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The Ultimate 9 Day Iceland Itinerary with Kids: Ring Road Route 1

9 Day Iceland Itinerary with Kids Your Story

9 day Iceland itinerary with kids (or without) focused on Ring Road (Route 1). We got you covered! In this guide, we are ready to take you on an epic journey through Iceland’s breathtaking landscapes, with a guide crafted especially for families traveling with kids. As we’ve roamed the globe, we’ve learned a thing or two about making travel exciting, educational, and accessible for all ages. Now, we’re thrilled to share our insights and tips for exploring the land of fire and ice.

Iceland, a country where myths and legends come to life amidst geysers, waterfalls, and volcanic landscapes, is a playground for the curious and adventurous. We’ve designed a 9-day itinerary that follows the iconic Ring Road, offering a perfect blend of awe-inspiring natural wonders, wildlife encounters, and immersive cultural experiences.

We hope that this guide is your key to unlocking the magic of Iceland with your little explorers, ensuring memories that will last a lifetime. There’s so much to see, do and plan so buckle up and let’s get on with the guide.

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Why the Ring Road?

9 Day Iceland Itinerary with Kids - Reykjavik, Iceland
9 Day Iceland Itinerary with Kids – Top View of Reykjavik, Iceland

The Ring Road encircles this magical island, connecting you to its most famous sights and hidden gems. By following this route, you’ll experience the incredible diversity of Iceland’s terrain, from lush fjords to desert-like landscapes, all while making the journey manageable and enjoyable for the whole family. Our itinerary is designed with flexibility in mind, allowing you to adapt each day’s adventures to your family’s pace and interests.

So, pack your bags (don’t forget the waterproofs!), and let’s set off on a family adventure of a lifetime. With our guide, planning your Iceland trip with kids has never been easier. Ready to create unforgettable stories and learn alongside your children in the great Icelandic outdoors? Let’s dive into the adventure that awaits on Iceland’s Ring Road.

Day 1 of Iceland Itinerary with Kids: Reykjavik

Morning: Arrival and Settling In

Walk around Iceland and see the Hallgrimskirkja church for your Iceland Itinerary Day 1
Walk around Iceland and see the Hallgrimskirkja church for your Iceland Itinerary Day 1

Ahh, welcome to Iceland, land of fire and ice! As you touch down at Keflavik International Airport, your family’s incredible journey is just about to unfold. After collecting your luggage, head over to pick up your rental car—a trusty companion for your Icelandic road trip. The drive to Reykjavik is scenic and straightforward, offering your first glimpse of Iceland’s stark, beautiful landscapes.

Tip: If you’re arriving early, consider stopping at the Blue Lagoon for a rejuvenating dip. It’s conveniently located between the airport and Reykjavik and is a hit with kids and adults alike. Just make sure to book your tickets in advance!

Blue Lagoon Geothermal Spa in Iceland, reykjavik, Iceland - 9 Day Iceland Itinerary with Kids
Blue Lagoon Geothermal Spa in Reykjavik, Iceland – 9 Day Iceland Itinerary with Kids

Afternoon: Explore Reykjavik’s Charms

After checking into your family-friendly accommodation, it’s time to explore Reykjavik. Start with a leisurely stroll around the city center. Don’t miss the iconic Sun Voyager sculpture and the striking Hallgrimskirkja church, where a trip up the tower offers panoramic views of the city and beyond—perfect for those first family photos in Iceland!

Lunch Recommendation: Grab a bite at one of Reykjavik’s cozy cafes or family-friendly restaurants. Icelandic fish and chips are a must-try for a delicious introduction to local cuisine.

Afternoon Activity: Visit the Reykjavik Maritime Museum or the Whales of Iceland exhibition. Both are incredibly engaging for children, offering interactive displays and insights into Iceland’s marine life and seafaring history.

Evening: Relax and Unwind

For dinner, explore the Old Harbour area, brimming with eateries that cater to every palate. This is also your chance to taste some of Iceland’s unique dishes, like lamb stew or Arctic char, in a setting that’s both welcoming and authentically Icelandic.

Evening Walk: Cap off your day with a walk along the waterfront, where the view of the sun setting over the ocean is magical. It’s a serene way to wind down and soak in the peaceful atmosphere of Reykjavik’s night.

