Iceland in Summer

This all-encompassing two-week Iceland family holiday takes in the main highlights with options to detour to lesser-known gems. Following the ring road all around Iceland takes about 20 hours in total. With plenty of overnight stops and staying in some places for two nights to fully appreciate your holiday, the journey is much more relaxing and fun.

The further you get from Reykjavik, the fewer tourists you’ll see and more of the other inhabitants of this rugged, volcanic island such as Icelandic horses, seals, whales, and the adorable puffin. With some fun activities on offer, such as glacier hikes, wildlife cruises and plenty of hot spring soaks, this is the perfect trip to expand children’s minds in an interactive and enjoyable way.


  Golden Circle geysers & waterfalls
  Sólheimajökull Glacier hike
  Seals at Jökulsárlón lagoon
  Lava fields & active volcanoes
  Puffin paradise near Skaftafell
  A whale cruise from Husavik
  A geothermal bakery tour

14 days from £3,580 pp

Plus international flights starting at £250

A two-week holiday in Iceland for a family of four usually costs from £14,320 plus flights, depending on the style of accommodation.

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Iceland in Summer day-to-day itinerary

Day 1 Reykjavik
Welcome to Iceland! Collect your rental car and make your way to Reykjavík for the night. Depending on arrival time, you might have time to explore the Reykjanes peninsula along the way. Highlights of this area include the Reykjanestá bird cliff, the Gunnuhver hot spring, the Brimketill rock pool, and the Krýsuvík geothermal area.

You could even jump straight in with a soak in the famous Blue Lagoon!

Days 2 & 3 The Golden Circle
Today your adventure really begins! Head to the UNESCO World Heritage Site and National Park of Þingvellir (Thingvellir). Take a walk through the Almannagjá gorge to the former parliament site, from where you can see the tectonic plates and actually stand between two continents – fascinating for budding geologists.

Next, stop is to check out the well-known geysers at Haukadalur – the most active hot spring Strokkur (the butter churn) is reliably erupting every 5-7 minutes so there are plenty of chances for that perfect photo. Finish your visit at the hugely impressive waterfall of Gullfoss, the first of many jaw-droppingly beautiful falls in Iceland.

This afternoon we recommend the Geothermal Bakery Tour at Laugarvatn Fontana. It is amazing to taste such delicious freshly baked bread (with a slice of smoked trout) after it emerges from the hot, black sand.

The next day we suggest you head to the Þjórsárdalur valley, where you can see the beautiful Hjálparfoss waterfall. You might also want to stop at Stöng, an excavated farm that was buried under ash in the Hekla volcanic eruption in 1104. A must-visit is Gjáin gorge which is like stepping into a fairy tale. The magical landscape is straight out of Game of Thrones. Finally, drive through the foothills of the mighty Hekla volcano through a desert-like landscape of pumice before returning to your hotel.

Day 4 The South Coast & Sólheimajökull Glacier
Waterfalls are the theme of the day today! Start the day with an unforgettable walk behind the Seljalandsfoss waterfall. Going behind a waterfall is so exciting – note you will be sprayed! A few more minutes walking further along the rock face brings you to Gjlufrabúi, another waterfall, hiding inside the gorge. Back into the car to reach the majestic Skógafoss waterfall.

Today you could consider including a Sólheimajökull Glacier tour, when you’d be led by an expert guide on a safe path through the glacier tongue, seeing deep crevasses, water cauldrons, and immersing yourself in blue and white ice. (minimum age 8yrs).

Heading on to the south coast, the landscape evolves with the desert-like black sands of Mýrdalssandur and the lava landscapes of Eldhraun. Your hotel for the next two nights lies beneath Iceland’s highest peak, Hvannadalshnjúkur (2,114 m).

Day 5 Skaftafell & Glacier Lagoon seal cruise
Start the day by visiting the Skaftafell information centre in the Vatnajökulsþjóðgarður National Park. Hike to the Svartifoss waterfall, which is surrounded by monumental basalt columns and boasts phenomenal views of the surrounding area.

After your hike, consider including the Ingólfshöfði Haywagon Puffin Tour. This fun-filled tour involves a ride in a haywagon across a black sand beach and a hike up to the peninsula, looking out for birdlife including skuas, guillemots and the incredibly cute looking puffins as they crash land in and out of their burrows hunting for fish.

Skirt the foot of the massive Vatnajökull ice cap to the famous Jökulsárlón glacial lagoon. Take a walk along the shore of the lagoon and to the beach, where often smaller icebergs are washed ashore. An option to get even closer is to join a boat trip amidst the drifting icebergs, where you have a good chance of spotting seals.

