Discover the remote beauty of Iceland's wilder western side with this two-week family road trip. Spend quality time exploring Reykjavík's city sights before journeying west across the captivating Snæfellsnes Peninsula and the untouched Westfjords. Explore vast red-sand beaches, venture inside glaciers, and experience thundering waterfalls as you and the kids reconnect with nature and hang out with giant orcas, playful seas, and enchanting Arctic foxes.


  • Discover a winter wonderland upon the icy Langjökull glacier
  • Explore the magical beauty of the Snæfellsnes Peninsula
  • Switch off amid the stunning landscapes of the Westfjords
  • Marvel at the 8,000-year-old Vatnshellir lava cave
  • Hang out with playful seals on the beaches of Rauðasandur

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Keflavík & Drive to Reykjavík, Explore Reykjavík
Day 2 Langjökull Glacier Tour, Afternoon in Reykjavík Reykjavík
Day 3 Drive to Snæfellsnes via Borgarfjörður Snæfellsnes Peninsula
Day 4 Explore the Snæfellsnes Peninsula Snæfellsnes Peninsula
Day 5 Snæfellsnes Peninsula: Black-Sand Beaches & Fishing Villages Snæfellsnes Peninsula
Day 6 Ólafsvík, Whale Watching, Ferry to Patreksfjörður Patreksfjörður
Day 7 Látrabjarg, Rauðasandur & Southern Westfjords, Seal Watching Tour  Patreksfjörður
Day 8 Drive to Ísafjörður via Dynjandi Waterfall, Northern Westfjords  Ísafjörður
Day 9 A Day Around Ísafjörður Ísafjörður
Day 10 Isafjardjardjup Bay, Grimsey Island Puffin Boat Tour, Drive to Hólmavík Hólmavík
Day 11 Discover Northern Strandir Hólmavík
Day 12 Explore Hólmavík Hólmavík
Day 13 Víðgelmir Lava Cave Tour, Drive to Reykjavík Reykjavík
Day 14 Explore Reykjanes Peninsula, Depart Keflavík  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Keflavík & Drive to Reykjavík, Explore

There's no place quite like Reykjavík

Velkominn til íslands (welcome to Iceland)!  Arrive at Keflavík airport, pick up your 4WD, and drive east for 40 minutes until you reach Reykjavík, your base for the next couple of nights. Iceland's family-friendly capital has a reputation as one of the safest, greenest, and cleanest cities in the world. Check into your hotel and then head out with the kids to explore.

If you're feeling peckish, head downtown for a bite to eat, where you'll be spoilt for choice with excellent restaurants. Continue strolling the Old Town with its art galleries, cafés, and boutiques, as you make your way to the harbor, you'll discover the elegant Sun Voyager Sculpture and the architecturally award-winning Harpa Concert Hall. Inside the northern lights-inspired, glimmering glass facade, the Hall is home to the Iceland Symphony Orchestra, Icelandic Opera, and Reykjavík Big Band. 

Iceland has a rich culture and heritage, with Viking history dating back over 1,000 years. If the kids are up for it, there are over 60 museums, exhibitions, and galleries to explore. Head to the Saga Museum, where you can immerse yourselves in Viking history, including the opportunity to dress up as your favorite Viking warrior. Indulge in hot chocolate and cinnamon buns before heading back to your hotel in anticipation of tomorrow's adventures.

Day 2: Langjökull Glacier Tour, Afternoon in Reykjavík

Langjokull Glacier
Take a hike along the stunning Langjökull glacier

Enjoy a hearty breakfast this morning before making an early start in anticipation of today's icy excursion. Hop in the car and head 82 miles (132 km) northeast to the tiny village of Húsafell. Meet your expert guides and prepare to be enthralled as you venture into the untouched beauty of Langjökull, Iceland's second-largest glacier. Kids will adore this adventure of a lifetime as you journey up the spectacular winter wonderland in specially modified glacier vehicles.

