5 Day Summer Package | Golden Circle, South of Iceland with a Greenland Day Tour
Add a little twist to your Icelandic holiday and take in more of the Arctic’s beautiful scenery by hopping on board a plane to Greenland. Through this 5-day summer package, you’ll be able to visit some of Iceland’s most stunning places as well as Greenland's small village of Kulusuk.
The tour will take you to Iceland’s most famous sightseeing route, the Golden Circle. There you will visit Þingvellir National Park, the powerful waterfall Gullfoss and the geothermal area of Geysir, where hot springs spout water high up in the air.
You'll visit Reynisfjara—a black sand beach where ocean waves crash into volcanic rock formations—and Dyrhólaey, a stunning peninsula with abundant birdlife and a fantastic panoramic view. You’ll also see hauntingly beautiful waterfalls, dark and barren sand expanses and mighty glaciers.
You also have the option of hiking up Sólheimajökull glacier, where you'll pass deep blue crevasses and high ridges. Sólheimajökull is where fire and ice meet as the white peaks of the glacier are covered with ash from eruptions from nearby volcanoes.
To explore the Arctic further, you'll go on a fun-filled day trip to Greenland, where you will visit the small village of Kulusuk. Greenland is a rugged mountainous land, three-quarters of which are covered by a permanent ice sheet. The village of Kulusuk is surrounded by towering jagged mountains and a blue ocean dotted pearly white icebergs.
Enjoy the long summer days and get the full Arctic experience in your 5-day stay. Immerse yourself in the culture and the gorgeous landscapes of two countries. Visit the dynamic city of Reykjavík and the quiet village of Kulusuk. Check availability by choosing a date.
- Available: Jun. - Aug.
- Duration: 5 days
- Activities: Glacier Hiking, Snorkelling, Snowmobile, Horse Riding, Sightseeing, Cultural Activity
- Difficulty: Easy
- Minimum age: 8 years.
- Languages: English
- Highlights: Skógafoss,
Skógafoss is one of the country’s biggest and most beautiful waterfalls with an astounding width of 25 meters (82 ft) and a drop of 60 meters (197 ft). Due to the amount of spray the cascade produces, a rainbow is present any time the sun emerges from behind the clouds.
Located on the Skógá river, this mighty cascade is clearly visible from Route 1 and is an excellent place to stop and stretch the legs while travelling Iceland’s South Coast. The river below Skógafoss holds a large char and salmon population and is thus a favourite spot for fishermen in the summer.
The land underneath the waterfall is very flat, allowing visitors to walk right up to the wall of water. Keep in mind, however, that this will get you drenched. Skógafoss can also be viewed from the top as a steep staircase leads to an observational platform above the cascade.
Skógafoss is located near the small village of Skógar, south of the Eyjafjallajökull glacier volcano. There you’ll find the Skógasafn folk museum, an open-air museum with both old wooden houses and turf houses, as well as a regional museum with various artefacts from this area.
A part of the Skógasafn Regional Museum is the Museum of Transportation, which showcases the history and evolution of transportation, communication and technologies in Iceland. There, you can see how this nation evolved from the age of the working horse to the digital communications of the 21st century.
The Skógasafn museum also includes a café and a museum shop, and in the village of Skógar, you will find both a hotel and a restaurant.
At the eastern side of Skógafoss, you will find one of Iceland’s most famed hiking routes; the Fimmvörðuháls pass. The 22 km (14 mi) trail takes you along Skógá river, between two glaciers, Mýrdalsjökull and Eyjafjallajökull, before ending in the beautiful Þórsmörk valley.
A gold ring is on display at the Skógasafn museum. According to legend, the ring is from a chest that was owned by Þrasi Þórólfsson, one of the first Viking settlers in the area. Folklore states that before his death in 900 AD, Þrasi buried a chest filled with gold in a cave behind Skógafoss waterfall.
