Perfect for families with energetic older kids, this exhilarating 10-day road trip takes in the best of the country's natural wonders as you tour Iceland's famous Ring Road. Discover the beauty of the Golden Circle before hiking the black-sand beaches and waterfalls of the South Coast. Explore the wild Eastfjords and raft glacial whitewater in the north as you adventure among volcanoes, canyons, glaciers, and lava caves to create family memories that will last a lifetime.


  • Snorkel between continents in the Silfra fissure
  • Glide among the icebergs in the Fjallsárlón glacier lagoon
  • Experience a classic Icelandic horse ride along the coast
  • Raft the thrilling whitewater of Austari-Jökulsá
  • Explore the atmospheric Víðgelmir lava cave

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Keflavík, Golden Circle, Silfra Snorkeling Golden Circle
Day 2 South Coast Waterfalls & Black-Sand Beaches, Zip Line Adventure Tour Vík
Day 3 Skaftafell Nature Reserve & Fjallsárlón Glacier Lagoon Zodiac Tour Höfn
Day 4 The Eastfjords, Hallormdsstaður Forest ATV Adventure Egilsstaðir
Day 5 Explore Lake Mývatn, Mývatn Nature Baths Lake Mývatn
Day 6 Dettifoss, Jökulsárgljúfur & Húsavik, Seaside Horse Trek Lake Mývatn
Day 7 Northwest Iceland, Akureyri & Godafoss, Glacial Whitewater Rafting Laugarbakki
Day 8 Explore Snæfellsnes, Geology & Wildlife Adventure Hike Snæfellsnes Peninsula
Day 9 West Iceland & Borgarfjörður, Víðgelmir Lava Cave Tour, Reykjavík Reykjavík
Day 10 Explore Reykjanes Peninsula, Blue Lagoon Spa, Depart from Keflavík  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Keflavík, Golden Circle, Silfra Snorkeling

Snorkel the amazing Silfra Fissure
Snorkel the Silfra fissure at Þingvellir National Park

Velkominn til íslands (welcome to Iceland)!  Arrive at Keflavík airport and pick up your 4WD. Your family adventure starts as you head out on the Ring Road, Iceland's main road that circles the entire country and makes for a popular sightseeing route. Your first stop is the country's famous Golden Circle and the Þingvellir National Park, where you'll find the extraordinary Silfra fissure. Created by the separation of the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates cutting through Iceland, this is one of the clearest bodies of water on earth, with up to 400 feet (120 m) of visibility. 

Experience a true bucket list moment as you don wetsuits and, under the experienced eye of your guide, snorkel between continents in the filtered glacial water. Float through Big Crack, the narrowest section, where the tectonic plates are so close you can almost touch them before entering Silfra Hall. Marvel at the clarity of the fissure's color spectrum before floating over boulders into Silfra Cathedral and, finally, the endless visibility in Silfra Lagoon. Back on the grassy banks, enjoy hot cocoa and cookies with your family before hopping back in the car.

The Golden Circle is renowned for its hot springs and geysers and as you venture east, stop to admire the regular eruptions of the Strokkur geyser, which blasts warm water to heights of up to 130 feet (40 m). Continue on another 10 minutes and arrive at the majestic Gullfoss, Iceland's mighty "Golden Falls" that cascades 105 feet (32 m) over two tiers into the glacial waters of the Hvítá River below. Be sure to visit Kerið, a beautiful volcanic crater lake, before making your way to your accommodation to relax in comfort before tomorrow's adventures. 

Day 2: South Coast Waterfalls & Black-Sand Beaches, Zip Line Adventure Tour

 Víkurkirkja Church, Vik
 Make time to visit the beautiful Víkurkirkja Church in Vík

Today is your first full day in Iceland, and after a hearty breakfast, get back in the car and journey south along the Ring Road to the country's famous South Coast. You'll find two of the area's star waterfalls as you drive east to Vík, your overnight stop. First up is Seljalandsfoss—watch the kids' amazement as the water thunders 30 feet (9 m) directly in front as you and your family enjoy the spectacle from the sheltered cave behind the falls. Another thirty minutes in the car, and you'll reach the immense Skógafoss—climb the 527 steps to the viewing platform for a family photo to remember.