Explore the views from the top of the ice cap and venture deep inside the ice tunnels leading to the blue heart of the glacier. Enjoy a guided tour with expert commentary before heading back down the glittering slopes. Return to Reykjavík, where the rest of the day is yours to explore. Visit any of the museums you missed out on yesterday, and don't forget a walk to the towering Lutheran Hallgrímskirkja Church, an iconic sight that sits on a hill with magnificent views of Reykjavík. Take a stroll through the main street of Laugavegur, where you'll find plenty of great dining options.

Day 3: Drive to Snæfellsnes via Borgarfjörður

The mighty Hraunfossar waterfall in Borgarfjordur
The mighty Hraunfossar in Borgarfjörður 

Today's destination is the Snæfellsnes Peninsula, sometimes called "Little Iceland," containing all of the country's diversity and natural wonders within 56 miles (96 km). From waterfalls, lava fields, and red sandy beaches to sea arches and tiny fishing villages, the West Coast boasts many attractions for families who want to savor the variety of Iceland's highlights while remaining a little off the beaten track. 

Set out north on the Ring Road toward Reykjavík before taking a detour to the Borgarfjörður district—a rural area covering the land between the country's capital and the peninsula. Don't miss two of the district's most beautiful waterfalls, Hraunfossar ("Lava Falls") and Barnafoss ("Children's Falls")—both within a short distance and easily accessible from the road. At 2,952 feet (900 m), Hraunfossar is Iceland's widest waterfall—watch the kids' stunned faces as they witness the countless creeks and cascades tumbling down into the aquamarine waters below.

Afterward, make your way to your hotel, and introduce the kids en route to some classic Icelandic legends and folk stories with a visit to the waterfalls of Glanni, rumored to be the home of elves and trolls. Don't miss the nearby highlights of Grábrók Crater and Deildartunguhver, Europe's most powerful hot spring. Stop for delicious waffles with whipped cream and jam (an Icelandic favorite) in the nearby village of Reykholt, known for its famous resident Snorri Sturluson. The 12th-century author is renowned for his works on medieval Icelandic mythology.

Day 4: Explore the Snæfellsnes Peninsula

The iconic Mt Kirkjufell
Mount Kirkjufell—Iceland's most photographed peak

You'll spend the next two nights in Snæfellsnes, so you can take your time and begin to explore the peninsula's varied wonders at your leisure. Begin northwest of the peninsula at the 15th-century fishing village of Grundarfjörður, a 26-mile (42 km) drive from Snæfellsnes. Spend time exploring the stunning Mount Kirkjufell, Iceland's most photographed mountain known for its color changes throughout the seasons, and its accompanying waterfall, Kirkjufellsfoss. Hike the surrounding trails and task the kids with spotting the bird and marine life for which the area is well known. 

If little tummies are starting to rumble, head back to Grundarfjörður for lunch before visiting the Saga Center to venture back into Iceland's mysterious past. Continue the historical theme with a walk to the town's church, which displays a litho-printed copy of "Guðbrand's Bible." The first book to be printed in Iceland and one of only 500 original copies. 

If the kids need to burn off some energy, you have several options; make your way to the town's outdoor heated swimming pool or take one of the many horseback treks that depart from the village and tour the local scenery. Families with younger children will appreciate Grundarfjörður's playground with mountain views and a trampoline. Spend the evening at one of the peninsula's many restaurants and recount your favorite memories from the day. 

Day 5: Snæfellsnes Peninsula: Black-Sand Beaches & Fishing Villages

Snaefelsness Peninsula
 Explore the peninsula's breathtaking scenery and remote fishing villages
Plan your trip to Iceland
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.
Start the day with a leisurely breakfast at your hotel before exploring the peninsula's southern coast. Your first stop is the strikingly atmospheric 19th-century Búðakirkja, an isolated and much-photographed black wooden chapel. Make your way across the lava fields of Búðahraun and the Búðaklettur Crater, where the kids can let their imaginations run riot on the otherworldly expanse. Continue east toward the tiny fishing villages of Arnastapi and Hellnar, and admire the coastal rock formations before visiting the nearby Lóndrangar lava formations.
As you continue in an anti-clockwise loop, visit the evocative black sand beach at Djúpalónssandur, where the kids will be fascinated to see the rusted remains from a British fishing trawler sunk in 1948. Follow a small trail along the cliffs for twenty minutes and explore the impressive rock walls at Dritvík Cove before hopping back in the car. As you near the westernmost point of the peninsula, follow signs for the Saxhóll Crater. There's a short path to the top of the crater, perfect for little legs, where you'll be rewarded with stunning views over the Atlantic.

