Discover Iceland's wilder side with this whirlwind, seven-day road trip that takes you through the highlights of the country's north and west. Ideal for active families with older kids, experience thundering waterfalls, glacier volcanoes, geothermal hot springs, and ice caves as you journey from the Snæfellsnes Peninsula to the shores of Lake Mývatn. With exhilarating excursions aplenty, create treasured memories and enjoy quality family time while uncovering the land of ice and fire.


  • 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

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
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  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Keflavík, Blue Lagoon Spa, West Iceland & Borgarfjörður

The beautiful Hraunfossar Waterfall
Admire the stunning waterfall of Hraunfossar

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.

Set out north on the Ring Road (Route 1) toward Reykjavík before taking a detour to the Borgarfjörður district—a rural area covering the land between the city's capital and the peninsula. If the Blue Lagoon has rejuvenated you post-flight, mark the first day of your holiday with a visit to the beautiful Hraunfossar (Lava Falls) and Barnafoss (Children's Falls)—both within a short distance and easily accessible from the road. Watch as the water tumbles down the countless creeks and cascades into the bright turquoise waters below before making your way to your hotel. 

Day 2: Explore Snæfellsnes, Snæfellsjökull Glacier, Drive to Laugarbakki

Spend time exploring the peninsula
Spend time exploring the Snæfellsnes Peninsula and Mount Kirkjufell

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.

Stretch your legs and discover the Gatklettur sea arch before uncovering the other-worldly terrain of the Berserkjahraun and Búðahraun lava fields. Budding photographers mustn't miss the startlingly atmospheric Búðakirkja black church. Next, visit the sizeable Lóndrangar lava formations, which you can view from afar, or walk fifteen minutes to see up close. Hop back in the car and head northeast along the peninsula's southern coast to the town of Laugarbakki; check in to your hotel and spend the evening dining on delicious fare at one of the town's cozy restaurants. 

Day 3: Northwest Iceland, Akureyri & Goðafoss, River Rafting, Lake Mývatn 

Godafoss Waterfall
Don't miss the beautiful Goðafoss waterfall
Plan your trip to Iceland
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

The distinctive crater landscapes around Lake Mývatn

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

The wonderful Husavik
Explore the colorful town of Húsavík

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

Explore the amazing glacial landscape
Enjoy a thrilling family glacier tour on Langjökull
It's your last full day In Iceland, and this morning you'll drive from Laugarbakki to Reykjavík, the world's northernmost capital and one of the cleanest, greenest, and safest cities in the world. En route, detour to the town of Húsafell, a two-hour drive from Laugarbakki and your starting point for today's icy adventure. 

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.

Depending on your arrival time, either head straight out for a bite to eat or take a stroll through Reykjavík and discover some of the city's main sights, including the towering Hallgrímskirkja Cathedral and the Sun Voyager Sculpture. Make your way to the main street of Laugavegur and the town square before heading to the charming old harbor for a hot chocolate.

Day 7: Explore Reykjanes Peninsula, ATV Tour, Depart from Keflavík

Farewell Iceland
Until the next time, Iceland!

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!

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Map of North & West Iceland Family Adventure - 7 Days
Map of North & West Iceland Family Adventure - 7 Days