In order to make life easier, I’ve decided to put on our first blog article (I mean, your and mine) talking you about a trip destination that many XL-families discard, for different reasons:
– Iceland in particular, the Nordic countries in general are EXPENSIVE;
– It is a sort of “difficult” land, sometimes inhospitable (glaciers, volcanoes, fast changing for weather conditions), NOT SUITABLE FOR TRAVELLING WITH CHILDREN;
– Wonderful, but what THE HELL DO YOU WANT TO DO THERE WITH CHILDREN??
The above is a summary of the most common doubts / perplexities, which grip potential travelers with a family in tow.
I have good news for you: in this blog we will never consider “I would, but I cannot“!
Replying to the reasons for the shipwreck of the above mentioned travel intentions:
– TRUE, Iceland is expensive, but with a few tricks and our suggestions you can save a lot of money;
– TRUE, also happened to us to run into adverse weather conditions, but following a pre-established path you should never have problems;
– TRUE, the peculiarity of Iceland is the nature that you will admire in many forms at very short distances, and this will also keep the attention and fascinate your children.
Speaking from my personal experience and point of view: our first-born kid, Francesco, has visited Iceland with us when he was 9 y.o., and told us that Iceland is the country that most struck him, and that he would like to come back.
More than any other we have visited: more than Japan, with unparalleled charm as its people, and its ancient traditions.
More than the United States, with its wonderful parks, Disneyworld and NASA.
More than France, Germany, Spain, Argentina …
None of these countries can overcome, in its imaginary, the uniqueness of the ecstatic beauty of Iceland, which lies exclusively in the power of nature, even when the nature is inclement.
Iceland is one of those places where you are obliged to reflect on the beauty of the nature that surrounds you, because there is not much else – like historical places or mega-parks – and this “other” would be superfluous.
Nothing would add; in fact – allow me the license – it would be like the lipstick on the lips of the woman you love: something that wouldn’t allow you to taste the first kiss to the end.
Now, let’s move on to some practical tips, with links to which you can connect to better organize your family trip:
Iceland is a country that must absolutely be included in your personal wish list, too different from any other country you have seen before; and with some little trick, it can also be for everyone, f.e.:
– booking the tickets in advance, we have chosen this company that was the cheapest (but considered a stopover in Germany): www.airberlin.com
– the car rental doesn’t necessarily has to be a Big-Foot or a 4 × 4 – they usually advise you to rent it, but it is not to take advantage of it: they have another conception of road hazards. However, if you are travelling with children, a 4 × 4 can give you a sense of safety, and is necessary if you plan to drive on some internal roads, outside the R1 route (Ring Road or Route 1).
We have booked at this link:http://www.cheapcarrentaliceland.com/book/cars/
– Always prefer guesthouses or cottages or hostels to the hotels, they are very clean and with all the comforts you may need; you will not have a bathroom in your room, but common bathrooms on the floor: in Iceland is absolutely ok. We have a list of accommodations that will allow you to visit all of Iceland, doing the full tour in only 10 days, and without too much trouble (ask us for free).
You can send an email and book directly, avoiding the agency costs, but first of all, register you and your family as eMembeship on the Hostelling International website, and don’t forget to communicate it in the booking phase:https://www.hihostels.com/
This will grant you special discounts, traveling with children.
– Restaurants are not so much expensive, if compared to restaurants in big European/US cities, but if you want to save money, you can buy your meal in markets or you can eat in the gas service stations, they serve hot dishes in addition to the usual sandwiches. Even tap water is drinkable, but in some cases it can have a strong sulfur smell, but if that is not a problem for you …!
– Most accesses to natural wonders are free, the least a traveler can do is to RESPECT these places, therefore: you must avoid disturbing or, worst, damaging nature and local fauna; f.e. taking away “souvenirs” as flowers , rocks, getting too close to the birds (puffins) to take selfies…; think that the biggest geysir has been obstructed by the coins that tourists threw inside it, using it like a wishing well … nothing to add, nature must always be respected.
What you need to prepare:
just let yourself be surprised. It is practically impossible that this land will leave you indifferent.
It will be an “on the road” journey, you will drive hundreds km., part of these on gravely roads (but well maintained), with fog, rain showers, steep descents and fjords, sometimes combining these elements, changing hotel every day, often in absolutely isolated places – because in Iceland you will find wonderful places on the way… and the cities – except for the capital Reykjavik in the south-west and Akureyri in the north – are like small fishing villages, inhabited by few hundred people …
Be confident, your “little explorers” will have much less problems than you “adults”, and will also eat the (excellent) local soups.
Don’t have any doubts about the fact that they will enjoy this beautiful journey.
Of course, it is not a trip that I would recommend to people who like to spent their holidays only in sunny seaside, like Capri!
This is basically a “hard” land, where one day a volcano explodes, and blocks the whole European air traffic, taking away a piece of the main road – the R.1 which, as I said, practically goes around all the island – and cuts the country in 2; or where a glacier decides to extend itself, and takes away a steel bridge with it …
This is the land of ice and fire, of elves, trolls, unique horses running free by the sea, of adventurous “Journey to the Center of the Earth”… and of ourselves.
Iceland is beautiful, harsh, and sometimes elusive.
And will leave in your soul something like a sense of unfinished, but don’t be surprised, you will not be alone: it’s just your desire to come back, the “Africa blues” or Brasilian “saudade”.
remember to bring an eye mask with you, like the ones you use on airplanes: night light at night can be annoying, filtering through the curtains.
Absolutely, don’t miss a day at the Blue Lagoon, which can also be booked online:http://www.bluelagoon.com/
Prices are high, but in line with those of the SPA of a certain level, and in this case there is no comparison that takes.
Also remember that it’s always a good idea to get a travel insurance for the whole family, that will protect you from any risks.
FEEL FREE TO CONTACT US IF YOU NEED ANY SUGGESTION! 🌎🤝✈
Massimo & Lorena
BE AWARE – COMING SOON! (short list of countries we have visited):
– Japan 🇯🇵
– USA 🇺🇸
– Argentina 🇦🇷
– Italy 🇮🇹
– Turkey 🇹🇷
– France 🇫🇷
– Austria 🇦🇹
– Sverige 🇸🇪
– Germany 🇩🇪
…and many more!