8 Day Winter Wonderland | National Parks & Ice Cave
Take home all the precious memories from this complete tour of Iceland, from north to south, east to west, in just eight action-packed days. This tour is for anyone who would like to see all Iceland has to offer, from the most famous spots to the lesser-known gems.
This is the perfect tour for those who want to relax, not worry about the road, and take in all the beauty of a new country around them.
Customise the tour to your desires as you book, to create the perfect holiday for you. You can add various activities, such as horseback riding, snorkelling, and whale watching. See the daily itinerary below for details.
On Day 7, you have a choice to stay in Reykjavík and relax or to jet across the country to Akureyri, the "Capital of the North," for a tour of Lake Mývatn. This tour begins with a stop at the famous Blue Lagoon, and continues through highlights like the Golden Circle, the south coast, Vatnajökull National Park, and Snæfellsnes peninsula. You'll also have many opportunities to hunt the Northern Lights each evening.
You'll spend Day 4 ice caving, a rare treat for visitors to Iceland, only available in the deep winter. These ice caves are carefully searched out each fall by qualified glacier guides, experts who know when the ice is safe and ready to display its dazzling beauty. Each spring, they melt and disappear forever, so you must see them during this limited time.
Delve into the magic of Iceland in winter, to Reykjavík and beyond! Check booking availability now, by choosing a date.
- Available: Nov. - Mar.
- Duration: 8 days
- Activities: Snorkelling, Caving, Hiking, Snowmobile, Horse Riding, Sightseeing, Boat Trip, Northern lights hunting, Hot Spring Bathing, Cultural Activity, Ice Caving
- Difficulty: Easy
- Minimum age: 8 years.
- Languages: English
- Highlights: Blue Lagoon,
The Blue Lagoon is a geothermal spa and is the single most popular attraction in Iceland.
The water is rich in silica and sulphur that helps make your skin shine like a baby. The Blue Lagoon also operates a Research and Development facility that helps find cures for skin ailments using the mineral-rich water.
The temperature in the bathing and swimming area is very comfortable, and averages 37–39 °C (98–102 °F). There´s a restaurant there and it´s a truly romantic and beautiful place one should not miss while in Iceland.Golden Circle,
The Golden Circle is a 300 km route to the 3 most popular natural attractions in Iceland. The Golden Circle consists of Geysir, Gullfoss and Thingvellir.
See this for Golden circle tours.
Geysir is a geyser that gives its name to hot springs all over the world. But although Geysir itself is not active anymore the area features spectacular hot springs such as the powerful Strokkur (spouting a vast amount of water every 10 minutes, regularly about 15-20 meters into the air), Smidur and Litli-Strokkur.
The 'Golden Waterfall', is the second part of the Golden Circle, and one of the most beautiful and powerful waterfalls in Iceland, plummeting 32 meters into the river gorge of the popular rafting river Hvita. It is Iocated about 10 km from Geysir.
Thingvellir national park
The largest attraction of the Golden Circle is Thingvellir National Park. The Icelandic parliament was founded there in 930 and remained until the year 1798.
Today it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the most important places to visit in Iceland, not just for its historical and cultural values, but for also its magnificent landscape.
Thingvellir is surrounded by a beautiful mountain and volcano range and is the site of a rift valley, where the tectonic plates meet, marking the crest of the Mid-Atlantic ridge.
Of particular note at Thingvellir are the magnificent Almannagja gorge, and the beautiful lake Thingvallavatn, the largest lake in Iceland. The popular Gjabakkahellir lava cave is also in the area.
The fissure Silfra is located by Thingvallavatn, Iceland's largest lake, and is famous for its clear waters and popular for diving and snorkeling, as you can literally swim between continents.Reykjavík,
Reykjavik is the capital of Iceland and the northernmost capital of a sovereign state in the world.
Despite a small population (120.000 and more than 200.000 in the Greater Reykjavik area), it is a vibrant city that draws an ever increasing number of visitors. It is the financial, cultural and governmental centre of Iceland. It also has a reputation of being one of the cleanest and safest cities in the world.
The city of Reykjavik is located in southwest Iceland by the creek of the same name. Throughout the ages, the landscape has been shaped by glaciers, earthquakes and volcanic eruptions and the area is geothermal. Much of the current city area area was subglacial during the Ice Age, with the glacier reaching as far as the Álftanes peninsula, while other areas lay under the sea. After the end of the ice age the land rose as the glaciers drifted away, and it began to take on its present form.
The coastline of Reykjavik is set with peninsulas, coves, straights and islands, most notably the island of Videy, and seabirds and whales frequent the shores. The mountain ring as seen from the shore is particularly beautiful. Mount Esja is the highest mountain in the vicinity of Reykjavik and lends its distinct feature to the whole area. This majestic mountain is also highly popular for climbing. Other notable mountains that can be seen from the seaside are Akrafjall and Skardsheidi and on clear days one may even see as far to the legendary Snaefellsjokull glacier, at the end of the Snafellsnes peninsula.
The largest river to run through the city is Ellidaa in Ellidaardalur valley, which is also one of Iceland‘s best rivers for salmon fishing.
There are no trains or trams in Iceland, but most people travel by car. The city also operates a bus system. There are two major harbours in town, the old harbour in the centre and Sundahofn in the east. The domestic Reykjavik Airport is located at Vatnsmyrin, not far from the city centre and close to Oskjuhlid and Perlan. The international Keflavik Airport at Midnesheidi heath then lies around 50 km from the city. Cars, jeeps and bicycles can be readily rented in the city and many organized tours are also being offered.