Many attempts were made to retrieve the chest after Þrasi’s death, and years later, locals managed to grasp a ring on the side of the chest. As they pulled, the ring broke off, and the treasure was lost forever. The ring was then given to the local church before it made its way to the museum.Seljalandsfoss,
Seljalandsfoss in the river Seljalandsa in South Iceland is one of the most sought waterfalls in the country.
Seljalandsfoss has a narrow cascade but is one of Iceland's highest waterfalls, at 63 meters. The waterfall is highly picturesque and has the rare distinction that one can actually walk behind it.Geysir,
Geysir is a famous hot spring in Haukadalur valley in South Iceland. Part of the ‘Golden Circle', Geysir gives its name to hot springs all over the world.
Though Geysir itself is hardly active anymore, the area features spectacular hot springs such as the powerful Strokkur, which spouts a vast amount of water every 10 minutes, around 15-20 meters into the air, Smidur and Litli-Strokkur.
North of Geysir are fumaroles, i.e. unlike the hot springs that emit hot water, only steam and gas emanate from these. You may be able to observe bright yellow stains at the fumaroles, this is native sulphur, which crystallizes from the steam. At the southern part of the geothermal area, called Thykkuhverir, you‘ll find various mud pots. Such mud pots are actually fumaroles that boil up through surface water/groundwater and may become steaming fumaroles during dry spells, rather than the usual boiling mud pots.
About 2 km from Geysir is an old preserved natural pool called Kúalaug. One can bathe in it and it has room for 3-5 people at a time, but care should be taken, as the area around the pool is very delicate. The temperature is 39-43°C, depending on how you are positioned in the pool. The water is slightly muddy, as the pool is built on soil, and the bottom is slippery due to algae, so caution is advised.
In Haukadalur there has also been tree planting in recent times and today the forest Haukadalsskógur is one of the largest in South Iceland. Aspen, various types of pine, and other plants have been tried out there and experiments and research continue. We also recommend visiting the tree museum, built in the memory of forester Gunnar Freysteinsson. There are good paths and roads in the forest and the wood is specially designed to accommodate wheelchairs.
Haukadalur has been a church site since ancient time. The current wooden church was last rebuilt in 1938 but the variety and appearance of the church dates back to 1842, making it one of the oldest of its kind in Iceland.
Haukadalur is indeed a historical place. It was settled during the age of settlement and scholar Ari “The Wise“ Thorgilsson grew up there. The first pastoral school in Iceland was also built there.
For accommodation, Hotel Gullfoss is about 7 km from the Geysir area, and closer still is the Hotel Geysir.Gullfoss,
Gullfoss (translated to ‘Golden Falls’) is one of Iceland’s most iconic and beloved waterfalls, found on the Hvítá river canyon in south Iceland. The water in Hvítá river travels from the glacier Langjökull, finally cascading 32m down Gullfoss’ two stages in a dramatic display of nature’s raw power.
Because of the waterfall’s two stages, Gullfoss should actually be thought of as two separate waterfalls. The first, shorter stage of the waterfall is 11m, whilst the second stage is 21m. The canyon walls on both sides of the waterfall reach heights of up to 70m, descending into the 2.5km long Gullfossgjúfur canyon (geologists indicate that this canyon was formed by glacial outbursts at the beginning of the last age.)
In the summer, approximately 140 cubic metres of water surges down the waterfall every second, whilst in winter that number drops to around 109 cubic metres. With such energy, visitor’s should not be surprised to find themselves drenched by the waterfall’s mighty spray-off.
In the early days of the last century, Gullfoss was at the centre of much controversy regarding foreign investors and their desire to profit off Iceland’s nature. In the year 1907, an English businessman known only as Howells sought to utilise the waterfall’s energy and harboured ambitions to use its energy to fuel a hydroelectric plant.
At the time, Gullfoss was owned by a farmer named Tómas Tómasson. Tómas declined Howell’s offer to purchase the land, stating famously “I will not sell my friend!” He would, however, go on to lease Howells the land, inadvertently beginning the first chapter of Icelandic environmentalism.