Night: Reykjavik is known for its laid-back nightlife, but with kids, you might prefer an early night to rest up for the adventures ahead. If you’re visiting during the summer, marvel at the midnight sun, an experience that’s sure to fascinate the whole family.

Preparation for Tomorrow: Review your plans for Day 2, ensuring everything is set for an early start. You’ll be heading out of Reykjavik to explore the Golden Circle, a route that showcases some of Iceland’s most famous natural wonders.

Tip: Pack snacks, water, and warm layers for tomorrow’s journey. Iceland’s weather can be unpredictable, and it’s best to be prepared for all conditions.

Day 2: Exploring the Golden Circle

For Day 2, you should set off early to beat the crowds and fully immerse yourselves in the magic of the Golden Circle. This 300km loop from Reykjavik into the southern uplands and back is a must-do for any visitor to Iceland, especially families exploring with kids.

Thingvellir National Park in Iceland - UNESCO SIte - 9 Days in Iceland - 9 Day Iceland Itinerary with Kids
Thingvellir National Park in Iceland is part of the Golden Circle Tour and is a UNESCO Site, 9 Day Iceland Itinerary with Kids

Thingvellir National Park

Our first stop is Thingvellir National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site that’s not only a geological wonder but also a cornerstone of Icelandic culture. Here, the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates pull apart, creating a stunning rift valley. For the little adventurers, walking between two continents is as close to a real-life science fiction adventure as it gets. Don’t miss the chance to tell them about the Althing, the world’s oldest parliament, which was established here in 930 AD. The park’s trails are easy for little feet, and the views are a fantastic backdrop for family photos.

Geysir Geothermal Area

Next, we journey to the Geysir Geothermal Area, home to the famous Strokkur geyser, which erupts every 5-10 minutes. Watching the earth breathe and spout steaming water up to 30 meters high is a spectacle that will leave your kids in awe. The area offers more than just the geyser; boiling mud pits and fumaroles dot the landscape, providing a hands-on (but safe!) geography lesson for everyone.

Gullfoss Waterfall

Our final highlight of the day is Gullfoss, or “Golden Falls.” This powerful waterfall tumbles down a three-step staircase and then plunges in two stages into a rugged canyon. The sight and sound of the mighty Hvítá River falling into the abyss is mesmerizing. If you’re visiting in the summer, rainbows often form in the mist, adding a touch of magic to this already spectacular site. There are paths and viewing platforms that allow you to experience Gullfoss from different perspectives, each more breathtaking than the last.

Day 3: Adventure Along the South Coast

For Day 3, our journey takes us along Iceland’s South Coast, a region renowned for its dramatic scenery and natural wonders that are bound to spark the imagination of young adventurers and grown-ups alike.

Seljalandsfoss and Skógafoss Waterfalls

Our first stop is Seljalandsfoss, one of Iceland’s most famous waterfalls. What makes Seljalandsfoss unique is the path that leads behind the waterfall, allowing you to experience its beauty from a truly unique perspective. Prepare to get a little wet, and don’t forget to capture this moment with a family photo that will be like no other.

Just a short drive away is Skógafoss, another breathtaking waterfall with a drop of 60 meters. According to legend, a treasure is buried in a cave behind the waterfall, a tale that is sure to enchant the children. The waterfall’s sheer power and beauty are mesmerizing, and for those who are up for it, a climb to the top offers panoramic views of the surrounding landscapes.

Reynisfjara Black Sand Beach

Next, we head to Reynisfjara, a world-famous black sand beach near the village of Vík. Its stunning black sands, powerful waves, and basalt column cliffs make it a magical place for exploration. Teach your kids about the power of nature, but remember to keep a safe distance from the waves, as they can be quite strong.

Vik Village

As the day winds down, we’ll stop in the charming village of Vik for some rest and a chance to explore its quaint streets and local shops. It’s the perfect place to pick up some Icelandic souvenirs and enjoy a cozy meal at one of the local restaurants, offering dishes that will cater to the tastes of both kids and adults.

Tips for a Memorable Day

  • Waterproof jackets and shoes are essential, as exploring waterfalls can get you wet.
  • Always respect safety signs and barriers, especially at Reynisfjara beach, to ensure a fun and safe experience for the whole family.
  • Bring binoculars for bird watching at the cliffs of Dyrhólaey, where puffins can often be spotted during the summer months.

As we return to our accommodation after a day filled with awe-inspiring sights and tales of adventure, we’re reminded of the powerful beauty that nature holds and the incredible memories we’re creating together as a family.

