If you're looking for a thrilling winter trip to Iceland that traverses all the highlights via the famous Ring Road, look no further. Experience glittering snowy landscapes and the bucket-list sight of the magical northern lights with this 14-day, excursion-packed itinerary. Perfect for families with adventurous older kids, you'll dogsled your way across snowy vistas, climb ice walls, hang out with a herd of wild reindeer, and relax in the therapeutic geothermal waters of Mývatn.


  • Whizz along stunning winter landscapes by dogsled
  • Snowmobile across the magnificent Mýrdalsjökull glacier
  • Sail among icebergs at Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon
  • Relax in magical surroundings at the Mývatn Nature Baths
  • Enjoy a thrilling hunt for the aurora borealis

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Keflavík, Golden Circle, Visit the Secret Lagoon Golden Circle
Day 2 Dogsledding Adventure, Overnight in Golden Circle  Golden Circle
Day 3 South Coast Waterfalls & Beaches, Mýrdalsjökull Glacier Snowmobiling Vík
Day 4 Sólheimajökull Glacier Hike Vík
Day 5 Skaftafell Nature Reserve & Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon Boat Tour  Höfn
Day 6 Explore Höfn, Crystal Blue Ice Cave Tour Höfn
Day 7 The Eastfjords, Reindeer Safari Egilsstaðir
Day 8 Eastfjords Villages, Hallormdsstaður Forest ATV Tour Egilsstaðir
Day 9 Explore Lake Mývatn, Mývatn Nature Baths Lake Mývatn
Day 10 Dettifoss, Jökulsárgljúfur & Húsavik Lake Mývatn
Day 11 Northwest Iceland, Goðafoss, Akureyri & Whale Watching Laugarbakki
Day 12 Explore Laugarbakki & the Vatnsnes Peninsula Laugarbakki
Day 13 Drive to Reykjavík, Super Jeep Hunt for the Northern Lights Reykjavík
Day 14 Reykjanes Peninsula, Blue Lagoon Spa, Depart from Keflavík  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Keflavík, Golden Circle, Visit the Secret Lagoon

Gullfoss in Winter
Admire the wintry cascades of the majestic Gullfoss waterfall

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 country and offers a great way to explore the sights. Your first stop is the Golden Circle—an iconic route that connects the Þingvellir National Park, the Geysir geothermal area, and the mighty waterfall of Gullfoss. Meander through the Almannagjá Gorge entrance and watch the kids' amazement as they walk the path between the Eurasian and North American tectonic plates.

Discover the geological wonders created by the Mid-Atlantic Rift as you hike the trail toward the beautiful waterfall of Öxarárfoss. Hop back in the car and adventure on to the impressive hot springs and geysers, stopping to admire the regular eruptions of the Strokkur geyser, which blasts warm water to heights of up to 130 feet (40 m). Continue in the car for another 10 minutes and arrive at the majestic Gullfoss, Iceland's "Golden Falls" that cascades 105 feet (32 m) over two dramatic tiers into the glacial waters of the Hvítá River below.

After a relaxed lunch, it's time for this afternoon's excursion. The Secret Lagoon, known locally as Gamla Laugin, is the country's oldest natural pool and maintains year-round temperatures between 86-104°F (38-40°C) thanks to the nearby hot springs of Hverahólmi. Bathe in the wonderfully clean, warm water surrounded by icy wilderness as you take a moment to breathe in this authentic Icelandic experience. Afterward, explore the nearby lava fields or check in at your accommodation before heading out to dinner at one of the area's many restaurants.

Day 2: Dogsledding Adventure, Overnight in Golden Circle 

Explore the Golden Circle via husky!

It's your first full day in Iceland, and what better way to explore the Golden Circle's landscape than by husky! The kids will adore their newfound mode of travel as you discover the beautiful wintry vistas by four-legged transport. Start at a nearby dog farm, where you and your family will be introduced to your huskies and get an overview of the tour. Your adventure can take between one to three hours, depending on the snowy conditions. 

Watch the kids delighted faces as you whizz along winter trails, pulled by the powerful huskies. Enjoy anecdotes and stories about the area as your guide shares historical details and how Icelanders enjoy dogsledding as a fun pastime. Afterward, you'll have a family photo opportunity with your huskies before returning to your hotel in the Golden Circle, where the evening is yours to spend as you wish. 

