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Inside an ice cave in south-east Iceland, on a tour only accessible in summer.

The Top 10 Best Tours in Iceland: Popular and Unique Excursions

Verified Expert

Iceland has many unique destinations, such as Strokkur geyser, one of the top tours in Iceland

Read about the top 10 best tours in Iceland. Discover the country's most popular attractions and the best Iceland tours and excursions for your trip

Can you go on a self-driving tour of Iceland? Which parts of the country should you see and what activities should you not miss? Which Iceland tours are available in winter? 

Iceland attracts millions of visitors every year, drawn by images and videos of its majestic landscapes, otherworldly features, and thrilling adventure opportunities.

However, upon arrival, many guests are left wondering how to best access the country’s attractions and which tours will allow them to make the most of every minute in the land of fire and ice. 

Everyone’s taste is different, so no ‘catch-all’ agenda will fit all tourists’ wants and needs. Many Iceland tours have an age limit, so they may not be suitable for families with young children.

Other tours require a certain degree of mobility and fitness. Some are very relaxing, which may not suit thrill-seekers, while others need some nerve to embark on, ill-fitting for those who simply want to unwind.



Iceland is a country of extreme seasonal contrasts, so excursions such as an Iceland northern lights tour can only be undertaken by winter travelers, while river rafting tours are exclusively for those visiting in summer.

Which tours you can take will also depend on the parts of the country you plan to visit, whether you’re driving yourself or being driven, either on day tours from Reykjavik or as part of a vacation package or self-drive tour.

Each tour represents 1 (or many) of the incredible sides to this magnificent country. Most travelers will enjoy them, whether they're looking for relaxation, adventure, or awe-inspiring landscapes. So let’s have a look at the best Iceland tours.

10. Sightseeing on a Golden Circle Tour in Iceland

The Great Geysir is not an active geyser in Iceland, but its next door neighbor Strokkur is.

The Golden Circle is the most popular sightseeing route and tops the list of Iceland tours when it comes to popularity. There's no wonder why.

This major attraction is accessible all year round, you can reach it on a half-day trip from Reykjavik, whether by booking a tour or driving yourself, and the sites around it are incredible.

The destinations included are breathtaking. The Gullfoss waterfall is renowned for the rainbows that arc from its spray.

The Geysir hot spring area allows you to witness the geyser Strokkur erupting to great heights every few minutes. Thingvellir National Park is a spectacular UNESCO World Heritage Site located directly between 2 tectonic plates.

Some Golden Circle tours visit a few other sites, such as the dramatic Kerid Crater Lake and Fridheimar tomato farm.

Gullfoss: Iceland's most famous and visited waterfall, seen on every Golden Circle trip, is pictured here in summer.

The sites located in the Golden Circle host the unbelievable natural beauty for which Iceland is renowned. They also tell fascinating tales of its history and culture.

In the early 19th century, there were plans to dam the Hvita river that empties into the Gullfoss waterfall. It was saved due to the tireless efforts of Sigriour Tomasdottir, who campaigned to save the waterfall for 20 years! 

Geysir was renowned so early that it gave its name to all springs spilling hot water around the world. 

Thingvellir, most impressively, was the original site of the world's longest ongoing parliament, dating back to 930 AD.

Due to its popularity, you can choose from a vast array of Golden Circle tours.

Some tours are very affordable and efficient, such as this bus tour with audio guidance in 10 languages. Others are slightly more expensive but much more personal, such as this private tour for up to 7 guests.

There are Golden Circle tours undertaken beneath the midnight sun and trips organized for those traveling to Iceland by cruise ship in summer.



Thingvellir National Park during autumn in Iceland is a beautiful location and one of the most popular tours in Iceland

Most Golden Circle tours take only half a day. Many operators offer tour packages that combine the sightseeing route with another major attraction. The tours are generally offered year-round.

Enjoying the Golden Circle with a snowmobiling tour is a popular option, or you could combine it with a riding tour on an Icelandic horse or a thrilling snorkeling trip.