Rest well tonight, for tomorrow’s journey promises even more wonders as we continue our exploration of Iceland’s magnificent landscapes.

Day 4: Glaciers and Ice Caves in Vatnajökull National Park

Woman in Jökulsárlón Lagoon Iceland - Iceland Glaciers Tour - 9 Day Iceland Itinerary with Kids
Jökulsárlón Lagoon Iceland, Iceland Glaciers Tour, 9 Day Iceland Itinerary with Kids

For Day 4, we’re exploring the majestic realm of Vatnajökull National Park, home to Europe’s largest glacier. It’s a day for unforgettable adventures, where we’ll witness the power of ice and volcanic activity up close.

Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon

Our journey begins at Jökulsárlón, a stunning glacier lagoon where icebergs calve from the glacier and float serenely in the water. The sight of these massive ice formations, with their myriad hues of blue and white, is simply breathtaking. Take a boat tour (zodiac or amphibian) to navigate among the icebergs, an experience that will surely amaze the kids and adults alike. Keep an eye out for seals, which are often spotted lounging on the ice.

Diamond Beach

Just across the road from Jökulsárlón is Diamond Beach, where icebergs from the lagoon wash ashore and sparkle like diamonds on the black sand. It’s a surreal and beautiful sight, perfect for teaching kids about the natural processes that shape our world. The contrast of the ice against the black sand is a photographer’s dream, so make sure your cameras are ready.

Ice Cave Tour or Glacier Hike

For families with older children, an ice cave tour or a guided glacier hike on Vatnajökull itself can be the highlight of your Iceland adventure. These activities offer a unique opportunity to explore the glacier’s frozen landscapes and learn about glaciology in an engaging way. Safety is paramount, so ensure you book with reputable companies that provide all the necessary equipment and guidance.

Skaftafell Nature Reserve

In the afternoon, visit Skaftafell, part of Vatnajökull National Park, known for its beautiful hiking trails and stunning scenery. The hike to Svartifoss, a waterfall surrounded by black basalt columns, is relatively easy and rewarding for families. The area’s natural beauty is a great way to introduce children to the joys of hiking and outdoor exploration.

Tips for a Day Among Glaciers

  • Dress warmly in layers and wear sturdy, waterproof boots. Even in summer, temperatures can be cold near the ice.
  • Always follow safety instructions, whether on a boat tour, glacier hike, or exploring near the shore.
  • Pack snacks and water, as facilities are limited in remote areas.
  • Be flexible with your plans, as weather can affect boat tours and glacier hikes.

As you head back, reflecting on the day’s adventures, we’re reminded of the profound beauty and power of nature. Exploring Vatnajökull National Park offers a unique blend of education and adventure, making it a memorable day for families looking to discover the wonders of Iceland’s icy landscapes.

Day 4’s itinerary is designed to immerse you and your family in the awe-inspiring natural phenomena that make Iceland unique. From the serene beauty of icebergs at Jökulsárlón to the adventurous hikes in Skaftafell, every moment is an opportunity to create lasting memories with your loved ones, deepening your connection to the natural world.

Day 5: Exploring the East Fjords – A Hidden Gem

As you venture into Day 5 of our Icelandic journey, we’re heading off the beaten path to explore the East Fjords. This region is a treasure trove of natural beauty, with its winding roads, towering mountains, and charming fishing villages. It’s a day for leisurely exploration, taking in the sights at a pace that suits families with kids.

Hengifoss in Iceland Icelandic Photography Tour scaled
Hengifoss in Iceland, Egilsstaðir

Egilsstaðir and Lagarfljót

Start your day in Egilsstaðir, the largest town in the East, serving as a perfect base to explore the surrounding areas. A visit to the nearby Lagarfljót lake is a must, where folklore tells of a resident monster lurking in its depths. It’s a fun story to share with the kids, sparking their imagination as they gaze over the mysterious waters.

Petra’s Stone Collection

A short drive from Egilsstaðir takes you to Petra’s Stone Collection in Stöðvarfjörður, a fascinating exhibit of local minerals and stones collected over decades. It’s a colorful and educational stop that will captivate children and adults alike, highlighting the geological diversity of Iceland.

Fáskrúðsfjörður – The French Connection

Next, head to Fáskrúðsfjörður, known for its historical ties to France, evident in the French Museum and bilingual street signs. This small village offers a unique cultural perspective on Iceland’s history, making it an intriguing stop for families looking to add an educational twist to their adventure.

