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With simmering volcanoes and spouting geysers, glaciers and icebergs, and deeply carved fjords, Iceland is a land where geology comes to life. Discover these extreme landscapes as a family, venturing into ancient caves, cruising to islands buzzing with birdlife, and taking a dip in burbling hot springs. Learn about pirates, sea monsters, and the island’s rich mythology, and enjoy time to get to know native Icelanders—from artisans and storytellers to local families and kids.
Explore waterfalls, fjords, caves, volcanoes, and rocky islands in Iceland’s geological wonderland.
Visit the soaring Látrabjarg cliffs, Europe’s westernmost point and home to one of the largest colonies of nesting seabirds in Europe.
Go spelunking in a massive cave system formed by lava and water, and meet a leading volcanologist to learn about Iceland’s bubbling, steaming, erupting landscapes.
Hear riveting tales of elves, ghosts, and sea monsters from Iceland’s rich folklore tradition.
Itinerary - 9 Days
Days 1 & 2 — U.S./Reykjavík, Iceland
After an overnight flight, arrive in Keflavik, Iceland early and stop for a dip in the Blue Lagoon, a perfect introduction to Iceland’s geothermal landscape. Explore the lagoon’s volcanic origins, learn about the curative powers of its naturally heated seawater, and take a dip in these steaming springs if you wish. Check into your Reykjavík hotel and enjoy lunch on your own. In the afternoon's walking tour, photograph colorfully painted houses and the immense Hallgrímskirkja Church, and take in the fascinating Settlement Exhibition at the Reykjavík City Museum. Enjoy a welcome dinner in a downtown restaurant.
Icelandair Hotel Reykjavik Marina (B,D)
Day 3 — Golden Circle
Travel to Thingvellir National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site situated in the rift vally between the Eurasian and the North American tectonic plates. Against a backdrop of mountains and a wildflower-dotted lava plan stands the ancient stone site of the Althing, the world’s oldest - and still governing- legislative assembly. Here, adults can join a local expert for a guided walk around the old parliament grounds while young explorers participate in a fun, educational project with a park ranger. Savor lunch at a local farm, complete with homemade ice cream, then continue to the geothermal wonderland of Geysir, where the Strokkur geyser shoots hot water 90 feet in the air. At Gullfoss, or “Golden Falls,” take a spectacular ridgetop hike to witness the powerful force of the Hvítá Rivera as it drops nearly 100 feet in two voluminous cascades. (B,L,D)
Day 4 — Westfjords Peninsula
This morning, fly to the enchanted Westfjords Peninsula and discover a pristine landscape of fjords and fishing villages tucked into tiny harbors today. Take a guided walk through Ísafjörður, meeting locals and learning about the history of the peninsula at the Westfjords Heritage Museum. After lunch at a traditional fish storehouse, take a boat trip to the island of Vigur, home to thousands of seabirds, and taste traditional treats with a local family at their 19th-century farmstead. Return to Ísafjörður for dinner.
Hotel Horn (B,L,D)
Day 5 — Arnarfjörður/Patreksfjörður
Travel deeper into the fjord-laced heart of this wild and beautiful peninsula to Arnarfjörður and visit the tiny village of Hrafnseyri, the birthplace of Iceland’s national hero, Jón Sigurðsson. Hike to the top of Iceland’s most beautiful waterfalls for extraordinary views, and slip behind Göngufoss falls for a watery perspective on the world. After a picnic lunch, travel south to Patreksfjörður, where we’ll get to know our pen pals during an afternoon of fun activities and a special dinner. (B,L,D)
Day 6 — Patreksfjörður/ Stykkishólmur
Early this morning, head to the soaring Látrabjarg cliffs, Europe’s westernmost point and home to one of the largest colonies of nesting seabirds in Europe. Photograph fearless puffins, and learn to identify kittiwakes, northern fulmars, Arctic terns, guillemots, auks, razorbills, and many more as the waves crash far below. Hop on a ferry at noon and arrive in Stykkishólmur, on the Snæfellsjökull peninsula, for an afternoon at leisure. Hotel Egilsen (B,L,D)
Day 7 — Stykkishólmur
Explore the world of volcanoes in-depth during a private tour of Stykkishólmur’s Eldfjallasafn Volcano Museum led by renowned volcanologist, National Geographic grantee Haraldur Sigurðsson. This afternoon, board a fishing boat to explore a few of the 2,500 rocky islets just off the coast, and enjoy a sushi buffet straight from the sea! Or, visit a traditional dairy farm and learn how the Icelandic yogurt, skyr, is made. Enjoy dinner this evening at a local restaurant.
Day 8 — Snæfellsjökull National Park
Head into Snæfellsjökull National Park and listen to local folktales, as we hike to the Arnarstapi- Hellnar Trail, with striking views of unusual lava formations. Go spelunking in a lava-formed cave system to find a huge, secret cavern deep within the Earth. This afternoon, we make our way back to Rekjavik and enjoy a special farewell dinner. (B,L,D)
Day 9 — Reykjavík/U.S.
This morning, saddle up for a ride on an Icelandic horse – a smaller, pony-size species known for its smooth-as-silk gait. Or, relax in the nearby village of Hveragerði, with its energetic bubbling, hissing, steaming geothermal site located right in the center of town. Then transfer to the airport for your flight home.
Prices are per person, double occupancy. For a single
room, add $1,000.
International airfare to Reykjavík and airfare within Iceland is not included in the expedition cost. The group flight within Iceland is $300 (subject to change).
About this Expedition
We tap into National Geographic’s vast network to design unique travel experiences for the whole family, filled with hands-on activities and memorable moments. A special aspect of this expedition is the Kid-to-Kid Connection, which links every young traveler with a pen pal of similar age in Iceland. Kids will meet up with their Icelandic pen pals in the waterfront village of Patreksfjörður, and head to an indoor climbing wall together for a lesson with local climbers. They'll play typical Icelandic games, and see what an Icelandic school looks like on a tour with a teacher.
Our dynamic Expedition Leaders enrich each experience with their insights, knowledge, and energy, and a Young Explorer Leader joins every group to facilitate fun activities that help kids get the most out of the places we go. As we travel, we’ll also meet up with fascinating people doing meaningful work in the field.