Continue your journey and take a short diversion to the  Dyrhólaey Peninsula—where the vast promenade showcases spectacular views of the southern coast. From here, it's a quick 12-mile (20 km) drive to the striking black sands of Reynisfjara Beach. Wander the grand basalt hexagonal columns and fire the kids' imagination as you play trolls in homage to local folklore and the origins of the 216-foot (65 m) Reynisdrangar rock pillars jutting out from the ocean's depths. 

Earn some parental brownie points with today's last excursion—a two-hour zip line adventure tour. Perfect for kids eight years old and upward, the four aptly described zip line rides—Little Rush, Gentle Giant, Leap of Faith, and Big Rush, give stunning views of the scenery below, including Dog's Waterfall and Grave Canyon. Before settling in at your hotel and heading out to dinner, make time to visit Vík's striking red-roofed Víkurkirkja Church—built in 1934, it's considered the safest place to escape in case of a sudden volcano eruption and flood!

Day 3: Skaftafell Nature Reserve & Fjallsárlón Glacier Lagoon Zodiac Tour

Icebergs at Jokulsarlon
Admire the wintry scenery and icebergs at Jökulsárlón 

This morning bid farewell to Vík and drive northeast to Skaftafell Nature Reserve, an immense glacial treasure trove in the southeast of Iceland. The reserve's enchanting landscape is nestled within and dominated by Europe's largest glacier, Vatnajökull. Start with an easy hike to Skaftafellsjökull Glacier and continue to the picturesque waterfall of Svartifoss. Children of all ages will be captivated by the majestic landscape at Fjaðrárgljúfur Canyon, with its "The Lord of the Rings" vibes and steep jagged walls believed to be two million years old.

Continue to Iceland's famous Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon, where you'll find scenery akin to a wintry fairy tale. Glimpse the enormous 1,000-year-old icebergs before they break off from the Breiðamerkurjökull Glacier and then head over to nearby Diamond Beach, where the kids can count the glittering boulders as they flow down from the sea and onto the beach's black sands. Enjoy lunch in Skaftafell and a well-deserved rest before this afternoon's excursion.

No trip to Iceland is complete without a glacier lagoon boat tour, and this afternoon you'll head to Fjallsárlón, Vatnajökull's second lagoon. For the next fifty minutes, tour the icy waters, and get up close and personal with icebergs of all shapes and sizes before continuing to the majestic spectacle of Vatnajökull itself. Listen to tales of the glacier's fascinating history and task the kids with spotting the seals that can be found bobbing in the waves. Afterward, enjoy a warming mug of hot chocolate before heading to your overnight accommodation at Höfn.
Plan your trip to Iceland
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.

Day 4: The Eastfjords, Hallormdsstaður Forest ATV Adventure

Studagil Canyon
Discover the startling scenery around Stuðlagil Canyon

Today, journey into the heart of the towering landscapes of the Eastfjords region and toward your overnight destination of Egilsstaðir, set on the banks of Lake Lagarfljót. The 174-mile (280 km) drive takes in some of the most scenic stretches along the Ring Road, with towering mountains, scenic fjords, and plenty of charming fishing villages. As you arrive closer to Egilsstaðir, you'll be spoilt for choice with the plethora of stunning sights to explore. Visit the tiny village of Brekkuþorp before journeying toward the Dalatangi Lighthouse at the end of the fjord.

Continue to Seyðisfjörður, a fjord-side gem with colorful houses contrasting against the snow-capped peaks and the setting for the Icelandic TV series "Trapped." Make your way to the beautiful and remote Mjóifjörður, and if you have time, head northwest to Stuðlagil Canyon, created by a mighty river that forced its way from the highlands to the north of the island. Discover the towering basalt rock columns that plunge into the jade-blue, 90-mile-long (144 km) glacial waters of one of Iceland's hidden gems.

Twelve miles (20 km) outside Egilsstaðir lies the charming Hallormdsstaður Forest. Spend an exhilarating hour with a local guide who will navigate you across terrain only accessible by 4WD ATV. Enjoy scenery and sights rarely seen by tourists, and soak up your guide's tales of Hallormdsstaður's history as you make several stops along the way. If the kids aren't too tired, take a short hike up to Hengifoss waterfall and admire as the cascades tumble into the gorge of Hengifossárgljúfur below. The rest of the evening is yours to relax and enjoy as you wish.