The Puffins of Borgarfjörður Eystri

If you’re visiting between April and August, a detour to Borgarfjörður Eystri offers the chance to see puffins up close. The area is home to one of Iceland’s most accessible puffin colonies, providing an unforgettable wildlife watching experience for kids and a perfect opportunity for nature photography.

Scenic Hikes and Coastal Walks

The East Fjords are crisscrossed with trails suitable for all ages, from short coastal walks to more challenging hikes in the mountains. Select a trail that matches your family’s interest and ability, and immerse yourselves in the tranquil beauty of this less-traveled region.

Tips for Enjoying the East Fjords

  • Plan for a relaxed pace to truly appreciate the scenic drives and stops.
  • Keep binoculars handy for bird watching and possibly spotting seals along the coast.
  • Dress in layers, as the weather can be unpredictable, even in summer.

As we conclude our day in the East Fjords, we’re reminded of the quiet beauty and rich cultural tapestry that defines this region. It’s a day filled with discovery, from folklore and history to geology and wildlife, offering a serene counterpoint to the more rugged adventures of previous days.

Prepare for tomorrow’s journey as you continue to weave through the diverse tapestry of Iceland’s landscapes, each day unfolding new wonders and learning opportunities for our intrepid families.

Day 6: Discovering the Wonders of North Iceland

For the 6th day, our Iceland exploration takes us to North Iceland, a land of myths, volcanoes, and tales of old. It’s here that Iceland’s raw power and beauty are on full display, offering a day packed with activities that will engage and amaze explorers of all ages.

DettifossEurope’s Most Powerful Waterfall

Our first stop is Dettifoss, reputed to be the most powerful waterfall in Europe. The sheer force of the water is a humbling sight, offering a stark reminder of nature’s power. A visit here is not just a visual spectacle but an auditory one, as the roar of the falls fills the air. It’s an awe-inspiring start to our day, sure to captivate both kids and adults.

Mývatn Nature Baths

After the raw power of Dettifoss, a visit to the Mývatn Nature Baths offers a soothing counterpoint. These geothermal pools, set amidst a volcanic landscape, provide a relaxing and healthful experience for the whole family. It’s a chance to unwind and reflect on the day’s adventures while soaking in mineral-rich waters.

Explore Lake Mývatn and its Surroundings

Lake Mývatn itself is a natural wonder, with its surrounding area boasting an array of geological formations, including pseudocraters, lava fields, and hot springs. A visit to Dimmuborgir, a labyrinth of towering lava rock formations, feels like stepping into a fairy tale, perfect for sparking the imagination of young adventurers. The area is also a haven for birdwatching, offering the chance to see a variety of species in their natural habitat.

Húsavík – Whale Watching Capital

If time permits, a drive to Húsavík, known as the whale watching capital of Iceland, can be the highlight of your trip to North Iceland. Embarking on a whale watching tour provides an unforgettable experience for the whole family, with the opportunity to see these majestic creatures up close. It’s not just an adventure but an educational moment, offering insights into the marine life of the Arctic.

Tips for a Fantastic Day in North Iceland

  • Wear sturdy shoes and waterproof clothing, as exploring Dettifoss and the Lake Mývatn area can be wet and rocky.
  • Don’t forget swimwear and towels for the Mývatn Nature Baths.
  • Bring binoculars for bird and whale watching, enhancing your wildlife viewing experience.
  • Pack snacks and water for the day, but also explore local dining options for a taste of Icelandic cuisine.

As the sun sets on another day of adventure, we’re reminded of the diverse experiences that Iceland offers. From the thunderous power of waterfalls to the quiet majesty of geothermal baths and the thrill of spotting whales in the wild, North Iceland provides a rich tapestry of experiences that are sure to enrich your family’s journey.

Rest up, for tomorrow’s adventure will bring us closer to Iceland’s coastal charm and the tales of Vikings that shaped this rugged land.

Moving into Day 7 of our Icelandic adventure, we venture into the cultural heart and historical depth of Iceland, focusing on the Siglufjörður and Akureyri areas. This day is dedicated to experiencing the rich cultural heritage and stunning landscapes of North Iceland, providing a perfect blend of education, adventure, and relaxation for families.

