Why Iceland is the Hottest New Destination for Families
Iceland: land of volcanoes, glaciers and waterfalls. This rugged landscape has long captivated travellers with its mystique and is quickly becoming a hotspot for families. It’s little surprise, as youngsters can spot cute-as-a-button puffins, watch whales, see geysers erupt and explore an out-of-this-world landscape, all in easy reach of the capital city, Reykjavik.
Here are some reasons why Iceland is the perfect holiday destination for families.
Icelandic locals are renowned for their warmth. In fact, in 2013, the country was ranked as the friendliest in the world. Your family will be greeted by sunny smiles and your children engaged in conversation: Icelanders love to chat. Whatever you need – from directions to recommendations – locals will be happy to help.
Compared to many European destinations, Iceland is really affordable, especially since more companies have started offering cheap flights and convenient package deals.
Once you arrive, you could save even more pennies by renting a car and exploring on your own, as opposed to with a tour group. After all, Iceland’s spectacular landscape is completely free. If you do decide to use a tour company, however, many offer discounts for children under the age of 12.
Iceland’s Mars-like landscape is captivating. From towering volcanoes and imposing glaciers, to lava fields and black sand beaches, the whole place looks like a film set – a fantasy land for children.
Some fascinating wildlife calls Iceland home. You can spot wild ducks and whooper swans right in the centre of Reykjavik, while orca, minke and humpback whales call the country’s fjords and bays home. On the cliffs reside rainbow-beaked puffins and, in the west, wily Arctic foxes: plenty to fascinate young minds.
In a survey conducted at the University of Iceland in 2007, more than 80 per cent of participants said that they believed in the existence of elves. This belief has endured since the island was first inhabited, with locals also taking heed of tales about trolls, dwarves and goblins. Your kids can even take part in troll hunts – heaps of fun!
If you need any reassurance about your family’s safety in this beautiful part of the world, look no further. The crime rate is close to zero, while in a study of the Icelandic class system carried out by the University of Missouri, just 1.1 per cent of participants identified as upper class, and only 1.5 per cent as lower class. This speaks volumes about why Iceland is so free from uproar and protest.
From the milky waters of the Blue Lagoon to the gaping European and North American tectonic plates at Þingvellir, you’ll never be short of something to occupy the kids. The west of Iceland – a land of accessible extremes – was even commended in Lonely Planet’s ‘Best in Travel 2016’. Why not take in the sights from the backs of Icelandic horses? They’re a petite and particularly affectionate breed.
Affordable, awe-inspiring and absolutely perfect for families, the land of fire and ice looks to be on everybody’s travel wish list in 2016.