Day 5: Explore Lake Mývatn, Mývatn Nature Baths

The wonders of Lake Myvatn
The remarkable Skútustaðagígar pseudocraters at Lake Mývatn

After yesterday's adventures, spend a gentle family day getting better acquainted with the diverse volcanic and geothermal wonders around Lake Mývatn. Explore the spectacular rootless Skútustaðagígar pseudocraters on the shores of the lake and let the kids loose and their imaginations run riot on this otherworldly terrain. The mix of grassy volcanic bowls and hills makes for a natural adventure playground. Then, drive to the Dimmuborgir lava park and hike beneath the haunting rock formations before exploring the Leirhnjúkur lava fields.

Continue the lava theme with a visit to the Grjótagjá Cave, a natural spring tucked away under layers of rock featured in the TV series "Game of Thrones." Time and energy levels permitting, finish the afternoon with a short trek to the 1,300-foot (396 m) volcanic crater of Hverfjall on the lake's eastern shore. Walk around the steep slopes and the crater's rim, where you'll be rewarded with wonderful views of the Lake Mývatn area.

After a day's exploring, head to the beautiful Mývatn Nature Baths and unwind the Icelandic way in mineral-rich water heated to temperatures around 104°F (40°C). Soak in the warm, turquoise waters and gaze at the views over the lava fields and craters as you enjoy relaxing family time in the therapeutic alkaline lagoon. Hop into one of the steam baths, vented with natural geothermal steam, and seek refreshment at the on-site café before heading back to your hotel to recount your favorite moments from the day.

Day 6: Dettifoss, Jökulsárgljúfur & Húsavik, Seaside Horse Trek

Icelandic Horses
Discover Iceland's coast on a guided horseback tour

It's time to discover more of the area's highlights via the Diamond Circle, an iconic route that takes you north before circling back. First up is Europe's most powerful waterfall—the mighty Dettifoss, situated on the Jökulsá á Fjöllum River. From here, it's just 2 miles (3.4 km) to Jökulsárgljúfur, an impressive 15-mile (25 km) long glacier river canyon with beautiful wintry views. Visit the horseshoe-shaped Ásbyrgi Canyon, which according to local legend, owes its unusual shape to Odin's eight-legged horse, who stamped it into existence.

Between Dettifoss and Ásbyrgi, you'll find the Vesturdalur Valley and the peculiar basalt rocks at Hljóðaklettar. Task the children with spotting the intricate honeycombs, spirals, and rosette patterns in the rock formations before heading north to the charming town of Húsavik, the whale watching capital of Iceland. Here take a 1.5-hour leisurely guided horseback tour along the beaches and coastline and view the stunning panorama over the Bay of Skjálfandi. Learn about the history of Húsavik and the surrounding areas before journeying back to the comfort of your hotel.

Day 7: Northwest Iceland, Akureyri & Godafoss, Glacial Whitewater Rafting

Godafoss Waterfall
Hike around the enchanting Goðafoss waterfall

Bid farewell to the shores of Mývatn as you continue your journey along the Ring Road this morning, heading northwest and toward the coast. Your first stop is the unmissable Goðafoss (Waterfall of the Gods)—nicknamed "The Beauty," it's one of Iceland's prettiest falls, tumbling from a height of nearly 40 feet (12 m) and spanning 100 feet (30 m) across. Be sure to take an enchanting family pic with one of the often-seen rainbows that offsets perfectly the waterfall's splendor.

After a hike around Goðafoss, it's an easy 30-minute drive to Akureyri, Iceland's second-largest city and known as the beating heart of North Iceland. Set at the head of Eyjafjörður, Iceland's longest fjord, and backed by picture-perfect snow-capped peaks, this is a town to wander and enjoy the sights. Visit the beautiful Lystigardurinn Botanical Gardens, explore the charming downtown area and its architecture or visit one of the town's numerous art galleries and museums before enjoying lunch at a local restaurant.

In the afternoon, you have two options. Either make your way to your overnight accommodation in the village of Laugarbakki, perhaps taking a detour north to the fishing village of Siglufjörður, Iceland's herring capital. Or, for families with older kids searching for an adrenaline hit, head to the glacial river gorge of Austari-Jökulsá (consistently voted one of Europe's best rafting rivers) for one of the most remote and heart-stopping whitewater rafting adventures on the planet. Whizz along the wild, untamed river, taking in (if you have time!) the spectacular deep canyon scenery.