Day 7: Siglufjörður and Akureyri – Iceland’s History and Culture

Day 7 in Iceland is for exploring the cultural and historical treasures of North Iceland, with Siglufjörður and Akureyri taking center stage. These locations offer a glimpse into Iceland’s maritime history and vibrant cultural scene, set against a backdrop of breathtaking landscapes.

Siglufjörður – The Herring Era Museum

Our first destination is Siglufjörður, a charming town once known as the herring capital of the world. The Herring Era Museum here is a must-visit, offering families an interactive glimpse into the town’s bustling past. It’s an engaging experience for kids, with exhibits that include restored boats and herring factory machinery. The museum successfully brings history to life, showing the importance of the herring industry to Iceland’s economy and culture.

Akureyri – The Capital of North Iceland

Next, we head to Akureyri, often referred to as the capital of North Iceland. This picturesque town is nestled at the head of Iceland’s longest fjord and offers a variety of cultural and outdoor activities suitable for families. The Akureyri Botanical Gardens are a peaceful retreat, showcasing Arctic and alpine plants in beautifully arranged displays. It’s a wonderful place for a leisurely stroll, enjoying the colors and fragrances.

Whale Watching from Akureyri

For families seeking adventure, Akureyri is also a prime spot for whale watching. The waters around Akureyri are rich in marine life, making them an ideal setting for a family-friendly excursion on the fjord. Keep your eyes peeled for humpback whales, minke whales, and even dolphins. It’s an exhilarating experience, offering both thrills and educational value as you learn about the marine ecosystem.

Explore Akureyri’s Cultural Scene

Spend the afternoon exploring Akureyri’s vibrant cultural scene. Visit art galleries, cozy cafés, and local shops offering Icelandic crafts. The town is known for its lively atmosphere and friendly locals, making it a welcoming place for families to immerse themselves in Icelandic culture.

Tips for Enjoying Siglufjörður and Akureyri

  • Dress in layers, as the weather can be variable, even in summer.
  • If visiting the Herring Era Museum, check for guided tours or interactive sessions that can enhance the educational experience for kids.
  • For whale watching tours, book in advance and choose a family-friendly operator that provides life jackets and safety briefings.

As we conclude our day immersed in the rich cultural tapestry and stunning natural beauty of North Iceland, we’re reminded of the stories and people that have shaped this land. Siglufjörður and Akureyri offer families a unique blend of history, culture, and nature, making them unforgettable stops on our Icelandic journey.

Day 8: The Magic of Snæfellsnes Peninsula

This day’s adventure brings us to the Snæfellsnes Peninsula, a place where the spirit of Iceland’s natural wonders is captured in every view. It’s a day for embracing the outdoors, discovering geological wonders, and stepping into the pages of Icelandic sagas.

Snæfellsjökull National Park

Our journey begins with Snæfellsjökull National Park, home to the glacier-capped Snæfellsjökull volcano, famous for its appearance in Jules Verne’s “Journey to the Center of the Earth.” A hike in the park, with its diverse landscapes including lava fields, glaciers, and caves, is like walking through a live geography lesson. It’s an excellent opportunity for kids to learn about volcanic activity, glaciation, and the power of nature’s forces.

Djúpalónssandur Beach

Next, we head to Djúpalónssandur, a breathtaking black pebble beach surrounded by dramatic cliffs and strewn with rusted remnants of a shipwreck. The beach is not only a place of stunning natural beauty but also a playground for the imagination, with stories of seafaring adventures and tales of trolls that captivate young minds.

Arnarstapi and Hellnar

A visit to the picturesque villages of Arnarstapi and Hellnar offers a glimpse into the peaceful coastal life of Iceland. The walking path between the two villages is adorned with beautiful sea stacks, birdlife, and the arching Gatklettur rock. It’s a gentle hike suitable for families, providing ample opportunities to observe birdlife and enjoy the fresh ocean air.

Kirkjufell Mountain

No visit to Snæfellsnes would be complete without seeing Kirkjufell, the most photographed mountain in Iceland. Its distinctive shape and the nearby waterfall, Kirkjufellsfoss, provide a stunning backdrop for family photos. The area around Kirkjufell is a testament to the serene beauty and photographic allure of the Icelandic landscape.