It was Tómas’ daughter, Sigríður Tómasdóttir, who would lead the charge. Having grown up on her father’s sheep farm, she sought to get the lease contract nullified, hurriedly saving her own money to hire a lawyer. The ensuing legal battle was an uphill struggle; the case continued for years, forcing Sigríður to travel many times by foot to Reykjavík if only to keep the trial moving. Circumstances became so difficult that Sigríður threatened to throw herself into the waterfall if any construction began.
Thankfully, in 1929, the waterfall fell back into the hands of the Icelandic people. Today, Sigríður is recognised for her perseverance in protecting Gullfoss and is often hailed as Iceland’s first environmentalist. Her contribution is forever marked in stone; a plaque detailing her plight sits at the top of Gullfoss.
Restaurant / Cafe
Besides Gullfoss, visitors can enjoy the views from Gullfoss Cafe, a locally run delicatessen that serves a wide variety of refreshments and meals. The menu has options to tantalise everyone’s taste buds; hot soups, sandwiches, salads and cakes. There is also a shop on site where visitors’ can browse and purchase traditional Icelandic souvenirs.Dyrhólaey,
The 120 meter high promontory Dyrholaey is the southernmost part of the mainland, only a short drive south of the Ring Road. It offers a breathtaking view and features spectacular outcrops and rock formations.
A notable attraction is the massive arch that the sea has eroded from the heartland, giving the island its name (‘dyr’=door’). One daredevil pilot even flew through it!
Dyrholaey has an abundance of birdlife, the most common being puffins and eider ducks. You can also enjoy the black beach, where the waves can provide an impressive sight. As these can be very wild, we do however advise uttermost caution.Þingvellir,
Þingvellir is one of the most important sites to visit in Iceland for its landscape, history and cultural value.
The Icelandic parliament was founded in Þingvellir in 930 and remained there for centuries. Þingvellir is surrounded by a beautiful mountain range and is the site of a rift valley, marking the crest of the Mid-Atlantic range. Today it is a natural park, listed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO and considered a vital part of the ‘Golden triangle’ (with Geysir and Gullfoss). Of particular note is the magnificent gorge Almannagjá, which marks the eastern boundary of the North American plate and into which the beautiful waterfall Öxarárfoss falls.
Other notable attractions within the park include the beautiful lake Þingvallavatn, the largest lake in Iceland, the Silfra fissure, one of the world's top dives, Þingvallakirkja Church and Gjábakkahellir, one of Iceland's most interesting lava tubes.Þingvallavatn,
Þingvallavatn (anglicised as Thingvallavatn, “Lake of the Parliament”) is a rift valley lake located roughly forty minutes drive from Iceland’s capital city, Reykjavik.
Features of Þingvallavatn.
Þingvallavatn is partially within the boundaries of Þingvellir National Park, Iceland’s largest national park and only one with UNESCO World Heritage Site status. Covering an area of 84 km&³2;, Þingvallavatn is the largest natural lake in Iceland with its greatest depth measuring at 114 m. Þingvallavatn is situated on the Mid-Atlantic Rift, on a part of the ridge known as the Reykjanes Ridge. The lake has only one outflow, the river Sog.
Of particular note to biologists and fishermen are the four morphs of Arctic Char that inhabit the lake. The lake’s char are an excellent example of species evolving to fit and adapt to a secluded environment; over ten thousand years, one species of Char has transformed into four different-sub branches. Other fish in the lake include the the Brown Trout and the Three-Spine Stickleback.
History and Geology
Þingvallavatn takes its name from the historical founding of the Althingi, which occurred in 930 AD at what is now known as Þingvellir National Park. Þingvellir literally translates to “Fields of Parliament.” The Althingi was the first democratically elected parliament in world history; Icelanders used to travel by foot or horseback simply to congregate at Þingvellir where they would hear the latest laws and judgements of the island.
