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Iceland Itinerary Help - June w Kids

Hello all, our family of four (4 and 6 years old) is considering our first trip to Iceland in June 2022. We have traveled as a family to Europe so we do have experience taking long trips with small age children. The trip would be nine nights and nine days, arriving on day 1 around 7:00 a.m. in the morning, coming from an overnight US East Coast nonstop flight.

As travelers and vacationers, we love exploring new places, meeting local people, visiting small villages, short hikes, outdoor activities, local foods, waterfalls, natural beauty, whale watching, glaciers, beaches, playgrounds, etc. So with this said, we are very open to your recommendations with this period of travel time. We are in the very preliminary stages of researching this trip. I definitely plan on renting a 4-wheel drive vehicle. We would love to stay in 2-3 bases as well.

Do you recommend driving the entire Ring Road, making several stops along the journey (3 bases)?
Do you recommend staying in the vicinity of Reykjavík and taking day trips (2-3 bases)?

Thanks for all your help in advance.

Posted by
2133 posts

We had our second trip this summer, and it was our family of 5 (all adults) . We did the ring road in 11 days and felt it was very rushed. We stayed at a different place every night, to save time with backtracking etc. With 9 days and young kids, I just don't see how that can be done. With 9 days you definitely will not be able to stay in a few bases and cover the ring road.

My suggestions are either to add more days and do the ring road, and yes expect most if not all places to be one night stays, or forget the ring road and do 2-3 bases not that far from Reykjavik. One base on the Snaefellsness Peninsula and then the other bases somewhere in the Golden Circle and maybe around Vik.

Posted by
6515 posts

If you plan to drive. Make sure you learn all the rules of the roads and the road signs, unless you want a nasty surprise. Icelandic traffic fines can be high, such as 150,000 krónur (≈€1000) for a speeding ticket.

Posted by
262 posts

Thank you very much for the quick, honest reply. If 11 days seemed too rushed (with adults), the Ring Road will have to be eliminated for our family with young kids. Staying in several places will be difficult too because of the packing / unpacking.

With your input taken into consideration, it sounds like three bases (9 nights) will be more realistic. The three bases that potentiall could work seem to be Reykjavik, Vik, and Snaefellsness? What base would you start in as we will fly into and out of Keflavic Airport? We would arrive around 7:00 a.m. and fly out in the afternoon.

Thank you all again.

Posted by
2133 posts

I agree with Aimee. Definitely low for that first full day in Reykjavik, and maybe even half of the next day. There really is a lot to do and see right in town there. Don't worry too much about not seeing everything and not being able to do the Ring Road. You WILL be planning a return visit, trust me;) We are looking forward to our 3rd trip in a month, and have other return trips there in the works as well. There is just something about Iceland that is captivating.

Posted by
262 posts

Thank you all for the replies and useful information. With your valuable input, we will plan to limit our bases to three bases:
1. Snaefellsness Peninsula
2. Vik
3. Reykjavik

With these three bases in mind, do you recommend a particular order? We would arrive around 7:00 a.m. at KEF, and we would depart KEF around 4:30 p.m. Both flights are nonstop from the US East Coast. I have driven in foreign countries before (Ireland and Portugal), but I do not want to drive more than 2 hours after arriving on a red eye light.

Thanks again.

Posted by
705 posts

Here's the order:
1. Reykjavik
2. Snaefellsness Peninsula
3. Vik

Reykjavik is closest to the airport, so it will be an easy drive for your first day.

Then drive north for the Snaefellsness Peninsula.

By staying in Vik at the end of your trip, driving the south coast will be an easy drive to the airport.

Posted by
262 posts

Would it be better to first drive to the Snaefellsness Peninsula (base #1)? Then, start driving to Reykjavik (base #2) and Vik, (base #3) which would be less backtracking?

In previous trips, I have driven from Shannon Airport to Dingle (Ireland) and from Lisbon Airport to Porto (Portugal) after taking red eye flights. I typically find places to stop in order to breakup the drive for exploring, breakfast, lunch, coffee, etc.

Thanks again.

Posted by
11362 posts

Have only a musing about the kids and the "I don't walk to go to bed, its not dark yet"

20 hrs of daylight is bound to make for an interesting experience.

Enjoy and have fun

Posted by
262 posts

While still researching our trip, I am now very interested in visiting the Westmann Islands.

--- Can you visit the Westmann Islands as a Day Trip (8-10 hours, plus ferry times)?
--- On our way to Vik, could we go to the Westmann Islands. More than likely, we would be driving from Reykjvavik.