Tips for a Memorable Day on Snæfellsnes Peninsula

  • Wear comfortable walking shoes, as the day involves light hiking and exploration.
  • Bring wind and waterproof clothing to adapt to changing weather conditions.
  • Pack a picnic to enjoy amidst the natural beauty of the peninsula, allowing for flexible meal times during your exploration.
  • Keep your camera ready; the Snæfellsnes Peninsula offers some of Iceland’s most iconic landscapes.

As the sun sets on our penultimate day in Iceland, we reflect on the incredible journey through Snæfellsnes Peninsula, a microcosm of the island’s vast natural wonders. This day has been a celebration of the outdoors, offering families a chance to connect with nature, Icelandic culture, and each other in one of the most beautiful settings on Earth.

Rest well, for our final day in Iceland promises to be a relaxing conclusion to our epic family adventure, filled with moments of reflection, relaxation, and anticipation of our next journey together.

Day 9: Farewell Reykjavik – A Day of Leisure and Reflection

As you wake up to your last day in Iceland, let’s make it a leisurely celebration of all the wonders we’ve experienced. Reykjavik, with its colorful houses, artistic flair, and friendly atmosphere, offers a perfect backdrop for our final explorations.

Reykjavik City Walk

Start your day with a leisurely stroll around Reykjavik’s city center. Visit the iconic Hallgrimskirkja church, where you can take an elevator to the top for panoramic views of the city and the surrounding landscapes. It’s a moment to reflect on the adventures we’ve had and see the capital from a new perspective.

The Harpa Concert Hall and Conference Centre

Next, wander over to the Harpa Concert Hall and Conference Centre, an architectural marvel with its geometric glass facade reflecting the sky and sea. Inside, you’ll find exhibitions, performances, and sometimes interactive activities for kids, making it a cultural hub that’s as educational as it is beautiful.

Old Harbour and Maritime Museum

The Old Harbour is a lively area where you can soak in the maritime culture of Iceland. Nearby, the Maritime Museum offers insights into Iceland’s fishing heritage, crucial to understanding the country’s history and people. It’s an engaging visit for kids, with interactive displays and the chance to board a historic coast guard vessel.

Laugavegur Shopping Street

Spend your afternoon meandering down Laugavegur, Reykjavik’s main shopping street, filled with boutiques, cafes, and souvenir shops. It’s the perfect opportunity to pick up those last-minute gifts and mementos of your trip, from Icelandic wool sweaters to handmade crafts.

Relax in a Geothermal Pool

End your day, and your trip, with a visit to one of Reykjavik’s geothermal pools. It’s a quintessential Icelandic experience, offering relaxation for the whole family and a chance to mingle with locals. Reflect on the journey you’ve shared, the landscapes you’ve explored, and the stories you’ll carry home.

Tips for Enjoying Your Last Day in Iceland

  • Take it slow and savor the moments; today is about soaking in the Icelandic culture at a leisurely pace.
  • Keep an eye out for local events or festivals happening in Reykjavik, which can offer a unique glimpse into the city’s vibrant cultural scene.
  • Try some traditional Icelandic dishes in a local restaurant, a fitting culinary conclusion to your adventure.

As you say goodbye to Iceland, you carry with you memories of breathtaking landscapes, adventures shared, and the warmth of Icelandic hospitality. This journey has been a testament to the bond of family and the joy of exploration, leaving us enriched and inspired.

Kid Friendly Activities in Iceland

Here, you can see activitites for your Iceland itinerary with kids that can be done or added on the exact days of your itinerary. You can pick some that you’ll know your family will love or do as much as you can!

The Wonders of Geothermal Energy: Visiting the Geysir Geothermal Area fits perfectly into the exploration of the Golden Circle on Day 2. The opportunity to relax in geothermal pools can be integrated into various days of the itinerary, considering Iceland’s abundance of natural hot springs and pools across the country.

Puffin Watching: This activity complements the Day 5 exploration of the East Fjords, where puffin colonies can be found, especially if making a detour to Borgarfjörður Eystri. Additionally, puffin watching could be a highlight during the summer months in various coastal areas of Iceland.

Viking History Comes Alive: Incorporating visits to museums dedicated to Viking history can easily be part of the Day 9 exploration in Reykjavik, where families can engage with Iceland’s rich cultural heritage through interactive displays and authentic artifacts.

Glacier Adventures: This aligns with Day 4’s focus on Vatnajökull National Park and its surroundings. A guided glacier hike could be an adventurous addition for families with older children, offering a deeper connection with Iceland’s dramatic glacial landscapes.