Day 3: South Coast Waterfalls & Beaches, Mýrdalsjökull Glacier Snowmobiling

Enjoy a thrilling snowmobiling adventure

Enjoy a leisurely breakfast after yesterday's adventures before driving south along the Ring Road to the country's famous South Coast. As you head east to tonight's overnight stop at the seaside town of Vík, you'll find two of the area's star waterfalls. Walk behind the thundering cascades of Seljalandfoss, where the kids will delight in watching the spectacle from the sheltered cave behind the falls. Another thirty minutes in the car, stretch your legs as you climb the 527 steps to the viewing platform at the mighty Skógafoss waterfall—the perfect spot for a family photo to remember.

Continue your journey and take a short diversion to the  Dyrhólaey Peninsula—where the vast promenade showcases wonderful 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.

If it's icy glaciers and magical winter wonderland vistas you're after, then today's excursion ticks all the boxes. Drive to the nearby Mýrdalsjökull glacier basecamp, where you'll meet your group and expert guide for today's snowmobiling adventure. Travel up the mountain in a glacier truck before boarding your snowmobiles and riding up the ice cap. Enjoy a family bonding experience to remember as you and the kids whizz safely along the spectacular glacial terrain. It's a short 20-minute drive to Vík, where the evening is yours to relax and re-live the day's highlights.

Day 4: Sólheimajökulll Glacier Hike

Ice Climbing in Sólheimajökull
Crampons at the ready for today's icy adventure!

Continue your icy adventures today with an exhilarating trip to Sólheimajökulll. Set just northwest of Vík on the South Coast, the glacier is one of several ice caps that connect with Vatnajökull, Europe's largest glacier. Suitable for beginners with no ice climbing experience, children over 12, and seasoned glacier hikers alike, today's excursion is the best way to discover Iceland's glittering wintry landscapes. 

Your expert guides will get you kitted out in essential glacier gear and support you as you take your first steps on the ice. Make your way through large crevasses and marvel at the phenomenal views from the top of the glacier to the surrounding winter wonderland. Continue your hike across icy terrain mixed with volcanic ash before reaching an ice wall where, with ice axes in hand, you and your family will have an unforgettable opportunity to climb the ice under the careful supervision of your guides. 

Afterward, either head back to Vík and enjoy the warmth and comfort of your hotel or explore the nearby town of Skógar. There are several good spots to grab a bite to eat before checking out the eclectic Skógar Folk Museum, which houses a cultural heritage collection of 18,000 regional folk craft artifacts. Afterward, find somewhere cozy for dinner and enjoy a relaxing evening after the day's excitement.

Day 5: Skaftafell Nature Reserve & Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon Boat Tour 

Icebergs at Jokulsarlon
Create memories to last a lifetime at the Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon

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 for today's adventure, an unforgettable boat trip in the heart of the glacier. Board your Zodiac boat and sail around the icy waters as you reach the 1,000-year-old icebergs. Watch transfixed as the glittering boulders break off from the Breiðamerkurjökull glacier and slowly drift out to sea before being polished by the waves and washed ashore onto the black sands of Diamond Beach. Task the kids with spotting the playful seas that can be seen in the glacier year-round. 

Plan your trip to Iceland
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.
Afterward, continue your journey north along the Ring Road for 50 miles (80 km) to the tiny harbor town of Höfn, where you'll overnight.

Day 6: Explore Höfn, Crystal Blue Ice Cave Tour

Tour the ice caves at Jökulsárlón Glacier
Tour the ice caves at Jökulsárlón glacier

Situated between Kirkjubæjarklaustur in the south and Egilsstaðir in the east, the fishing town of Höfn has an array of cafés, shops, and art museums. Spend a leisurely morning exploring the charming village before heading back to Jökulsárlón for one last icy adventure on the famous glacier. After meeting with your guides, travel with a group by "Super Jeep" across the winter landscape and prepare to make the short walk to the area's ice caves.

Learn about the Vatnajökull ice cap before stepping into the ancient glacier and marveling at the natural blue ice cave inside. The caves' structure and condition vary each season, so your guide will decide on the day which ice caves to visit based on safety and weather conditions. Watch the kids' astonishment as they explore tunnels and crevasses made of startling blue ice. While Iceland has many pinch-yourself moments, this is firmly one of them!