Journey on for twenty minutes, and you'll reach the harbor town of Ólafsvík. Call in at The Pakkhus, a charming folk museum, to learn more about the town, and the surrounding area's history and legends, including the mystical 7000,000-year-old Snæfellsjökull glacier volcano. Spend the rest of the day exploring the Snæfellsjökull National Park before returning to your accommodation. The evening is yours to spend as you wish.

Day 6: Ólafsvík, Whale Watching, Ferry to Patreksfjörður

Whale Watching Ólafsvík
Thrill the kids with a whale watching tour 

Today, experience a classic Icelandic adventure the whole family will adore. Check out of your accommodation and head back to Ólafsvík, where you'll spend a thrilling morning whale watching. Board your boat and spend the next 3.5 hours exploring the dark seas, where orcas and sperm whales often swim in the shadows of the magnificent Snæfellsjökull glacier. Watch the kids' excitement as they spot these giants of the ocean—depending on the time of year, you might also see humpbacks and white-beaked dolphins.

After lunch, it's time to embark on the next leg of your road trip. Continue east through the Berserkjahraun lava field (which makes for a great stretch of the legs) until you reach the picturesque fishing town of Stykkisólmur. If you have time, there are several fascinating museums to explore before you catch your scheduled ferry to Brjánslækur. From here, it's a short 34-mile (56 km) drive to your hotel in Patreksfjörður, a small village perfectly placed for exploring the wild beauty of the Westfjords.

Day 7: Látrabjarg, Rauðasandur & Southern Westfjords, Seal Watching Tour 

Iceland's playful seals
Ok, I'm ready for my close-up...

After breakfast, enjoy a leisurely stroll around Patreksfjörður, where you can start the day in true Icelandic style at the town's open-air pool. Bathe in the heated waters and admire the stunning views overlooking the fjord before setting off to explore. The Westfjords area is known for its vast beaches and headlands, remote hamlets, and thundering waterfalls. Your first stop in the car is the Látrabjarg Peninsula, Europe's most westerly point, and a 38-mile (61 km) drive west. 

One of the most renowned bird cliffs in Iceland, the peninsula is besieged by puffins, razorbills, and guillemots that flock each summer in their millions to nest among the 1,312-foot high (400 m) sheer rocky outcrops. Take a gentle hike with the kids across the cliffs, waving at the friendly puffins as you go. Take in the breathtaking views out to sea before hopping back in the car to explore the golden beaches of Breiðavík and Örlygshöfn—the latter known for its beautiful sunsets in the summer and a great place to spot the northern lights in wintertime. 

If yesterday was all about the whales, Iceland's playful seals take center stage today. It's a twenty-minute drive from Örlygshöfn to the sweeping red-hued sands of Rauðasandur. Travel by tractor with your guide to a seal colony, where the curious and charming creatures can often be seen at close range. The kids will delight in watching the entertaining seals sunbathing, while in late summer, you can watch as the adorable pups take their first steps to adulthood. Afterward, take your time wandering the beach before returning to Patreksfjörður.

Day 8: Drive to Ísafjörður via Dynjandi Waterfall, Northern Westfjords 

Dynjandi Waterfall
Enthrall the kids with a visit to the thundering Dynjandi Waterfall

The Westfjords have many gems, top among them the thunderous Dynjandi waterfall. After checking out of your hotel, a 90-minute drive north from Patreksfjörður will reward you with stunning views as you reach the top of one of Iceland's most dramatic cascades. If the weather's decent, this makes an excellent spot for a picnic and hike along the sweeping fjord backdrop. Back in the car, continue the next leg of your family adventure, and discover why the drive between the southern and northern Westfjords is considered one of the most stunning in Iceland.

