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Autism-Friendly Vacation in Iceland

As an avid traveler, I have visited numerous Caribbean Islands, Puerto Rico, and so many other amazing destinations. I have also lived in O’ahu, Ireland, and Japan since we are a military family. And yet, I haven’t been to my most sought-after destination. I have always wanted to vacation in Iceland. This beautiful country has no mosquitos (yes, a must on my list after living in areas where these bugs are a nuisance), lush landscapes, and multiple unique activities.

I want to spend my autism-friendly vacation in Iceland with my boys, as we search for fairies and elves hiding amongst the landscape. I would love to see the wild horses. And most importantly I want to see all the volcanoes scattered throughout the country.

My youngest son simply loves learning about natural occurrences like volcanoes, hurricanes, tsunamis, and tornados. So, I think the volcanoes in Iceland will be right up his alley! He more than likely will be able to identify the types of volcanoes in Iceland too!

Oh, and I want to sample some of the local cuisine. My boys may not be as adventurous as I am, so I would plan my sampling accordingly and make sure they have something they like to eat. Although, they may surprise me and be brave enough to try a small bite of whatever I am eating. Which is totally fine with me!

I could go on and on about why I want to go on vacation in Iceland. However, that would defeat the purpose of my sharing how you can have an autism-friendly vacation in Iceland with your family. While I will be as informative as I can, feel free to reach out to chat or get help planning this amazing vacation of a lifetime!

Autism-Friendly Vacation in Iceland

Okay, first of all, Iceland is one of the most family-friendly destinations you can visit. Kids can often be seen playing outside, without their parents, even when it is dark out. There is even a custom where parents will leave their sleeping child in a stroller outside a store. The fresh air is supposed to be best for children when they are sleeping. And the parent simply keeps an eye on their child, as they are shopping.

Now, you may not want to leave your child outside alone or let them play in an area you are unfamiliar with. But it is nice to know that this is a safe country!

Weather in Iceland

The weather in Iceland is slightly unique. The temperatures in Reykjavik average 35 degrees Fahrenheit during the winter months and 55 degrees Fahrenheit during the summer. Yet, it can be much colder during the winter and a little warmer during the summer.

Different areas of Iceland will experience cooler weather throughout the year. So, you will want to take layers for all of your family adventures.

One of the best things about visiting Iceland during the summer, besides the weather, is the fact the sun is out almost twenty-four hours a day. That is a lot of daylight for exploring this beautiful country.

While it does snow during the winter, most people will still visit Iceland during this time of the year for the Northern Lights. After all, the snow doesn’t typically stay long in Iceland. It usually melts quickly and is gone before the next storm rolls in.

Where to Stay for an Autism-Friendly Vacation in Iceland

There are plenty of family-friendly hotels in Iceland. I can help you find the perfect hotel that meets your family’s needs.

Most of these hotels can be found in Reykjavik. This is the capital city of Iceland. Staying right in the heart of this city will allow you ample opportunities to do what you want throughout the country.

The best part about staying in these hotels is many of them come with a kitchenette or full kitchen. That will make snack time and mealtime much easier for your family.

Transportation in Iceland

One of the best ways to see the sights in Iceland is by driving to them yourself. This will require renting a car. You may be nervous about driving in a foreign country. However, it won’t be as bad as you think. Especially since you will sit on the same side of the car you drive here in the US. You will even drive on the right side of the road like you do here!

I usually recommend renting a vehicle for an autism-friendly vacation in Iceland. This way you can go from one area to the next when you want to instead of keeping to a tour schedule.

Other transportation options in Iceland include the public bus and taxis. The public bus will take you to wherever you want to go in Reykjavik. During the summer months, the buses will take you to other popular destinations around the country as well. However, the bus schedule may not always fit your family’s needs.

Taxis are very expensive in Iceland. So, you may only want to use them if you absolutely need to for your time away from home.

Things to Do During an Autism-Friendly Vacation in Iceland

Drive the Golden Circle

One of the best sightseeing routes in Iceland is the Golden Circle. A drive along this route will have you seeing the geysers in the Haukadalur Geothermal Valley, the Gullfoss Waterfall, and Þingvellir, which is a continental rift valley full of Viking history.

Since this is a circular route, you won’t need to backtrack. The Golden Circle can be driven in a day. The kids can nap when they need a little rest. And you will get the reward of a little quiet time.

