Leave your cares behind you on this rejuvenating 10-day Icelandic family adventure that kicks off in the iconic Blue Lagoon Spa and ends with a journey into the icy heart of the Langjökull glacier. Along the way, discover Norse mythology, waterfalls, and lava caves among the wild beauty of Borgarfjörður and the Snæfellsnes Peninsula. Go horseback riding, whale watching, and puffin spotting along the northern coast, then head for the myriad charms of Reykjavík via the geothermal wonders of Lake Mývatn.


  • Unwind in the therapeutic aqua waters of the Blue Lagoon Spa
  • Tour the 8,000-year-old Vatnshellir lava cave
  • Ride an Icelandic horse across the beautiful northern fjords
  • Take a whale watching tour in Húsavik
  • Journey into the heart of the Langjökull glacier

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Keflavík, Blue Lagoon Spa, Drive to Snæfellsnes via Borgarfjörður Snæfellsnes 
Day 2 Explore the Snæfellsnes Peninsula, Vatnshellir Lava Cave Tour Patreksfjörður
Day 3 Látrabjarg, Rauðasandur & Southern Westfjords, Seal Watching Tour  Patreksfjörður
Day 4 Drive to Ísafjörður via Dynjandi Waterfall & Vigur Island Ísafjörður
Day 5 Isafjardjardjup Bay, Grimsey Island Puffin Boat Tour  Laugarbakki
Day 6 Northwest Iceland, Akureyri & Goðafoss, Horse Riding, Lake Mývatn  Lake Mývatn
Day 7 Dettifoss, Jökulsárgljúfur & Húsavík, Mývatn Nature Baths Lake Mývatn
Day 8 The Wonders of Lake Mývatn, Húsavik Whale Watching Tour Laugarbakki
Day 9 Explore Reykjavík, Langjökull Glacier Tour Reykjavík
Day 10 Free Morning in Reykjavík, Reykjanes Peninsula, Depart from Keflavík  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Keflavík, Blue Lagoon Spa, Drive to Snæfellsnes via Borgarfjörður

Blue Lagoon Spa
Start your family holiday in style with a trip to the Blue Lagoon Spa

Velkominn til íslands (welcome to Iceland)!  Arrive at Keflavík airport and pick up your 4WD. Your destination is Iceland's famous Blue Lagoon Spa—the perfect place to unwind and relax after your flight. Enjoy family time and soak in the geothermal seawater as the mineral-rich turquoise waters soothe any post-flight aches. Take a refreshing dip under the lagoon's waterfall and seek refreshments at the on-site café before heading out to begin your Nordic adventure.

Iceland's West Coast boasts a plethora of natural wonders and attractions for families. From waterfalls, lava fields, and black sandy beaches to volcanic craters and hot springs, the area is rich in opportunities to let the little ones' imaginations run riot across this enchanting landscape. Set out north on the Ring Road toward Reykjavík before taking a detour to the scenic Borgarfjörður district—a mountainous area covering the land between the city's capital and the Snӕfellsnes Peninsula. Your first stop is the majestic Hraunfossar (Lava Falls) and its thundering creeks and cascades. 

Just above Hraunfossar, you'll find Barnafoss ("Children's Falls"), both easily accessible from the road and perfect for a stretch of the legs. Make your way to your hotel in Snæfellsnes and take in the sights of Grábrók Crater along the way. Formed after an eruption almost 3,000 years ago, it's a 40-minute walk to the top and worth it for the views over Borgarfjörður. Stop by Deildartunguhver, Europe's most powerful hot spring, before a visit to the nearby village of Reykholt, steeped in history, culture, and Old Norse mythology. 

Day 2: Explore the Snæfellsnes Peninsula, Vatnshellir Lava Cave Tour

Kirkjufell Sunset
The incomparable Mount Kirkjufell near Grundarfjördur

After breakfast, it's time to set out and get better acquainted with the compelling Snæfellsnes Peninsula. Dominated by the mystical 700,000-year-old Snæfellsjökull glacier volcano, the area is named after Bárður Snæfellsás, an extraordinary half-man, half-troll figure, often referred to as the guardian spirit of Snæfell and whose fascinating story is part of the Icelandic Sagas. Your first stop as you head west is the other-worldly terrain of the Búðahraun lava field—a perfect place for the kids to re-enact their newly acquired tales of Norse mythology.

From here, continue in a clockwise loop to reach the imposing coastal rock formations between Hellnar and the fishing hamlet of Arnastapi. Stretch your legs and discover the photogenic Gatklettur sea arch before heading to the 8,000-year-old Vatnshellir lava cave on the southwestern end of the Snæfellsnes Peninsula. An expert guide will accompany you and the kids as you walk through the extraordinarily glittering and colorful 650-foot-long (200 m) tunnel, which reaches depths of over 100 feet (35 m). 

Then, head east along the north shore to the small fishing village of Grundarfjördur and discover the famous Mount Kirkjufell with its steeple-like peak and Kirkjufellsfoss waterfall featured in "Game of Thrones." Continue east through the Berserkjahraun lava field until you reach the fishing town of Stykkisólmur, where you'll catch a 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 beauty of the Westfjords.

Day 3: Látrabjarg, Rauðasandur & Southern Westfjords, Seal Watching Tour 

Seal resting on the Snaefelsness peninsula
 Visit the playful seals on Rauðasandur Beach 

Awake refreshed after yesterday's journey and enjoy a leisurely breakfast before heading out to get to know the Westfjords area. Your first stop 38 miles (61 km) west is the Látrabjarg Peninsula, Europe's most westerly point and home to one of the most prominent bird cliffs in Iceland. Millions of seabirds, including puffins, razorbills, fulmars, and guillemots, nest here in the summer. Task the kids with spotting the various species as you take a gentle hike across the cliffs with gorgeous views of the rocky nesting grounds and out to sea.

