will be able to find all the items you need. Bonus, Kronan or Hagkaup can be found around Iceland and will have all the necessary items your little one needs.
Eating in Iceland
If you are the type of traveler that enjoys getting out and trying new restaurants and cafes you will more than enjoy Iceland! Not only is there a great foodie scene here, but also most all restaurants and cafes are very baby-friendly so you won’t have to miss out on any tasty treats while in Iceland.
Here are some further tips and information for eating in Iceland with a little one:
- First off, for all the mothers out there breastfeeding Iceland is a VERY breastfeeding-friendly culture. No need to worry about receiving strange looks if you need to feed your little one in public. And if you prefer privacy feel free to ask the location you are at if they can accommodate you, they will certainly do the best they can to find a comfortable place for you to feed your child.
- Many restaurants and cafes in Iceland will have highchairs for you to use making it easy and comfortable to have your little ones join you at the table.
- Want to head out for a nice meal with your family and looking for some family-friendly restaurants. These locations will be perfect for you and your family:
- Kaffi Laugalækur - located near downtown Reykjavik this gastropub has a great area for babies and toddlers to play around while parents can sit close by and enjoy a cup of coffee or meal.
- Saffran - a local chain with a menu full of healthy items, several locations have play areas that your toddler will love.
- Hamborgarafabrikkan - a popular place for locals to go with their family. Here you will find a menu that will appeal to all in the family in a relaxed dining environment.
- Kaffitár at Perlan - enjoy a coffee and cake with one of the best views in Reykjavik. Your little ones will love taking in the views through the domed glass walls while you enjoy a tasty treat.
- Efstidalur - while out exploring the Golden Circle make a stop at this charming farm turned restaurant and hotel. You can enjoy a meal while looking at all the animals, a dining experience your children will love.
- Most all the restaurants and cafes you will visit in Iceland will have at least one restroom that has a changing table available for you to use. If you are unsure where it is located, as they are not always marked, make sure to ask the staff so they can point you in the right direction and avoid having to use the bathroom floor as a changing area.
- Plan on stocking up on items at the grocery store? You may find yourself surprised at how many items you recognize in the grocery stores in Iceland! Some favorites of Icelandic children to add to your grocery cart:
- Icelandic skyr, a delicious and healthy greek style yogurt.
- Kleinur, an Icelandic donut little ones love.
- Flatcakes, perfect for spreading butter onto, or adding some lunch meat, it makes for an easy meal to take on the go.
- Icelandic hot dogs, you will want to get some for yourself!
Your toddler can even get in on the grocery shopping fun in Iceland!
Come ready to try some tasty food and have fun letting your little one taste new Icelandic items to see what their favorites will be!
Traveling Around Iceland
Just because you are traveling with your young child does not mean you need to stick to staying in the capital city Reykjavik. While you may not want to jump in for a 10 day round trip around Iceland, choosing a few locations to spend a couple of nights at will be a fun and manageable way to explore more of the country.
To make the most of your travels around Iceland here are a few tips:
- Coordinate long drives with nap time. Make the car ride more enjoyable for all and schedule your day so that the longer driving stretches will be during your child’s nap time. This way you can enjoy the scenery with a bit of quiet time, and your little one will be ready to go explore when you arrive at the next destination.
- Book a farm stay or cottage style accommodation. These options will give you more space for your family to move around in, and typically will come with household items so that you can maintain your family routine (such as cooking meals or bath time) as best as possible. See our selection of farm and cottage selection here.
- Be prepared for the light (or darkness) to affect your child’s schedule. While you may be used to your little one going to bed no problem this could be a different story when you visit Iceland in the summer and it is still nice and bright out at 9pm. And if you are used to your baby being up with the sun, this will be a bit tricky when the sun doesn’t rise until after 10am during the winter months. Be aware of the time of year you are visiting Iceland to properly prepare for the effects it might have on your child’s sleep schedule.
- Don’t overschedule your itinerary. This isn’t a tip just for Iceland, but good to be mentioned as it is an important one. Leave plenty of wiggle room in your schedule to make time for extra pit stops, a longer visit exploring waterfalls, or when a nap suddenly keeps you at your accommodation for longer than anticipated. You don’t want a schedule that leaves you running from place to place. The trip will be much more enjoyable with a slower pace of travel so you have the wiggle room to see where the day takes you as you never know what your little one will find most interesting to visit.
Activities in Iceland
It can be intimidating trying out activities in a new country where you aren’t really sure how things will be. Add in bringing along your baby and you may find yourself feeling too nervous to do much of anything! We totally understand this. Not only are you in a foreign place, but you have the concerns about keeping your baby happy and comfortable as well.
To help ease your concerns, and make sure you get to enjoy the best activities in Iceland with your baby, here are a few tips to make the experience smoother:
- Visit locations during non-peak times. While visiting famous attractions such as Geysir, Skogafoss waterfall and Jökulsárlón do your best to schedule your visit around peak times. From around mid-morning to mid-afternoon you can expect these locations to be very busy as this is the main time period where the tour buses will be continually arriving. Opting for early mornings or evenings will make visits to famous attractions a more calm and peaceful experience for you all.
- Use the family-friendly facilities at the swimming pools to make your visit with a baby a stress-free adventure. Whether you will be visiting a local swimming pool or a geothermal spa such as the Blue Lagoon there will be equipment to use for those with babies and young children. In the shower area, you will find baby bathtubs, highchairs that can be used in the showers, and changing tables so that you can easily prepare both yourself and the baby for the pools.
The popular Icelandic baby swim instructor Snorri Magnússon in action - Photo source
- Visit a local library on a rainy day. As you will be traveling in Iceland be prepared for some days where the weather is not the best for outdoor adventures with your little one. A great activity for you all to do together is to enjoy the children's area in the local libraries. All the libraries have a specific area for children that will include books in English, puzzles, and other toys your baby and toddler will enjoy.
- Make use of the local school playgrounds. If you will be staying in a town and are looking for a fun activity to do with your baby or toddler head to a local school and enjoy their playgrounds. When the schools are done for the day, typically after 5pm, they are open to the public to use. Many playgrounds will have equipment perfect for your young ones from baby swing sets to sandboxes making it a fun (and free) family adventure!
When you are traveling with your little ones there is some practical information that is important to know just in case anything happens. So to end our tips here are a few practical information items to keep on hand while traveling in Iceland.
English is widely spoken in Iceland so if you find yourself in need of assistance or with questions don’t hesitate to reach out and ask someone. If they are unable to communicate chances are very high that someone else nearby will be able to switch to English to assist you.
If you need to purchase medicine you will need to go to a pharmacy as the local stores do not carry any type of medicine. In Iceland the pharmacy is called Apotek and you will be able to find one in most towns around the country.
If you need to contact a doctor while in Iceland you can find the contact information on the website here. This website has information, in English, of clinics all over Iceland so you can find the nearest location to you.
Just in case, the emergency phone number in Iceland is 112. Always better to be fully prepared than not.
We hope these tips will help answer any questions or concerns you may have about visiting Iceland with your baby and/or toddler. For more information on activities to do with your family while in Iceland check out this article.