We're heading to Iceland! Your recommendations, please...

We took the plunge and just booked flights to Iceland. Whilst some of us have been away at various times, we haven’t been on an international trip together as a family since before the pandemic so we are already looking forward to this one.

We have no plans as yet, so welcome your recommendations. We chose Iceland because our boys are active teenagers who don’t want to be relaxing (although that does sound rather tempting from a parental perspective!) but who instead who to be doing something. They want to be out there seeing the world and doing something different – an attitude that we’re all too keen to encourage. Quite frankly, we’re glad they don’t want to be spending time no games consoles – maybe because we’ve always wanted to accommodate the whole family on trips that we make together; for that reason, Iceland feels like the right choice right now. A nice combination of adventure and culture, hopefully filled with plenty of unique experiences.

And none of us have been, too, which will make it a bonus of discovery for us all. (I’ve spent quite a bit of time in Greenland in the past, but never Iceland.) That doesn’t mean to say we don’t already know a fair bit about what there is to see and do – it’s been on our wishlist for quite some time.

Here are some of the obvious attractions we hope to take in:

Geysers, glaciers, volcanos and waterfalls

As a geographer – and, more specifically, a glaciologist – I’m all too aware of the incredible natural beauty of Iceland. This will be the big draw for me personally. Given that this is so plentiful and our time on the world’s 18th largest island limited, I’m going to need to do some serious research into which places we do and don’t have time to see on this first visit. Waterfalls such as Seljalandsfoss seem like a no-brainer given its proximity to the ring road, but is there something to be said for going to some of Iceland’s less accessible natural phenomena in order to avoid the crowds?

Various attractions

The Blue Lagoon feels like it should be a must for any first-time visitor. I’m also interested by Into the Glacier where you can explore manmade tunnels into Langjökull. Although we probably want to be outside exploring, I think the National Museum of Iceland in Reykjavik could be interesting to see, as might the Skogar Museum where you can see how Icelanders once lived. The LAVA Centre at Hvolsvollur also looks to be a good experience. But for the most part I think we’ll be outside enjoying nature…

Flora and fauna

Talking of nature, the flora of Iceland is quite limited and includes around vascular 500 species of plant fighting for survival in challenging environments. There are very few trees and those that do exist tend to be quite small. (“What do you do if you’re lost in a forest in Iceland?” goes one joke… “Stand up!”)

But did you know that 60% of the world’s puffin population call Iceland home in the Summer months? That amounts to some 6 million puffins! The country is also home to around 8,000 Arctic foxes and 3,000 reindeer (although the latter are not endemic) – maybe if we’re lucky, we might see some of them. And I understand Husavik is the place to go to see whales.

And for another visit… the Northern Lights

We’re going to be going to Iceland in July – the month with the longest daylight hours – which means that unfortunately we won’t have the opportunity to see the Northern Lights on this visit. On the plus side, though, it will give us good reason to go back another time!

These are fairly well-known things to see for any trip to Iceland – we really would love to hear your feedback and suggestions with regards to what else we should not miss on our first trip. Are there any must-see events that we should be looking out for in the Summer? Please comment below and let us know!

Comments (10)

  1. Rob says:

    Iceland is a very logical choice for a family with active teenage boys and if you get to see the Northern Lights then it will be a big bonus.

    • Paul Johnson says:

      Hi Rob – we won’t see the Northern Lights on this trip. I think you really need to have to visit at the back end of August or beyond before you start seeing them. I am lucky enough to have seen fabulous displays in Greenland before, but it is something I’d love to experience with the family one day.

  2. Francis Palmer says:

    My recommendation is take lots of Icelandic Krona. Iceland is hellishly expensive.

    • Paul Johnson says:

      Hi Francis – I’m well aware it’s not a cheap country. On the plus side, the currency is significantly weaker than it was 5 years ago, so hopefully our British £s may go a little further than they would have done just a few years ago.

  3. Jack says:

    Well done. It’s time we took our chances and made international travel work again. We can’t keep putting it off.

    • Paul Johnson says:

      Thanks, Jack… I feel very optimistic for this year. I think we’re going to see a big surge in bookings in the coming weeks and months, and prices are only going to go one way. That’s my opinion and why I decided to just go ahead and book…

  4. Gary Childerly says:

    As travellers we have some responsibility to the industry too, particularly you as a travel blogger. Our demand created this huge industry and we’ve got a responsibility to keep people in jobs and help those travel businesses survive. Keep on booking those travel experiences.

  5. Geraldine Johnson says:

    I want to take the cruise to Iceland. However it’s extremely hard for me to get someone to go with me. I hope you guys have a wonderful time. Take plenty of pictures. Maybe one day I’ll get a chance to see Iceland

    • Paul Johnson says:

      Thank you, Geraldine – I’m sure we will! And I’ll be sure to take lots of pictures and share posts on here when we return. I hope you get to one day soon also.

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