What to See & Do in Reykjavik
The local arts scene is strong in Iceland, with both annual events and single ones, many of whom have hit the international stage. For the annual ones please check our articles Best Annual Events in Iceland and the Top Ten Festivals in Iceland. Major events taking place in Reykjavik include the Iceland Airwaves, Gay Pride, RIFF (The Reykjavik International Film Festival), The Reykjavik Literature Festival, Cultural Night, the Reykjavik Arts Festival, Food & Fun, the Reykjavik Fashion Festival and the Sónar music festival.
Among famous people from Reykjavik are artists Bjork Gudmundsdottir, Sigur Ros, writers Halldor Laxness (born in Laugavegur) and Arnaldur Indridason and mayor Jon Gnarr. For more well-known and fairly-well known Icelanders, check our article on the subject.
You might also want to check our article on some of the many things to see and do in Reykjavik, such as visiting the city‘s many museums, exhibitions and galleries, checking out live music, visiting the Harpa music hall or the theatres, visiting the lighthouse at Grotta, the main shopping street of Laugavegur, visiting the old harbour and the flea market, going on a bird- and whale watching tour or visiting Videy island. We also have a top ten list of things to do.
Make sure to visit the public square of Austurvollur, one of the city‘s most popular gathering places, where you‘ll also find the national parliament, Althingi, the state church a statue of independence hero Jon Sigurdson, as well as cafés, bars and restaurants. Austurvollur was central in the 2008 protests, along with Laekjargata, home to the House of Government. You are also not likely to miss the great church of Hallgrimskirkja that towers over the city from the hill of Skolavorduholt, wherefrom you‘ll get a great view of the city.
Try a walk by the city pond, greet the many birds that frequent the area and visit the city hall, stationed by its banks. The Hljomaskalagardur is a beautiful park that lies by the pond, it ideal for a nice walk and sometimes concerts get held there. Further off is the campus of the university of Iceland, the Nordic house and the Vatnsmyri wetland, a particularly pleasant place, but be mindful of not disturbing the wildlife there and keep to the pathways.
For a nice swim on a warm day, we particularly recommend Nautholsvik beach.
Visit the Laugardalur valley, home to one of the city‘s best swimming pools, as well as the Asmundarsafn gallery, a beautiful botanical garden and a domestic zoo. A walk by the Aegissida beach, with it‘s old fishing sheds, in the west part of Reykjavik also holds a particular charm. The aforementioned Elllidaardalur valley is also a popular resort.
Another place that offers one of the city‘s best (and free) views is Perlan, up in Oskjuhlid hill. The hill itself is a popular resort, with over 176.000 trees and great opportunities for walking and cycling.
Travel to Alftanes to see the president‘s house at Bessastadir, which is also a historical site in it‘s own right, having been the educational centre of Iceland for centuries. Nearby is a beautiful lava field, Galgahraun, well worth a visit, though there is currently an environmental struggle going on as to it‘s future state.
The city is furthermore a short drive from many of Iceland‘s major attractions, most famously the Golden Circle and the Blue Lagoon. In close vicinity you‘ll also find the Heidmork preservation area, a favourite pastime resort of the people of Reykjavik, as well as the Blue Mountains, one of Iceland‘s most beloved skiing venues.
Check our Best of Reykjavik guide further for tips on the best cheap things to do in Reykjavik, some of the best restaurants in the city, happy hours, the top ten value places to eat and our two articles on the famous Reykjavik nightlife; Nightlife in Reykjavik and Nightlife and mating.
Finally, we‘d like to stress that these are only some suggestions of the many things you might check out in Reykjavik. Whatever you choose to do, we hope you‘ll be able to make the most of your visit and we wish you a pleasant stay in our capital.Jökulsárlón,
Jökulsárlón is Iceland’s most famous glacier lagoon. Conveniently located in the southeast by Route 1, about halfway between the Skaftafell Nature Reserve and Höfn, it is a popular stop for those travelling along the South Coast or around the circular ring road of the country.
It stands out, however, due to the fact that it also fills with icebergs breaking from the glacier, some of which tower several stories high.
These icebergs, other than their scale, are notable for their colouration. Although they are, as expected, largely white, most are also dyed electric blue in part, with black streaks of ash from eruptions centuries past.
When the icebergs finally make it across the lagoon, they either drift out to sea or wash up on the nearby shore. Because of the way they glisten against the black sands of Breiðamerkursandur, this area has been nicknamed ‘the Diamond Beach’.
In spite of being a rather recent formation, Jökulsárlón is the deepest lake in the country, with depths reaching 248 metres. With a surface area of 18 square kilometres, it is also growing to be one of the largest.
Jökulsárlón has not been around since Iceland’s settlement; it only formed around 1935. This was due to rapidly rising temperatures in the country from the turn of the twentieth century; since 1920, Breiðamerkurjökull has been shrinking at a dramatic rate, and the lagoon has begun to fill its space.
Today, the expansion of Jökulsárlón is accelerating. As recently as 1975, it was just 8 square kilometres, and now that size has more than doubled.
In the relatively near future, it is expected that the lagoon will continue to grow until it becomes a large, deep fjord.
Though a dark omen for Iceland’s glaciers and ice caps in general, the retreat of Breiðamerkurjökull has resulted in an incredibly beautiful, if temporary, site. This has not been overlooked by Hollywood.
Jökulsárlón has been featured in the James Bond films A View to Kill in 1985 and Die Another Day in 2002, 2001’s Lara Croft: Tomb Raider, and 2005’s Batman Begins.
In 2017, Jökulsárlón was enveloped into the Vatnajökull National Park, thus it is now fully protected by Icelandic law.
Because of the wealth of herring and capelin that the tides bring into the lagoon, Jökulsárlón is somewhat of a hot-spot for Iceland’s wildlife.
In summer, it is a nesting site for Arctic Terns; stay well away from this area, as these birds are notorious for the fierceness with which they protect their eggs, dive-bombing the heads of any they see as a threat. Skuas also nest on the lake’s shores in this season.
