For the family who seek to escape reality for a little while in favour of adventure, fantasy and natural wonders, Iceland is the perfect destination for Christmas! With return flights in December for a family of four from Dublin to Reykjavik for as little as €1100, there has never been a better time to visit the land of fire and ice.
Reykjavik, the capital of Iceland, is about a three hour flight from Dublin. The flights are relatively inexpensive for this time of year but there are very few dates to choose from.
Suprisingly, Iceland does not become a huge ice block during winter! Due to the Gulf Stream, Iceland enjoys fairly mild winters and cool Summers. This makes it the perfect destination for families who would like to escape the miserable weather of Irish shores while still getting the Christmas vibes. Still, make sure sure you pack plenty of warm socks, gloves and thermals! It is also worth noting that Iceland only gets about six hours of sunlight during the winter months.
As the roads can be quite difficult to traverse for those who are not used to the terrain, we suggest that you choose accommodation in or near to Iceland's capital city, Reykjavik. If you use Reykjavik as your base, you can see most of the breathtaking sights of Iceland in one week if you plan strategically.
1) Whale- Watching
Wrap the kids up in their gloves and scarves and head out for a morning boat-trip and maybe spot a whale or two along the way. The kids will love the wonder and excitement of seeing a humpback whale wave to them and they may even get to race with dolphins back to shore!
2) Water Falls
Iceland is home to over twenty impressive waterfalls. If the day is clear and the sun is out, the kids can try to chase the rainbows produced by the cascades of water. Possibly the most impressive of these waterfalls is Gullfoss or the 'Golden Falls', the largest waterfall in Europe! If you have time after visiting the spectacular Gullfoss, you should make the trip to the nearby Great Geysir. Unfortunately, the geyser does not spout that often but when it does, you can marvel at the massive jet of water and steam which spurts up to 200 feet in the air!
Speaking of geysers, we cannot recommend Iceland without mentioning what the country is most famous for! Due to the islands volcanic activity, there are many magical sights to behold, but none are more intriguing than its geysers. Kids will love getting splashed by these natural phenomena and the sheer power of nature will capture the attention of even the most indifferent teen!
4) Blue Lagoon
About 40 miles from Reykjavik, there is a massive outdoor geothermal spa that the kids will just love! The shallow waters are warm and its white mud contains many health benefits for the skin. The kids will have a blast getting messy and muddy. There is an entrance fee to the Blue Lagoon however, €40 for adults, €25 for teens but kids get to enter for free.
5) Packaged Tours
There are many tours which incorporate all that Iceland has to offer in one neat schedule for you. Some of these can be expensive, depending what you would like to see or how tight of a schedule you have. We suggest you shop around and include the family when making the decision when opting for these tours as there can be a lot of travelling involved.
There are a number of options for getting the most out of your time in Iceland. You can stay in the city of Reykjavik and take tours from there although there will be a lot of travelling involved. Iceland is only 500km across though so as long as you plan properly you should be able to avoid day long trips. Alternatively, you could rent a car or a motor home in order do some serious sight-seeing on your own schedule. There are also domestic flights available in Iceland if you would like to pack in as much as possible into your trip but remember to take it easy on the kids.