Relax at the Blue Lagoon

There are dozens of geothermal springs scattered throughout Iceland. Many of those springs have areas where young children can spend their time.

One of the best geothermal springs in Iceland is the Blue Lagoon. Children as young as two can enter the water at this geothermal spa.

You must make reservations for the Blue Lagoon in advance. I can help you with this as I am planning your autism-friendly vacation in Iceland.

Venture Out in Nature to See the Local Wildlife

There is plenty of local wildlife to see while on vacation in Iceland. You can spend your days seeing horses, puffins, seals, whales, and so many other animals.

If your family loves horses, you may want to go out on a horseback riding adventure. Icelandic horses are small. They are often mistaken for ponies, but they are true horses. These horses are gentle and friendly. Perfect for kids, and adults, of all ages!

Puffins are cute birds that can only be seen in certain destinations around the world. Lots of puffins can be seen while out on a RIB boat tour in Iceland.

If your family doesn’t want to go out on a boat to see the puffins, you can always drive to the South Coast or Westfjords. There are always puffins hanging out in those areas between the months of April through August.

One of the best ways to see whales while in Iceland is by taking a whale-watching adventure. Tour boats leave directly from the Old Harbour in Reykjavik.

During a whale-watching tour, your family will have the chance to see minke whales, humpback whales, orcas, white-beaked dolphins, and harbor porpoises. Hopefully, you can see them all, although it won’t be easy to determine which one is your favorite if you do!

Take a Dog Sled Ride

Not many people can resist the cute and cuddly sled dog pups. So, as long as your autistic family is willing to spend time with the big, and small, dogs, a dog sled ride should be on your list of things to do.

During the summer months, these rides are done on sleds with wheels. During the winter, the wheels are replaced with the sled skis.

Your guide will be an authentic musher. They will share everything you need to know about dog sledding. Then they will take you out on a ride in the countryside.

After your ride, you will all have a chance to cuddle with the sled dogs. This will be a great opportunity for pictures during your family vacation.

Visit a Lava Cave

There are a few different lava caves and tunnels throughout Iceland. Vatnshellir is a lava cave within Snæfellsjökull National Park. There is another one in Reykjanes Peninsula and one more in Raufarholshellir.

These lava caves will allow your family to explore the underground geothermal activity in Iceland.

Go Souvenir Shopping at the Kolaportid Flea Market

This flea market is only open on the weekends. You will find it next to the Reykjavik City Library. It is an excellent place to find authentic wool sweaters and other trinkets to remember your vacation in Iceland.

Ride the Hop On Hop Off Bus

One of the best ways to see the sights in the city of Reykjavik is riding the Hop On Hop Off Bus. You can spend as much time as you want at each attraction. Or simply stay on the bus the entire time to learn where everything is located.

See the Northern Lights

You will only be able to see the Northern Lights in Iceland during the winter months. This is when the sky is dark enough for the dancing lights to appear. Although, you will only see them on clear nights.

During the summer, you won’t see the Northern Lights. However, it is the only time you can experience the Midnight Sun.

Where to Eat in Iceland

There are plenty of fast food restaurants you normally eat at while at home in Iceland. However, this is a wonderful time to try some new foods. I discovered a Viking restaurant in Iceland called Fjorugardurinn.

This restaurant focuses on the Viking era. Depending on how many people are there during your visit, you may be able to wander around to see all the Viking decor.

Traditional meals can be found on the menu. They are all served in old-fashioned Viking-style trays.

If you are being daring, try the sheep head served with mashed potatoes and beets or the Icelandic meat soup. Those who are not so daring in your family will prefer the cheeseburger, BBQ pork ribs, or the fish and chips.

During your meal, you may be serenaded by the singing Valkyries and Vikings.

This is only one of the many authentic restaurants that serve Icelandic cuisine. There are many others and we can discuss those when we chat.

It is best to keep all these things in mind, as you are considering an autism-friendly vacation in Iceland for your family. Being aware of where to stay, how to get around, the weather, where to eat, and what to do can be helpful during the planning stages of your vacation. Of course, I can make it even easier by planning your vacation in Iceland for you! Once I know exactly what your autistic family needs for your time away from home, as well as what you all enjoy doing, I can personalize this trip for you. Click here to get this process started and see how easy it can be to enjoy an autism-friendly vacation in Iceland without needing to do all the research and hard work yourself. As a Certified Autism Travel Professional, I have the resources in place to ensure your family has the best vacation ever in my dream destination!

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