Þingvellir National Park is also notable for its geology. Given its position on the Mid Atlantic Ridge, the park is one of the only places on the planet where visitors can see both the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates standing exposed from the earth. Footpaths allow you to get up close and personal to the plates, standing right where the ancient settlers once did. In between the tectonic plates lies fields of dried volcanic rock, blanketed with a thick, yet fragile layer of Icelandic moss.
Scuba Diving at Silfra / David's Crack
Scuba diving around Þingvallavatn revolves around two sites, Silfra Fissure and David’s Crack, the former being one of the most popular spots on the planet for snorkelling and underwater exploration. Silfra Fissure is situated between the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates and is filled with crystal-clear glacial water originating from the Langjokull ice cap. The water measures at between 2-3 degrees Celsius all year round, a slight current preventing the fissure from ever freezing over.
David’s Crack is found within Þingvallavatn and is often considered the darker and more dramatic cousin of Silfra Fissure, resembling the gorge formation so prevalent across the Mid Atlantic Rift. Only certain tour operators provide David’s Crack, so make sure to do some research beforehand if you are looking to access this dive site during your time in Iceland.
Header Photo: Wikimedia. Creative Commons. Credit: Axel Kristinsson.Reynisfjara Black Sand Beach,
Reynisfjara is a world-famous black-sand beach found on the South Coast of Iceland, just beside the small fishing village of Vík í Mýrdal.
With its enormous basalt stacks, roaring Atlantic waves and stunning panoramas, Reynisfjara is widely considered to be the most beautiful example of Iceland’s black sand beaches. In 1991, National Geographic voted Reynisfjara as one of the Top 10 non-tropical beaches to visit on the planet.
Reynisfjara is found around 180 km from Iceland’s capital city, Reykjavik, and is a popular stop-off for those taking a sightseeing tour along South Coast. Driving to the beach is particularly easy, taking an approximate two and a half hours from the capital.
Upon visiting the beach, travellers will immediately observe rocky sea stacks sitting off the shoreline, known as Reynisdrangar. According to local Icelandic folklore, these large basalt columns were once trolls engaged in trying to pull ships from the ocean. However, as bad luck would have it, the dawn quickly arose, turning the trolls into solid stone.
Another legend tells of a husband whose wife was kidnapped and killed by two trolls. The man followed the trolls down to Reynisfjara where he froze them, ensuring that they would never kill again.
The sea stacks themselves are home to thousands of nesting seabirds. Species that can be found here include Puffins, Fulmars and Guillemots, making it a must-see location for all birdwatchers out there.
Visitors to Reynisfjara must be made well aware of the potential dangers present at the beach. First of all, the rolling, roaring waves of Reynisfjara are particularly violent, often pushing far further up the beach than many would expect.
Visitors are advised to never turn their back on the waves, don't go chasing after them and keep a safe distance of 20-30 metres.
Aside from these sudden and dramatic shifts in tide (known as “sneaker waves”), the currents off the shore are infamous for their strength and ability to drag helpless people out into the freezing cold open ocean. A number of fatal accidents have occurred at Reynisfjara, the last of which occurred in January 2017.Reynisfjall,
Reynisfjall is a tuff mountain on the South Coast of Iceland, which is 5 kilometres long, 800 metres (2625 ft) wide and 340 metres (1115 ft) tall at its highest point.
The peak is best known for towering beside two of the most popular sites of the South, Reynisfjara and Reynisdrangar. Reynisfjara is a black-sand-beach, once voted one of the world's most beautiful stretches of non-tropical coastline, which is becoming as famous for its sneaker waves as it is for its haunting, ethereal appearance.
Reynisdrangar, meanwhile, is composed of two basalt sea stacks that were once part of Reynisfjall. They are said to the petrified remains of two trolls, who were caught in the morning sun when trying to pull a ship to shore.Reynisdrangar
Reynisdrangar are rock formations situated near the shore of Reynisfjara beach by the coastal village Vík í Mýrdalur on the South Coast of Iceland.