Seals can be reliably spotted here throughout the year, swimming amongst or else hauling out on the icebergs. Jökulsárlón provides them with a safe haven to rest and socialise, especially considering the waters of southeast Iceland are renowned for their population of orcas.Snæfellsjökull,
Snæfellsjökull (1446 m) is an ice-capped volcano found on the tip of the Snæfellsnes Peninsula in West Iceland.
Though many consider Snæfellsjökull to simply be a particularly impressive ice cap, it is, in fact, a 700,000-year-old glacier-capped stratovolcano. The mountain is actually called "Snæfell" (Snowy Mountain), though the “jökull” (Glacier) is often added to help distinguish it from other mountains of the same name. For the first time in recorded history, Snæfellsjökull had no snow or ice at its peak in August 2012, causing concern amongst locals that climate change is threatening the nature of the mountain.
On clear days, one can see Snæfellsjökull from Iceland’s capital city, Reykjavik, approximately 120 kilometres away over Faxa Bay, making for an impressive sight—and a tick off the bucket list if you can’t make it to travelling across the Peninsula itself. The volcano makes up just a small part of the larger Snæfellsjökull National Park.
Nearby villages include Hellissandur, Rif and Ólafsvík, all of which were commercial and fishing hubs throughout the peninsula’s long history of human inhabitance. Fishing took off primarily in the 13th-Century, with fishing stations being built in all areas with easy access to the open ocean.
One notable example would be the settlement of Dritvík, one of the largest fishing stations in Iceland at the time, utilising around 40–60 boats and employing between 200–600 people. Fishing in the region declined during the 19th century due to a change in Iceland’s fishing practises, though it is still an important source of livelihood for those living on the Peninsula.
Snæfellsjökull has, for centuries, been considered to be one of the world’s ancient power sites, a source of mysticism, energy and mystery for the peninsula’s superstitious population. This likely has something to do with the stratovolcanoes place in the Icelandic sagas; the feature takes a prominent role in Bárðar saga Snæfellsáss, a late 14th-century saga that tells the story of Bárður, half-human-half-troll, who became the “guardian spirit of Snæfellsjökull.”
Snæfellsjökull serves as the entrance to a fantastical subterranean world in Jules Verne’s classic 1864 novel “Journey to The Centre of The Earth.” Given its central place in the novel, Snæfellsjökull has become one of the most popular spots for visitors in Iceland and has inspired a wealth of writers, poets and artists.
Since “Journey to The Centre of The Earth”, Snæfellsjökull has appeared in the Blind Birds trilogy by Czech SF writer Ludvík Souček (partially based on Jules’ work) and in Under The Glacier, a novel by Iceland’s only Nobel laureate, Halldor Laxness.
Along with the glacier, attractions include the two nearby basalt cliffs called Lóndrangar and the many fascinating lava formations at the beautiful Djúpalonssandur beach, such as the arch rock Gatklettur. At Djúpalonssandur, one can also test their strength just as the ancient sailors once did with the four "strength" stones, Amlóði ('Useless'), Hálfdrættingur ('Weakling'), Hálfsterkur ('Half Strength') and Fullsterkur ('Full Strength'). In the area, one can also explore the Saxhóll volcano crater and 'the singing cave' Sönghellir, which is named after the loud echoes inside.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.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.
Hraunfossar in Borgarfjordur district is a series of beautiful waterfalls formed by rivulets streaming from a short distance out of the Hallmundarhraun lava field.
The lava field flowed from an eruption of one of the volcanoes lying under the glacier Langjokull. The waterfalls pour into the Hvita river from ledges of less porous rock in the lava. These are some of the most magnificent falls found in Iceland and not to be missed.Deildartunguhver,
Deildartunguhver, by Reykholt, in Borgarfjordur district, has the highest flow rate for a hot spring in Europe.
The flow rate of Deildartunguhver is 180 liters/second and water emerges at 97 °C. The place is also unique for being the only place in the country where the hard fern grows.Snæfellsnes,
Snaefellsnes is a large peninsula extending to the west from West Iceland ending with a national park, Snaefellsjokull National Park, where the glacier towers over the scenery, as can sometimes be seen from Reykjavik, lending its beauty to the area.
The peninsula stretches over 100 km to the west as a mountain ridge that includes active volcanoes and is unique in the variety of mountains found.
A few small and beautiful villages are located on the south side and a few fishing villages are on the north side: Rif, Hellissandur, Olafsvik, Grundarfjordur and Stykkisholmur. The last one is highly popular for travelers, featuring a volcano museum and a ferry that takes you across the fascinating Breidafjordur bay to Brjanslaekur on the south border of the Westfjords.
Other museums you might want to check out are the Maritime Museum at Hellissandur, the regional museum Pakkhusid at Olafsvik, and, last but not least, the shark museum at Bjarnarhofn, indeed listed as the nr. 1 Snafellsnes attraction by Lonely Planet Travelers. Also, many of the Icelandic sagas take place at Snaefellsnes.
Snaefellsnes has an abundance of interesting sights. At the national park, you can witness the impressive lava formations of Djupalonssandur creek and test your strength on its four stones, see the two massive lava formations that compries Londrangar, explore the Saxholl volcanic crater and enjoy the echo of 'The Singing Cave', Songhellir. You may also hike on the majestic Snaefellsjokull glacier. The glacier has strong ties with folklore and was the setting for Jules Verne's Journey to the Center of the Earth.
Other sights we can recommend at Snaefellsnes recommend include Raudfeldsgja canyon, east of the national park and the rugged and colourful Berserkjahraun lava field, near Bjarnarhofn, on the north side of the peninsula.
