During your six days in Iceland, you’ll wander the world’s most northerly capital city, see nature’s greatest light show, walk on a glacier and spy Icelandic wilderness in its raw glory. Here’s a holiday that will widen the imaginations of everyone in the family, whether they’re young or young at heart.
You’ll begin your frozen adventure in Iceland’s capital, Reykjavik. A guided tour will highlight many of its best bits, like its iconic Lutheran church Hallgrímskirkja and many museums – kids will love Reykjavik’s rich Viking past on display at the latter. After dark, you’ll hop on a boat in search of the northern lights, a teal-tinged light display that will leave a lasting family memory you’ll be retelling for years to come.
Then, it’s time to leave the city behind in search of Iceland’s greatest wild corners. Begin by visiting two of Iceland’s most dramatic waterfalls, seeing the beauty of Seljalandsfoss from behind its foamy white curtain and admiring the raw power of Skógafoss. Then, spend time admiring the soot-black sands and otherworldly rock formations of Reynisfjara before another night on the lookout for the aurora. Crank up the adventure factor in Iceland’s southern reaches with several quintessentially Icelandic experiences: spy calving ice at Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon, tread on thick ice with a glacier walk in Vatnajökull National Park and then traverse the Icelandic wilderness on horseback. The crowning moment of your trip will undoubtedly be the Golden Circle, Iceland’s greatest hoard of natural treasures. Spy the steaming hot springs of Geysir, the glacier-fed waterfall Gullfoss and the stripped-back beauty of Thingvellir National Park – a trio of great icons to end your family adventure in Iceland.
Elevating the level of luxury in the capital, the Reykjavik Konsulat Hotel has taken over a former upmarket 20th-century department store owned by pioneering entrepreneur Consul Thomsen. Many original features have survived, including vibrant mid-1900s furnishings and airy rooms filled with monochrome photographs from Thomsen’s era. You’re also close to sights like the Harpa Concert Hall, Icelandic Parliament and Hallgrímskirkja, all of which are within walking distance.
Situated slap-bang in between Skaftafell Nature Reserve and Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon, Fosshotel Glacier Lagoon is ideally placed to make the most of southern Iceland’s natural wonders. The hotel itself is pleasantly Scandi in its cutting-edge design, the charcoal-black wood-panelled exterior reflecting Iceland’s volcanic nature. Inside, the elegant minimalism proves less is more and the numerous windows ensure the wild outdoors is always in your eyeline.
Owned by the same family across seven generations, Skálakot Manor Hotel is working farm turned luxury boutique. The interiors are 1920s art deco, with the olive green and slate-grey colour palette references to the wild outdoors. Cosiness, comfort and a real family-home feel are ever-present in the form of crackling fireplaces, deluxe furnishings and warm smiles. Icelandic horses are still bred on site and horseback tours offer unique ways to see the surrounding landscape.
So close to the Geysir springs that steam might waft in through your window, the phenomenon its named after is right on the doorstep of Hótel Geysir. With its entirely wooden façade, Hótel Geysir’s cool minimalism and floor-to-ceiling windows ensure the focus is entirely kept on its geothermal neighbour. The hotel’s curious history as a former training facility for the ancient Scandinavian martial art of glíma is fondly remembered in stylish black and white images of athletes dotted throughout.
Etched into an ancient lava field, The Retreat Hotel & Spa seamlessly blends otherworldly Icelandic landscape with sleek Scandi design. With slate greys and moss greens, the hotel’s colour palette heartily borrows from its encompassing wild surrounds. As its name implies, everything is geared towards relaxation, whether it’s bathing in the milky blue waters of its mineral-rich lagoon, morning yoga classes or indulging in a treatment at its subterranean spa.
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