How to Hike Kjeragbolten Guide


Hike Kjeragbolten

Kjerabolton is one of the most scenic and exhilarating hikes you will ever complete.  The views and challenge (requires the use of chains) to reach the summit, combined with stepping out onto the terrifying yet electrifying Kjerag rock (boulder in between two large rocks with an over 2400 foot drop into the fjord) makes it a hike you will never forget.  The adrenaline rush from it is truly invigorating.  Here is our guide on how to hike Kjeragbolten in Norway.  

Kjeragbolten Hike

FYI: This post is written based on a hike taken in late August.  See our Two Week Fjord Road Trip (coming soon***) guide for all the details on this trip. We took this trip with our 12 month old daughter.  For all our baby travels tips and tricks see our Top 10 Baby Travel Tips and our How to Hike with a Baby post. 

Note: Kjerabolton is one of our top 5 favorite hikes we have ever completed.  That is saying a lot too as we have hiked more miles than we can count all over the world including many US National Parks and Europe.  Definitely add Kjeragbolten to your bucket list! 

Disclosure: This article contains affiliate links. That means that, at no cost to you, we may get a small commission if you purchase through these links. This helps us keep providing travel resources for you!


Hiking Kjeragbolten FAQs


How long of a hike is Kjeragbolten? How much elevation gain on the Kjeragbolten hike? 

Kjerabolton hike is 7.5 miles (12 km) with 1870 feet (570 m) of elevation gain.  It is an out & back hike. 


How do I hike Kjeragbolten?  What are the Kjeragbolten hike logistics? 

The Kjeragbolten hike has 3 steep and strenuous climbs, mostly completed in the first half on the way out.  During these climbs, there are chains to hold onto to help you hike up/down.  We really used these chains to help us stay upright on the steep rockside during our descent and ascent.  Kjeragbolten is a total of 7.5 miles (12 km) with 1870 feet (570 m) of elevation gain.  

Hike Kjeragbolten

The first climb is the most technically difficult and steep while hiking Kjerabolten.  You do not need technical climbing skills per se but must be very careful with your footing while climbing these areas with the chains, especially on your descent.  Many people turn around during the first climb as they find it to be too strenuous and scary.  However, if you can complete the first climb while hiking Kjerabolten, you can complete the whole hike.  Don’t give up!  Natalie hiked these ascents and descents with our daughter in the backpack carrier.   

When not completing these steep climbs, you hike into valleys and over ridges.  You will feel like you are on top of the world at times! The views are spectacular.  

After the third climb, you enjoy a relatively easy hike for about a mile until you reach Kjerag.  


Tip: Be sure to follow the red T’s painted on the ground while hiking Kjeraboton.  During foggy conditions, people have lost their way and had to be rescued.  Even on a very sunny day, we were sure to stay on track with the red T’s as it would be easy to get off the path on the boulders.  


Can I hike Kjeragbolten in the rain? 

No! Caution: Do NOT hike Kjeragbolten if it is going to rain or recently rained. 

When we hiked Kjeragbolten, it had not rained in over a week.  Yet, there were still some slightly damp spots on the rocks that were VERY slippery.  With only a couple spots like this, it was manageable taking these spots very slow and using the chains to aid us.   However, if all the rocks were wet, this would not be safe to hike.  You are hiking up a large smooth slick boulder with chains in several sections.  One big slick smooth rock is not conducive to staying upright even with the chains. 

Hike Kjeragbolten

Tip: Check weather prior to attempting to hike.  Avoid foggy or rainy weather at all costs.  People have needed to be rescued after losing their way in the fog. 

Looking for great hiking boots?  Here are links to the ones we’ve used for 8+ years and highly recommend: Men’s Keen Waterproof Hiking Boots & Womens Keen Waterproof Hiking Boots


How far is the drop from Kjerag into the Fjord?

Sources vary on exactly how far the drop is but we can verify, it’s far!  It is at least a 2400 foot (750 meter) drop from the iconic Kerag boulder between the two rocks into the Fjord. 


How is stepping onto the Kjerag Boulder when hiking Kjeragbolten?

Standing on Kjerag Boulderawae

It is scary.  Like really scary!  We are not going to sugar coat it.  Stepping on to Kjerag is terrifying yet exhilarating.  About a ⅓ of the people we saw who attempted to walk onto the Kjerag couldn’t do it.  Sam was almost one of them.  He made the mistake of looking down (at the 2400 foot fall) on his first attempt before stepping onto the boulder.   He just gave a cute little wave from the side of the boulder instead of stepping onto it (see picture) with his  first attempt.   After Natalie persuaded him that we were not hiking Kjerabolten anytime soon again, he decided to try it again and was able to go out onto the rock.  Natalie got onto the rock with her first attempt.  Our best advice, take it slow and don’t look down! 

Here are pictures of what the Kjerag boulder looks like from behind:

Stepping onto Kjerag Boulder

Off to the left of the boulder is where people line up to step onto it one at a time.  There is a chain link drilled into the rock you can grab onto to help you get down to the boulder that we both did use.  See our Always Have A Trip Planned Instagram for footage of us walking on the boulder versus the shot on the boulder.  

The boulder is actually bigger than it looks in pictures. We both agree that Kjerag is stable and plenty big for you to step onto. However, despite being able to see this clearly with our own eyes, we were both scared to step onto the boulder. We still think this hike is worth it even if you do not step onto the Kjerag boulder because the views along the hike and at the boulder are truly stunning.  Stepping out onto the boulder is just the adrenaline rush icing on the cake!   


Has anyone died hiking Kjeragbolten/stepping onto Kjerag?  

No! At the time of writing this post, no one has died hiking Kjerabolten.  We actually find this surprising as one wrong step on this boulder would send you plummeting to your death in Lysefjord.   Stepping onto this boulder is, in our opinion, scarier than Angel’s Landing in Zion National Park where 10+ people have died in the chains section.  However, fewer people hike Kjeragbolten and only stepping out onto the Kjerag boulder itself has a dangerous drop.  The rest of the hike is not along steep drop offs, differing from Angel’s landing whereas wrong step throughout the chains section may send you falling to your death.


How long does it take to hike Kjeragbolten?   

It takes about 6-8 hours to hike Kjeragbolten.  It took us about 6.5 hours total to hike Kjeragbolten, including stopping at the summit for about an hour taking pictures and a break.  If you do not have 35 extra pounds strapped to your back and/or a 12 month old with you, you may be able to hike it faster.  


Is the Kjeragbolten hike busy?

In comparison to other Norway hikes, such as  Pulpit Rock Hike (post coming soon***), no.  We hiked Kjerabolten from approximately 9:30 AM-4PM on a Sunday.  There were definitely other people on the trail but there was plenty of space on the trail to have our own room.  We never felt crowded or traffic jammed on this hike.  The number of people was similar to that we saw while hiking Trolltunga (post coming soon***).  

Hike Kjeragbolten

When to hike Kjeragbolten?  

Only hike Kjeragbolten in the summer as the road leading to the trailhead is closed in the winter. Ideally, hike it June 1st-September 1st.  Outside of that window, it is likely the road to the Kjeragbolten trailhead will be covered in snow/closed and the trail will be covered in snow as well.


How much does it cost to hike Kjeragbolten? 

Parking fee 300 NOK that you pay to the attendant when you arrive. 


How to find Kjeragbolten Hike? 

Type in Kjerag parking to Google Maps to locate the Kjeragbolten Trailhead


What is the closest town to Kjeragbolten? 

Closest town is Lysebotn (15 mins away), 7.5 hours from Oslo, 2.5 hours from Stavanger (many people set up base here and also hike Pulpit Rock (post coming soon***)).  


Where to stay while hiking Kjeragbolten? 

We highly recommend staying at Fidjeland Hytteutleige between Stavanger and the Kjeragbolten Trailhead.  These cute cabins are located less than an hour from the Kjeragbolten trailhead. They are just off the main road yet in a peaceful farm setting.  This was the perfect cozy cabin for us.  There also was a fun swing in the backyard our daughter enjoyed. 


What else should I do while at the Kjeragbolten trailhead? 

Make sure your driving route takes you on the whirlwind road Lysevegan either before or after your hike to Kjeragbolten.  This road has 32 hairpin turns and a 9.4% gradient.  To access, turn left out of Kjerag Parking lot.  


Can you hike Kjerabolton with kids? 

Yes! We completed this hike with our 12-month old daughter in a backpack carrier.  We would not recommend front carrying on this hike though as it is very steep in spots, making the decent while front carrying dangerous.  However, we felt comfortable with her in the backpack carrier the whole time.  We saw one person carrying a baby that was maybe 3 months old (in a front carrier, again would not recommend) but other than that, we saw no kids under 10.  We did see about 5 kids likely between 10-15 years old on this hike who did not seem to have any problem with completing it.  If not carrying your child, we’d recommend kids be 10+ years old and have a decent amount of hiking experience to complete this hike.  It is long, strenuous and requires some skill using the chains.  

For all our tips on hiking with a baby, see our How to Hike with a Baby post. 


Can kids step out onto the Kjerag Boulder?

We would say no but that is up to you as the parent.  We did see a boy who was about 10 years old step out onto the boulder with a rope tied around his waist that his mom held.  We both stepped out on to Kjerag separately without our baby and were terrified enough without our child.  


Can you step onto the Kjerag Boulder with someone else? 

Yes, but we do not recommend it. We both stepped out onto the boulder alone and would advise stepping onto it one at a time.  The boulder is large enough that two people could step out on it together but it is certainly safer to do it one at a time. 


Is Kjeragbolten one of the best hikes in Norway? 

Yes!  WE LOVED hiking Kjerabolten.  We highly recommend you complete this hike at some point in your life.  It is a challenging hike with the chains on the climbs and exhilarating with stepping out onto the rock.  In comparison, we both did like hiking Trolltunga a bit better than Kjeragbolten but it is hard to compare both as they are very different hikes.  Hike both and let us know your thoughts!  

Note: You have to be on your A-game at most times during this hike due to using the chains and the steep nature of the climbs.  It is not a flow state hike. 

Kjeragbolten Hike

Hiking Kjeragbolten was one of the highlights of our Two Week Fjord Road Trip (post coming soon***).   See this guide for all the details on planning an epic fjord road trip of your own.  


We hope this guide helps you plan your trip to Kjeragbolten.  Anything you’d add to our guide? We’d love to hear your feedback and questions.  Please leave us a comment!

Did you find this post helpful? If so, please share it with a friend, like our Always Have a Trip Planned Facebook Page, follow our Always Have A Trip Planned Instagram and subscribe to our emails below.

And remember, Always Have A Trip Planned!

Iceland with a Baby Itinerary


Iceland with a Baby

Iceland, also known as the “The Land of Fire and Ice”, is really a magical and memorable country to visit, especially with your baby along for the fun.  From glaciers to waterfalls to volcanoes to coastline to geothermal baths, the list of natural wonders for you and your baby to adore goes on and on. With Iceland being one of the most scenic and safest countries in the world, it’s the perfect place to travel with your baby.  Our Iceland with a baby itinerary will cover seeing all the natural wonders listed above in 9 days while driving the Ring Road/ entire island (over 1400 miles in total) with your baby in tow.  We visited Iceland when our daughter was 10 months old and had a really lovely trip with her.  

Iceland with a baby

You will not find a better Iceland with a baby itinerary out there.  We spent years researching and have picked out the best stops along/off the Ring Road to make for the best trip for you and your baby in Iceland.  And when we say years, we mean years.  This trip was originally supposed to occur in May 2020 pre-baby (we all know how 2020 went…).  Instead, our Iceland trip took place in June 2022 with our 10-month-old daughter.  This gave us extra time to fine tune our trip and to also make it baby friendly. 

We also have paced this ‘Iceland with a Baby Itinerary’ out based on how we were able to complete traveling around Iceland with our baby in real time.  We had a loose plan of what we wanted to do before we went on our trip and then we planned this trip out based on how things played out real time each day.  Everything takes more time with a baby, and this real time method helped us better gauge how much we could realistically do in one day.  Here is our 9-Day visiting Iceland with a Baby Itinerary. 