Last, but not least, Snaefellsnes is one of the main setting for Laxdaela saga. Chieftain Snorri godi, Gudrun Osvifursdottir, Bolli Thorlakssson all lived there as well as his namesake Bolli Bollason, the first West Norse member of the Varangian guard, an elite unit of the Byzantine army. Iceland's most famous mass murderer, Axlar-Bjorn, also lived at Snaefellsnes.Skaftafell,
Skaftafell is a nature preserve in Oraefasveit. It used to be a national park of its own but joined the larger Vatnajokull National Park in 2008.
Skaftafell is notable for its rich flora, growing between sands and glaciers, and overall for its amazing and contrasting scenery. You can take short and easy trails to the waterfalls Svartifoss and Hundafoss, as well as Skaftafell glacier, with the mountain Kristinartindar and Morsardalur valley further off.
Skaftafell is also the perfect base camp for those seeking to climb Iceland’s highest peak, Hvannadalshnukur.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.Stykkishólmur,
Stykkisholmur is a town of about 1100 people in Snaefellsnes. It is a center of service and commerce in the area and the ferry Baldur sails from there over to Brjanslaekur in the Westfjords.
The main industries of Stykkisholmur are fishing and tourism and the town has an excellent natural harbour. Breidafjordur, from which the Baldur ferry sails, is riddled with islands and has fascinating flora, bird- and sealife, such as whales, and sailing through the fjord is highly popular for travelers. Tasting shellfish straight from the sea is also a great treat. The regional museum in Stykkisholmur is worth a visit, positioned in a beautiful old house built in 1828, as well as the country's oldest weather station,dating from 1845.Bjarnarhöfn,
Bjarnarhofn is a farmstead on the Snaefellsnes peninsula. Many notable Icelanders lived here. Bjarnarhofn's church and shark museum are listed as the nr. 1 Snaefellsnes attractions by Lonely Planet travellers. Also don't miss the colourful Berserkjahraun lava field.
At the shark museum you can learn about the habits and biology of the Greenland shark and the seafarers who risked their lives hunting it. Try a bit of shark, best washed down with a nice portion of Brennivin.
Above Bjarnarhofn lies Bjarnarhafnarfjall, where seagulls are parricularly common and nearby is the rugged Berserkjahraun lava field, 'Berserk's lava'. It has all kinds of strange shapes, with beautiful colours, and stark contrasts in the rock and mosses. The area is steeped in history, featuring prominently in Eyrbyggja saga and Heidarviga saga.Hellnar,
Hellnar is an old fishing village on the westernmost part of the Snaefellsnes peninsula. It used to be one of the largest fishing stations of the peninsula, the oldest record of seafaring there being from 1560.
At the shore are spectacular rock formations. Among them is a protruding cliff called Valasnos. Tunneling into the cliff is a cave renowned for its changing colourful hues, according to the light and sea movement. Large colonies of birds also nest in the area.
At Gvendarbrunnar a.k.a. Mariulind you can taste excellent spring water which is said to have healing powers.
Hellnar hosts the guesthouse for Snaefellsnes National Park and has a very interesting exhibition about the economy of former times and on the geology, flora and fauna of the national park.Borgarnes,
Borgarnes is a town of less than 2000 people, located on a peninsula at the shore of Borgarfjörður. It's a commerce centre for a large part of western Iceland.
Borgarnes' main industry is service and commerce. It is near to many natural attractions and the view over the fjord and its mountains is highly scenic. The river Hvítá runs through this valley but should not be confused with its namesake, which is the home of Gullfoss and one of Iceland's major rafting rivers. Among major cultural attractions of Borgarnes are the Settlement Centre and the Centre for Puppet Arts.
For those with children, or wanting to bring out their inner child, we recommend the Bjössaróló environmental playground which Björn Hjörtur Guðmundsson spent years developing, using salvaged materials for all the play equipment. Here you'll find slides built into the surrounding hillocks, many slings, a jungle gym, spinning top and several lookout points. There's also a castle, an old boat, seesaws and a climbing dome. Courting couples have also been attracted to the place. In short, it's renowned as the best playground in the country, a wonderland of endless fun activities. It further gives an excellent view of the sea, so guests can take in the breathtaking scenery.Barnafoss,
Barnafoss ('Children's Waterfall') is a waterfall in Hvita river in Borgarfjordur.
The waterfall runs through a narrow rocky gorge and legend has it that there once was a natural stone arc over the river, that was demolished after two children fell from it to their death. Not far away is the stunning series of waterfalls Hraunfossar, flowing out of a lava field into Hvita.Gerðuberg,
Gerduberg is a particularly beautiful and regular belt of basalt columns on the Snaefellsnes peninsula.
Gerduberg's lava flowed in the Tertier era. The columns are 14 meters at their highest and around 1-1,5 meters wide. Gerduberg is listed as a natural heritage.Arnarstapi,
Arnarstapi is a village in the southern part of the Snaefellsnes peninsula. The area has several old and charming houses with interesting stories to them and is furthermore renowned for its beautiful nature.
The beach holds a particular attraction. It has an eroded circular stone arch, called Gatklettur, and three rifts, Hundagja,Midgja and Musagja. The interplay of spectacular waves and the light of the sun creates a fascinating spectacle. Large colonies of the arctic tern also nest in the area.
An old horse trail through the lava field Hellnahraun is highly popular for hiking, due to the impressiveness of the surrounding landscape.Vík í Mýrdal,
Vik in Myrdalur valley is the southernmost village on the Icelandic mainland, located 186 km from the capital Reykjavik.
Vik is important as a service centre for the inhabitants and visitors of the marvellous Reynisfjara beach.