The Magic of the Northern Lights: While this natural phenomenon isn’t tied to a specific day in the itinerary, it could be a highlight of any evening spent in Iceland during the winter months. It complements the entire travel experience by adding a magical nighttime activity, depending on weather and solar activity.

Horseback Riding: This activity can be incorporated into various parts of the itinerary, especially in rural areas like the South Coast or the Snæfellsnes Peninsula. It offers a unique way to explore Iceland’s landscapes and is suitable for families.

Interactive Science and Exploration: The visit to the Perlan Museum fits into Day 9 in Reykjavik. It’s an excellent way for families to engage with interactive exhibits about Iceland’s natural phenomena, making it a perfect concluding educational experience.

Accommodation Guide for Your 9 Days in Iceland

Given the 9-day itinerary covering various regions of Iceland, here’s a suggestion for where to stay, optimizing for convenience, experience, and minimizing relocation where practical. This approach often means staying in one place for multiple nights when exploring nearby attractions.

We also have a map below for you to see where the accommodations are and you can pick them in this way and see prices at the same time.

Day 1 & 2: Reykjavik and the Golden Circle

Stay in Reykjavik: Begin your adventure with a stay in the capital, which offers easy access to the Golden Circle.

  • Klettur Hotel or Reykjavik Residence Hotel: Both provide comfortable family accommodations with easy access to city amenities and are a good starting point for the Golden Circle. Ideal for families seeking comfort and convenience in Reykjavik.
  • Budget Option: Reykjavik City HI Hostel: Offers a cost-effective solution with family rooms, shared kitchen facilities, and a friendly environment.

Day 3 & 4: South Coast to Vatnajökull National Park

Near Vik: After exploring the South Coast, staying near Vik offers access to both coastal attractions and the next day’s journey towards the glaciers.

  • Hótel Katla by Keahotels: Offers family-friendly accommodation with proximity to South Coast highlights and is within driving distance for a day trip to Vatnajökull National Park. Positioned near Vik, perfect for exploring the South Coast and glaciers.
  • Budget Option: Puffin Hostel Vik: A budget-friendly choice providing simple, clean accommodations for families willing to share facilities.

Day 5: East Fjords

Stay in Egilsstaðir: A central location for exploring the East Fjords.

  • Icelandair Hotel Herad: Provides comfortable lodging for families, serving as a base to explore the scenic fjords and the unique landscape of the region. Comfortable and convenient for exploring the East Fjords from Egilsstaðir.
  • Budget Option: Seyðisfjörður Hafaldan Hostel: Located in the scenic town of Seyðisfjörður, offering an affordable stay with a charming atmosphere.

Day 6 & 7: North Iceland, including Akureyri and Lake Mývatn

Stay in Akureyri: It’s a great base for exploring the North, including Lake Mývatn.

  • Hotel Kea by Keahotels: Located in Akureyri, offering easy access to the town’s amenities and short drives to surrounding attractions like Lake Mývatn. Offers easy access to Akureyri’s attractions and is a great base for Lake Mývatn.
  • Budget Option: Akureyri HI Hostel: Provides a more economical stay without compromising on the location, perfect for families exploring the north.

Day 8: Snæfellsnes Peninsula

Stay near Snæfellsjökull National Park: Opt for a location that allows you to fully explore the peninsula.

  • The Freezer Hostel & Culture Center: Not only provides family-friendly accommodation but also offers a unique cultural experience. Another option is Hotel Búðir, located in a remote location with stunning views, making it perfect for exploring the nearby national park and other natural attractions. Both offer unique experiences near the Snæfellsjökull National Park with different levels of comfort.
  • Budget Option: Grundarfjordur Hostel: Offers a cost-effective base for exploring the peninsula, with family rooms and shared facilities.

Day 9: Return to Reykjavik

Back to Reykjavik: Conclude your trip with another stay in Reykjavik to explore any missed attractions or simply relax before your departure.

General Tips:

  • Book Early: Especially for summer or peak travel times to secure the best accommodations.
  • Consider Apartments or Family Suites: Offering kitchen facilities for more extended stays (like in Reykjavik or Akureyri), these can help manage meal costs and are convenient for breakfasts and dinners.
  • Check for Multi-day Stays Discounts: Some places offer discounts for longer stays, which can be beneficial for the 2-night stays suggested in some locations.