The formations are large and impending sea cliffs, made up of the rock type basalt, that serve as a vital part of the area’s allure as they shoot dramatically out of the ocean under the looming cliffs of Mt. Reynisfjall.
- Visit Reynisfjara and Reynisdrangar on these South Coast Tours
The village of Vík only houses around 300 permanent inhabitants, but on a daily basis, travellers scouting the South Coast make their way there to visit what has been voted as one of the most beautiful non-tropical beaches in the world. The beach of Reynisfjara, however, can be highly dangerous if proper caution is not taken. As is evident from how the waves of the Atlantic Ocean crash upon Reynisdrangar, the currents here are strong, and sneak waves can easily carry anyone that’s standing too close out to sea. The beach is not for wading, but for admiring, and especially the mighty surf bursting on the base of these rocky cliffs.
There is an Icelandic folk tale that explains the origin of the pillars’ eerie appearance. According to legend, a couple of trolls were busy dragging a stranded three-masted ship to shore when the sunlight hit them and turned them into pillars of rock for all eternity. In fact, numerous rock formations in Iceland carry with them tales of trolls or elves, and one has only to look at them to fathom why.
Surroundings & Wildlife
An alternative view of the bewitching cliffs and their surrounding sea can be enjoyed by venturing up Mt. Reynisfjall, by a road to the west of the village. The mountain furthermore functions as a puffin colony every summer, from April to September, meaning guests can enjoy the view in good company. Other birds can be seen gliding around the cliffs such as Arctic terns, fulmars and seagulls.
- See also: Puffin Watching Tours
Pickup time : Flexible
4 nights of accommodation in Reykjavik (different levels available; breakfast not included for Super Budget level; breakfast included for Comfort and Quality levels; more detailed info below)
Airport transfer upon arrival/departure
Blue Lagoon standard entrance (upgrades available) and return transfer
South Coast minibus daytour (upgrades available)
Guided day tour with flights to Kulusuk, Greenland
Golden Circle sightseeing tour in a minibus (upgrades available with other activities)
Detailed Itinerary with fun and practical information on the nature, history and culture of Iceland
Hands-on travel agent to oversee your itinerary
Flights other than the day tour to Greenland
What to bring:
Windproof and waterproof clothing
Swimsuit and towel
Good to know:
Although it is summertime, the Icelandic weather can be very unpredictable. Please bring appropriate clothing. Please be aware that your itinerary may have to be rearranged to fit your arrival date and time better.
Please note that if you need a visa to travel to Iceland, a specific visa for the Schengen area is needed to visit Greenland.
Day 1 - Arrival
After landing at Keflavík International Airport, make your way to Reykjavík, the country’s capital. On your way, you’ll travel through the mossy lava fields and lunar landscapes of the Reykjanes peninsula, where the famous Blue Lagoon Spa is located. If you aren’t hurrying to get to Reykjavík, you might want to stop there to relax in the soothing blue water.
After settling into your hotel room, the day is yours to explore this vibrant city. You’ll find plenty of interesting places in the city centre, such as the Hallgrímskirkja church which provides great views. You can also visit the shopping streets of Laugavegur and Skólavörðustígur, filled with designer boutiques, or visit some museums. You can walk down to the old harbour, where you’ll find numerous restaurants and whale watching tours. The options are endless.
Day 2 - Golden Circle
You'll start your second day in Iceland with a visit to the famous Golden Circle. This trio of attractions is comprised of a stunning national park, a magnificent waterfall and a geothermal area.
Your first stop on the Golden Circle route is Þingvellir National Park. This UNESCO heritage site is not only historically significant; it is a geological wonder. This is the place where Viking settlers gathered to found Iceland’s parliament in the year 930 AD. It is also where two tectonic plates are drifting apart, sometimes causing measurable earthquakes in the area. You can see evidence of this drift in the faults and cracks that distinguish the region.