From the northern coast, you could combine the Golden Circle tour with lava caving to witness Iceland above and below the earth.

If you'd prefer to relax, you can add a trip to Blue Lagoon on the same day or a relaxing whale watching tour from Reykjavik - just take your pick!

Hundreds of tours head out every day, each providing something unique. The options for enjoying the Golden Circle are endless, making it an unmissable destination on this list of top 10 tours.

9. Lake Myvatn and North Iceland Tours

If you’re staying longer in the country or your stay is short, but you like to visit less obvious places, a good option is to head to North Iceland. Not only is the north a little less busy than the south and west, but it boasts a vast range of spectacular natural sights to enjoy.

Staying far from the capital doesn’t mean you’ll be short of amenities. Akureyri is the largest town in this part of the country. It’s a cultural hub and has everything any traveler needs to remain comfortable.

There are many tour operators in the city, so it’s easy to go on a sightseeing or an adventure excursion in this part of Iceland.

Alternatively, situated within a beautiful fjord, the settlement of Eyjafjordur is surrounded by tall mountains, one of which, Hlidarfjall, has arguably the best ski slopes in Iceland.

You can reach the town by driving along Route 1 from Reykjavik or by taking a domestic flight from Reykjavik Airport.

Lake Myvatn has diverse and unusual surroundings, found in northern Iceland.

While there are many incredible natural attractions in North Iceland, the most famous and popular is the Lake Myvatn area.

This area has it all: spectacular views over the water, unique flora, a wealth of birdlife, dramatic geological formations, surrounding mountains, craters, and lava fields, and abundant geothermal activity.

Those traveling to Iceland for relaxation will find the trip well worth it. Basking in the healing geothermal waters of the Myvatn Nature Baths is among the best things to do when touring Iceland’s northern region.

Many scenes in the hit TV series Game of Thrones were filmed here. Fans of the series will enjoy exploring it and may even recognize some of the filming locations. 

For example, the Dimmuborgir lava fortress was used as a setting north of the Wall. A cave within it marks the spot where protagonist Jon Snow consummated his relationship with his lover in one of season 3’s most romantic scenes. 

While the area around the lakes is rocky but verdant, you can find dramatic contrasts just a short drive away at the barren, seething geothermal area of Namaskard Pass.

With sulfur filling the smoky air and no green grass in sight, this destination reveals how diverse North Iceland can be and how the fires burning beneath the earth’s surface have shaped its landscapes.



Myvatn is north Iceland's most famous area and one of the top tours in Iceland

Between Akureyri and Lake Myvatn, another beautiful natural attraction is the famous Godafoss waterfall.

Aside from being a spectacular natural landmark, it’s very rich in history. In 1000 AD, it was here that the Lawspeaker of Iceland tossed his idols of the Old Norse Gods to officially mark the nation's conversion into Christianity. Little did he know that it was the beginning of centuries of religious turmoil.

A bit further east from Godafoss, there are more unforgettable sites. Among them is Dettifoss, the most powerful waterfall in Europe, thundering into an ancient canyon with such force that you need to see it to believe it.

Near Dettifoss waterfall, there's the horseshoe-shaped canyon of Asbyrgi, a natural wonder so perfectly formed that early Viking settlers could only attribute its creation to their gods’ interference.

For something different when touring Iceland’s northern region, you could head to the town of Husavik, considered the oldest settlement in the country. It’s not only a historical and cultural center but also one of the world's best locations to go whale watching.

In summer, a whale watching tour from Husavik will introduce you to the beautiful creatures of the deep. You can spot humpback whales and white-beaked dolphins, as well as a wealth of birdlife that may include puffins in the height of summer.

Dettifoss waterfall is one of the Northern Hemisphere's most powerful waterfalls, located in north Iceland.

If you are keen to make the most of these sites, it’s highly recommended to book a Diamond Circle sightseeing tour.

The tour will introduce you to all (or, in a few cases, most) of the sites listed above. Like the Golden Circle tours, the Diamond Circle tours have many variations, including different attractions.