Adjusting your stay locations according to this plan reduces the time spent checking in and out of hotels, allowing more time for exploration and relaxation. It also provides stability for families, making travel less hectic and more enjoyable.

When’s the Best Time to Do This Itinerary for Iceland?

The 9-day Iceland family itinerary we created encompasses a wide range of activities and attractions that, while largely feasible year-round, may be best enjoyed or more accessible during certain seasons. Here’s a seasonal breakdown to consider when planning your trip:

Summer (June to August)

Pros: Summer offers long daylight hours, with the midnight sun providing extended time for sightseeing. All roads, including those to more remote attractions, are typically open. This is the best time for wildlife watching (such as puffins), hiking in the highlands, and enjoying outdoor activities like horseback riding or visiting geothermal pools.

Ideal For: The full itinerary, including visits to all national parks, waterfalls, the Golden Circle, South Coast, East Fjords, North Iceland, and the Snæfellsnes Peninsula.

Autumn (September to November)

Pros: The landscape is beautifully transformed with autumn colors, and the tourist crowds start to thin. The Northern Lights begin to make their appearance as the nights get longer.

Considerations: Weather becomes more unpredictable, and some remote attractions may become less accessible. It’s still a good time for most of the itinerary, especially the early part of autumn.

Winter (December to February)

Pros: Ideal for experiencing the Northern Lights and Iceland’s winter landscapes. Attractions like ice caves become accessible, and geothermal pools are particularly enjoyable.

Considerations: Limited daylight hours significantly shorten sightseeing time. Harsh weather conditions can lead to road closures, especially in rural areas, making some parts of the itinerary (like the East Fjords and certain highland locations) challenging or inaccessible. Winter activities, however, such as glacier walks or ice cave tours, are at their best.

Spring (March to May)

Pros: The landscape begins to thaw, and there’s a renewal of natural life. It’s a quieter time to visit before the summer crowds arrive. Late spring offers a good chance to see the Northern Lights before they fade as the nights get shorter.

Considerations: Some attractions may still be recovering from winter conditions early in the season, potentially limiting access. However, most of the itinerary can be enjoyed, especially from late April onwards.

Our Final Thoughts on This Iceland Itinerary

The itinerary is most doable and enjoyable during the summer months, offering the widest range of activities and the easiest travel conditions. Spring and autumn offer transitional conditions that are suitable for most of the itinerary, with the added benefit of fewer tourists and the possibility of experiencing the Northern Lights. Winter presents a unique perspective of Iceland, with its snow-covered landscapes and ice-related activities, but requires careful planning and flexibility due to shorter days and potential weather challenges.

When planning your trip, consider the interests and tolerance of your family for varying weather conditions, as well as the type of experiences you wish to have. Each season in Iceland has its own charm and offers unique opportunities for adventure and exploration.

FAQs on this 9 Day Iceland Itinerary

What’s the best way to get around Iceland with kids?

The most flexible and convenient way to explore Iceland with children is by renting a car. It allows you to travel at your own pace, make spontaneous stops, and access more remote areas that public transportation does not cover.

Are there any special considerations for clothing?

Yes, dressing in layers is crucial in Iceland due to the unpredictable weather. Ensure you have waterproof and windproof outer layers, along with good walking or hiking shoes. Don’t forget swimwear for the geothermal pools!

Can we see the Northern Lights during the summer?

No, the Northern Lights are best observed from late September to early April when the nights are darkest. During the summer months, Iceland experiences nearly 24 hours of daylight, which prevents the Northern Lights from being visible.

Is Iceland safe for families traveling with children?

Absolutely, Iceland is one of the safest countries in the world for travelers. However, it’s important to follow safety guidelines, especially when exploring natural attractions.

What food options are available for picky eaters?

Icelandic cuisine is diverse, and many restaurants offer familiar international dishes alongside local specialties. Supermarkets and bakeries also provide a wide range of options for self-catering or snacks.

Are there any age restrictions for activities like glacier hiking or horseback riding?

Some activities, like glacier hiking, have age minimums (usually around 8-10 years old), primarily for safety reasons. Horseback riding is generally more accessible, but check with providers for any age or height restrictions.

How can we stay connected while traveling in Iceland?

Most hotels, cafes, and restaurants offer free Wi-Fi. If you need constant internet access, consider renting a portable Wi-Fi device or purchasing a local SIM card for your mobile phone.

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