Welcome to Mumsnet!

We’re delighted you’ve found us. Join in the conversation on the UK's busiest site for parents

Get started »

Iceland in January

IcelandIceland's natural wonders are always a big draw, but January is a particularly great time to visit as it is one of the best times to see the Northern Lights.

A relatively small country with a population of only 300,000, Iceland is welcoming and hospitable – and it's never too difficult to get off the beaten track.

Descend into extinct volcanoes, relax in a geothermal pool, hike up a glacier and see the site where the Eurasian and North American tectonic plates divide. A trip to Iceland is educational as well as adventurous.

In a nutshell 

  • Will suit: adventurous families looking for an active short break. Travelling so early in the year, we'd suggest it suits families with older children best. There isn't much daylight, so younger children may prefer visiting in the summer months.
  • Flying time: 2.5 hours
  • Time difference: none
  • Average temperature: winter averages around 1°C, so pack your thermals.
  • Tourist information: Visit Iceland

How to get there

  • Flights from London, Manchester and Edinburgh with Wow Air, Icelandair and Easyjet.
  • Hotels can be booked via laterooms.com.

Where to stay 

  • The main city to stop in is Reykjavik, which is also a great base for exploring popular areas such as the Golden Circle and the Blue Lagoon. The city (the northernmost capital city in the world) is located on the waterfront and is a very small, walkable destination.

What to do

  • Iceland's famous geothermal spa, the Blue Lagoon, is located near Reykjavik and you can easily join an excursion or join a bus at Reykjavik's bus station. With an average temperature of 37°C, the pool, rich in natural mineral salts and algae, is a welcome tonic. Special boxes of silica mud are located around the pool that bathers can apply as mudpack to enjoy its exfoliating and cleansing benefits. Entrance is free for under-13s.
  • The Golden Circle is Iceland's most famous sightseeing tour and takes in sights like Gullfoss waterfall, Geysir hot spring area and Thingvellir National Park.
  • Killer Whales, Orkas, Humpback, Pilot, Minke, Sperm, Fin and Blue Whales are all waiting to be spotted in Icelandic waters. Whales can be seen all year but the main season lasts from April to mid-October. It's possible to join tours in Reykjavík, the North and West of Iceland.
  • Reykjavik Zoo and family park.

Top tips

  • To see the Northern Lights, visit between October and April. The best chance to see them is on a clear, cold night around a new moon.
  • Pack lots of layers. A famous saying in Iceland is 'if you don't like the weather, wait five minutes'. Be prepared to experience glorious sunshine, wind and snow all in the space of an hour.
  • Hire a car. Not only will it give you the freedom to explore, you will also come across fantastic waterfalls, geothermal hot pools and black sand beaches that you may not reach on an organised tour.

What Mumsnetters say about holidays in Iceland

  • It is expensive but WORTH IT! Susanmt
  • Not sure what the official line is on hot springs and little ones, but I would advise caution as we went in one that would have boiled lobsters! Others were cooler though, more like a warm bath. If you go to the Blue Lagoon near Reykjavik I believe that it is popular with families. Nappybrain
  • Go to Akureyri, nearly all the really fab sightseeing is around there. I camped, definitely the only affordable accommodation. And follow the Lonely Planet's Guide for currency exchange. zebra
  • If you're after beautiful scenery, clean air and some sightseeing of natural outdoorsy attractions, you'll love it. Oh, we also went on a boat trip and saw whales, beautiful! sheeplikessleep


Last updated: 13 days ago