The Wild West

Welcome to the land of raw landscapes, mystical beauty and wild abandon. A family trip to Iceland is like stepping into a scene from Lord of the Rings. This is a place where trolls and elves are still believed to roam the land and the towering peaks of Hekla and Snæfell provide journeys to the centre of the Earth.

Our ‘Wild West’ trip starts with the breath-taking Snæfellsnes peninsula with its volcanoes, glaciers and waterfalls. Then visit the Golden Circle, Eyjafjallajökull glacier, Reykjadalur Valley, Reykjavík and the Reykjanes peninsula. You will have the opportunity to take a bird watching trip, a glacier hike or visit an ice cave. For slightly more adventurous souls there is white-water rafting, zip-lining or snowmobiling. Visit the Icelandic Saga Centre and listen to sagas turn brutes into poets, and stories of huldufólk (hidden people) in Icelandic folklore. Iceland is an entrancing as it is welcoming.

Family Adventure Holidays - Trip Duration

Family Adventure Holidays - Departure Dates
Iceland - The Wild West - Trip Map
Family Adventure Holidays - Minimum Age

Family Adventure Holidays - Activity Level

What's included

  • Flights: Direct return flights from UK regional airports to Keflavik (KEF)
  • Transport: Car hire from airport pick-up to airport drop-off
  • Accommodation: 7 nights in characterful hotels or cabins
  • Meals: Breakfasts where stated
  • Trip Pack: Key family-friendly information about the country you are visiting with recommended activity links, places to eat and fun facts

Trip highlights

  • Explore volcanoes, glaciers and basalt columns in the Snæfellsnes peninsula
  • Discover Iceland's Viking past at Thingvellir
  • Experience mud pools and fumaroles in Geysir and Gunnuhver
  • Visit waterfalls and ice caves in Húsafell
  • Hike amongst hot springs in the Reykjadalur Valley
  • Chill out in cafes and geo-thermal swimming pools in Rekyjavik

Key facts

  • When can we go? All year round
  • What type of tour is it? Private self-drive tour
  • Who is it suitable for? For active families that enjoy nature and the great outdoors, maybe also a few geography nerds (like us at Wandering Tribe)
  • What is the minimum age? We would recommend a minimum age of 6 years for this trip but this is just a guide; our itineraries can be adapted, no problem, for families with younger children

Guide price

We publish ‘guideline prices’ for both the high and low season to give a reasonable estimate of what you might expect to pay per person based on a family of four (two adults, two children). To get an accurate price based on your estimated departure date and party size please contact us directly.

Guide Price: Oct to Apr - £990pp

Guide Price: May to Sept - £1,032pp

Iceland Adventure Holiday - Trip itinerary

DAY 1: Arrival in Reykjavík

Arrive at the airport, pick up your hire car and transfer to the most Northerly capital city in the world. Wandering Tribe officially loves Reykjavík! It's colourful, quirky and bursting with culture. You can explore shops, art galleries, museums, cafes and thermal pools!

A fabulous option for families is to visit Laugardalur, just a few kilometres out of town. Here you'll find a large swimming complex (fed by a geothermal spring), a spa, cafe, skating rink, botanical gardens, plus a kids' zoo and recreation park. It's located near the Reykjavík Art Museum, which is great for modern art and sculpture. On a sunny day the perfect spot for families is the Nauthólsvík geothermal beach with its hot pots for adults and a demarcated childrens swimming area.

Back in the city centre a nice walk along the seafront will take you to the Harpa Concert Hall and on to the harbour with boat trips galore. We would also highly recommend visiting Tales from Iceland, a video museum that shares everything you need to know about the country and the Arbaer Open Air Museum, a living museum set around a series of lovingly-restored homes. We would also suggest climbing the stairs at Hallgrimskirkja Church to get that famous photo shot of the city.

Take a few hours to wander around and enjoy this eclectic city which will be your base for the night

Fun Facts: Per capita Iceland has the highest number of book and magazine publications in the world and 10% of the country’s population will publish a book in their lifetime!