Thank you again for all your help.

Posted by
2452 posts

You might want to consider taking the airport bus to Reykjavik and spend a day or two there. Then pick up the rental car in Reykjavik and drive to the Snaefellnes or Vik or vice versa. That would be preferable to driving jetlagged. You could then drop the rental car off in Reykjavik before you fly home and take the airport bus back to the airport.

Posted by
2133 posts

I agree with Mary. We did not want to go on Flybus as there were too many people with Covid, so we booked through them and got a private van for our party of 5. It was only about $40 more than taking the Flybus, and the driver met us at the door and helped with luggage etc. Then the next day we walked to the Bleu Car Rental location right in town and we headed out from there. Returning the car, we dropped our adult kids at the airport with all of our bags and then we returned the car and just walked back to the airport. It is a 5 minute walk, if that. Super close.

Posted by
262 posts

Thank you for the information again. To reduce the amount of contact with other people indoors, I will plan to pick up the rental car at the airport. It seems Blue Car Rental has the best reviews and recommendations. With small children, we prefer to keep our trip mostly outdoors because of Covid, but hopefully things will improve by June.

So after researching more and more and more, I do have more questions that I hope you all could help answer.

--- Eliminate Snaefellnes Base: Would you consider taking a day trip to Snaefellsnes Peninsula, which would eliminate this base? Driving from Snaefellsnes to Vik seems to be a great deal of driving and backtracking. However, if you highly recommend staying in this area, we could give it 2-3 nights. We do like the local non-touristy feel of this area too.
--- Reykjavik 5 or even 6 nights: I would like to see / do the following places / things while in this area: Golden Circle (1 day), Fagradalsfjall Volcano Hike, Grindavik, Blue Lagoon (1 day), Snaefellsnes Peninsula if base elminated (1 day), Explore the City (1 day)
---- Vik: Would three nights be enough? I would like your thoughts on going to the Westmann Islands as a day trip, driving from Reykjavik. My children would love riding the ferry and seeing puffins. Then, after seeing the Islands, drive to Vik. In Vik, we would like to visit Jokulsarior, Glacier Lagoon, and Diamond Beach (day 1), Black Sand Beach, Dyrholaey Lighthouse (day 2), and Seljalandsfoos Waterfall, Skogafoss Waterfall, Gljufrabui Waterfall (day 3).

If you have any questions, suggestions, etc., please let me know.

Thanks for all your help.

Posted by
10 posts

Fellow NC resident (Raleigh), that has always wanted to visit Iceland and wants to take advantage of the new non-stop flight we are getting. I know this is a very subjective question, but I'd like to hear opinions on whether Iceland would be suitable for an 19 month old baby. We are 2+ years without travel, and are dying to finally get back to Europe. But I'm still a little hesitant on whether Iceland is the right choice while our baby is still so young.

It would be late July/early August and be 8.5 days (Thursday departure and Saturday return). I was also thinking 3 bases: Reykjavik, Vik Area, and somewhere around Hof. But I'm still in my very preliminary research. Another random question I had, is it common for Automatic rental cars to be $200+ per day?

Posted by
2133 posts

Michael--We are just back from our 3rd trip. I would pick up the rental car and only drive as far as Reykjavik that first day. Make that your first base. Driving after a red eye is not the best idea. I say that as a relative became a paraplegic after falling asleep at the wheel, so we know first hand what can happen. No reason to take any chances, especially when you are traveling with your family. Reykjavik with small kids is good for 2 days, but is a good base if you drive the Reykjanes Peninsula which makes for a nice day trip. So if you stay there 3 nights, then you could do Snaefellsness for another couple of nights and then Vik for the last few nights. I would allot the most time for the Vik base. As for the Westman Islands, I can't say personally since we have not made it there yet, but the guide for one offer day trips on this last trip was from there. From what he was saying, we are intrigued and want. to add that to another trip.

northscranton--It would be best if you started your own thread so you can get information that is just for you:) That said, for car rentals that is most definitely the norm. We just. got back from our 3rd trip to Iceland the other week and we paid $295 for a one day rental of a Toyota Rav 4.

Posted by
262 posts

Thank you again for the replies.

We have booked our flight, accommodations, etc., and we are very excited to be in Iceland in June :):

northscranton: Please check your Inbox as I would love to give you all my travel advice in regards to traveling with child(ren). It can be done :)