Spend the rest of the day re-visiting any of the glacier's treasures you didn't get a chance to explore yesterday or take more time to explore the Skaftafell Nature Reserve at your leisure. Afterward, head back to your accommodation in Höfn before heading to dinner and checking out the town's reputation as the country's lobster capital.

Day 7: The Eastfjords, Reindeer Safari

Reindeer in Hofn
Enjoy the company of a wild reindeer herd in the remote Eastfjords

It's an early start today as you continue north and journey to the towering landscapes of the Eastfjords region. It's a 157-mile (253 km) drive to your overnight destination of Egilsstaðir and takes in some of the most scenic stretches along the Ring Road, with majestic 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.

This afternoon, take part in an experience the whole family will treasure. Starting in Egilsstaðir, spend an enchanting four hours in the company of the country's only herd of wild reindeer in their natural habitat. Introduced from Norway in the late 1700s, there were once thousands of reindeer across the country. Today, you'll only find them in the Eastfjords area of Iceland. Led by a local specialist, take a guided Jeep tour and track these magnificent creatures into the wilderness as you enjoy sweeping views of snow-streaked mountains and deep fjords along the way. 

Day 8: Eastfjords Villages, Hallormdsstaður Forest ATV Tour

East Iceland
East Iceland is renowned for its compelling and utterly remote landscape

After breakfast, take some time to explore Egilsstaðir, often referred to as the "Capital of the East." Sitting on Lake Lagarfljót and surrounded by lush valleys, mountains, and waterfalls, the town serves as East Iceland's regional hub and connecting point for many of Eastfjord's remoter areas. Visit the East Iceland Heritage Museum to learn about the area's history, or hike to the nearby Fardagafoss waterfall, where children will love the hidden cave behind the falls.

A short 30-minute drive east, and you'll hit upon Seyðisfjörður, one of the best-preserved coastal towns in Iceland. Stop here for lunch and discover the art shops, pretty blue church, and colorful timber houses that contrast against the snow-capped peaks. Afterward, drive north via Egilsstaðir to the tiny town of Borgarfjörður Eystri. Enthrall the kids with a visit to nearby Álfaborg, a small rocky hill said to be the City of Elves—one of the area's other main dwellers according to folklore. Don't worry if you don't spot the "hidden people"; the views from the top offer some consolation.

After a quick refresh at your hotel, it's time for this afternoon's activity. Explore the enchanting Hallormdsstaður Forest with a local guide who will accompany you and your family as you drive across the rugged tracks of the 1,828 acres (740 ha) by 4WD ATV. Spend an exhilarating hour as you traverse terrain only accessible by ATV and enjoy the scenery, including over eighty different tree species and sights rarely seen by tourists. You'll make several stops along the way as you hear about the history of Hallormdsstaður from your guide.

Day 9: The Wonders of Lake Mývatn, Mývatn Nature Baths

The wonders of Lake Myvatn
Take some time out in the beautiful surroundings of Lake Mývatn

After yesterday's adventures, spend a relaxing 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 park. Then, drive to the Dimmuborgir lava fields, hike beneath the dramatic rock formations, and venture into the caves and caverns formed during the eruption 2,300 years ago.

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 spectacular views of the Lake Mývatn area.

After such an adventure-packed week, you deserve to relax in style, and where better than the beautiful Mývatn Nature Baths. Unwind the Icelandic way in mineral-rich water heated to balmy temperatures of around 104°F (40°C). Soak in the warm, turquoise waters and look at the views over the lava fields and craters as you enjoy family time in the therapeutic alkaline lagoon. Hop into one of the natural, geothermal, vented steam baths, and seek refreshment at the on-site café before heading back to your hotel to recount your favorite moments from the day.

Day 10: Dettifoss, Jökulsárgljúfur & Húsavik

Dettifoss Sunset
The beautiful Dettifoss in winter

Today, continue exploring the region 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. As you journey north along the Vesturdalur Valley, visit the peculiar basalt rocks at Hljóðaklettar and task the kids with spotting the intricate spirals and rosette patterns in the rock formations. 