Don't miss the golden beaches of Breiðavík and Örlygshöfn farther along the coast and a 20 and 50-minute drive, respectively, from Látrabjarg. Next up, it's off to the beautiful red sands of Rauðasandur Beach. Your local guide will take you via tractor to a seal colony where the naturally playful harbor seals can often be seen at close range. The kids will delight in watching the seals sunbathing, while in late summer, you can watch as the adorable pups take their first steps to adulthood. Afterward, spend time wandering the beach before making your way back to Patreksfjörður.

Day 4: Drive to Ísafjörður via Dynjandi Waterfall & Vigur Island

Dynjandi Waterfall
A jewel of the Westfjords—Dynjandi waterfall

This morning set out and explore one of the Westfjords' most impressive sights—the thunderous waterfalls of Dynjandi. 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 stroll among the sweeping fjord backdrop.

Hop back in the car, and discover why the drive between the southern and northern Westfjords is considered one of the most picturesque 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. Then pass through Dýrafjörður and the historic fishing village of Þingeyri, where you can satiate appetites with homemade soup and Belgian waffles at the homely Simbahöllin Café.

Plan your trip to Iceland
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.
Drive onward through the glacier valley to Önundarfjörður, enhanced further by the sweeping golden beach that curls out into the fjord. Carry on along the 6-mile (9 km) Vestfjarðagöng Tunnel and descend to Ísafjörður. Here you'll catch a 30-minute boat ride to Vigur Island—home to thousands of eider ducks, arctic terns, and, of course, puffins! Spend a leisurely three hours with the kids as you take a guided walk around the island with your knowledgeable and entertaining guide—afterward, feast on homemade refreshments in a 19th-century cow house.

Day 5: Isafjardjardjup Bay, Grimsey Island Puffin Boat Tour 

Arctic Fox
No, you can't take one back in your hand luggage 

Get back on the adventure trail this morning and prepare to drive 223 miles (360 km) southeast toward tonight's overnight destination of Laugarbakki. It's a particularly scenic route as you navigate the spectacular Westfjords landscape around Isafjardjardjup Bay. Be sure to stop at Súðavík, just twenty minute's drive from Ísafjörður, where the kids will adore seeing the impossibly cute orphaned foxes at the village's Arctic Fox Center. Placate cries to take one home and offer instead the opportunity to eat the "best waffles in Iceland" at the charming turf-roofed Litlibaer Café in the Hvítanes Peninsula.

With full bellies and thoughts of arctic foxes long since banished, head to the Drangsnes Harbor, a convenient halfway stop that marks the departure point for today's tour. Swap the road for the sea as you enjoy a short, guided boat tour to Grimsey Island. Circle the island and encounter colonies of razorbills, cormorants, kittiwakes, and puffins before heading ashore. Walk up to the lighthouse and enjoy panoramic views across the island or wander the cliff and get better acquainted with the 60,000 Atlantic puffins that call the cliff home.

Fishing enthusiasts can take the opportunity to fish off the boat, and in the summer months, you might catch sight of the magnificent humpback whales that frequent the area around Steingrímsfjörður. After an invigorating few hours, hop back in the car and make your way toward Laugarbakki, where the evening is yours to spend as you wish. 

Day 6: Northwest Iceland, Akureyri & Goðafoss, Horse Riding, Lake Mývatn 

Explore Akureyri on horseback this afternoon

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. Take a detour to the Vatnsnes Peninsular (where you can task the kids with seal spotting), and you will find the imposing Hvitserkur sea stack, 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. It's also the perfect spot for this afternoon's horse-riding tour, where you'll spend an hour in the company of your perfectly matched and amiable Icelandic horse. Take in the scenic mountain views before returning to Akureyri for lunch. Hop back in the car and make your way to the unmissable Goðafoss ("Waterfall of the Gods")—one of Iceland's prettiest falls and a short 30-minute drive.

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 7: Dettifoss, Jökulsárgljúfur & Húsavík, Mývatn Nature Baths

The stunning Dettifoss waterfall
Don't miss Europe's most powerful waterfall—the mighty Dettifoss

After breakfast, it's time to embark on a highlights tour of the area's gems via the country's iconic Diamond Circle, a 160-mile (260 km) route that is 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 8: The Wonders of Lake Mývatn, Húsavik Whale Watching Tour

Whale watching at Husavik
Look for humpbacks at Húsavik, Iceland's whale watching capital 

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 like 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 memorable 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 to your overnight accommodation in Laugarbakki.

Day 9: Explore Reykjavík, Langjökull Glacier Tour

Tour the impressive Langjökull glacier

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 artificial 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 hot chocolate and cookies.

Day 10: Free Morning in Reykjavík, Reykjanes Peninsula, Depart from Keflavík

Until the next time, Iceland!

It's your last morning in Iceland, and depending on your flight time, you have several options. Spend the morning exploring the Reykjanes Peninsula with its bubbling mud pools, 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 vast 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.

Otherwise, take in some of the capital's other famous sights, including the shorefront Harpa Concert Hall and the Old Wharf, where the kids can immerse themselves in magic and mystery at the Northern Lights Center and the Saga Museum. Take one last look at the towering Hallgrímskirkja Church and savor a last leisurely lunch with the family in this most remarkable of settings before heading to Keflavík, dropping off your rental car, and boarding your flight home. Safe travels!

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Map of Best of Iceland's Wild West & Arctic North: Family Friendly Road Trip - 10 Days
Map of Best of Iceland's Wild West & Arctic North: Family Friendly Road Trip - 10 Days