Note: This guide covers our Iceland Ring Road Itinerary that we traveled with our baby.  For more specific baby tips while planning your Iceland trip, please our Top 10 Baby Travel Tips, How to Hike with a Baby and Flying with a Baby posts. Further, this itinerary is really fit for anyone to use but was made with a baby at the forefront of our plans. 

Disclosure: This article contains affiliate links. That means that, at no cost to you, we may get a small commission if you purchase through these links. This helps us keep providing travel resources for you!


Overview of Iceland with a Baby Itinerary 

  • Day 1: Arrive & Golden Circle
    • Þórufoss , Thingvellir National Park, Efstidalur, Strokkur Geysir, Gullfoss, Faxi Waterfall and Kerid Crater   
  • Day 2:  Southern Iceland 
    • Seljalandsfoss, Skógafoss, Skogar Museum, Kvernufoss, Dyrhólaey, Reynisfjara Beach Lighthouse/Peninsula, Vik  
  • Day 3: Southern/Eastern Iceland
    • Fjaðrárgljúfur , Vatnajökull National Park (Svartifoss,Svínafellsjökull Glacier), Hof, Hangandifoss/Múlagljúfur Canyon, Jökulsárlón Glacier Lake/Diamond Beach   
  • Day 4: Eastern Iceland
    • Hofn, Vestrahorn Mountain, Hengifoss and Litlanesfoss Hike, Egilsstaðir, Seydisfjordur 
  • Day 5: Eastern Iceland
    • Fardagafoss, Rjukandafoss, Stuðlagil Canyon, Dettifoss/Selfoss, Hverir Mud Pots, Grjótagjá 
  • Day 6: Northern Iceland
    • Myvatn, Myvatn Nature Baths, Husavik, Godafoss, Akueryki
  • Day 7: Northern/Western Iceland
    • Akueryki,  Kolugljufur Canyon, Hvammstangi, Kirkjufellsfoss/Kirkjufell, Svortuloft Lighthouse, Arnarstapi 
  • Day 8: Snaefellsnes Peninsula 
    •  Arnarstapi to Hellnar Trail, Rauöfeldargjá Canyon, Búðakirkja church, Reykjavik 
  • Day 9: Reykjavik & Fly Home  
    •  Reykjavik 

Day 1 Iceland with a Baby: Arrive & Golden Circle

Fly into Reykjavik

We arrived on our flight to Iceland with our baby around 10:30 AM local time (departed from Chicago the evening prior).  We’d recommend arriving earlier than this if possible.  By the time we got our luggage picked up, went through customs and got our campervan, it was 1:30 PM.  By the time we got groceries, it was 3 PM local time.  If we were to redo this trip, we would have booked a flight that landed earlier in the day to get more of a jump start on our day.

Tip: Consider staying on your home time if visiting during June or July

Due to the midnight sun (it never actually got dark) occurring in Iceland during our June trip, we never switched our time schedules.  Instead, we stayed on US Central Time the entire trip.  So even though the time would be 12 AM or 1 AM local time, it would only be 7 PM or 8 PM on our clocks (5 hour time difference). 

This decision was helpful not only for our baby but also us.  We never had to deal with time changes and had quite a smooth transition into and back out of our trip (although it is never easy to come back to everyday life from a trip…). Also, exploring late at night was great for being the only people at many attractions. Turns out, most people do not do this.  So, when we would be at normally very busy attractions at 12 AM local time, we usually were the only ones there. Score!

Tip: Buy groceries in Reykjavik before starting your trip

Grocery store options are very limited once you leave Reykjavik.  Stock up on some essentials before you head off on your journey 

We recommend stopping at Kronan to pick up some groceries. We found this grocery store chain to have the best prices and variety throughout our trip.  On the north side of the Island (where we did not encounter any Kronans), we would recommend stopping at Netto.  

There is also a Costco in Reykjavik that we stopped at in addition to Kronan to buy some drinks in bulk.  

Tip: If you have extra room in your luggage, bring as much nonperishable food as you can.

Food is EXPENSIVE in Iceland.  The expense of food is logical given that Iceland is an island but coming from the midwest where cost of food is very affordable, we were in a bit of sticker shock.  Bring what you can to cut back on cost. 

Drive and Visit Golden Circle Attractions

Þórufoss (1 hour 5 minutes from Airport)

Porufoss is a slight detour off the regular Golden Circle route, but it is definitely worth the time to stop as you will likely be the ONLY people there! This waterfall is so peaceful. It is less impressive than some other waterfalls you will see on this trip, yet it is likely one of the only ones you will have to yourself, especially on the Golden Circle. Our baby loved watching and listening to the waterfall here. 

Iceland with a baby

Finding Porufoss:  After about 15km on Route 36, turn left onto Route 48.  Drive for about 5km and then you will see a small sign on the right for Þórufoss.

Note: If a site has FOSS at the end of it, it’s a waterfall. FOSS=waterfall. 

Thingvellir National Park (16 minutes from Porufoss)

The next stop on your Iceland road trip with a baby is Thingvellir National Park.  This National Park is of historic importance as this is where the Icelandic Parliament met between 930-1798. Thingvellir National Park also is home to the rift between the North American and the Eurasian tectonic plates.  These tectonic plates move 1mm-18mm/year!  Between the tectonic plates is some of the clearest and cleanest water in the world.  

Thingvellir National Park with a baby Iceland

Note: You can snorkel between the tectonic plates here.  We initially had a tour booked to snorkel the Silfra Fissure with Tröll Expeditions in May 2020.  We did not rebook this for our June 2022 trip as we had our baby in tow and also felt we would prefer to do more hiking here than snorkeling. 

Parking is 750 Kronos (pay in bathroom) 

Öxarárfoss Hike 

In Thingvellir National Park, be sure to hike to Oxarafoss. The falls here cascades over the rift between the tectonic plates that is a visual reminder that you are standing on the border of these tectonic plates.  This 2.6 mile loop hike goes by fast.  This hike goes through Thingvellir National Park, past several other attractions in the park, including Pingvellir church, making the hike seem shorter. 

Oxararfoss with a baby Iceland

2.6 mile loop hike with 744 feet of elevation gain

Oxararfoss AllTrails

Efstidalur (40 minutes from Thingvellir National Park)

The next stop on your Iceland trip with a baby itinerary is Efstidalur, a family run farm turned into an ice cream parlor and restaurant.  Here you can enjoy farm-to-table dining while overlooking the mountains or the farm cows. During dinner, our baby liked watching the cows eat through the large windows as well as playing with the silverware.  Oh the simple joys of a baby.   

Efstidalur Iceland with a baby

Warning: It’s a bit pricey.  Dinner and ice cream for the 2 of us (baby did not get her own meal) cost about $75 USD. This is pretty expensive in comparison to US prices but actually quite on par for Iceland standards, especially for farm-to-table dining.  

Finding Efstidalur: 801 Bláskógabyggð.  On Route 37, after the split from 365, drive about 12km (you will pass Route 366 on the right). You will see a sign for the farm on the left side of the road.

Efstidalur

Strokkur Geysir (11 minutes from Efstidalur)

The next stop on your Iceland trip with a baby is the Strokkur Geysir, a thermal area that erupts every 6-10 minutes. Our baby loved watching the Geysir bubble up and erupt. She thought it was funny and would giggle when it started to bubble. 

Strokkur Geysir with a baby

Tip: Go late at night for little to no people. We went right before sunset at 11:30 PM local time in June and only saw two other people.  Otherwise, this spot is very popular and busy during the day. 

Gullfoss (10 minutes from Strokkur Geysir)

Next stop on your Iceland road trip with your baby is Gulfoss, one of the largest and most powerful waterfalls in Iceland.  Gulfoss flows down in a three step staircase-like pattern before plunging into the river below in two dramatic stages.  It is a short walk from the parking lot down to the waterfall here but if you walk on all the trails around the waterfall, it is about a mile. 

Gullfoss with a baby

Tip: Go early in the morning or late at night to have it to yourself. Otherwise, like Strokkur, it is really busy. 

Gullfoss AllTrails

Faxi Waterfall (10 minutes from Gullfoss)

Faxi is a waterfall hidden gem that most people drive right by.  Here you walk from the parking lot down to the waterfall in a couple short minutes.  This stop is not a must do but a quick 20 minute stop that we recommend taking if you have time.  We saw some very friendly Icelandic horses just before we pulled into this parking lot.

Faxi Waterfall

Finding Faxi Waterfall: Located on road 35 between Strokkur Geysir and the town of Reykholt (there is a small sign on the left when you are driving South pointing towards the falls). 

750 Kronos to Park 

Kerid Crater (45 minutes) 

Up next on your Iceland with a baby itinerary is Kerid Crater, a volcanic crater with crystal blue water.  The green around the rim contrasting the red soil and blue water is truly stunning.  You can walk around the top of the rim and/or bottom rim. Do both! The views are equally beautiful at the top and bottom rim but different

Kerid Crater Iceland with a baby

400 Kronos per person for trail use (during attendant hours), children under 12 free

0.9 miles loop, 114 feet of elevation gain

Kerid Carter Iceland with a Baby

​​Kerid Crater AllTrails

Stay in or camp near Selfoss

In Selfoss, there is a Kronan grocery store. Be sure to stock up on fresh groceries again tomorrow morning as supply options only get more sparse the further you get away from Reykjavik.  

Day 1 Driving Map- 3.5 Hours of Driving


Day 2 Iceland with a Baby: South Iceland

Seljalandsfoss (1 hour from Selfoss)

The next stop on your Iceland with a baby trip is Seljalandsfoss, almost 200 feet tall.  It is one of Iceland’s most unique waterfalls as you are actually able to walk behind it! 

Seljalandsfoss with a baby

WARNING: Don’t ruin your camera here.  If you walk up to/behind the waterfall, it will get wet. 

Tip: Waterproof Everything! 

Be sure the whole family, especially the baby, has waterproof gear.  We almost did not bring a Baby Rain Suit for our baby and that would have been a huge mistake. We would have not been able to walk behind the waterfall. This would have been a real shame because she loved walking behind it and being misted by the waterfall.  She couldn’t stop giggling! 

Here is the gear we love and recommend: 

Seljalandsfoss with a baby

TIP: Don’t forget to look at the little waterfall next door: Gljúfrabúi

Gljúfrabúi is the secret waterfall, hidden in a cave less than a 10 minute walk to the left (when walking from the parking lot) from Seljalandsfoss. Many people don’t even realize it was there because they are so mesmerized by Seljalandsfoss and do not walk further down the trail.  It isa little smaller than Seljalandsfoss with a 130 foot drop, yet arguably as inspiring as Seljalandsfoss.  

Note: You have to wade through a shallow stream into this cave. Be sure to have waterproof boots, like the ones we recommended above, to do this. The stream is shallow and we had no problem safely doing this with our baby strapped to us in our hiking boots. 

750 Kronos per car for parking

1.2 miles out & back, 226 feet of elevation gain 

Seljalandsfoss AllTrails

Skógafoss (27 minutes from Seljalandsfoss )

After you leave Seljavallalaug, a short drive will take you to Skógafoss, another epic 200 foot waterfall. Don’t make the mistake of only viewing the falls from the bottom.  Be sure to head up the stairs and check out the area above the falls. There are 526 steep stairs to make the climb to the top overlook and the trail that continues on.  

Seljavallalaug Iceland with a baby

If you keep walking along the river, you’ll also encounter some other smaller waterfalls before the main drop. These falls are also quite beautiful and perfect for tourist-free photos. Our baby seemed to like these smaller waterfalls better than the main Skogafoss here.  She must like scenic spots better with less people too! 

There is about 1.5 miles of round trip walking to/around here to see different waterfalls/views . We walked to the bottom of Skogafoss, climbed the stairs to the top overlook of Skogafoss and then to the next waterfall after this. The trail from the top of the falls actually goes 26 miles so you can make as short or as long as you want

Skogafoss Iceland with a baby

Skogafoss Waterfall AllTrails

Note: Supposedly, per our research, the lighting at this waterfall is better in the afternoon and you may see a rainbow with the sunlight.  It was raining when we visited in the afternoon so we really cannot speak to this being true or not.  