Days 6 & 7, East Fjords
Head to the fjord landscapes of East Iceland characterised by dramatic precipices and narrow coastlines, bursting with birdlife. See the famous giant egg sculptures “The Eggs of Merry Bay” created in honour of 34 species of bird that nest here and learn about the early settlers at the Wilderness Centre at Lake Lagarfljót. We recommend the easy hike to Hengifoss waterfall, an exceptionally lovely waterfall and famous for the very clear layering of the rock surrounding it, and the superb views of the gorge. On the trail, you pass Litlanesfoss waterfall on the way which is surrounded by basalt columns and looks extraordinary.

On your second day in this area, we suggest heading over the Vatnsskarð mountain pass to the remote fjord of Borgarfjörður eystri. For the most incredible views follow the impressively steep mountainside of Njarðvíkurskriður to the village of Bakkagerði where you can visit an easily accessible puffin colony. Also recommended are the fjords of Seyðisfjörður or Mjóifjörður. Seyðisfjörður is a small, but very creative village with an artists’ residency. Mjóifjörður, the “narrow fjord”, is the perfect place to head for some calm and tranquility – and a delicious lunch of hearty lamb stew in one of the cosy cafes here.

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Days 8 & 9 Dettifoss, Myvatn & Husavik whale cruise
Follow the ring road over the highland heath to Lake Mývatn, with a detour to Europe’s largest waterfall – Dettifoss, which provides yet another jaw-dropping photo opportunity.

In the Myvatn area, there are many worthwhile stops. Children will be absolutely fascinated by the sulphur mud hot springs at Námaskarð near the Krafla volcano. Prepare yourselves for the very strongly foul-smelling air here! A short drive away from here is Lake Mývatn, one of the largest breeding areas for ducks, waders, and other birds. We highly recommend taking a walk in the lava labyrinth of Dimmuborgir and around the pseudo craters in Skútustaðir. If you are feeling energetic, hike the crater Hverfjall for an impressive view over the surroundings of Lake Mývatn. Or for a more relaxing option you could enjoy an open-air soak in the geothermal Myvatn Nature Baths.

The next day drive to Húsavík, a traditional fishing village and now Iceland’s whale watching capital. Join a cruise to observe these majestic creatures breaching and tail-slapping. Humpbacks and minke are both common in this area as well as porpoises and dolphins.

Day 10 Tröllaskagi Peninsula and Akureyri
Akureyri is known as the capital of North. You’ll notice a distinctly Danish influence as the charming city was once a Danish trading centre and home to one of the most northernly located botanical gardens in the world. The town makes for a nice change to the wilderness and you can also opt to take a whale-cruise here if preferred.

Day 11 Skagafjörður & Borgarfjörður
Make your way across to the western side of Iceland. Why not stop at the natural hot spring pool of Grettislaug for a morning dip! You could also visit the local folk museum in Glaumbær, housed in a traditional turf farmhouse dating back to 1750, along with the small turf-roofed church at Víðimýri.

Afterwards, head over to Kolugljúfur canyon to soak up more of those amazing Icelandic landscapes. As you head further south, active families won’t want to miss hiking up the Grábrók crater. It is not a long walk and the views from the top make it a must-do! For all those adrenalin addicts, there is also the option to go rafting on the West Glacial River, featuring steaming riverside hot springs and magnificent canyon landscapes (minimum age 6yrs).

Day 12 Snæfellsnes Peninsula
No visit to Iceland would be complete without exploring the Snæfellsnes peninsula, often referred to as “Iceland in a nutshell”.

Highlights include colourful mountains, rugged black sand beaches, lava fields, an active volcano and a glacier. The National Park is located at the western part of the peninsula around the glacier-crowned Snæfellsjökull volcano, famed by writer Jules Verne to be the entrance to the “Journey to the centre of the earth” novel. Take a walk from Malaríf lighthouse to the bird cliffs of Lóndrangar, or visit the lava cave “Vatnshellir”. The stunning rock formations of Hellnar cove and the cliffs at Arnarstapi fishing hamlet offer superb views in any weather.

Just outside Stykkishólmur, a privately-owned museum dedicated to shark catching offers a taste of the famous “Hákarl”, the Greenland shark. In the interests of research, Stubborn Mule has sampled this fermented delicacy – ask us for the verdict and try it yourself – if you dare!

Day 13 Reykjavik
From Borgarfjörður you will drive to Reykjavík (75km) for a final overnight. We suggest leaving early enough so that you have time to explore the most northerly located capital in the world. How about rounding your trip off with a foodie tour where you can experience the glories of Iceland through your taste buds!

Day 14 Reykjavik – Departure
A last chance to pick up any souvenirs before heading to the airport to drop your car off and fly home.

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