Continue through charming fishing villages, and steep mountain passes on the drive through beautiful Arnarfjörður while you entertain the kids with tales of the fjord's legendary sea monsters. Pass through Dýrafjörður and the historic fishing village of Þingeyri, where the homely Simbahöllin Café serves homemade soups and (according to many) Iceland's best waffles, sure to soothe any hunger pangs.

Appetites satisfied, drive onward through the glacier valley to Önundarfjörður, the fjord's beauty further enhanced by the sweeping golden beach nestled within. Carry on along the 6-mile (9 km) Vestfjarðagöng Tunnel and descend to Ísafjörður, the capital of the region and your base for the next two nights. Enjoy a relaxing evening and dine on locally caught seafood while you admire the stunning mountain setting.

Day 9:  A Day Around Ísafjörður

A day around Isafjordur
Take a day to explore Ísafjörður

Start the day at your leisure and when you're ready, head out to explore Ísafjörður. A tiny town by most standards, this picturesque gateway to the Westfjords seems positively bustling among the remote landscape. Meander through the Old Town with its quaint timber and tin-clad buildings, many dating back to the 18th century, and stop for a second breakfast at one of the cozy local cafés. Stroll to the harbor, and invite the kids to conjure images of vast whaling vessels and tall-masted ships that inhabited the dock in centuries past.

Although Ísafjörður's remote location is undoubtedly part of its charm, there are still several fishing villages within a 20-40 minute or so drive that offer a keen glimpse into local life. The northernmost of these, Bolungarvík, is a short drive north and surrounded by large coastal mountains. Visit the Ósvör Museum and watch the kids' surprise as the museum's curator greets visitors wearing a skin suit similar to those the 19th-century Icelandic sailors wore! In the summer months, the nearby Bolafjall Mountain offers spectacular views from the summit, accessible by car.

Either hike one of the trails near the village or check out the tiny town of Flateyri, with its unrivaled location nestled within Önundarfjörður and explore the white sandy beaches nearby. Drive to Suðureyri, with its charming peppermint green-roofed church and town swimming pool, or head back to explore Þingeyri. Learn about local heritage at the town's blacksmith before returning to Ísafjörður.

Day 10: Isafjardjardjup Bay, Grimsey Island Puffin Boat Tour, Drive to Hólmavík

Grimsey Island Puffins
Hang out with the puffins on Grimsey Island

Wake up refreshed, revived, and ready to get back on the adventure trail. This morning, drive 138 miles (223 km) southeast from Ísafjörður to Hólmavík, a small coastal town nestled by Steingrímsfjördur, and your home for the next two nights. It's a scenic route, and your first stop is Súðavík. The adorable orphaned fox cubs will enthrall the kids at the village's Arctic Fox Center, and for smaller ones, there's a lovely garden and playground, Raggagarður, in the heart of the Old Town. Either stop in Súðavík for a bite to eat or continue on to the charming turf-roofed Litlibaer Café.

Just thirty minutes drive from Hólmavík, you'll find Drangsnes Harbor, the departure point for today's tour. Find your sea legs as you enjoy a short, invigorating boat tour to nearby Grimsey Island. Before heading ashore, discover the colonies of razorbills, cormorants, kittiwakes (and some 60,000 Atlantic puffins) as you circle the island and enjoy the commentary from your expert guide. Once on land, enjoy the panoramic views from the lighthouse before returning to Hólmavík. A cozy family evening in a bistro awaits.

Day 11: Discover Northern Strandir

The dramatic landscapes of the Strandir Coast
It doesn't get much more remote than Northern Strandir

Today is yours to explore the northern Strandir region, known for its rugged, utterly remote beauty, which has featured as a film location for Nordic arthouse films and Hollywood blockbusters alike. Just under an hour's drive north along the coastal road, you'll find the enchanting village of Djúpavík, where Ben Affleck and Jason Momoa descended in 2016 to film scenes from the film "Justice League." Get the kids to burn off some energy with their best superhero moves as you enjoy the complete stillness of one of Iceland's most isolated corners. 