Kvernufoss (1 minute from Skogar Museum

A short 15 minute walk from the parking lot takes you to Kvernufoss, also known as the “Hidden Waterfall.” It is a quick walk with unworldly scenery to this waterfall. This was Natalie’s favorite waterfall hike up to this point in the trip.  It is a great bang for buck hike.  Also, we only saw two other people at this waterfall which was a tranquil contrast after visiting Skogafoss and Seljalandsfoss (as both were quite crowded). 

Kvernufoss Iceland with a Baby

Note: This trail is located very close to the Skogar Museum. You could park at the museum and walk over to the trail located just to the east.  Find the fence you need to climb over (ladder goes over the barbed wire fence) and then take the path to the waterfall.  You will not be disappointed with the views.   

0.9 miles out & back, 147 feet elevation gain

Kvernufoss AllTrails

Dyrhólaey Lighthouse/Peninsula (27 minutes)

In the summertime, many Atlantic puffins can be found nesting on the cliff faces of Dyrhólaey

This spot is not far outside of Vik and you can see Reynisfjara Beach from here

Note: The lighthouse is only open 9 AM- 7 PM local time 

This spot was actually closed when we arrived.  It is only accessible 9 AM- 7 PM local Icelandic time.  We arrived at around 9 PM local time and unfortunately were unable to visit.  We do not feel we missed out, but this is likely the best opportunity to see Puffins on this trip itinerary.  So if you have never seen Puffins (we have seen them in Kenai Fjords National Park Quick Guide) or really want to see them in Iceland, be sure to arrive before 7PM or after 9 AM local time.

Reynisfjara Beach (22 minutes)

The next stop on your Iceland with a baby trip is Reynisfjara Beach.  This is a short walk out to the black sand beach with the iconic massive hexagonal basalt columns. When we visited Reynisfjara Beach, it was super windy.  Our baby girl found it quite amusing!

Reynisfjara Beach with a baby

Caution: Beware of “sneaky waves” on the beach.  Do not go anywhere where the sand is smooth (or has had water obviously wash up on it).  People often get close to the water, turn their backs and then get swept away by the large waves that sneak up on them. Numerous people have drowned.  Don’t be one of them.  

Vik (11 minutes)

Up next on your Iceland road trip with your baby is Vik, a remote seafront village in south Iceland.  Our favorite spot in this village was the pretty church on the hill surrounded by picturesque purple flowers 

Ring Road Road trip

Fun fact: These purple flowers, alpine lupine, are actually an invasive weed (yet so pretty!)

This village has several restaurants, a gas station and a grocery store. Vik was actually much smaller than we expected.  We ate at the Stronan Pub in Vik that had some nice distant views of Reynisfjara Beach. The food we had here (pasta and lamb chops) was also quite good. And, most importantly, this place is open until midnight!  We actually tried to eat at two other restaurants but they closed at 9 PM local time and since we stayed on our home time, we needed a place open later. 

*Look for all the different scenery as you drive further on the Ring Road* 

Laufskálavarða (30 minutes)

This is a small lava rock area with many rock cairns that remained after a large farm was destroyed by the eruption of the Katla Volcano. The tradition here was to stack stone cairns as a sign of good luck while crossing the area.  This is an interesting quick stop right off the road.

Eldhraun Lava Field (16 minutes)

Mossy lava field that looks like something out of the Teletubby show from the 90s.  The Apollo 11 crew came here to train for their impending moonwalk. Route 1 runs directly through Eldhraun so you cannot miss it.  It is a quick stop/drive through. 

Stay in Laki or Skaftárhreppur (camp or accommodations).  Alternatively, stay in Vik and drive about an hour more the next day

Day 2 Driving Map- 3.5 hours of driving 


Day 3 Iceland with a Baby: South/East Iceland

Fjaðrárgljúfur (10 minutes)

Absolutely stunning 1 mile long, 300 foot deep beautiful slot canyon.  The third platform has the best views of the canyon and there is a waterfall at this spot too.  And there will be less people at this platform as most tourists only make it to the first viewing platform. 

Fjaðrárgljúfur Iceland

Fun Fact: Justin Beiber’s “I’ll Show You” music video features this spot

2 miles out & back, 248 feet of elevation gain

Fjadrargljufur AllTrails

Vatnajökull National Park (1 hour 9 minutes)

Vatnajökull National Park is the next stop on your tour of the ring road with a baby on board.  You could spend days in this massive national park.  We saw the highlights of this park by hiking to Svartifoss and the Svinafellsjokull Glacier. 

Parking costs 750 Kronos/vehicle 

Iconic Svartifoss waterfall

Svartifoss is known for the hexagonal basalt columns that surround its cascading falls 

Svartifoss

Fun fact: The Basalt Columns here inspired Hallgrimskirkja Church design in downtown Reykjavik 

This waterfall is further from the road than most other waterfalls in Iceland but well worth the extra effort.  There are three traill options to see Svartifoss.  We recommend the mid-option (what we did). Here are the options to see it: 

  • Option #2: Svartifoss – Magnúsarfoss – Hundafoss via Lambhagi AllTrails (mid option)
    • 2.5 miles loop, 449 feet of elevation gain
    • Same as the shorter option but on this trail you take a different route back to the trailhead to make a loop. 
    • Do this one!
    • On this loop hike, on the way back from Svartifoss, we did not see any other hikers. This part of the trail was so peaceful in comparison to the first half of the trail (the part that most people do as an out and back, option #1). For not much added effort, you’ll likely have this part of the trail to yourself, get better views of the waterfalls leading up to Svartifoss and see the snow capped mountains in the distance better.  

Svínafellsjökull Glacier

The Svinafellsjokull Glacier is a really pretty spot where you can touch parts of ice that have broken off from the main glacier. Baby G loved touching (and tasting) pieces of ice glacier.  We also only saw a few other people on the trail when we visited mid-afternoon, making it a very peaceful short hike. 

Svínafellsjökull Glacier Iceland

Fun fact: This glacier was used in filming of Interstellar, Batman Begins and Game of Thrones 

Caution: Sometimes this glacier is closed due to landslides

0.7 Miles out & back, 184 feet elevation gain  

Svinafellsjokull Glacier AllTrails

Eat at the Adventure Hotel in Hof 

Next, stop for a meal at the Adventure Hotel in the small quaint village of Hof. This is the nicest restaurant and the best food we ate in Iceland up to this point. 

Hof is a very small quaint and peaceful village on the southeast part of the island.  Hof, and this area in general, has very limited eating, lodging and camping options. The next place with lodging, camping and dining options is Hofn which is about 60 km away. 

Hangandifoss/Múlagljúfur Canyon (36 minutes)

This hike with several waterfalls, most notably Hangandifoss, truly offers out-of-this-world views.  At the summit of this hike, you overlook the stunning Múlagljúfur canyon with the flowing Mulaa river and Hangandifoss waterfall within it. You also can see the snow-covered volcano Oraefajokull in the distance.  Pictures and words do not do this view justice.  Baby G was a smiley little peanut for this hike.  She was very curious about all the different views throughout the hike. We also only saw 3 other people throughout this hike, making it very serene. 

Caution: Loose gravel/slippery in a lot of spots

Natalie actually tripped and fell forward with G strapped to the front of her while on this trail. G was fine, Natalie’s leg and arm took a beating but nothing requiring medical care thankfully.  We would still hike this trail again but just be very cautious hiking on the gravel path as it can be slippery in spots. We would advise not hiking this with a toddler who is mainly walking themselves though. 

3.6 miles out & back, 1,204 feet of elevation gain

Hangandifoss Múlagljúfur Canyon AllTrails

Jökulsárlón Glacier Lake + Iceberg Lagoon/Diamond Beach (12 minutes from Canyon) 

The Jökulsárlón lagoon is filled with massive ice chunks that have fallen from the Jökulsárlón glacier . This lagoon is over 800 feet deep-making it the deepest lake in all of Iceland. 

Jökulsárlón Glacier Lake Iceland

There are several pull-offs from which you can see the lagoon.  Feel free to park at one or several of them and soak in the different views.  We recommend parking at the parking lot just past (east of) the bridge for the best views. 

You might even be lucky enough to see a seal here—we saw about 10!

Diamond Beach Iceland

Don’t forget to spend some time near the ocean at Diamond Beach. This beach got its name because of the crystal clear ice chunks that you’ll find on the starkly contrasting jet black beach.  We were here at sunset and the views were stunning. 

Tip: Go here early in the morning or late at night to avoid the crowds

Stay overnight in Hofn or at Vestrahorn Mountain 

Drive about 1 hour to the Hofn or Vestrahorn Mountain area.  We saw many sheep on this drive, many on the road where the speed limit is 90 kilometers per hour.  See our Iceland general tips for further details about sheep in Iceland.

Day 3 Driving Map- 3.5 hours of driving


Day 4 Iceland with a Baby: East Iceland

Hofn (1 hour from Jökulsárlón Glacier Lake

Icelandic fishing town in the southeastern part of Iceland. Near Hornafjörður fjord and with views of Vatnajökull.

Fun fact: Vatnajökull is the largest and most voluminous ice cap in Iceland

Honestly, there is not much to see in Hofn but there is a grocery store.  Be sure to stock up on food again here as there is not anywhere to buy supplies for almost 3 hours to the north. Unfortunately, the grocery store in Hofn was closed the day we visited (for an unknown reason) so we had to stop in the next main town, Eglisstadir, about 3 hours to the north.  We got a hotdog and sandwich from the gas station here and they were surprisingly good.

Vestrahorn Mountain (21 minutes from Hofn) 

Vestrahorn Mountain Iceland

The next stop on your Iceland with a baby itinerary is Vestrahorn Mountain located on the Stokksnes peninsula.  Located here is a black sand beach next to the tall spring mountains.  The area was a bit fog-covered when we visited, yet the contrast of the mountains with the black sand beach was still quite stunning.  It was very windy here and Baby G got a kick out of that. 

Vestrahorn Mountain Viking Village Iceland

You can also walk around a small Viking village here. It is neat to see a primitive Viking settlement.  

The beach at Stokksnes is private and there is a small entrance fee, 900 Kronos, to drive down to the beach

Drive route 95 

Next on your Iceland road trip with your baby, drive Route 95.  This gravel road has so many waterfalls along it (you literally will see a waterfall on either side of you driving at all times) and there are also very few cars/people on it.  Taking this route is not out of the way either and it actually gets you to the next waterfall (Hengifoss) hike on this itinerary in less time than driving Route 1. Other travelers we encountered saw reindeer on this road, but we were not so fortunate.

Hengifoss and Litlanesfoss Hike (3 hours from Vestrahorn Mountain)

The Hengifoss is the third highest waterfall in Iceland at almost 400 feet tall. It is quite impressive and with the red streaking in the rocks around the waterfall, it looks quite different from the other waterfalls you have seen at this point. 

This was actually our favorite hike in Iceland at this point in the trip.  It was not overly strenuous or technical so you could get into a nice flow state.  Also, there were so many waterfalls and other scenery to see on the way to Hengifoss that the hike went by really fast.  We further only saw about a dozen other people on the trail which was a nice contrast to some of the waterfall hikes on the south part of the island. Most importantly, our daughter was in a great mood for the hike. She babbled most of the time and then fell asleep in our carrier.  Happy baby = happy parents! 

Hengifoss and Litlanesfoss Hike Iceland

2.9 mile out & back, 830 feet of elevation gain

Hengifoss – Litlanesfoss Waterfall AllTrails

Eat in Egilsstadir at Salt Cafe & Bistro

This restaurant had a large variety of food options for a reasonable price and the staff was friendly.  Also, there was a cute high chair for baby G.  And it was open when we were driving through town.  If you want to eat at a restaurant today, Egilsstadir is really the only town you will be able to do that

Seydisfjordur (1 hour from Hengifoss and Litlanesfoss Hike)

Up next on your Iceland with a baby trip is visiting the town of Seydisfjordur.  This town felt like something out of a fairytale.  The town has a quaint blue church with a rainbow road leading up to it and really picturesque fjord/mountain views.  We had a lovely time walking around this town with baby G.  Most tourists don’t make it to this town as it is a bit out of the way and this allows for a more local experience. 