Reynisfjara is widely considered one of the most beautiful beaches on earth (see for example Islands Magazine). This black pebble beach boasts an amazing cliff of regular basalt columns called Gardar, which resembles a rocky step pyramid and out in the sea are the spectaculary shaped basalt sea stacks Reynisdrangar. The area has rich birdlife, including puffins, fulmars and guillemots.Kirkjufell,
Kirkjufell (“Church Mountain”) is a distinctly shaped mountain found on the north coast of Iceland’s Snæfellsnes Peninsula, only a short distance away from the town of Grundarfjörður.
Kirkjufell takes it’s name from its resemblance to a church steeple, sharpened at the top with long curved sides. From other angles, the mountain can resemble a witch’s hat or even a freshly scooped ice cream.
Photography at Kirkjufell
Peaking at 463 m, Kirkjufell holds the honour of being Iceland’s most photographed mountain. Throughout the centuries, Kirkjufell’s striking slopes have acted as a visual landmark for seafarers and travellers.
Walking distance from Kirkjufell, one can find the photogenic waterfall Kirkjufellsfoss (“Church Mountain Falls”), an excellent subject for photographers who can easily frame the mountain in the background. Despite its relatively diminutive height, Kirkjufellsfoss’ three-pronged falls make the waterfall particularly stunning, even for Iceland.
At the base of the mountain, visitors will also be able to find a lake; on calm and clear days, this lake reflects a perfect mirror image of Kirkjufell, only adding to the fantastic photo opportunities around this area. On top of that, the colours of Kirkjufell change with the passing seasons; the summer see it a lush green, full of life, whilst the winter months scar the mountain’s face with a mask of barren brown and white.
Fans of the HBO series Game of Thrones will recognise Kirkjufell as a shooting location from Season 7 of Game of Thrones. The mountain is showcased from the scenes ‘beyond the wall’ when Jon Snow, The Hound and Jorah Mormont, among others, brave the wilderness in hopes of catching an undead wight. Having seen it in a vision, The Hound acknowledges Kirkjufell as “[...] the mountain like an arrowhead.” Even the Games of Thrones producers can’t resist capturing the mountain on celluloid!
There is a fairly steep trail to the top of Kirkjufell, from where there are magnificent panoramas of the surrounding fields, coastlines and rivers. The mountain takes roughly an hour and a half to ascend, and one and a half hours back to the bottom.
Alongside this mountain-track is a steeper route to the peak which involves two points where one needs to rope-climb. This route should never be attempted in the winter, and never without a certified guide. Given the steep elevation, it is highly recommended that you bring a sturdy pair of hiking boots, snacks and water to the trail.
Getting to Kirkjufell
Kirkjufell is extremely close to Grundarfjörður, a small town on the Snæfellsnes Peninsula, approximately two hours drive from Iceland's capital city, Reykjavik. From Grundarfjörður, one travels ten minutes west down Route Snaefellsnesvegur 54 to the base of Kirkjufell. Visitors have plenty of parking space to choose from, all free of charge.Grundarfjörður,
Grundarfjörður is a small town found on the north coast of the Snæfellsnes Peninsula in the west of Iceland.
The town has an approximate population of 872 people and has been twinned with the French town Paimpol since 2004. The town’s main industries lie in fishing and fish processing. Grundarfjörður also bears host to substantial ship traffic, a consequence of’ the settlement’s natural harbour.
Grundarfjörður boasts a public library, a historical centre, a resident’s café and a photography exhibition, Bæringsstofa, a collection of pictures by the late Icelandic photographer and honorary citizen of Grundarfjörður, Bærings Cecilsson. Asides from accommodation and amenities, Grundarfjörður offers the opportunity to partake in numerous outdoor activities, ranging from horseback riding and camping to ice-climbing. One can also find a nine-hole golf course beside the town.
Visitors to Grundarfjörður will likely visit the town’s main landmark, the photogenic Kirkjufell (“Church Mountain”). Clearly distinguishable from its dramatic slopes, steeple-like peak and surrounding shorelines, Kirkjufell is both one of the most beautiful and photographed mountains found in Iceland. Besides the mountain itself, one can find Kirkjufellsfoss (“Church Mountain Falls”), a beautiful three-pronged waterfall.
Folklore & History
Nearby, one can find the town and municipality of Stykkishólmur (population: 1195), a centre of commerce and services for the region. The road from Grundarfjörður to Stykkishólmur crosses a wide lava field known as Berserkjahraun. The name of this lava field is derived from the Eyrbyggja saga, in which it said two berserkers (Viking Warriors) were slaughtered by their master because one of them fell madly in love with own daughter.
Grundarfjörður is an important historical town in Iceland, having been a centre of trade for the Snæfellsnes Peninsula since at least the 15th century. The town was certified official as one the country’s six designated marketplaces in the year 1786. There are a number of antiquity sites around the town, however, that point to the region being well-inhabited as far back as the Viking era.
Header Photo: Wikimedia. Creative Commons. ChensiyuanSouth Coast,
The South Coast of Iceland is the country's most visited sightseeing route, along with the Golden Circle.
The famed South Coast shoreline stretches from the greater Reykjavík area and is dotted with natural wonders such as cascading waterfalls, volcanoes both active and dormant, black sand beaches and glacier lagoons.
Geography, Nature & Wildlife
Iceland is divided into eight geographical regions. Out of these, the Southern Region is the largest, as it spans over 24.000 square kilometres with its administrative centre in the municipality of Selfoss.
What is known as the South Coast embodies the shoreline of this particular region. The area consists of a lowland that is mostly composed of marshlands, bays and cultivated pastures that are met by a series of black beaches where the estuaries to the east and west of the district close off the coastal body.
Underneath the soil rests a vast lava field, known as Þjórsárhraun. Its edges reach several hundred metres offshore where the ocean waves crash upon them, thereby protecting the lowland from the invasion of the sea. This results in the South Coast being unusually lacking in the deep fjords that so distinctly characterise the rest of Iceland's shore line.