Next up on your tour is the powerful Gullfoss waterfall. Located on the Hvítá river, this dynamic waterfall cascades down two ‘steps’, plummeting 32-metres into the river gorge. A pathway leads you close enough to Gullfoss to feel the water spray on your face.
Your last stop is the geothermal area of Geysir. This is an area of bubbling mud pools and shooting hot springs where you can witness the dependable hot spring Strokkur erupt every 10 minutes or so, reaching heights of 15-20 metres.
If you’d like to add something extra to your Golden Circle day, there are plenty of choices. You can go snorkelling in an underwater canyon called Silfra in Þingvellir park, or you can go horseback riding in the countryside. The Icelandic horse is famous for being friendly and gentle, perfect for both beginners and expert riders alike. Daredevils can opt to go on a snowmobile tour on the nearby Langjökull glacier.
Day 3 - Kulusuk
On this day you’ll get the full Arctic experience when you board a plane at Reykjavík’s Domestic Airport and head out to Greenland. You’ll land on a small island, just off the eastern shores of Greenland, where you’ll visit the charming village of Kulusuk.
Stepping off the plane in Kulusuk village is like stepping back in time, its traditional green, yellow and red houses seem completely unaffected by time. This small fishing village of around 300 people is enclosed by jagged mountains and glacier-filled fjords. Visiting Kulusuk is an experience you’ll never forget.
Your guide will meet you at the airport before taking you on a walk through the village. There you’ll be able to immerse yourself in the country’s rich culture as you meet the locals and learn about the community’s history before you head on back to Reykjavík in the late afternoon.
Day 4 - South Coast
Today you’ll be taken to some of Iceland’s most beautiful places. Iceland is filled with amazing contrasting landscapes, and on this journey south, you’ll drive through both green valleys and barren sand fields, past volcanoes and glaciers.
You’ll stop at Dyrhólaey peninsula—the southernmost part of the country’s mainland—where you'll be surrounded by puffins and other seabirds. You’ll take in the view of mountains, glaciers and beaches and the noticeable arch that the sea has eroded from the heartland before you head on out to your next location.
At the black sand beach of Reynisfjara, you’ll see the huge basalt column cliffs for which it is famous. Rising from the waters are the towering rock formations of Reynisdrangar, and you’ll be able to hear the thunderous noise when the treacherous waves crash into the cliffs and the volcanic rocks surrounding the beach.
You will also visit two of Iceland’s most beloved waterfalls, Skógafoss and Seljalandsfoss. The former is one of the biggest cascades in the country with a width of 25 metres and a 60-metre drop. On sunny days you might see a double rainbow forming in the mist. Seljalandsfoss is a unique waterfall with a pathway which will lead you behind the falling water.
If you are feeling adventurous, you have the option of going glacier hiking on Sólheimajökull glacier, where an experienced guide will take you past the snowy peaks and blue crevices.
Day 5 - Departure
Waking up in Reykjavík on your last morning in Iceland, you can head on out to the city’s many cafés for your morning coffee, or do as the locals and visit a bakery for an Icelandic sweet roll called ‘snúður’.
If your flight leaves late in the afternoon, you can spend a few hours on a whale watching tour or do some shopping on Laugavegur shopping street. If you didn’t stop at the Blue Lagoon on your way to Reykjavík, here is your chance to soak in the hot geothermal waters before you board the plane home.
See our accommodation levels below. Super Budget booking will be arranged in hostel dormitory bed accommodation. For Comfort and Quality bookings, single person bookings will be arranged in a single room, while bookings of 2 or more people will share twin/double room(s) or triple room(s). If you are travelling with others, but prefer a single room, please make separate bookings. We always do our best to accommodate special requests, which may incur additional costs.
Rooms or dormitory beds with shared bathrooms in guesthouses or hostels, such as HI Hostel. Located in the capital region. Breakfast is not included.
Rooms with a private bathroom at three-star hotels such as Fosshótel Barón, or quality guest houses. Located in the city center or in close vicinity. Breakfast is included.