Seydisfjordur Iceland

Further, driving to this town is half the experience.  To get here, you drive straight through the mountains. The scenery driving was much different than any other part of our trip. There was much more snow cover  on the mountains than anywhere else on our trip up to this point.  Similar to other parts of our trip, we saw many pretty waterfalls and sheep on our drive to this town. 

Stay in Seydisfjordur or Egilsstaðir

Day 4 Driving Map- 4.5 hours of driving 


Day 5 Iceland with a Baby: East Iceland 

Hike Fardagafoss (in Egilsstadir) 

Getting to this waterfall is a peaceful, relatively short, 30 minute hike.  It is certainly not a must do but a local hike located very close to where we stayed night 4 in Egilsstadir.  

Fardagafoss Icleand

Fun Facts: An old folktale claims that a female troll used to occupy the cave behind the waterfall. Also, the notorious outlaw, Fjalla-Eyvindur, sought shelter in the cave behind Fardagafoss in the 18th century, but was driven out by locals. 

Stock up on supplies in Egilsstadir 

There are very limited options for supplies/groceries on the east and north side of the island so be sure to get gas and food here as you will not see another gas station or grocery store again until you reach the Myvatn area (Reykjahlíð).

Rjukandafoss (40 minutes from Egilsstadir )

This very short walk leads to a pretty 3-part waterfall located almost right off the road. Short walk right off route 1.  

Rjukandafoss Icleand

0.4 miles out & back, 114 feet of elevation gain

Rjukandafoss AllTrails

Stuðlagil Canyon (26 minutes from Rjukandafoss)

The next stop on your Iceland with a baby itinerary is this unique canyon.  Stuðlagil Canyon is filled with tall basalt columns and unique streaks of color. You can either hike out to this part of the canyon (east side) or view it from a viewing platform (west side).  

Stuðlagil Canyon Iceland

We went to the west side viewing platform as well as hiked out to the east side of the canyon. The hiking views on the east side of the canyon are much better than from the viewing platform. While hiking, you can see both sides of the canyon and even climb down into the large basalt columns.  Sam did this and got some cool vantage points. We would rate this hike as easy from a technical standpoint as it is a level gravel path and flat in most parts. Also, you can really get into flow state with this hike. 

Stuðlagil Canyon Iceland

5.7 Miles Out & Back, 561 feet of elevation gain from P2 parking lot. 

You can potentially park 1.5 miles closer at P1. However, you need to have 4 x 4 drive as this road is ridden with potholes.  We only had 2 wheel drive on our campervan and did the longer hike.  

How to find Stuðlagil Canyon:

  • When heading to Northern Iceland from Egilsstaðir, you need to take a turn to Road 923. Then you drive about 19 kilometers to the farm Grund where you will find a parking lot and a path to the riverbank (5 minute walk). This takes you to the viewing platform on the east side of the river and is where Google Maps will take you to if you type in “Stuðlagil Canyon.”  The viewing platform is reached by climbing down (and then up) about 200 stairs and is a very short walk from the parking lot.  There is a stand here with food and drinks for sale as well as restrooms you can use for a small fee. 
  • To access the hiking trail, you need to drive back 5 minutes to P2. There will be signs on how to access the hike at the viewing platform food stand too. 

Stuðlagil Canyon on AllTrails

Dettifoss and Selfoss (2 hours from Stuðlagil Canyon

The next stop on your iceland road trip with your baby is Dettifoss.  This waterfall  is said to be the second most powerful waterfall in all of Europe.  It is located in the desolate Vatnajökull National Park. There is another waterfall here, Selfoss, that is only a few hundred meters downstream from Dettifoss. You can access Selfoss via a rocky footpath (follow the sticks marking the trail to navigate). Be sure to wear sturdy hiking boots as this rocky path is quite uneven and took us longer to hike than expected because of its uneven nature.   

Dettifoss and Selfoss Iceland

How to access: There are actually two different roads that lead to Dettifoss, but make sure that you enter from highway 864 (not 852) for the best view on the east side 

Note: The road to the east side is pothole ridden and it will take about an hour to get to the waterfall.  However, on the east side, you can walk along the edge of the gorge to get better views of Dettifoss and Selfoss. If you do not want to deal with the gravel road, you can enter from the west side on a paved road. However, you will likely get very wet and because of how the mist sprays, likely have a difficult time viewing the waterfall itself. 

2.3 miles out and back, 498 feet of elevation gain

Dettifoss AllTrails

Hverir Mud Pots (1 hour from Dettifoss)

Next, stop at the Hverir Mud Pots.  Here, you may think you have left Iceland and landed on a different planet.  We have never been to Mars but this is what we imagine it looks like.  While the scenery is stunning, the smell from the sulfur here is truly terrible.  It smells like rotten eggs and neither of us could stand the smell too long. 

Hverir Mud Pots Iceland

Grjótagjá (7 minutes from Hverir Mud Pots)

This is a quick stop to look in the cave that became famous from Game of Thrones Cave as it is where Jon Snow and Ygrette get it on.  It is a neat spot and is unlike anything we had seen on our trip so far.  The constantly changing scenery in Iceland is astounding. 

Grjótagjá Iceland

Stay in Myvatn/ Reykjahlíð area (20 minutes from Grjótagjá )

Day 5 Driving Map- 4.5 hours of driving


Day 6 Iceland with a Baby: North Iceland 

Hike around the Dimmuborgir area in Myvatn 

On the first stop today of your Iceland road trip with a baby, you’ll hike through unique volcanic rock caves and lava rock formations in the Dimmuborgir area. There are several short trail options here. We hiked the red trail which ended up being about 1 mile total. Baby G mastered using our water bite valve,and it was nothing short of adorable.

Dimmuborgir Myvatn Iceland

This area reminded us a bit of the rock formations in Arches National Park (see Arches National Park Quick Guide) and the Hoodoos in Bryce Canyon National Park (Bryce Canyon National Park Quick Guide) but made with dark lava rock.

Caution: Beware of the midges if you are visiting in the warmer months. These small bugs don’t bite but sure do bother you in swarms.  Many people were wearing head nets to keep them away. We did not have head nets so we were just constantly swatting at them. Myvatn literally translates to “lake of midges” in Icelandic so this area really in well known for these annoying bugs.  

Swim at the Myvatn Nature Baths

Next, stop at the Myvatn Nature Baths for a bit of spa time.  This location is an outdoor lagoon with milky blue water that is naturally heated by hot springs.  Our baby loved swimming and playing around the milky warm water.  We also found this spot to be very relaxing and with some really stunning views.  Unlike the Blue Lagoon (outside of Reykjavik) that does not allow children less than 2 years old, all ages (with an adult) are welcomed here. Kids 0-2 are free to swim too.  This lagoon is also less crowded than blue lagoon with equally beautiful baths and (arguably better) views.

Myvatn Nature Baths Iceland

Tip: The earlier you get here, the less people there are.  There is no time limit on how long people can be here so it tends to be busier later in the day as more people accumulate. 

5900 Kronos/adult, Open 10 AM- 11 PM

Myvatn Nature Baths

Tip: Get groceries and gas before leaving the Myvatn area 

Husvak (46 minutes from Myvatn)

Up next on your Iceland trip with a baby is the charming little village of Husvak.  This village is well known for its incredible whale watching and picturesque harbor. The most famous landmark of the town is the quaint wooden church, Húsavíkurkirkja, in the center.  We could not get enough of the Harbor views while here.  We did not book a whale watching tour but if that is something you want to do, do it here!

Husvak Iceland

Eat at Gamli Bakur while in Húsavík! The dining room decor and harbor views are on point. The food was some of the best we ate in Iceland as well. We loved our seafood pasta, fish soup and lamb steak. The lamb steak was the best lamb we had in Iceland and the fish soup was the best fish soup we had in Iceland. The food and vibes were a real win here. 

Godafoss (40 minutes from Husvak)

Next stop is Iceland’s most powerful waterfall, Godafoss. Godafoss is actually not just one waterfall but about five waterfalls together. Godafoss translates to ‘Waterfall of the Gods’. Legend has it, it got its name from when pagan Gods were thrown into it after Iceland became a Christian country. 

Godafoss Iceland

The hike here is an easy walk along the cliffs to the falls.  Be careful though as it is *literally* right along the cliffs.  You can also hike down to the base of this waterfall on a short rocky path for some even more up close views. The hiking trails total about 1.5 miles if you hike them all on both the east and west side of the falls.

Drive to Akueryki and stay in Akureyri (30 minutes from Godafoss) 


Day 7 Iceland with a Baby: North/West Iceland

Explore Akueryki (30 minutes from Godafoss) 

Next stop on your Iceland with a baby trip is Akueryki, the second largest city in Iceland.  Here, park & visit the free Lystigardurinn Botanical Gardens in the city center.  The paths at these gardens make for a leisurely walk around the different flora of the area.  There are lots of pretty flowers and one of the most northerly botanical gardens in the world. 

Akueryki Iceland

From the Botanical Gardens, you can walk to the iconic Akureyrarkirkja church.  We recommend staying parked at the Botanical Gardens as parking is more difficult once you get further into the city center. After visiting Akureyrarkirkja, walk down to the main street of the city center and stop at the cute shops. Additionally there is a small park, and our daughter loved playing in the miniature viking ship and going on the slide with Natalie (her first time on a slide!)  

Drive to Snaefellsnes Peninsula (5 hours from Akureyri)

Next up is a 5 hour drive from Akureyri to the Snaefellsnes Peninsula. Make sure to make several stops along the way to break up this long drive. 

Stop at Kolugljufur Canyon

This rural canyon has a tiered gorge located about 20 mins southeast of Hvammstangi.  Also, it is only a short (less than 5 km) detour from the ring road. The best part is that you will likely be the only one here as it is just far enough off the beaten path that most tourists do not make it here. To get to the canyon, you drive through ordinary farmland and then suddenly, BAM, this massive canyon arises. We spent about 30 minutes hiking around. You could also have a picnic in this peaceful spot as there is a picnic table near where you park. 

Kolugljufur Canyon Iceland

Fun fact: Legend has it that the female Kola troll dug this canyon and her treasure is hidden in it. 

Get a meal at Sjavarborg Restaurant in Hvammstangi

Sjavarborg restaurant in Hvammstangi has large windows that overlook this fishing town’s bay. In this bay, whales are often seen breaching. We did not see any during our dinner but if you are lucky enough, you may see one during your meal. Our daughter liked looking out the large windows regardless of whether the whales were there.  We had the fish of the day (cod) and a grilled sweet potato topped with chickpeas, coleslaw and peanut sauce. Both were delicious! The decor in this restaurant we’d describe as modern meets industrial harbor front.  

Sjavarborg restaurant in Hvammstangi Iceland

Start to explore Snaefellsnes Peninsula 

Stop at the Iconic Kirkjufellsfoss and Kirkjufell (5 hours from Akureyri)

Next up is the iconic Kirkjufellsfoss waterfall and Kirkjufell mountain.  The falls themselves aren’t that impressive but the uniquely shaped Kirkjufell mountain in combination with the falls makes for a very pretty scene.

Kirkjufellsfoss and Kirkjufell Iceland

Tip: To get the iconic photo that everyone loves, you need to walk from the car park up towards the waterfalls. There is a bridge to cross over and walk down.

Parking 750 Kronos per vehicle 

Take in the views at vibrantly colored Svortuloft Lighthouse (45 minutes from Kirkjufell)

Next stop on your Iceland with a baby trip is the unique Svortuloft Lighthouse.  This lighthouse is so cool because it is bright orange and really contrasts the black lava rock along the coastline. Seasonally, during the summer, there are a lot of different birds in the rocks on the coastline too.  We were the only people here at 11 pm local time when we visited.  We had a nice dinner in our campervan overlooking this spot with our daughter.  She loved sitting in her compact camp chair

Caution: The road leading out to this unique spot is very rough yet still drivable with 2-wheel drive. 

