- Explore the stunning Snæfellsnes Peninsula
- Whizz down a glacial river with a river-rafting tour
- Relax in the geothermal waters of the Mývatn Nature Baths
- Take an exhilarating tour of the icy Langjökull Glacier
|Day 1||Arrive in Keflavík, Blue Lagoon Spa, West Iceland & Borgarfjörður||Snæfellsnes Peninsula|
|Day 2||Explore Snæfellsnes, Snæfellsjökull Glacier, Drive to Laugarbakki||Laugarbakki|
|Day 3||Northwest Iceland, Akureyri & Goðafoss, River Rafting, Lake Mývatn||Lake Mývatn|
|Day 4||Dettifoss, Jökulsárgljúfur & Húsavík, Mývatn Nature Baths||Lake Mývatn|
|Day 5||Explore Lake Mývatn, Húsavik, Whales & Puffins Tour, Laugarbakki||Laugarbakki|
|Day 6||Drive to Reykjavík via Húsafell & Langjökull Glacier Tour||Reykjavík|
|Day 7||Explore Reykjanes Peninsula, ATV Tour, Depart from Keflavík|
Day 1: Arrive in Keflavík, Blue Lagoon Spa, West Iceland & Borgarfjörður
Velkominn til íslands (welcome to Iceland)! Arrive at Keflavík airport and pick up your 4WD. Start your family adventure in style with a trip to the world-famous and family-friendly Blue Lagoon Spa, helpfully positioned 20 minutes drive from the airport. Soak in the mineral-rich geothermal seawater and drift away in contemplation 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.
Now the adventure really begins. The first stop on your road trip 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 caves, and black sandy beaches to volcanic craters and tiny fishing villages, the West Coast boasts many attractions for outdoor-loving families.
Day 2: Explore Snæfellsnes, Snæfellsjökull Glacier, Drive to Laugarbakki
Prepare for a day exploring the wonders of the Snæfellsnes Peninsula before driving to your overnight destination of Laugarbakki, around three hours away. You have two options depending on energy levels and preference. In the summer months of July and August, head for an exhilarating guided family hike along the Snæfellsjökull Glacier, which dominates the peninsula. A perfect introduction to a mountain glacier and suitable for children eight years and above, you'll have the opportunity to get up close and personal with this 700,000-year-old glacier volcano.
Outside of the summer months and for a slightly more sedate (but no less scenic) trip, make your way to the small fishing village of Grundarfjördur to discover the famous Mount Kirkjufell with its steeple-like peak and the dramatic falls at Kirkjufellsfoss—both featured in "Game of Thrones." Journey west toward Snæfellsjökull (enjoying the view of the glacier rather than experiencing it first-hand!) and continue in an anti-clockwise loop to reach the coastal rock formations between Hellnar and Arnastapi.
Day 3: Northwest Iceland, Akureyri & Goðafoss, River Rafting, Lake Mývatn
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.
The next leg of your Icelandic family adventure starts today as you head east toward the often-overlooked beauty of North Iceland. There are several must-see highlights on the way toward your destination of Lake Mývatn, and depending on family preference, you have a couple of options; head to Hafgrímsstaðir to spend a few hours rafting down a glacial river, replete with riverside hot springs, or head straight to Akureyri, where you can explore plenty of attractions nearby.
Set at the head of Eyjafjörður, Iceland's longest fjord, and backed by picture-perfect snow-capped peaks, Akureyri is known as the beating heart of North Iceland. Wander the beautiful Lystigardurinn Botanical Gardens, explore the charming downtown area or visit one of the town's numerous art galleries and museums. Enjoy lunch at a local restaurant before returning to the car and making your way to the unmissable Goðafoss (waterfall of the gods). Nicknamed "The Beauty," it's one of Iceland's prettiest falls and an easy 30-minute drive from Akureyri.