Optional Activities: Whale watching, husky dog sledding (all year round but dry land May-Dec), snowmobiling, art museum, video museum, open air living museum.

DAY 2: Snæfellsnes Peninsula – Little Iceland

This breathtaking peninsula is nick-named “Iceland in a Nutshell” as it encapsulates all of the country’s highlights. It showcases volcanoes, glaciers, wild horses, basalt columns and an undeniable adventurous spirit. It is here you will find Kirkjufellsfoss, the most photographed waterfall in Iceland.

Your first recommended stop around the peninsula is the Eldborg Crater and the nearby secret hot spring of Landbrotalaug which can only squeeze in a handful of lucky people. Further along the road the kids will love Ytri-Tunga with its herd of cheeky seals playing on the beach and the nearby photogenic black church of Búðir. Continue along the road to the short uphill hike at Rauðfeldsgjá gorge with its magical (but grim) saga folklore before reaching Arnarstapi, a tiny coastal village with an abundance of birds such as kittiwakes and arctic terns.

We would recommend following the 2.5km coastal hike from Arnastapi to Hellnar passing through the Hellnahraun lava field (home to a cluster of trolls) then onwards to the magical beach at Djuparlonssandur with its tales of shipwrecks and adventure. Finally, end your day exploring Vatnshellir Cave where you will descend into a subterranean cavern of stalactites, stalagmites, and mystically shaped lava formations. Your very own journey to the centre of the earth!

Spend the next two nights on the north of peninsula.

Fun Facts: The Snæfellsnes peninsula is dominated by the imposing Snaefellsjokull Glacier, made famous by Jules Verne in his book: Journey to the Centre of the Earth.

Optional Activities: Cave tour, glacier snow cat tour.

DAY 3: Stykkishólmur – Seabirds & Sea Air

We suggest your first stop this morning should be the iconic symmetrical mountain of Kirkjufell and the accompanying Kirkjufellsfoss waterfall. On a clear day this is one of the most magical sights in the whole of Iceland. Spend the remainder of your morning exploring eco-friendly Stykkishólmur, the town of a thousand islands. Stykkishólmur is considered one of the most beautiful towns in Iceland with its collection of 19th-century wooden houses and its spectacular setting. We recommend checking out the Volcano museum and Stykkishólmskirkja Church.

In the afternoon, we would recommend taking a boat cruise from Stykkishólmur harbour to the islands of Breiðafjörður where you can spot sea eagles, puffins and arctic terns. This fabulous boat trip also offers the unique experience of tasting scallops and sea urchins hauled straight from the ocean floor. The perfect way to finish off your day would be to head to the local geo-thermal swimming pool with its hot tubs and slides for the kids.

Fun Facts: The strange lava formations that can be found around the country were once thought to be trolls who had turned to stone when caught outdoors in daylight.

Optional Activities: Bird watching boat trip, geothermal swimming pool.

DAY 4: Grundarfjörður & Bogarnes – Whale Tails & Vikings

This morning is free for you to take an optional whale watching trip around the fjords of Grundarfjörður. This is where the herring swim and the orcas follow. You will also have the opportunity to see minke whales, humpback whales, white-beaked dolphins, and harbour porpoises.

In the afternoon, leave the Snæfellsnes peninsula behind and head south towards the town of Bogarnes. We would recommend stopping to visit the Bjössaróló Playground or take a dip in the local swimming pool with its beautiful coastal views. The nearby Settlement Centre is also highly recommended but be prepared for some blood thirsty Viking tales. It is a short drive from here to Húsafell which will be your base for the next two nights.

Fun Facts: During Erik the Reds exile from Iceland he sailed west and discovered Greenland. He then persuaded others to join him and built a new colony in SW Greenland.

Optional Activities: Orca watching, settlement centre, geothermal swimming pool.

DAY 5: Húsafell – Glaciers & Crevasses

The area around Húsafell is characterized by magnificent ravines, crystal-clear mountain springs, rushing glacial rivers and an extraordinary variety of wildlife. Nearby are some of Iceland's top natural attractions, such as the Barnafossar and Hraunfossar waterfalls, thermal springs and exquisitely beautiful ice caves.