Stay in Arnarstapi or Hellnar (40 minutes from Svortuloft Lighthouse


Day 8 Iceland with a Baby: West Iceland Snaefellsnes Peninsula 

Hike the Arnarstapi to Hellnar Trail

The first activity of your eighth day in Iceland with your baby is hiking the Arnarstapi to Hellnar trail. This is an easy walk along the bird-filled (seasonally in the summer) cliffs lining the coastline between the small towns of Arnarstapi and Hellnar. 

Arnarstapi to Hellnar Trail Iceland

Before making your return journey from Hellnar, stop at Fjoruhusid Cafe. This cute cafe with indoor and outdoor seating is located along the water. Stop here for some tasty local Icelandic food and stunning ocean views. 

4 miles out & back, 144 feet of elevation gain 

Arnarstapi Hellnar Hike AllTrails

Take a short hike to Rauöfeldargjá Canyon 

This short (less than 0.5 miles) trail leads to some stunning cliffs that lead into a canyon  where water flows through. Be sure to enter the canyon to see the impressive views from lower down as well. 

Fun Fact: Legend has it a half man/half troll named Rauöfeldargjá lives in this canyon.

Stop at the iconic Búðakirkja church (25 minutes from Rauöfeldargjá Canyon)

This famous, and very frequently photographed, black church on the Snaefellsnes Peninsula stands out amongst the green flora surrounding it. The church is very picturesque but also very busy. We would advise visiting this spot in the early morning or late at night to avoid the crowds  

Drive towards Reykjavik (2 hours and 20 minutes) and stay in/outside of Reykjavik 

Icelandic Horses

Day 9 Iceland with a Baby: Reykjavik

Explore Reykjavik on your last day in Iceland

Hallgrimskirkja Church

This church located in the Reykjavik city center is named after a 17th century hymn writer and took 40 years to construct.  The organ pipes here mimic the basalt formations, like at Svartifoss, found throughout the country. 

ISK 900 to go to top for city views

Go to a Museum in Reykjavik

We did not have time but go consider visiting one of the museums below: 

  • Iceland Phallological Museum (AKA Penis museum), ISK 1700
  • National Iceland Museum (Viking artifacts), ISK 2000

Get Lost Walking Around the City Center

There are some fun, interactive paintings on the street. Natalie had a fun time hopscotching the 106 spot hopscotch. Who decided it should be 106 rather than 100 spots is a great question! 

Reykjavik Iceland

We walked through the neighborhood around the city center and saw some unique architecture while getting a glimpse into local life.  While doing this, we stopped at a local park. Our baby girl crawled around and played with a local baby. She loved it and we enjoyed our conversations with the other baby’s parents. 

Where to Eat in Reykjavik 

  • Braud & Co
    • Bakery known for cinnamon rolls and buttery croissants. So delicious, soft and worth every penny . 
    • ISK 550
Braud & Co Iceland
  • Svarta Kaffid
    • This lively cafe has only two items on the menu–a daily changing vegetarian and meat soup. The soup here comes in a scrumptious sourdough bread bowl.  The wait staff was very friendly and they had a fun, unique highchair/rocking chair for our baby to play in. She loved it and we got a kick out of it too. 
    • ISK 2400 for soup in bread bowl
Svarta Kaffid Iceland

Drive to Airport and Fly Home


Note: Slow this itinerary down or speed it up as you please.  We found this itinerary to be very manageable in a campervan with our curious, and very wiggly, 10-month-old.  If you do not have a baby (or pokey adult) in tow, you may be able to do it in 8 days.  If you want more downtime and/or plan on staying in hotels rather than doing a campervan, we recommend taking 10+ days to do this itinerary.  Also, if you are traveling without a baby and want to go to Sky Lagoon or the Blue Lagoon near Reykjavik (do not allow babies under 2 years old), we recommend 10 days as well. 


General Iceland Tips

IMPORTANT: You need a PIN number to buy gas in Iceland even if you are using a credit card 

You likely will need to call to get a PIN number for your credit card in order to use it to get gas in Iceland.  We had to call to get a PIN number for our credit card prior to our trip and it took about 2 weeks to get it so do this ASAP (right now would be a good time).  Be sure to store the PIN number somewhere you will have access to it on the trip. We never have used a PIN number with our credit cards before so we are glad we found out about this prior to our trip. 

Also, get gas as often as possible. Gas stations close early and do not stay open 24 hours a day (unlike what we are accustomed to in the US).

Campervan Offers More Flexibility and Allows for a Consistent Home Base

We LOVED having a campervan to explore Iceland with our baby. It allowed us so much flexibility. It was great to have a consistent home base and not have to unpack/repack each day, especially with a baby.  We would have not been able to see as much as we did with our baby if we had done hotels instead.  Also, a campervan was more economical than rental car + hotels.

Campervan Iceland

We rented our Campervan from Kuku Campers.  We would highly recommend this quirky campervan company.  Friends of ours have rented from Camp Easy and they also had a positive experience.  We rented a 5 person campervan for the 3 of us and felt that was the appropriate size.  We appreciated having a little extra room.

Tip: Play around with the reservation campervan system and see when a multi-day discount kicks in to save some $.  For the time we were visiting, a multi-day discount applied to our campervan after 9 days.  With this discount, our campervan actually cost less for 9 days than it would have for 7 days.  Score! 

Bring Waterproof EVERYTHING!

Seriously though, from waterfall spray to the unpredictable weather, you will want waterproof gear for the whole family. So glad we had a Baby Rain Suit for G. It kept her dry and happy exploring with us. 

Gear we recommend to have to explore: 

This gear kept us dry and warm all day exploring in the rain and walking behind waterfalls 

Iceland Driving Tips

  • Do not speed, high fines, cameras will catch you and you may get a ticket months after you return 
  • Do not stop on the road unless clearly marked. It’s dangerous and you can get a fine. 
  • There are more sheep than people in Iceland 
  • Do not hit them. Easier said than done as they like to stand in the middle of roads where the speed limit is 90 kilometers per hour. It’s about a $500 fine if you do hit one. The Police and owner must be contacted too. 

Food to Eat in Iceland

  • Kleina (fried pastry, not our favorite)
  • Snudur (Cinnamon Bun, most delicious cinnamon buns at Braud & Co in Reykjavik)
  • Skyr (Flavored Yogurt, pretty sweet and thin in comparison to the Greek yogurt we have become accustomed to eating)
  • Geyser (Rye Bread) & Soup (best fish soup in Husavik at Gamli Bakur, delicious bread bowl soup at Svarta Kaffid in Reykjavik) 
  • Lamb Hot Dogs (Can get almost anywhere, inexpensive, all taste pretty much the same (delicious) per Sam) 

Campsites

  • Most campsites cost about 2000 Kronos per person/night
  • Do not need to make reservations prior to visiting unless visiting the first week/weekend of August (banking holiday in Iceland)
  • If you pull up to a campsite after staff has left for the day, just pull into an empty spot and pay in the morning
  • Iceland Campsite Map

Fun fact: Many Icelandic people believe in fairies, trolls and other incredible creatures. Icelanders are known to have small houses in their gardens for elves and the like to take shelter in.  


We hope this guide helps you plan your trip to Iceland with your baby.  Anything you’d add to our guide? We’d love to hear your feedback and questions.  Please leave us a comment!

Did you find this post helpful? If so, please share it with a friend, like our Always Have a Trip Planned Facebook Page, follow our Always Have A Trip Planned Instagram and subscribe to our emails below.

And remember, Always Have A Trip Planned!

Visiting Madrid, Spain on a Budget


Madrid, Spain’s capital city, is not one to miss.  Despite being a modern city, much of the traditional architecture is well maintained.  Madrid is also a great stepping stone for a day trip to the unique, quaint and ancient city of Toledo aka the “City of Three Cultures”.  We recommend spending at least 2 days here if you plan to take a day trip to Toledo.  A trip to Madrid does not need to be pricey and can be done on a budget as well. Here is our guide on visiting Madrid, Spain on a budget.


What to do in Madrid on a Budget


Day Trip to Toledo

Toledo, Spain
Toledo, Spain views from Mirador del Valle

If you do one thing while in Madrid, do this.  We LOVED our day trip to Toledo.  Toledo is only a 30 minute high speed train ride from Madrid.  This old city is located on a hilltop, surrounded by the Tagus River on three sides and has a very quaint feel.  

Toledo, Spain
Toledo, Spain

It is called the “City of Three Cultures” due to its Jewish, Muslim and Christian influences.  The unique architecture that stems from the mixing of these three cultures is definitely worth seeing.  

Views throughout Toledo, Spain
Views throughout Toledo, Spain

We enjoyed exploring the city streets by foot as well as the Alcazar (Stone Fortification, Army Museum). The best views of the city are from across the river at Mirador del Valle (our first picture is from right before sunset).  

Toledo, Spain
Toledo, Spain

Tip: If you spend three days in Madrid, you could also take a day trip to Segovia.  We did not have time for this but have heard great things about this city. 


Catedral de la Almudena and Palacio Real

Catedral de la Almudena, Madrid, Spain
Catedral de la Almudena

Back in Madrid, this Cathedral has a colorful, bright and unique interior. Not your typical dark cathedral and certainly a photographer’s dream! 

Palacio Real Madrid, Spain
Palacio Real

Right next to the Catedral de la Almudena is Palacio Real.  This Palace has 3,418 rooms and is the largest functioning Royal Palace in Europe.


Parque de Retiro

Parque de Retro, Madrid, Spain
Parque de Retro

This area is a huge and very pretty park in Madrid.  We had this park all to ourselves for an early morning Sunday run.  The size and diversity within this park reminded us of Central Park in NYC (see New York City Quick Guide). Though slightly smaller, it is still over 300 acres!


Dear Hotel Rooftop Bar

Sunset Madrid, Spain at the Dear Hotel
Sunset Madrid, Spain at the Dear Hotel

Great sunset and/or golden hour spot.  Grab a drink at the rooftop bar and enjoy the panoramic views of the city.  


What/Where to eat in Madrid on a Budget


Taberna Alhambra

Taberna Alhambra, Madrid, Spain
Taberna Alhambra

A very cute tapas bar, only a street or two from Puerta de Sol (the main square in Madrid). This place was recommended to us by one of our friend’s who lived in Madrid for a period of time and we really felt like locals here.  The staff were very friendly, the tapas were not only generously portioned but delicious and the atmosphere was really fun.  Definitely make a stop here! 


Chocolateria San Gines

Chocolateria San Gines Churros and Chocolate, Madrid, Spain
Chocolateria San Gines Churros and Chocolate

This cafe specializes in traditional delicious chocolate with churros and has been open since the 1890s.  The atmosphere in here feels very traditional. 

Chocolateria San Gines


Mazapan

Mazapan in Toledo, Spain
Mazapan

This delicacy is a very simple yet very delicious dessert. Made out of ground almonds and sugar.  Make sure to get some while in Toledo. 


Where to Stay in Madrid on a Budget


Lapepa Chic 

Lapepa Madrid, Spain
Lapepa Madrid, Spain

This accommodation is a very cute bed and breakfast less than 10 minutes from the main square, Puerta de Sol.  We were able to walk everywhere we visited in Madrid, including the train station, from this location. The breakfast included was held in a cute main room and was a great start to our days.  The front desk staff were also very helpful and kind.  We’d highly recommend a stay here! 

Lapepa Chic 


We hope this post helps you plan your trip to Madrid, Spain on a Budget.  Be sure to visit Barcelona while in Spain as well. Anything else you’d add to our guide on visiting Madrid, Spain on a Budget?  We’d love to hear your feedback and questions.  Leave us a comment.

And remember, Always Have A Trip Planned!


Did you find this post helpful? If so, please share it with a friend, like our Always Have a Trip Planned Facebook Page, follow our Always Have A Trip Planned Instagram and subscribe to our emails below.

