A land of breathtaking natural marvels, geothermal technology, and a unique culture, Iceland provides an excellent educational platform for an enriching school trip experience.
First, there’s the country’s unique landscape; lava fields, ice caves, volcanoes, and glaciers provide a natural classroom, fostering investigations into climate change, tectonic plates, risk management and coastal processes. Then there’s the Hellisheidi Power Plant, which stands as a testament to Iceland's leadership in renewable energy, and reveals the engineering marvels behind geothermal power.
However, the country is well-known for its expense, and with so many wonderful excursions challenges can arise in balancing educational opportunities with a realistic budget.
That’s why, in this blog, we aim to equip you with the essential tools you need to plan your school trip to Iceland. We've done all the legwork for you, and have laid out the vast array of educational opportunities that this Nordic gem presents, suggested cost-effective activities to enrich your itinerary, and provided insights into the everyday expenses you might encounter. So, get ready to set off on an educational journey, with our comprehensive guide to an outstanding school trip experience.
Learning objectives covered by an Iceland school trip
As a leader in sustainable energy, there’s little wonder that visits to the Land of Fire and Ice is such a popular destination among our STEM groups. Here, students can study the incredible engineering behind the Hellisheidi Power Plant – one of the world’s largest geothermal energy plants – before exploring the unique biological experiences Iceland has to offer, from lava fields and ice caves to jaw-dropping waterfalls and therapeutic natural lagoons. An excursion to the fascinating Westman Islands also offers student groups a unique insight into how volcanic eruptions affect communities in the modern age.
Travel & tourism
Ask anyone you know if they'd like to visit Iceland, and they'll probably answer in the affirmative. The country's popularity skyrocketed after the 2010 Eyjafjallajökull volcano eruptions hit headlines worldwide, when the tourism board launched a successful campaign that best showed off its dazzling natural wonders – lava fields, glaciers, and the Northern Lights making up just a proportion of these. Embark on one of our attraction-packed Iceland school trips with your students, and they'll soon understand the many factors that caused the country's annual tourist numbers to rise to more than five times its population.
Combining traditional Nordic culture with remarkable natural attractions, Iceland is a wonderful option for a reward or end-of-year trip for your students. Our tours to this incredible island country showcase the very best that Iceland has to offer; from diverse landscapes to sustainable energy, you can guarantee your student group will come away having experienced something new and unforgettable, regardless of which itinerary you opt for.
Witness the transformative power of Mother Nature during a geography school trip to Iceland, where your group can experience everything from contorted volcanic features and raging waterfalls, creaking glaciers and unique coastal landforms. A mind-blowing destination that’s packed with opportunities for physical and human investigations, Iceland offers plenty to help your students develop their understanding of climate change, renewable energy, tectonic plates, hazard management and coastal processes – all within the same trip.
Free things to do in Iceland for schools
Iceland, including Reykjavik, offers a range of free activities and attractions for school groups. Here are some suggestions to add to your itinerary:
While the interior of the iconic Hallgrímskirkja church may have an entrance fee, visiting the exterior and the surrounding area is free. The church's unique architecture attracts thousands of tourists each year, who flock to see this incredible landmark.
Harpa Concert Hall
Enjoy the stunning architecture of renowned Danish-Icelandic artist Olafur Eliasson at Harpa, Reykjavik's concert hall and conference centre. The concert hall is a sight to behold, with its distinctive coloured glass facade inspired by Iceland’s basalt landscape.
Solfar (Sun Voyager) Sculpture
Take in Iceland’s ancient heritage at the Sun Voyager sculpture, which overlooks the harbour and represents a Viking ship. This iconic steel sculpture is one of the city’s most notable sights, making it a great spot for taking photos and discussing Icelandic culture and history.
Tjörnin (The Pond)
This small, scenic lake in the city centre is surrounded by parks, making it a peaceful place to take a walk. It's also a popular spot among the city’s waterbirds, and therefore an excellent place for your student group to view species that are unique to the island.
Reykjavik City Hall
Designed to celebrate the contrasts of nature and city life, Reykjavik’s City Hall is an architectural marvel, and home to a huge 3D printed map of Iceland, which is situated on the ground floor of the building.
Free Walking Tours
For smaller groups, some companies offer free walking tours of Reykjavík, which provide insights into the city's history, culture, and landmarks. Participants are encouraged to tip the guide once the tour is over.
Wander around the Old Harbour area, where you can see fishing boats and enjoy the maritime atmosphere. There are occasionally street performers and events happening in the vicinity.
Grótta Island Lighthouse
Take a walk out of central Reykjavik to the Grótta Island Lighthouse, which is located on a small island connected to the mainland by a causeway. With low light pollution at night, it’s an excellent spot for viewing the aurora borealis – keep an eye on the aurora forecast to see if it’s likely to show during your school trip.
We also recommend taking advantage of the natural beauty around Reykjavík and the wider Iceland area, including parks, waterfronts, and scenic viewpoints, which are typically free to explore. Always check the latest information and opening hours for these attractions, as policies may change.
How much do every day items cost in Iceland (2023)?
- Single metro ticket (AB zone): 490ISK (£2.90)
- Coffee: 610ISK (£3.60)
- Burger and fries in a fast food restaurant: 2000ISK (£11.85)
- A hot dog at the famous Bæjarins Beztu Pylsur hot dog stand: 600ISK (£3.55)
Ready to book your school trip to Iceland?
With dozens of fascinating attractions for you to choose from, Iceland offers several unique school trips to broaden your students’ understanding of key topics across STEM, geography, travel & tourism and more. Furthermore, this lively Nordic country has numerous free landmarks that are free to visitors, allowing a school trip to Iceland to cater to various budgets, and providing your group with yet more opportunities to explore the city in greater detail.
To find out more about our school trips to Iceland, or enquire about booking a school trip, please call us on 01273 648248. You can also fill out our webform, and our school trip experts will get back to you as soon as we can.