The region boasts vibrant bird life during all seasons. It is not only rich with both marshland birds and seabirds but also migrating birds such as the North Atlantic puffin. Some species stay throughout the harsh Icelandic winter, including the northern diver, the loom and various species of gulls and ducks.
Highlights of the South Coast
The South Coast offers an unprecedented array of natural wonders that draw thousands of visitors each day. When driving the route from Reykjavík City, the highlights in their correct order are:
- Seljalandsfoss Waterfall
- Vestmannaeyjar; The Westman Islands
- Eyjafjallajökull Glacier Volcano
- Skógafoss Waterfall
- Sólheimajökull Glacier
- Dyrhólaey Peninsula
- Reynisfjara Black Sand Beach
- Reynisdrangar Sea Stacks
- Coastal Village Vík í Mýrdal
- Skeiðarársandur Glacial Sand Plain
- Vatnajökull National Park
- Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon
These attractions count for but a fraction of what the South Coast has to offer. The vast sand plains of Sólheimasandur are home to a crashed DC-3 Plane Wreck, and close to Seljavellir by the Skógar Village there's Seljavallalaug, one of the oldest swimming pools in Iceland.
- Explore the many wonders of the area on these South Coast Tours
The Diamond Beach is the name of a strip of black sand belonging to the greater Breiðamerkursandur glacial plain, located by the Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon on the South Coast of Iceland.
Breiðamerkursandur is a glacial outwash plain located in the municipality of Hornafjörður. The sand stretches approximately 18 kilometres along Iceland’s South Coast, more specifically from the foot of Kvíárjökull Glacier to the famed glacier lagoon Jökulsárlón, that nests by the foot of Breiðamerkurjökull Glacier. Both glaciers count amongst the 30 outlets of Vatnajökull, Iceland’s largest ice cap.
The outwash plain was formed when three of Vatnajökull’s outlet glaciers, Breiðamerkurjökull, Hrútárjökull and Fjallsjökull, flowed forward due to volcanic activity and ground the rocks of the underlying surface, creating and pushing forward the glacial sediments. Such sand plains are a common part of the Icelandic landscape, due to the island being volcanically active as well as boasting numerous ice caps. The terminus (the tip of a given glacier) also dug deep into the ground and left what is now the Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon.
The Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon is one of the most famed and visited attractions in Iceland. Floating on the lagoon are enumerable ice bergs that have broken off the resident glacier, creating an ever-changing scenery of incredible allure.
The river Jökulsá connects the lagoon to the Atlantic Ocean, meaning that these icebergs eventually drift out to sea where they are polished by the waves before floating back to the black sands of Breiðamerkursandur. The name "Diamond Beach" comes from the white ice on the black sand appearing like gemstones or diamonds, as they often glisten in the sun and sharply contrast their jet black surroundings.
Pickup time : Flexible
Airport transfer on arrival/departure
5 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)
Golden Circle sightseeing tour in a minibus (upgrades available with other activities)
South Coast 2 day minibus tour with ice caving
1 night of accommodation in a country hotel in Vatnajokull National Park during the 2-day south coast tour (breakfast included, private bathroom depending on availability)
Snaefellsnes 2 day minibus tour
1 night of accommodation in a country hotel on Snaefellsnes peninsula during the 2-day Snaefellsnes tour (breakfast included, private bathroom depending on availability)
Blue Lagoon standard entrance (upgrades available) and return transfer
Northern Lights hunting
Detailed Itinerary with fun and practical information on the nature, history and culture of Iceland
Hands-on travel agent to oversee your itinerary
Entrance fee to the Vatnshellir lava cave
What to bring:
Good hiking shoes
Good waterproof outer layers
Good to know:
The Northern Lights are a natural phenomenon, and therefore cannot be guaranteed, but this itinerary is designed to maximise your chances to see them if weather allows. Please be aware that your itinerary may have to be rearranged to fit your arrival date and time better.
It can happen, in the case of extreme weather, that an activity is cancelled. If your chosen activity is cancelled, we will assist you with rearranging or booking other activities when possible, and any potential price difference will be refunded to you.
Day 1 - Arrival
Welcome to Iceland! On your first day on the island, you'll take the pre-arranged Flybus airport transfer and be driven through the lava fields and sandy geothermal plains on your way to Reykjavík, the capital city.
Once you have stowed your luggage and freshened up at your hotel in the city centre, you'll be able to spend the rest of the evening enjoying the city. If you like, you can hop on a Northern Lights tour on your arrival night. A visit to the Blue Lagoon can also be arranged on your first day if you arrive early.
There is a special Aurora forecast every night during the viewing season, so your guide will search out the most likely places to see these magnificent glowing lights in the sky.
If you would like to take advantage of this complimentary Northern Lights tour, you may choose what kind of Northern Lights experience you prefer: By boat or by bus.
Go for the boat tour in the Old Harbour, to see the dancing lights over the ocean while the wind plays with your hair, or choose a bus tour to head out into the countryside under cover of darkness and watch for glimmers of colour against a backdrop of the Icelandic wilderness.
Spend the night in Reykjavik.
Day 2 - The Golden Circle
On your second day of vacation, you'll visit the Golden Circle, three locations that together form the most popular tourist route in Iceland: Þingvellir National Park, Geysir geothermal area, and Gullfoss waterfall.
You can choose to go on an optional horseback riding tour in the morning, before heading to Þingvellir National Park. You'll visit one of the largest horse farms in the Reykjavik area and make friends with the shaggy Icelandic horse, a breed known for its sturdiness in the winter and its smooth gait. You'll appreciate both qualities as you ride the trails, admiring views of mountains, volcanoes, and snowy plains.
Þingvellir National Park is a wonderland of natural beauty and historical significance. It is also a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site in honour of the world's first parliament, founded there in the 10th century. Remnants of Viking booths and assembly structures can still be seen on the grounds here.