Planning a multi-city trip to Europe? See our How to Plan Your First Europe Trip on a Budget guide for more tips on how to do this.

Visiting Lisbon, Portugal on a Budget


We loved Lisbon, Portugal! This city is beautiful with all the different patterned cobblestone streets, colorful buildings and design tile work.  We enjoyed exploring the city by foot as well as eating the freshest seafood and most delightful desserts. You can take in the beauty of Lisbon, Portugal on a budget too as most of the attractions are completely free. We recommend spending at least 3 days in Lisbon.  Here is our guide on what to do when visiting Lisbon, Portugal on a budget.

Note: This post is written based on a trip taken in early March


What to do in Lisbon on a Budget


Explore the Alfama District by foot 

Alfama District Cobblestone Street, Lisbon, Portugal
Alfama District Cobblestone Street

This area is the oldest neighborhood in Lisbon. The cobblestone streets and labyrinthine alleyways give it a very unique feel.  The streets here are full of shops selling traditional crafts and food. 

Miradouro Das Portas do Sol, Lisbon, Portugal
Miradouro Das Portas do Sol

The area overlooking the Tagus river is filled with traditional white buildings with ionic orange roofs. Some of the best views of the city are here including Miradouro Das Portas do Sol, a famous viewpoint of the city. 

Cobblestone streets, Lisbon, Portugal
Varying cobblestone patterns that line the sidewalks of Lisbon

Fun fact: Different patterns of black and white cobblestone pave most of the pedestrian walkways throughout Lisbon. We counted 25 + different patterns! The picture above features just some of our favorite cobblestone patterns. Challenge: see how many patterns you can find when visiting. Bonus, seeing all these cobblestone patterns is completely free!


Day trip to Belem 

Belem Tower, Belem, Portugal
Belem Tower

Belem is about 5 miles outside of Lisbon’s city center. You can either walk here or take a Tram from the city center.  Here you can explore the iconic sites of Padrao dos Descobrimentos (Monument of Discoveries to honor Portugesse explorers who departed from here), Belem Tower (UNESCO World Heritage Site, Built to protect access to Portugal on the Tagus River) and the Monastery of Jeronimos.  You also can get Pastel de Nata at the iconic Pastries de Belem (see what/where to eat section below).  

Padrao dos Descobrimentos Monument, Lisbon, Portugal
Padrao dos Descobrimentos Monument

Day Trip to Sintra

Sintra Palace
Sintra Palace

Sintra is an approximately 40 minute train ride from Lisbon and definitely worth the ride.  This magical city is well known for its historic palaces, castles and gardens.  The highlight of our trip here was exploring the Pena Palace and hiking in the Sintra Mountains.  

Hiking through Sintra-Cascais Natural Park
Hiking through Sintra-Cascais Natural Park

We embarked on a steep, very picturesque and green hike through part of the Sintra-Cascais Natural Park to get to the Pena Palace located atop of one of the Sintra Mountains. Alternatively, you can take a cab ride to the top of the mountain if hiking is not your idea of a fun time.  However, this hike was so pretty (and completely free) so we really recommend you hike if you can.

The Pena Palace is unlike any castle you have ever seen before with its vibrant colors and unique architecture.  It was very foggy on the day we visited but this only added to the mystical atmosphere of this countryside castle and city. 

Sintra Gardens, Lisbon, Portugal
Sintra Gardens

On our hike down from the castle, we enjoyed exploring the charming gardens as well as the very expansive and luxurious Sintra estates. 

Tip: If you have more time, there are plenty of other attractions to visit in Sintra and you may want to consider making it an overnight trip from Lisbon. 


What/Where to eat in Lisbon


Pastel De Nata

Pastel de Nata at Pastries de Belem
Pastel de Nata at Pastries de Belem

Delicious traditional Portuguese egg tart made with a flakey crust. We loved these! There are little shops selling them everywhere in Lisbon.   

Our favorite Pastel de Nata experience was at Pastries de Belem where Pastel De Nata originated in Belem.  This pastry was created by Catholic Monks in the 18th century to sell and keep the Monastery of Jeronimos open when it was facing closure due to finances. 


Mercado da Ribeira

Times Out Market, Lisbon, Portugal
Times Out Market, Lisbon, Portugal

The Mercado de Ribeira or “Time Out ” Market in Lisbon has a variety of local Portugese food stands all within the same building.  We enjoyed trying a diverse selection of Portugese food here.  We liked this market so much that we ate here twice so we could try more of the food options. 


El Rei D. Frango

El Rei D. Frango, Lisbon, Portugal
El Rei D. Frango

This location is a hole in the wall restaurant (with maybe 10 tables in total) that we stumbled upon while walking around late one afternoon.  The seafood and atmosphere here were really unmatched.   This dinner was our favorite meal in Lisbon and we highly recommend eating here!  We want to fly back to Lisbon to eat here again.

Tips: This restaurant is cash only so make sure to bring enough to pay.  Plan to eat an early dinner unless you do not mind waiting in line outside of the restaurant for a table to open up. There was a line down the street to get in as we were leaving on a Tuesday. We were fortunate to stumble upon this gem!

El Rei D.Frango Lisbon


Chapito a Mesa

Chapito a Mesa, Lisbon, Portugal
Chapito a Mesa

Restaurant in the Alfama district with an incredible view of the river and the whole city. Here you dine in a rooftop garden and it’s the perfect spot for lunch when the weather is nice. The food and atmosphere were both on point. 

Tip: This place is easy to miss because it looks like a gallery from the street.  You have to walk through a little gallery and then take a metal spiral staircase to the main dining area. 


Sardines & Sangria 

Sardines and Sangria in Lisbon, Portugal
Sardines and Sangria in Lisbon, Portugal

To Sam’s delight, Sardines are a delicacy in Portugal and in no short supply.  Sardines were even featured on one of our cheese boards. While Sardines were not Natalie’s cup of tea, the fresh Sangria found throughout Lisbon was.  


Where to Stay in Lisbon on a Budget


VIP Executive Eden Aparthotel

This hotel was large with no fancy frills but the location and price were great.  The rooms were also much bigger than most European hotel rooms and included a small kitchen.  

VIP Hotels


We hope this post helps you plan your trip to Lisbon.  Anything else you’d add to our guide?  We’d love to hear your feedback.  Please leave us a comment. 

While in this area of Europe, be sure to pop over to visit both Madrid and Barcelona in Spain. We hope to visit Porto, Portugal someday too. See our friend Christine’s The Ultimate Restaurant List for Porto & 4 Incredible Experiences you do not want to Miss in Porto posts.

And remember, Always Have A Trip Planned!


Did you find this post helpful? If so, please share it with a friend, like our Always Have a Trip Planned Facebook Page, follow our Always Have A Trip Planned Instagram and subscribe to our emails below.

Planning a multi-city trip to Europe? See our How to Plan Your First Europe Trip on a Budget guide for more tips on how to do this.

Visiting Paris, France on a Budget Guide


Paris is one of the most romantic and elegant European cities. Whether you’re watching the Eiffel Tower sparkle under the night sky or eating a fresh pastry at one of the many local cafes amongst the surrounding iconic architecture, you will feel the magic of this city. Despite being one of the most distinguished cities in the world, you can visit Paris, France on a budget easily. We recommend spending at least 3 days here.  Here is our quick guide on what to do when visiting Paris, France on a budget.

Note: This post is written based on a trip taken in early April


What to do in Paris on a Budget


Eiffel Tower

Eiffel Tower, Paris
Second floor view Eiffel Tower (left), Eiffel Tower at night (right)

Que the cliché but the Eiffel tower is truly magnificent to behold. See the Eiffel tower at as many different times of day as possible. Our favorite was when it was lit up and sparkling at night. It was truly magical! We also really enjoyed going up to the 2nd floor of the Eiffel Tower and seeing the panoramic views of the city. 

Eiffel Tower, Paris
Eiffel Tower, Paris

To visit the 2nd floor of the Eiffel Tower, we recommend taking the Eiffel Tower, Seine River Cruise and City Bus Tour. This tour allowed us to “skip the line” at the Eiffel Tower and was reasonably priced.

Tip: Go here early in the morning to enjoy the Eiffel Tower without the crowds. We stayed near the Eiffel Tower, and we really enjoyed jogging around the tower/surrounding park in the morning when we were some of the only people there. And guess what? This was completely free!


Louvre 

Louvre Museum, Paris
Louvre Museum, Paris

Next, go see the world’s largest, and arguably most iconic, art museum–the Louvre.  The Mona Lisa is housed here amongst many other iconic pieces of art.  You can literally get lost here (we actually did) but that is part of the fun.  Sam also likes to try to be the art (see pictures below). The unique iconic architecture outside of the museum is not to be missed either. 

Louvre Museum, Paris
Louvre Museum, Paris

Louvre Museum

Tip: Make sure to check to see what days the Louvre Museum is open before you visit. The museum was closed on Wednesdays when we were visiting and we were glad to know this prior to arriving so we were able plan out seeing the rest of the city accordingly.

Louvre  Museum, Paris
Louvre Museum, Paris

Notre Dame Cathedral

Notre Dame Cathedral, Paris

After seeing the Eiffel Tower and Louvre, make a stop at Notre Dame Cathedral. This Cathedral is really a stunning piece of iconic architecture. Unfortunately, the Cathedral was damaged by a fire in April 2019 since our visit but restoration is underworks. This should be completed by Summer 2024.  This cathedral was very impressive and even with the damage, we would still recommend a visit here.


Explore city by foot

Seine River, Arc de Triumph, Luxembourg Gardens
Seine River (left), Arc de Triumph (center), Luxembourg Gardens (right)

On a nice day, this is a great way to see the city. Walk along the Seine river and use this landmark as your home base for navigation.  If walking the city (it is quite large!) is not your cup of tea, there are plenty of bus tours that you can book to see the whole city in a day. Make sure to see the Arc de Triomphe, Jardin du Palais-Royal and the Luxembourg Gardens in addition to all the sites above!


What to eat in Paris on a Budget


Bread, bread, bread!

After exploring the city by foot, you’ll certainly be hungry and have plenty of an appetite to try some fresh French bread and pastries. These baked goods here are really unmatched in taste.  Sample a couple everyday and find your favorite!    


Crepes

Sam loved these and tried as many as possible during our time in Paris.  There are little shops and stands all over the city that sell these. We highly recommend chocolate or nutella filling!


Where to Stay in Paris on a Budget

Stay near the Eiffel tower. We stayed at Hotel Eiffel Rive Gauche near the Eiffel Tower and recommend it. It was nice to be able to run or walk around Eiffel tower park in the morning. This hotel is also within walking distance from most of the other major attractions. The rooms were quite chic and as always, it was budget friendly.

Bonus: Your stay at this hotel includes a complimentary wine and cheese tasting every afternoon. Being from Wisconsin, we are all about a good charcuterie board.


We hope this post helps you plan your trip to Paris on a budget.  Anything else you’d add to our guide?  We’d love to hear your feedback and questions.  Leave us a comment. 

Tip: Consider visiting London while you are in Paris. There is a high speed train that can get you there in under 2.5 hours! See our London, England Quick Guide for more tips on visiting London.

And remember, Always Have A Trip Planned!


Did you find this post helpful? If so, please share it with a friend, like our Always Have a Trip Planned Facebook Page, follow our Always Have A Trip Planned Instagram and subscribe to our emails below.

Planning a multi-city trip to Europe? See our How to Plan Your First Europe Trip on a Budget guide for more tips on how to do this.

Visiting Ghent, Belgium on a Budget


Ghent, Beligium
Ghent, Beligium

Ghent, Belgium is a port city in northwest Belgium where the Leie and Scheldt rivers meet. This city feels more like a quaint small town with very pretty and well preserved architecture.  Similar to many other western European cities, Ghent can be quite expensive to visit. However, done correctly, you can visit Ghent, Belgium on a budget. We recommend spending 1-2 days here.  Here is our quick guide on Ghent, Belgium on a budget. 