A quick 10 miles (15 km) in the car, and you'll reach 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. 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 Ásbyrgi, it's around a 50-minute drive to the charming harbor town of Húsavík—known as the "whale capital" of Iceland, there are opportunities to see more than 23 species in and around the Skjálfandi Bay. Don't miss the fantastic Whale Museum, where the kids can learn about these majestic creatures and see the jaw-dropping blue whale skeleton. The town is the perfect place to take some time out and relax with hot chocolate and pastries at one of the many cafés or indulge in a leisurely late lunch. It's a speedy 35 miles (56 km) drive south back to Mývatn on Route 87.

Day 11: Northwest Iceland, Goðafoss, Akureyri & Whale Watching Boat Trip

Whale Watching
Whale watching 

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.

After lunch, it's time to use yesterday's newfound whale knowledge and set sail on a whale watching tour. Head to the harbor to board your boat and spend the next few hours adventuring across the waves in search of humpback whales and the marine life of Eyjafjörður. Create mini marine biologists in the making and watch the kids' excitement as they spot these giants of the ocean. Your captain will get you as close as possible without disturbing the whales. Afterward, it's a 124-mile (200 km) drive west to Laugarbakki, where you'll spend the next two nights.

Day 12: Explore Laugarbakki & the Vatnsnes Peninsula

Hvítserkur, “White Shirt” Basalt troll
Hvítserkur sea stack or basalt troll?

After yesterday's drive, take it easy this morning with a leisurely breakfast at your hotel before heading out to explore. The tiny hamlet of Laugarbakki, sitting on the eastern banks of the Miðfjarðará River (famous for its plentiful salmon fishing), is ideally placed to explore the Vatnsnes Peninsula and the village of Hvammstangi. Start at the Hvítserkur sea stack, a nearly 50-foot (15 m) monolith rising from the sea. Legend has it that Hvítserkur was once a troll, terrorizing the nearby convent of Þingeyraklaustur until he was captured by the sun's rays and turned to stone.

Task the kids with seal spotting as you continue to explore the peninsula until you reach Hvammstangi. Stretch your legs with a visit to the village's Icelandic Seal Center, with exhibits that detail the lives and history of these playful creatures. If time allows, there are plenty of opportunities for guided seal-watching and wildlife tours, including the native Arctic fox and puffins.

 As you head back to Laugarbakki, don't miss the vast Borgavirki Fortress, a volcanic plug and one of the country's notable historical sights. According to the Sagas, the fortress was a strategic military point for the Vikings. It's a rocky climb to the top, and if older kids are up to the challenge, the views from the top are breathtaking. Make your way back to your hotel in Laugarbakki for a relaxing evening in anticipation of tomorrow's epic excursion. 

Day 13: Drive to Reykjavík, Super Jeep Hunt for the Northern Lights

The northern lights
Discover the northern lights by Super Jeep

It's your penultimate 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. Check into your hotel, then head out for a bite to eat before strolling the charming downtown area to explore the boutiques, cafés, and galleries. Continue exploring the main street of Laugavegur and head down to the waterfront for hot chocolate and cinnamon buns. Here you'll discover the elegant Sun Voyager Sculpture and the glimmering glass facade of the Harpa Concert Hall.

Don't miss a walk to the towering Lutheran Hallgrímskirkja Church, an iconic sight on a hill with magnificent views of Reykjavík. You can either spend the rest of the day exploring the city's many varied museums or catch a rest before this evening's tour and possibly the highlight of your holiday. As the skies darken, board a Super Jeep and prepare to journey off the beaten path to reach exclusive spots that show the magnificent northern lights in their full glory.

Make memories to last a lifetime as you wrap up warm with blankets and sip on hot cocoa while the aurora borealis dances across the night sky in a spectrum of vibrant magical colors. Enjoy a photoshoot against the stunning backdrop before journeying back to the comfort of your hotel and carrying the awestruck kids up to bed. 

Day 14: Reykjanes Peninsula, Blue Lagoon Spa, Depart from Keflavík

Finish your holiday in style at the Blue Lagoon spa 

It's your last morning in Iceland, and if you can rouse the kids after last night's northern lights adventure, enjoy a leisurely breakfast as you look back on your holiday highlights. However, you still have time to make some more Nordic memories before catching your flight home. One option is to visit the Reykjanes Peninsula, 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.

A more relaxing finale to your Iceland adventure is to finish your trip at Iceland's famous 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 Wintry Iceland Family Adventure - 14 Days
Map of Wintry Iceland Family Adventure - 14 Days