You'll find the waterfall just off Route 1, Iceland's famous Ring Road. After parking your car, enjoy a quick, easy walk that takes you to the falls. Or, you can opt for a slightly longer trek following a path that offers multiple views from several different perspectives. When the kids have had their fill of spotting waterfall rainbows and marveling at the sights, make the 28-mile (45 km) drive from Goðafoss to Lake Mývatn and your base for the next few days. Head to your hotel and enjoy some family downtime before tomorrow's geothermal adventures
Day 4: Dettifoss, Jökulsárgljúfur & Húsavík, Mývatn Nature Baths
After breakfast, it's time to embark on a highlights tour of the area's gems with the country's iconic Diamond Circle, a 160-mile (260 km) route that serves as an impressive alternative to Iceland's famous Golden Circle. First up is Dettifoss; head to the Vatnajökull National Park to see Europe's most powerful waterfall before continuing through the park to the 15-mile (25 km) long glacier river canyon of Jökulsárgljúfur—and onward to the wonders of Ásbyrgi canyon, known for its unusual horseshoe shape.
Formed after the last Ice Age, geologists have determined the canyon was carved out by flooding around 10,000 years ago. However, children might prefer the local legend, which credits Ásbyrgi's unusual shape to Odin's eight-legged horse, who is said to have stamped the canyon into existence. Hike one of the many trails and if you're short on time, follow the route from the Visitor Center that climbs the side of Ásbyrgi. Make your way to the top, where you'll be rewarded with splendid views as you continue on a flat path to the furthest point of the canyon.
From here, it's around a fifty-minute drive to Húsavík, your next stop on the Diamond Circle. Considered Iceland's whale watching capital, there are opportunities to see more than 23 species in and around the bay. Your last stop is the beautiful Mývatn Nature Baths, the ultimate way to unwind after a long day exploring. Gaze at the views down over the lava fields and craters around Lake Mývatn as you soak in the therapeutic alkaline water and enjoy the natural steam bath that lets natural geothermal steam in through vents on the floor.
Day 5: Explore Lake Mývatn, Húsavik, Whales & Puffins Tour, Laugarbakki
Spend the morning getting better acquainted with the numerous geological and geothermal wonders around Lake Mývatn. Explore the Skútustaðagígar pseudocraters on the shores of the lake and loop around the smaller lake of Stakhólstjörn. Watch the steam rising from the myriad geothermal vents and then take a one-hour walk beneath the haunting Dimmuborgir lava formations. Follow the path through the other-worldly Leirhnjúkur lava fields, and you and the kids will feel as though you've been transported to a different planet in no time.
In the afternoon, return to Húsavik, where from April until October, you can while away a wonderful few hours with an authentic Icelandic wildlife adventure. Revel in the kids' excitement as they spot not only the magnificent whales that call the area home but sail to nearby Puffin Island. Watch as these gorgeous birds nest, fly and dive for food before returning to your traditional Icelandic oak ship to feast on hot cocoa and cinnamon buns. Afterward, hop back in the car and drive 171 miles (276 km) to your accommodation at Laugarbakki.
Day 6: Drive to Reykjavík via Húsafell & Langjökull Glacier Tour
Prepare to be enthralled as you venture into the raw, striking beauty of Langjökull, Iceland's second-largest glacier. Kids will adore this adventure of a lifetime as you journey up the spectacular winter wonderland landscape in specially modified glacier vehicles. Explore the views from the top of the ice cap and venture deep inside the man-made ice tunnels leading to the blue heart of the glacier. Enjoy a guided tour before heading back down the icy slopes. From Husafell, make the 82-mile (132 km) drive to your hotel in Reykjavík.
Day 7: Explore Reykjanes Peninsula, ATV Tour, Depart from Keflavík
It's your last morning in Iceland and if you didn't have time yesterday, be sure to check out some of the capital's famous sights. Don't miss the Harpa Concert Hall, an architectural masterpiece, before a last look at the towering Hallgrímskirkja Church.
Depending on your flight time, you have several options. Spend the morning exploring the Reykjanes Peninsula and discover geological wonders such as the green-hued volcanic crater lake of Grænavatn and the colorful geothermal areas of Gunnuhver and Krýsuvík. Venture one last time across the peninsula's lunar-like lava landscape as you make your way to Kleifarvatn Lake on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge and wander the lava fields of the Reykjanes National Park.
Alternatively, squeeze in one more excursion with a family-friendly ATV tour. Spend an exhilarating hour saying goodbye to this magical country as you venture across historic lava fields, abandoned shipwrecks, and to the summit of Mount Hagafell, where you look out over the Blue Lagoon, the volcanic crater formations of Svartsengi, Mount Fagradalsfjall, and Eldey Island. With hearts full of adventure and plotting your return visit, make your way to Keflavík airport, drop off your rental car and board your flight home. Until the next time Iceland!