Main Square in Ghent
Main Square in Ghent

Note: This post is written based on a trip taken in early April


What to do in Ghent


Free Walking City Tour

Ghent Walking Tour
Ghent Walking Tour

This tour is by far the best walking tour–paid for or free–that we have gone on.  We have gone on HEAPS of walking tours so this says a lot. Our guide was funny, entertaining, informative and engaging.  If you only do one thing in Ghent, do this. 

We did not book this beforehand and just showed up to it but you can book it in advance.  Make sure to tip your guide well at the end if you enjoy it like we did. 

Ghent Free Walking Tours


See the Cathedrals 

Cathedrals in Ghent, Belgium
St. Bavo’s Cathedral (left), three of the many cathedrals in Ghent (right)

In Ghent, it seems like there is a church on every corner you turn. The most famous is St. Bavo’s Cathedral that houses the famous Ghent Altarpiece.  We paid a small fee to see this up close and have an audio tour of the art piece.


Go to a local brewery

Gruut Brewery
Gruut Brewery

We went to the local Gruut Brewery while in Ghent.  This small brewery had very funky decor, fun staff and a very local feel.  If you are not feeling a brewery stop, consider hitting up one of the many bars with ample choices of delicious Belgian beers.

Belgian Beers
Belgian Beers

See the Gravensteen Castle

Gravensteen Castle
Gravensteen Castle in Ghent

The Gravensteen Castle is a 12th century castle with medieval architecture. You can take a tour here. With the amount of time we had, we opted not to take the tour but it was neat to see, even just from the outside. 


Where to Eat in Ghent


Sample different local cuisine near the main Ghent square 

Locals eats in Ghent
Locals eats in Ghent

We ate at the Holy Food Market, a market in a restored church, that had a lot of local options. Unfortunately, this place has closed since we were in Ghent in 2018 but we think you could get a similar experience by restaurant hopping in/around the square.  Some of our favorite foods in Ghent included croquettes, frites and waffles. 


Where to Stay in Ghent


Stay within walking distance of the main Ghent Square 


Monastery Hotel

Monastery Hotel in Ghent
Monastery Hotel in Ghent

We stayed at Monastery Hotel and would recommend it.  We actually had booked another hotel but that hotel was accidentally overbooked so we ended up at Monasterium PoortAckere and it was a pleasant surprise. This hotel was a former 19th century monastery and has its own chapel. The architecture inside the hotel makes it one of the most unique places we have ever stayed for the night. 

Monastery Hotel


We hope this post helps you plan your trip to Ghent on a Budget.  Anything else you’d add to our guide on visiting Ghent, Belgium on a budget?  We’d love to hear your feedback.  Leave us a comment. 

And remember, Always Have A Trip Planned!


Did you find this post helpful? If so, please share it with a friend, like our Always Have a Trip Planned Facebook Page, follow our Always Have A Trip Planned Instagram and subscribe to our emails below.

Planning a multi-city trip to Europe? See our How to Plan Your First Europe Trip on a Budget guide for more tips on how to do this.

Consider visiting Amsterdam, Paris and/or London while in this area too! See our guides for more budget tips.

Visiting London, England on a Budget


Tower Bridge, London, England
Tower Bridge, London, England

London is one of the most influential cities in the world and a must see.  Whether you are exploring the iconic city architecture or enjoying tea time, you are sure to love your time in London.  We recommend spending at least 3-4 days here, as well as taking a day trip to the countryside while in London.  Despite London being one of the most expensive cities in the world, you can visit London, England on a budget. Here is our guide on visiting London, England on a budget. 

Note: This post was written based on a trip taken in early April


What to do in London on a Budget


Take a Day Trip to Stonehenge, Oxford and Windsor

This outing was our favorite excursion we did while visiting London. Book a small group tour that departs from London early in the morning and returns to London in the early evening. This link has the specific Stonehenge, Oxford and Windsor Castle tour we recommend taking. Below is a breakdown of visiting each place.

Stonehenge 

Stonehenge Inner Circle Tour
Stonehenge Inner Circle Tour

Stonehenge, a ring of very large stones, is a mystical landmark located in southwest England. Although its origins are not well understood, Stonehenge is thought to be most likely an ancient burial ground.

Book a tour, such as the one we did, that allows you to go into the Inner Circle at Stonehenge.  Going into the Inner Circle at Stonehenge costs a bit more than a regular tour, but it is completely worth the extra cost. It is very cool to be able to get up close to and walk around the stones before Stonehenge opens to the general public.  This allows you to experience the mystical essence of Stonehenge without huge crowds. 

Oxford

Oxford, England
Oxford, England

Next stop on your tour will be Oxford University. So many famous people have attended or lectured at this school. As our tour guide said “it is just dripping with history”.  Walking around the campus gives you a feeling of prestige. The town is also very quaint and picturesque.  A guided city/campus tour is included in the trip we recommend and our guide was excellent. 

Windsor Castle/Windsor

Oxford, England

Windsor Castle, located in the town of Windsor, is one of the English royal family’s most famous estates. The areas of the castle you are able to see are very impressive. The architecture and elegant décor makes you feel immersed in English high society. The chapel where the royal weddings occur is very cool to see in-person.  Many may have seen this chapel through TV airing of royal weddings, but seeing it in-person is like walking through living history.


Attend Afternoon Tea Time

Afternoon Tea, Fortnum and Mason
Afternoon Tea, Fortnum and Mason

Traditional afternoon tea is an experience we’d highly recommend having in London. We went to afternoon tea at Fortnum and Mason in London and really enjoyed it.  Here, we got to try several different teas, tea sandwiches and sweets.  Most notably, we ate the BEST scones we have ever tasted here. Tea time was not only delicious but also quite relaxing. The wait staff here are very helpful and kind as well. They will help you choose what teas and foods you may enjoy.  Afternoon tea took about 2 hours, so make sure to budget enough time so that you can really enjoy and savor the experience. 

Tip: Make a reservation at least two weeks prior to visiting


Visit Iconic London Architecture 

Parliament (left), Telephone stand (left center), Kensington Palace (right center), English Taxi (right)

Tower Bridge, Parliament, Big Ben Clocktower, Buckingham Palace, Kensington Palace, etc.  It is very neat to see the places as they all have exceedingly rich histories and are featured in many different movies/television shows. 

Buckingham Palace, London, England
Buckingham Palace, London, England

These iconic sites are located all throughout the city.  We’d recommend mapping out the location of each on Google Maps and then creating a plan to see them all throughout your stay in London.  We saw a couple each day based on what was in close proximity to what else we were doing. Tours are offered at many of the locations if you want a guided and more educational experience.


Visit one of the many Public Parks in London

Hyde Park, London, England
Hyde Park, London, England

Did you know there are approximately 3000 public parks in London?  It certainly surprised us that such a large city had so much designated green space.

Hyde Park, London, England
Hyde Park, London, England

We’d recommend going to Green Park, Hyde Garden and St. James Park. These are three of the largest and most centrally located public parks.  All of these three parks have very pretty gardens and are a good place to walk around and relax on a nice day. Hyde park was our favorite of these three.

These parks are not a must while in London but definitely worth seeing if you have the time.


What to eat in London on a Budget


Indian Food

Indian Sampler, London, England
Indian Sampler

Did you know chicken tikka masala is the national dish of England? India was a British Colony for almost 200 years and during that time England learned how to really cook Indian food.  We ate Indian food several times in England and were not disappointed once. There are Indian restaurants everywhere in London so we’d recommend going to one conveniently located for you.


Scones

Tea Time at Fortnum and Mason, London, England
Tea Time at Fortnum and Mason, London, England

A scone is a crumbly British pastry that you spread jam and clotted cream on. As noted above, the best scones we tasted in London were at Fortnum and Mason but there were great tasting scones throughout the city.  Try as many different scones as you can while in London! 

Fortnum and Mason


Eat on The Queens Walk

Food on The Queens Walk, London, England
Food on The Queens Walk

The Queens Walk, located next to the Thames River and near the London Eye, has heaps of different restaurant and food stand options. The atmosphere throughout this area is very fun here. We had some scrumptious honey cinnamon ice cream and a Mexican Sampler spread along here.


Most importantly, London is a big, diverse city with many different amazing ethnic restaurants.  We’d recommend eating whatever you are feeling that day! 


Where to Stay in London on a Budget

We’d recommend staying near the London Eye as it is quite centrally located and we were able to walk to all the iconic spots (without having to hassle with using public transportation) in London. 


Premier Inn London

We stayed at the Premier Inn London County Hall.  This was a big hotel but the location was great and the price was reasonable. It was right along the river too, which made a great running path in the morning. 

Premier Inn London


We hope this post helps you plan your London trip.  Anything else you’d add to our guide?  We’d love to hear your feedback and questions.  Please leave us a comment!

Consider visiting Paris, Ghent and Amsterdam while in this part of Europe too!

And remember, Always Have A Trip Planned!


Did you find this post helpful? If so, please share it with a friend, like our Always Have a Trip Planned Facebook Page, follow our Always Have A Trip Planned Instagram and subscribe to our emails below.

Planning a multi-city trip to Europe? See our How to Plan Your First Europe Trip on a Budget guide for more tips on how to do this.

Visiting Killarney, Ireland on a Budget Guide


Killarney is a quaint and charming town in County Kerry on the southwest shore of Ireland.  Killarney is a great base to see the beautiful Irish countryside and tour the iconic Ring of Kerry.  We’d recommend at least 3 days here to allow you to do an excursion or two from Killarney. Even though Ireland is one of the more expensive countries to visit, you can visit Killarney, Ireland on a reasonable budget. Here is our guide for visiting Killarney, Ireland on a budget. 

Note: This post is written based on a trip taken in early July


What to do in Killarney on a Budget


Ring of Kerry Day Tour

Ring of Kerry Tour
Ring of Kerry Tour

The Ring of Kerry is a scenic driving route along the Iveragh Peninsula of southwest Ireland that takes you along the scenic seaside, coastal villages and Killarney National Park.  The views on this route exemplify the picturesque and green Ireland you have always imagined.

Ring of Kerry Tour
Ring of Kerry Tour

We recommend taking a guided tour of the Ring of Kerry to see as much as possible and learn some history along the way.  We booked a tour that also included hiking up to Bray Head, a popular hill offering scenic coastal views.  

Portmagee, Ireland on Ring of Kerry Tour
Portmagee, Ireland on Ring of Kerry Tour

Ring of Kerry and Bray Head Day Tour


Gap of Dunloe Hike

Gap of Dunloe Hike
Gap of Dunloe Hike

The Gap of Dunloe is a narrow pass that separates two mountain ranges (the MacGillycuddy’s Reeks mountain range and the Purple mountain range).  The hike through the Gap of Dunloe is about 7 miles.

Gap of Dunloe Hike
Gap of Dunloe Hike

We took a “tour” where we were picked up in the city center of Killarney and then dropped off to hike the Gap of Dunloe at our own pace. Then, we were picked up by a small boat at the end our hike and given a ride on the Gearhameen River. The boat then dropped us off at Ross Castle where we were picked up by a van and returned to the city center of Killarney. 

Boat Ride from Gap of Dunloe
Boat Ride from Gap of Dunloe

The day we completed this hike, it POURED. The pictures do not do justice to how wet we got from the rain. Despite the pouring rain, this was a beautiful hike and the unrelenting rain made the experience more memorable.  The boat ride on the Gearhameen River was very pretty as well and our boat driver, a local Irishman, was quite entertaining. It is certainly an experience we will never forget!

Gap of Dunloe Tour

Tip: Bring quality rain gear for any hiking you do in Ireland. More likely than not, it is going to rain at some point during your hike (Ireland is so green because it rains ALL the time). We were not appropriately prepared for this rainy hike (and were quite cold during it) but we have since invested in better waterproof hiking gear. We use and recommend the high quality products below. You will get years of use of of each of these items and they are well worth the investment.


What/Where to eat in Killarney on a Budget


Cronins

The food here was delicious.  They have daily specials and we recommend getting one of those. We enjoyed lamb and a seafood special as our main dishes. We particularly loved the dessert, chocolate caramel brownie, we got here too. 