In addition, you'll find Þingvallavatn, the largest natural lake in Iceland, with Silfra fissure on its shores. Silfra is a deep crevasse filled with sparkling water from an underground river, and a popular diving and snorkelling site. If you like, then you can book a snorkelling tour here and explore the crystal clear waters.
You can also stroll the divide between the two tectonic plates, the North American and Eurasian plates. The forces of the earth have created great cracks here, visible in the steam vents, rivers, and waterfalls which have been carved into the land.
The theme continues at Geysir geothermal area. Here, the pressure of the earth shifting throughout the ages has burst forth in features like the famous geysers, steam vents, fumaroles and mud holes, all fizzing with energy.
The Great Geysir, for which the place is named, has almost gone silent after 10,000 years of activity, but Strokkur is a large geyser which erupts every few minutes, spewing hot water as high as 40 m (131 ft).
Gullfoss waterfall is the final scheduled stop of the day, a beautiful waterfall fed with the power of glacial meltwater. You can get as close to the waterfall as you would like, admiring it from afar or taking the walking path along the falls to feel the spray on your face as the water forces through the winter freeze, past blocks of ice and piles of snow.
If you're looking for some thrill, then give snowmobiling a try! Zoom across the ice cap of Langjökull glacier, snowball fight with your fellow travellers and admire the views of Iceland, dressed in her winter finery.
However, if you'd rather relax, on the way back to the city, you can make a stop at the Blue Lagoon, for a sensory experience unique to Iceland. Release all your tension, letting the azure water soothe tired muscles and joints.
Please note that if you have arranged additional activities with your Golden Circle tour, such as snorkelling, horseback riding or snowmobiling, your visit to the Blue Lagoon will be scheduled on your arrival or departure day instead, so you will have time to take full advantage of its restorative powers. The Lagoon is world-famous for its healing, mineral-rich waters - This is not a place you want to rush.
Again, if you are still longing to see the Northern Lights, you can add another tour in the evening. You'll go beyond the city limits, away from the lights and noise of civilisation, to search for these wonders of light.
You'll return to your accommodation in Reykjavik for the evening. Get plenty of rest, for tomorrow is filled with non-stop action!
Day 3 - The South Coast
The south coast of Iceland is the most popular location for sightseeing because it contains so many beautiful features. Today, you'll begin a 2-day exploration of its marvels down south.
Departing from Reykjavik, you'll make your way along the coast, past the lava fields and black cliffs that provide the austere backdrop of Iceland in the winter months. Farmland abounds here, though most of the sheep and horses may be inside for the season.
You'll visit two spectacular waterfalls, Seljalandsfoss and Skógafoss. Seljalandsfoss is best known for the walking path which extends behind the falls, allowing you to look out at the hills beyond from behind a veil of softly flowing water and trailing icicles. Just be careful when walking the path; in winter, it can become quite icy.
The second waterfall, Skógafoss is equally beautiful and is supposedly the location of buried treasure (according to local legend)!
Reynisfjara black sand beach is next. The ocean waves hammer the black sand beach just as viciously in winter as they do in summer, and should be respected as such. We encourage all guests to be cautious and keep a 20-30 metre distance from the dangerous waves. Black basalt cliffs rise high over the sand and imposing black columns loom over the shore. These are said to be the remains of two trolls who were caught in the light of the rising sun after leaving their cave to investigate a shipwreck.
Beyond the beach, you'll make your way to Skaftafell Nature Reserve, part of Vatnajökull National Park. A beautiful wooded area, rare in Iceland's barren terrain, full of hiking paths which criss-cross the land. Skaftafell is nestled just beside Vatnajökull glacier, giving you a great view of the icy tundra, cracks, crevasses and all. From the trail, you can see Iceland's highest peak, Hvannadalshnúkur.
Finally, you'll stop at Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon. Chunks of ice crack away from the edges of Breiðamerkurjökull glacier high above, floating down to the lagoon and eventually out to sea.
The ice is stunning, not only because of its enormous size, but you'll be able to see the pure blue ice from the heart of the glacier, untouched by the UV rays which turn the rest of the ice white. Seals and gulls often play here, as well. Keep your camera ready!
In the evening, if the sky is clear and conditions are right, you might get lucky with the Northern Lights.
You'll spend the night near either Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon or Skaftafell Nature Reserve.
Day 4 - Ice Caving at Vatnajökull
Today's activity will be one of the rarest and most wondrous in Iceland: a chance to explore a natural ice cave. You'll jump into a modified Super Jeep which is built to handle the icy winter driving, to take you to Vatnajökull glacier.
There is a short hike from the parking area to the cave itself, so be prepared to walk and wear sturdy hiking boots. It's best if they come up over the ankle, to ensure that your feet stay dry during the experience.
Every year, specialists scour the area around the glacier, looking for ice caves which can be safely entered. Some say they listen to the "breathing of the ice," as the melting and freezing of the ice occurs daily, and can change the layout of the cave rapidly.
No two ice caves are the same, and there is no telling where or when one might appear. The same is true for when they melt in the spring. Once a cave is gone, it is gone forever, creating a one-of-a-kind experience for each cave.
The cave walls are formed out of beautiful, crystalline blue ice, decorated with frosts of lace, spiky icicles and ice sculptures formed by the whims of Nature itself. You'll spend around 45 minutes in the ice cave so make sure that you dress warmly! You'll get a helmet, so wear a winter hat that is not too bulky, so that it will fit under the helmet.
After the breathtaking experience of the ice cave, it is time to head back to Reykjavík. On the way, there will be another stop at Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon to admire the midday light. You might also see seals playing on the ice in the sunshine.
As always, in the evening you will be on the lookout for Northern Lights, and your guide will make every effort to find them. You’ll return to Reykjavík for the night.