Continue for just under an hour and pass waterfalls and driftwood beaches as you approach Munaðarnes Farm at the end of the road. Stop here for breathtaking views of the fjords and the Drangaskord Pinnacles (one of the country's most prominent landmarks) on the horizon. As you head back south along the coastal road, take a short detour to Krossaneslaug, a geothermal pool at the tip of Norðurfjörður. Relax in the warm water surrounded by towering mountains on either side before returning to Hólmavík.

Day 12: Explore Hólmavík

No, you can't take on home in your carry-on
Iceland's adorable Arctic Fox

Enjoy a relaxed day without too much driving as you spend the morning exploring Hólmavík's attractions. The town's Museum of Sorcery and Witchcraft provides insight into the country's mystical heritage and how folklore and landscape have intertwined over the centuries. Venture back in time with the older kids to 17th-century Iceland with a fascinating audio guide to learn about the prominence of sorcery in the remote Strandir area. The museum's on-site restaurant makes a great lunch stop with fresh local cuisine. 

Afterward, take a thirty-minute drive to the museum's second site, Sorcerer's Cottage, in Bjarnarfjörður, where you'll find three tiny turf-roofed cottages and can explore the living conditions of tenant farmers in the 17th century. Families with younger children should head to the Sheep Farming Museum, fifteen minutes south of Hólmavík, where little ones can bottle feed the lambs, and you can enjoy the traditional Icelandic cakes at the museum's café. If energy levels remain high, there are plenty of hikes from the town. Otherwise, enjoy some downtown before tomorrow's lava cave adventure. 

Day 13: Víðgelmir Lava Cave Tour, Drive to Reykjavík

Reykjavik's elegant Sun  Sculpture
The elegant Sun Voyager Sculpture

 It's your penultimate day in Iceland, and this morning you'll journey back to the country's capital of Reykjavík, 144 miles (232 km) due south. Pass back through the Borgarfjörður district you encountered on your first day, and break the three-hour journey at Borganes, a cute little town where you can explore and grab a bite to eat before continuing to your hotel.

After checking in at your accommodation, take a stroll through Reykjavík and see any of the sights you may have missed first time around. Don't linger too long, as you won't want to miss this afternoon's tour in Reykholt, one of the highlights of your trip. 

Formed by an eruption 1,100 years ago, the Víðgelmir lava cave is one of the country's best-preserved and majestic lava tunnels. Explore the enchanting cave via a wooden walkway as you learn about its fascinating geology and history from your informative guide. The kids will love spotting the countless icicles, ice formations, and stunning colors on the rock formations. Afterward, return to Reykjavík and enjoy a delicious dinner at one of the capital's many family-friendly restaurants.

Day 14: Explore the Reykjanes Peninsula, Depart Keflavík

Iceland family adventure
Explore the volcanic Reykjanes Peninsula

It's your last day in Iceland, but there's still time to make more Icelandic memories before catching your flight home. The Reykjanes Peninsula is home to lava fields, hot springs, and the UNESCO-listed Reykjanes Geopark. Visit the geothermal area of Krýsuvík, where the kids will marvel at the hot springs and steam vents, and if time allows, discover the bubbling mud cauldrons at Gunnuhver. Older kids may enjoy the folktale of a four-hundred-year-old vengeful ghost called Gunna, after whom the hot springs are named. 

A more relaxing finale to your Iceland adventure is to finish your trip at a geothermal hot spring and possibly Iceland's most famous attraction—the Blue Lagoon Spa. Soak in the mineral-rich geothermal seawater and drift away as the turquoise silica and algae-rich waters work their rejuvenating magic. Take a dip with the kids under the lagoon's waterfall and enjoy the in-water bar before seeking refreshments at the on-site café and restaurant.

With hearts full of adventure, it's time to say bless (goodbye). Make your way to Keflavík airport, drop off your rental car and board your flight home. See you soon!

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Map of  Discover Iceland's Wild West: Family Road Trip - 14 Days
Map of Discover Iceland's Wild West: Family Road Trip - 14 Days