Cronin’s Restaurant 


Lamb & Seafood

Both lamb and seafood are local specialties and extremely fresh.  We ordered both daily at various restaurants. Before we visited Ireland, we were told by numerous people the food was not that good but we disagree.  We did not have one bad meal the whole time we were there! 

Lamb and Seafood in Killarney
Lamb and Seafood in Killarney

The Shire

This Lord of the Rings themed bar is one-of-a-kind.  If you are a Lord of the Rings fan, stop here for a drink.  You can get the signature cocktail ‘Hobbit-Juice’. 


Where to stay in Killarney on a Budget


Stay somewhere in Killarney that is close enough to the main drag so that you can walk everywhere

Old Weir Lodge

We stayed at the Old Weir Lodge and would recommend it. Our stay included a generous and traditional made-to-order Irish breakfast that we enjoyed each morning. The lodge and rooms were quaint and cozy as well. 

Old Weir Lodge


We hope this guide helps you plan your trip to Killarney on a budget.  Make sure to check our Dublin while in Ireland as well.  Anything you’d add to our guide on visiting Killarney, Ireland on a budget? We’d love to hear your feedback and questions.  Please leave us a comment!

And remember, Always Have A Trip Planned!


Did you find this post helpful? If so, please share it with a friend, like our Always Have a Trip Planned Facebook Page, follow our Always Have A Trip Planned Instagram and subscribe to our emails below.

Planning a multi-city trip to Europe? See our How to Plan Your First Europe Trip on a Budget guide for more tips on how to do this.

Visiting Dublin, Ireland on a Budget


There is just something invigorating and intoxicating (and it’s not just the beer) about the atmosphere in Dublin.  From the abundant amount of live Irish music and dancing at the pubs to the friendly people you’ll meet on the street, Dublin certainly has its unique charm.  We’d recommend 1-2 days here to get a feel for the ambiance. Also, although Ireland is rated as one of the most expensive countries to visit, Dublin can be explored on a budget. Here is our guide on visiting Dublin, Ireland on a budget. 

Note: This post is written based on a trip taken in early July


What to do in Dublin on a Budget


Go Pub Hopping 

The Temple Bar, Dublin Ireland
The Temple Bar, Dublin Ireland

Wander through the city center, going from pub to pub, and get lost listening to the live music at each bar. Make sure to go to the iconic Temple Bar with its daily live music and large whiskey collection for an entertaining time. 


Guinness Storehouse Tour

Guinness Storehouse
Guinness Storehouse

This stop is a self guided tour that will teach you about the history and brewing process of the famous Irish stout, Guinness.

The Guinness Storehouse is designed to look like a pint of Guinness and is seven stories tall 

At the end of the tour, on the seventh floor, you can enjoy a pint of Guinness Beer at the gravity bar that has 360 views of Dublin.  If you are a sucker for a good view like us, this is really the best part!  

Tip: Make sure you book ahead as tour times tend to sell out a couple weeks in advance 


Visit Iconic Dublin Sites

Trinity College, Grafton Street (Pedestrian Street), Dublin Castle, St. Patrick Cathedral, and more.

St. Patrick Cathedral, Grafton Street and Dublin Castle
St. Patrick Cathedral (left), Grafton Street (center) and Dublin Castle (right)

If you stay in the city center, you will be able to walk to all of these. We’d recommend mapping out the location of each on Google Maps and then creating a plan to see them all throughout your stay.  We saw a couple everytime we went out to do something else. 

Trinity College
Trinity College

Tip: If you are looking for a good (and free) workout, on the main campus at Trinity college, there is a short (approximately ¾ of a mile) running path with HITT stations along it.  After discovering this path while exploring the college the day prior, we went up to the college the next morning and made several laps on the trail for a great morning workout. See How to Stay in Shape While Traveling.


Irish Music/Dance Show

Seeing a traditional Irish music and dance show was one of the highlights of our time in Dublin.  We saw the Celtic Nights show and would recommend it.  The show was a fun and energetic performance that included a lot of different traditional Irish music as well as Irish dancing and a three-course dinner.  Neither of us remember the food being particularly spectacular but we do remember that the performances made the experience worth the cost. 

Celtic Nights Show


What/Where to eat in Dublin on a Budget


Traditional Irish Pub

Irish Pub
Irish Pub

We ate at several of these pubs, getting something different each time (fish and chips, smoked salmon, sandwiches).  The food at most places was simple but good and the atmosphere was always fun.  We’d recommend eating at pubs with live music as this is what we remember more than the food in Dublin. 


Where to Stay in Dublin on a Budget


Stay in the city center and near the river Liffey (river that runs through the center of Dublin) to make navigation easy.

Liffey River Dublin, Ireland
Liffey River Dublin, Ireland

Arlington Hotel

We stayed at the Arlington Hotel right off of O’Connell Bridge in the city center.  From here, you are able to walk to all the main attractions. This is a large hotel but the rooms were nice, the location was perfect and it was budget friendly.  We also enjoyed the Celtic Nights Performance here–a live show filled with traditional Irish Music and Irish dancing discussed above.

Arlington Hotel


We hope this guide helps you plan your trip to Dublin, Ireland on a Budget.  Make sure to check out Killarney while in Ireland as well.  Anything you’d add to our guide on visiting Ireland on a budget? We’d love to hear your feedback and questions.  Please leave us a comment!

And remember, Always Have A Trip Planned!


Did you find this post helpful? If so, please share it with a friend, like our Always Have a Trip Planned Facebook Page, follow our Always Have A Trip Planned Instagram and subscribe to our emails below.

Planning a multi-city trip to Europe? See our How to Plan Your First Europe Trip on a Budget guide for more tips on how to do this.

Visiting Santorini, Greece on a Budget


Oia, Santorini, Greece

We immediately fell in love with Santorini, Greece. This Greek Island is truly one of the most beautiful places in the world. The views, weather, food and people are unmatched. We’d recommend spending at least 3 or 4 days in Santorini to really soak up the beauty.  Santorini, Greece can be a very pricey place to explore; however, if done correctly and without sacrificing any quality to your trip, you can visit Santorini on a budget. Here is our guide on visiting Santorini, Greece on a budget. 

Note: This post is written based on a trip taken in late June 

Disclosure: This article contains affiliate links. That means that, at no cost to you, we may get a small commission if your purchase through these links. This helps us keep providing travel resources for you!


What to do in Santorini, Greece on a Budget


Rent a Motorized Scooter to Explore the Island 

Motorized Scooter in Santorini, Greece

We rode our motorized scooter all over the island and it was one of the most exhilarating things we’ve ever done!  Everyone deserves to ride along the Santorini coastline on a motorized scooter at least once in their life.  We would highly recommend it!  

If you are looking for something a bit more stable, they also have ATVs that you can rent.  Beware that roads are narrow with steep drops to the sea but there is a good public bus system on the island if a motorized scooter or ATV is not your cup of tea. We would not recommend renting a car as it is cumbersome and expensive. 


Take a Day Cruise to Some of the Smaller Islands 

Thiasia (left), Coastline along Oia (center), Nea Kameni (right)

We explored 3 smaller islands off the coastline of Santorini on a large sailboat. On this cruise, we went to Nea Kameni (uninhabited, volcano), Palea Kameni (uninhabited, hot springs) and Thirasia (inhabited).  We particularly liked hiking up to the sparsely populated town of Manolas on Thirasia. The last stop on the cruise was in Oia to watch the sunset.  This outing was a full day excursion, 10 hours, and reasonably priced. 

Thirasia, Greece

We booked this tour through our hotel so our day cruise tour started in Kamari.  We were picked up by bus and then taken to a port near Fira. From there, we then boarded a large sailboat to start our trip. 

Here is the link to the tour we did: Santorini Day Cruise


Hike from Fira to Oia and Explore Both Cities

Hiking from Thira to Oia

This hike is a great way to see the island as you parallel the water while passing by many different small communities and some of the uninhabited areas of volcanic remains.  The views from this hike are unparalleled in beauty.  

Path through the houses in Thira, Santorini, Greece

“Hike” is a loose term for this paved walking path between Fira to Oia that we would rate as easy to moderate.  The hike took us about 2 hours but we walk pretty fast and most websites recommend budgeting 3-4 hours for this walk.  It is mostly in the full sun so be prepared with water and sun protection.

Sunset in Oia, Santorini, Greece

Fira is known for its beautiful Caldera (white houses with blue roofs) and water views while Oia is known for its stunning Caldera and sunset views. Make sure you explore both towns while in Santorini! This side of the island is the “classic” Santorini you see in movies like Mama Mia and Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants.  

Part of the hiking trail between Fira and Oia

We were staying on the other side of the island in Kamari (location of a black sand beach). We traveled by riding our motorized scooter from Kamari to Fira in the morning.  We then explored Fira for the rest of the morning. After lunch, we hiked to Oia in the early afternoon, explored Fira in the later afternoon and then returned to Fira by bus before riding our motorized scooter back to Kamari. 


Go to the Open-Air Movie Theater in Kamari

Open-Air Cinema in Santorini, Greece

This open-air venue was a unique and relaxing way to spend an evening in Santorini. The theater was cute and they had both recent releases playing some nights in addition to classics on other nights, such as Mama Mia. We watched a recent release and enjoyed being able to relax while watching a movie outside in the beautiful Santorini weather.  


What/Where to Eat in Santorini, Greece on a Budget


Greek Salad

What’s that you say?  No party ever started with a salad…except in Santorini. Ok, maybe we made that one up but Greek salads are no joke and SO delicious.  All the ingredients–cucumbers, tomatoes, olives, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, feta–are so fresh.  Six years later and we still crave these on a regular basis. While we were in Greece, we ordered one at every meal to split (in addition to other food) and we highly recommend doing the same.  The Greeks do salad right! 


Baklava 

Phyllo Dough with honey and nuts–there’s really nothing to not like about this dessert. Make sure to try this during your time in Greece and Santorini!  


Mom & Pop Restaurants

In Santorini, there are many different mom and pop restaurants. We’d encourage you to eat at places off the main drag (without any pictures on the menu) to give you a more authentic Santorini experience. 

Our favorite family restaurant was Koralli in Kamari near our accommodations.  The food and service were so good, we ate there 3 times.  Don’t fix something if it isn’t broke!  

Koralli Restaurant


Where to Stay on Santorini, Greece on a Budget


Stay on Kamari side of Santorini

Sunset in Kamari, Santorini, Greece

Most people would instinctively stay in Fira or Oia because they are the “classic” picture of Santorini with the Caldera views but both of these areas are so popular that they are pretty crowded at all hours of the day. Kamari, known for its black sand beaches, feels more quaint and relaxing. You also won’t have to pay an arm and a leg to stay in Kamari by comparison to Fira and Oia.  Fira and Oia are both only a short bus ride or motorized scooter ride away from Kamari too. 


Hotel Acropole Sunrise

View from our room at Hotel Acropole Sunrise

We stayed at Hotel Acropole Sunrise, a quaint hotel in Kamari, that we booked through Airbnb.  The accommodations were simple but nice and the hotel had a pretty sunrise view.  The breakfast included with our stay consisted of a variety of fresh baked goods and yogurt.  Our host at the hotel was great and extremely helpful too.  He picked us up from the airport (for a small fee), making our transfer to our hotel seamless, and also took time to orient us to the island when we arrived.  It definitely was a huge bonus to have a kind, friendly and helpful host to help plan your time in Santorini! 

Use this link to get up to $65 off your first Airbnb

Hotel Acropole Sunrise


We hope this post helps you plan your trip to Santorini on a Budget.  Be sure to check out Athens when you are in Greece too. We’d love to hear your feedback and questions. Anything you’d add to our guide on visiting Santorini on a budget? Please leave us a comment! 

And remember, Always Have A Trip Planned!


Did you find this post helpful? If so, please share it with a friend, like our Always Have a Trip Planned Facebook Page, follow our Always Have A Trip Planned Instagram and subscribe to our emails below.

Planning a multi-city trip to Europe? See our How to Plan Your First Europe Trip on a Budget guide for more tips on how to do this. 

error: Content is protected