Day 5 - Tour of Snæfellsnes Peninsula
Today, you're off to the western coast, to the beautiful Snæfellsnes peninsula. You'll be picked up at your accommodation and whisked along the coast to Ytri-Tunga, a beach with a well-known seal colony where dozens of seals sun themselves on the rocks.
You'll visit Rauðafellsgjá, which is a big narrow crack reaching deep into the roots of the mountain Botnsfjall.
After that, you'll view the charming homes of two fishing villages, Arnarstapi and Hellnar. At Hellnar, you'll spend an hour or so walking along the picturesque cliffs by the sea.
After taking in the sights of Snæfellsjökull National Park, for a small additional fee you'll have the option of another caving experience, this time with a lava cave called Vatnshellir. You'll be able to go deep into the ground and explore the cave which was created by volcanic eruption 7,000 years ago, walking past lava flakes and rock formations.
Next, you'll get some sun on your face at Djúpalónssandur and Dritvík, two beaches which were once fishing centres in Iceland. You can discover incredible rock formations and the strangely shaped pebbles which cover the beach. Finally, you will hike to Lóndrangar, a pair of black basalt columns which soar to a height of 70 m (230 ft).
You'll stay in another seaside village, Ólafsvik, for the night.
Day 6 - Snæfellsnes Tour Continues
On Day 2 of your Snæfellsnes adventure, you'll return for a tour of other photographic opportunities like the unusual Kirkjufell mountain. You'll also visit Gerðuberg basalt column.
Next, the Shark Museum at Bjarnarhöfn is an opportunity to see (and taste) Iceland's rich history in fishing. The museum is filled with historical artefacts and boat parts, and Bjarni, who runs the project, is happy to share his wealth of experience from a lifetime as a fisherman. He will also share with you the legendary hákarl ("rotten shark") and a taste of local Icelandic schnapps to wash it down!
After that, you'll visit the Borgarfjörður area to see two waterfalls, Hraunfossar and Barnafoss. Hraunfossar is a series of waterfalls formed by rivulets streaming over a lava field, created by an eruption of a volcano lying under the glacier Langjökull.
To end the day, you'll admire Deildartunguhver, the highest-flow hot spring in Europe.
Then, you'll be driven through the town of Borgarnes on the way back to your hotel in Reykjavík.
Day 7 - Your Choice: Reykjavik vs. Myvatn Day Tour
On this day, you have the option of slowing down and taking it easy in the capital for the day … or exploring the far north!
Option 1 - The Quirky & Stylish Reykjavik
Spend your time sightseeing in Reykjavik. Find your favourite exhibition at a museum such as the National Museum or the Saga Museum, both of which are dedicated to history and culture. If you are thirsty for more, there are many art museums in the city to satisfy your taste.
Sample the wares of the local cafés, coffee shops and restaurants throughout the day. Don't forget to try a traditional Icelandic hot dog, the pylsur. Remember: Ice cream is the perfect treat for an Icelander, no matter what time of the year.
You can add a whale-watching tour on this day, leaving from the Old Harbour. The waters are active with minke whales and porpoises, while birds nest on the cliffs of the small islands in the bay.
Option 2 - The Geothermal Wonder of Lake Mývatn
You'll fly from Reykjavík Domestic Airport to the "northern capital" of Iceland, Akureyri. Once there, you'll witness North Iceland's most stunning sights, such as Lake Mývatn and Goðafoss waterfall, and the Námaskarð geothermal area.
You'll be picked up by your tour guide in Akureyri and taken to the famous Goðafoss waterfall, named after a local legend in which the law-speaker of Iceland threw his carved idols of the Norse gods into the water on his way home from the Þing parliament meeting in 1000 AD. That year, Christianity was lawfully declared as the official religion in Iceland.
Lake Mývatn is next: a winter wonderland of craters and the frosty lake, which in warmer weather is home to thousands of birds. You'll pass through the geothermal area by Námafjall mountain, called Námaskarð.
Vast sandy plains, emptied by the sulphurous energy of the huge geothermal field, dominate the landscape. You'll find the ground beneath your feet pleasantly warm as you wander among the hot springs, fumaroles, and mud pools.
The tour includes 2 flights: one to get you to Akureyri in the morning, and the one which returns you to Reykjavík in the evening. It's all arranged for you, so everything is hassle-free.
Before you go to bed, once more snug in Reykjavík, you can try one final time to catch the Northern Lights in all their glory by booking an additional bus tour.
Day 8 - Farewell to Iceland & Departure
On your last day, take one last look at the quirky shops of Iceland, have a bite to eat, pick up last-minute souvenirs and take a few final photos of the landmarks around town.
If you have a later flight, you may want to stop at the Blue Lagoon on the way to the airport if you haven't fit it in your schedule already. It is the perfect way to say goodbye and relax before your flight home.
We hope you've had a wonderful time in Iceland, and come back soon!
Accommodation in Reykjavik
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 in a group, but prefer a single room, please make separate bookings. For multi-day guided tours, accommodation cannot be upgraded and the levels below do not apply. 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 Hostels. Located in the capital region. Breakfast is not included.
Rooms with a private bathroom at three-star hotels such as Fosshótel Barón, or quality guesthouses. Located in the city center or in close vicinity. Breakfast is included.
This insurance guarantees that you can cancel the booking of this package and receive a full refund, minus the insurance cost of 5,000 ISK per person. The cancellation must be made within a minimum of 48-hours before the listed starting time. To cancel your booking and claim your refund, simply contact our service desk by writing to firstname.lastname@example.org no later than 48-hours before departure and declare the cancellation. Please note that this insurance only covers the full cancellation of this entire package. It does not cover cancellations of individual activities and services within the package. The cost of the Cancellation Insurance is neither refundable nor transferable.