Driving The Ring Road of Iceland is a favorite family summer vacation for many, including me! Trouble is once you get outside of the Reykjavik and the Golden Circle, lots of fabulous activities are not well sign posted and a little hard to find. Here is a quick guide of family friendly, fantastic spots you don’t want to miss off the Ring Road in counter clockwise direction.
Gljúfurárfoss Waterfall is right next to it’s famous neighbor Seljalandsfoss. Although Seljalandsfoss is spectacular, it is certainly crowded during peak hours. To get away from all the crowds, take a walk or short drive past Seljalandsfoss (toward the campground). Here you will discover a majestic waterfall inside a cave. You can wade through the cold water into the cave to discover this beauty. I recommend water shoes for this and best for kids to hold to an adult for support walking through.
Fjadrargljufur Canyon isn’t really considered a hidden gem but most tourists take in the beauty from above. This is my favorite stop between Vik and Hofn along the South Coast. It is a short dirt road up to get here but most cars and campervans can make it easily, and the road is well marked. From the car park, follow the path to the bottom of the canyon. You can take in the magnificence and have it all to yourselves. This is especially a good idea if you have young kids in tow, because the path above is very close to the edge.
The Bone, Stick and Stone gallery in Djupivogur is one of the most surprising and best hidden gems on the Ring Road. The owner has an extensive knowledge about the Vikings. He enthralled the children with his stories, and we bought some viking necklaces. Outside, the rock statues, whale bones and anadorable dog who loves to play fetch kept our whole family busy and entertained. Follow signs for Djupivogur heading off the Ring Road. You can’t miss this adorable gallery if you drive straight through Djupivogur toward the jetty.
Visiting a Turf House is a must in Iceland. If you are driving the Ring Road, you have a few to choose from. I love Saenautasel, between Eglissatadir and Akuyeri. It is 5 km on a flat dirt road, off the Ring Road, but if feel a million miles away from civilization. You can explore the classic turf house independently and visit the old sheepcote which has been renovated into a teahouse/ cafe. The family that runs it offers delicious pancakes, hot chocolates and tea. You literally step back in time for a glimpse of life in rural Iceland and get a snack! A very cool and authentic experience not to be missed!
Fossutun Troll Garden is this adventure family’s favorite hidden gem slightly off the ring Road. It is between Blondus and Borganes, before heading back to Reykjavik. Not only is the surrounding area absolutely breathtaking, but there are “troll games” scattered throughout the property. Imagine taking a short hike toward a river and stopping to play troll hopscotch along the way. It is the perfect stop for playful kids who love making discoveries! Follow signs for Fossutun Country Hotel to find this little gem.