The main event in this area though is the Langjökull glacier and we would highly recommend taking the snow truck tour into the heart of the glacier. Explore ice tunnels, ice chapels and ice auditoriums where you can practice your soprano voice. A totally unique Icelandic experience. There are a number of family hiking options in the Húsafell area. We would recommend the Oddar hike, passing the Hvítá river to Hundavaðsfoss waterfall which takes around 1.5 hours.

The nearby Húsafell swimming pool has two swimming pools, hot tubs and a waterslide making it the perfect way to finish off your day.

Fun Facts: The Mývatn marathon is run around the lake in May. There are four distances to choose from (Full Marathon, Half, 10km and 3km). Participants receive a medal, t-shirt, BBQ feast and free entry to the nature baths.

Optional Activities: Glacier tour, cave tour, lava tube tour, geothermal swimming pool.

DAY 6: The Golden Circle

From Húsafell head south towards Þingvellir National Park. Þingvellir is the cultural centre of Icelandic heritage as well as being the geologic meeting point of two tectonic plates. Your first stop should be Laugarvatn which means a "lake for bathing”. The bottom of this shallow lake is riddled with hot springs making it perfect for swimming. If you can squeeze in another geothermal pool, then the Fontana lagoon is also nearby. This has a geothermal bakery for baking pot-baked lava bread making it the perfect stop for lunch.

Next travel to the Geysir Geothermal Area. The most reliable eruption comes from Strokkur and occurs every 10 minutes, firing jets of hot water and steam 30 metres into the air. Continue on to Gullfoss Waterfall; magnificent, thunderous and generating enough hydroelectricity to power Reykjavík, it’s located on the Hvita River, where water from the Langjökull glacier drops 32m into the canyon. Finish your day at Flúðir, where you can visit the Secret Lagoon, Iceland’s first swimming pool and only recently rediscovered. There are also some lovely horseriding tours for families around this area enjoying the beautiful landscape of the Syðra-Langholt farm.

Spend your final two nights in the area around Hveragerði.

Fun Facts: Sigríður Tómasdottir (the daughter of the landowner who owned Gullfoss) threatened to throw herself into the falls if the land was sold. As a result, her father refused to ever sell and the falls were made into a reserve.

Optional Activities: Snorkelling tour of the Silfra fissure, geothermal lagoon, horse-riding, dog sledding, earthquake simulator.

DAY 7: Reykjanes Peninsula - Lava Fields & Lighthouses

This morning enjoy a family-friendly hike into the heart of the country’s interior. Iceland is full of beautiful contradictions - hot & cold, light & dark, lush greenery & frozen tundra. The Reykjadalur Valley is a great example of this, filled with hot springs, mud pools, canyons and waterfalls. In summer it is a spectacle of colour – bright green grass, milky blue pools, white steam vents, grey mud pots and yellow patches of algae. It is an easy hike to the hot springs river which is the perfect temperature for bathing.

Spend a leisurely afternoon exploring the Reykjanes peninsula. Driving west, explore Kleifarvat, a large, eerily still lake and Strandarkirkja, a beautifully preserved wooden church set next to the ocean. Stop for cake at the Hendur í höfn café in Þorlákshöfn. Next experience the billowing clouds of sulphurous steam that define Gunnuhver with its bubbling mud pools, steam vents and hot springs. Nearby you have the option of visiting Iceland’s most famous geothermal pool – the Blue Lagoon. These mineral rich, milky blue pools are the temperature of a hot bath and would provide the perfect way to finish off your Iceland adventure.

Fun Facts: Gunnuhver is named after an angry female ghost whose spirit is said to have been trapped in the hot springs 400 years ago.

Optional Activities: Blue Lagoon, lava tube cave.

DAY 8: The Journey Home

Head to the airport for your flight home to the UK.

Wandering Tribe has travelled to all of the destinations that we feature and we like nothing better than talking about them. If you would like further information about these tours or a tailor-made quote then please contact us on 07392 742333. Alternatively you can fill in the contact form and we will endeavour to get back to you as soon as possible.