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.
Arrive in Iceland early and enjoy your first Icelandic breakfast and a leisurely dip at 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. Hit the streets of Reykjavík on an afternoon walking tour, photographing colorfully painted houses and the immense Hallgrímskirkja Church. Take a short flight to the enchanted Westfjords peninsula and get settled in the town of Ísafjörður in time for a welcome dinner.
Hotel Horn (B,L,D)
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 in one of Iceland’s most famous restaurants, choose one of two afternoon activities. 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. Or head to the Arnardalur Valley to listen to tales of the Godar, legendary chieftains appointed to maintain peace who will regale us with dramatic accounts of ancient Icelandic sagas. Return to Ísafjörður for dinner.
Hotel Horn (B,L,D)
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, explore myths and mysteries at the multi-media, interactive Icelandic Sea Monster Museum, or have a soak in a “hot pot,” natural hot springs that bubble up alongside the fjord. Then travel south to Patreksfjörður.
Fosshótel Westfjords (B,L,D)
Today, kids get to know their pen pals during a morning of fun activities. Then, picture yourself a buccaneer at the Pirate House, exploring the fascinating history of piracy on Iceland’s shores. Dress up in costume, go on a treasure hunt, learn to tie knots and navigate. After a pirate-themed picnic, 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.
Fosshótel Westfjords (B,L,D)
Take a scenic drive this morning to Vatnsfjörður, where there will be an opportunity for a short walk or an optional, relaxing dip in a hot pool. Look for seals on a nearby beach and then take a ferry to Stykkishólmur on the Snæfellsnes peninsula. Board a fishing boat to explore some of more than 2,500 rocky islets just off the coast, and enjoy a sushi buffet straight from the sea! Or pay a visit to a pottery studio to see the artist at work and learn about Iceland’s unusual clay, formed below sea level. Then, walk to your charming lodge set in the small town of Stykkishólmur.
Hotel Egilsen (B,L,D)
Bursting with volcanic peaks and glazed with glaciers, Snæfellsjökull National Park is a microcosm of the “land of fire and ice.” Explore the world of volcanoes in-depth during a private tour of Stykkishólmur’s Eldfjallasafn Volcano Museum led by a leading volcanologist, Dr.Haraldur Sigurðsson. Then head into the park, listening to local folklore as we hike along Dritvik, a pebbled beach. Drive into the countryside to our eco-lodge, set between the ocean and the massive Snæfellsjökull glacier.
Hotel Hellnar (B,L,D)
Go spelunking in a lava-formed cave system, and then hike to a volcanic crater or saddle up for a ride on an Icelandic pony. Stop to take a sip of carbonated mineral water—right from its underground source!—and visit Deildartunguhver, Europe's most powerful thermal spring. As we make our way back to Reykjavík, stop Borgarnes to visit the Settlement Centre, where you‘ll enjoy a traditional lunch and two exhibitions which illuminate the Saga of the Settlement of Iceland and Iceland´s most famous Viking and first poet, Egill Skallagrimsson. Settle into our hotel in Reykjavík and celebrate our adventure at a farewell dinner. After a morning at leisure the next day, transfer to the airport for your flight home.
Hotel Reykjavík Nordica (B,L,D)
Children (ages 7-17)
Prices are per person, double occupancy. For a single room, add $1,000. Airfare is not included in the expedition cost. Round-trip economy airfare between Boston and Reykjavík begins at $725, and the flight within Iceland is $250 (subject to change).
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.