Day 8: Explore Snæfellsnes, Geology & Wildlife Adventure Hike

Don't miss the stunning Kirkjufell and Kirkjufellfoss

It's an early start today as you head back on the Ring Road and drive west to Iceland's Snæfellsnes Peninsula. Often referred to as "Little Iceland," this 56-mile (90 km) stretch contains much of the country's diversity, natural wonders, and opportunities to see orca whales and bird colonies. From waterfalls, lava caves, and black sandy beaches to volcanic craters and tiny villages, the peninsula, dominated by the 700,000-year-old Snæfellsjökull glacier volcano, encapsulates Iceland's unique character.

Drive across the north of the peninsula and discover the fishing village of Grundarfjördur, home to the country's most photographed mountain, Kirkjufell, with its atmospheric steeple-like peak and neighboring Kirkjufellfoss waterfall. Break for a bite to eat at Arnastapi, another lovely village where a stroll along the cliffs will take you to Hellnar and the area's incredible rock formations—perfect for firing the kids' imagination amid stories of Vikings and pirates. 

After a visit to the compellingly alien landscape of the Berserkjahraun and Búðahraun lava fields, head back to Arnastapi for this afternoon's excursion—an adventurous geology and wildlife hike that embraces the natural majesty of the peninsula. Travel back in time as you follow ancient cliffside horse roads, hear tales of Nordic folklore, discover historic settlements beside mossy lava fields and waterfalls, and meander through secret tracks to a little-known black-sand beach. Ascend back to Arnastapi via a short roped walk before spending the evening at leisure.

Day 9: West Iceland & Borgarfjörður, Víðgelmir Lava Cave Tour, Reykjavík

Lava Tunnel
The spectacular Víðgelmir lava cave

Continue your journey south today along the Ring Road to Reykjavík. Take a detour into West Iceland's Borgarfjörður area, and watch the beautiful Hraunfossar (Lava Falls) and Barnafoss (Children's Falls) tumble into the icy teal blue waters below. Beyond the valley, stop at the village of Reykholt, steeped in medieval Icelandic mythology and home to the oldest hot spring in Iceland. Visit one of the town's coffee shops and treat the kids to a classic Icelandic favorite—waffles, whipped cream, and jam.

Next up on your tour is Glanni Waterfall—children of all ages will be enchanted with the mythology and folk tales surrounding the falls, which are said to be the dwelling place of elves and trolls. Don't miss the nearby highlights of Grábrók Crater and Deildartunguhver, Europe's most powerful hot spring. History enthusiasts should head to the Settlement Center in Borgarnes, which recounts Iceland's history from the Viking settlement through the Middle Ages. For a more active excursion, hike up to the 650-foot (198 m) Glymur, Iceland's second-highest waterfall.

Afterward, continue south to Reykjavík, your overnight stop and departure point for this afternoon's tour. Formed by an eruption 1,100 years ago, the Víðgelmir lava cave is one of the country's best-preserved and grandest lava tunnels. Explore the cave via a wooden walkway as you learn about its fascinating geology and history from your expert guide. Children will love spotting the countless icicles, ice formations, and stunning colors on the rock formations. Head back to the capital and dine at one of the city's many great restaurants.

Day 10: Explore Reykjanes Peninsula, Blue Lagoon Spa, Depart from Keflavík

Relax at Iceland's iconic Blue Lagoon Spa
Relax at Iceland's iconic Blue Lagoon Spa

It's the final day of your Icelandic road trip, but depending on your flight time, you still have time to squeeze in another family adventure or two. Spend the morning exploring the Reykjanes Peninsula and discover geological wonders such as the jade-hued volcanic crater lake of Grænavatn and the highly active geothermal areas of Gunnuhver and Krýsuvík. Take one last family hike across the peninsula's lava landscape before stopping to take in the stunning views at Kleifarvatn Lake.

Alternatively, finish your family adventure in style with a trip to the world-famous and family-friendly Blue Lagoon Spa. Soak in the mineral-rich geothermal seawater as the algae-rich waters work their rejuvenating magic. Head back in the car one last time as you make your way to Keflavík airport to drop off your rental car and board your flight home. Until the next time, Iceland!

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Map of Active Iceland Ring Road Adventure for Families - 10 Days
Map of Active Iceland Ring Road Adventure for Families - 10 Days