For example, this excursion will allow you to go sightseeing while traveling in a four-wheel-drive jeep. Those with a higher budget will be amazed by this once-in-a-lifetime trip exploring the sites from the sky.

While this tour misses out on some of the locations mentioned, it includes flights to and from Reykjavik. These trips in Iceland make touring the northern region easy, even for those in the capital.



8. Iceland Volcano Tours

Thríhnukagígur is a vast and incredible magma chamber in southeast Iceland.Photo from 6-Hour Volcano Tour Inside the Magma Chamber of Thrihnukagigur with Transfer from Reykjavik

Iceland is known as the Land of Fire and Ice, with the 'fire,’ meaning its many volcanoes.

While these volcanoes are not in a constant state of eruption (the last was Fagradalsfjall in 2021), they shape the island with its enormous mountains, lava fields, and countless craters. No matter where you go, you'll see the effects volcanic activity has had on the country.

To witness this in a way that’s not offered anywhere else on earth, look no further than the Thrihnukagigur Volcano Tour. On this excursion, you’ll have the once-in-a-lifetime chance to enter into the vast magma chamber of a volcano that has been dormant for the past 4000 years, Thrihnukagigur.

Once you arrive at the volcano, you'll board an old mining elevator, which will take you into a cave large enough to fit the Statue of Liberty comfortably. 

The colors created by the minerals found in the lava, such as iron, sulfur, and nickel, are unbelievable. The colors swirl across the walls, the ground, and the ceiling so intricately that it almost seems as if they were painted.

Once the elevator reaches the bottom, you'll have the opportunity to walk around the base, shining your flashlight around the magnificent space around you.

Usually, once a volcano goes dormant, the magma either cools to solid rock or drains away, causing the peak to collapse. Most volcanoes don’t have such a chamber, making this one of Iceland’s most unique and best excursions.

As explained, this cave has existed for thousands of years and is structurally sound, making the excursion perfectly safe.

The tour into the volcano is one of the top tours in Iceland and is very popular. This tour is only available in the summer months, so book well in advance.

The tour is open to anyone over 11 years old. It includes a short uphill hike across the rocky ground to reach the elevator. It’s only recommended to those comfortable on their feet. 

If you’re not traveling to Iceland in summer or are put off by this tour's price tag, you can also witness the colorful effects of a volcanic eruption on a lava caving tour.



7. Snorkel Between Two Continents

Silfra fissure in Iceland has up to 100 meters of visibility in its water.

It may come as a surprise that you’d find snorkeling among the available tours in Iceland. The country may not be an obvious snorkeling and diving destination, mainly where the water is not geothermally heated.

However, the spring within Silfra fissure in Thingvellir National Park is unbelievably beautiful, and every year thousands of visitors brace themselves for the cold and take the plunge. 

Silfra is so stunning that it’s regularly ranked as one of the world’s top snorkeling and diving locations.

Its appeal mostly comes down to two reasons. The first is the clarity of the water. The visibility often exceeds 328 feet (100 meters), allowing you to witness incredible shades of blue as you look ahead towards Lake Thingvallavatn.

The second is its location. As mentioned, Thingvellir sits between the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates. An earthquake caused by the plates pulling apart created the ravine, meaning a snorkeling tour in Silfra is conducted between 2 continents.

What makes Silfra so clear is that the water comes from the Langjokull glacier. It travels underground for around 30 miles through porous lava rock, which removes all particles within it. It takes years to reach the spring, and it’s clean enough to drink when it emerges.

Snorkelling in Silfra on the Golden Circle is a chilly but thrilling tour.Photo from 3 in 1 Bundled Discount Activity Tours with Volcano Exploration, Snorkeling & Glacier Hiking

As you would expect, the water is also icy cold, at an average of 35.6 F (2 C) year-round.

However, by wearing drysuits with insulated 'teddy-bear' suits beneath, you'll not feel the chill on your body at all. The suits are also very buoyant, so you don't need to work to keep yourself on the surface. Wetsuit gloves and hoods allow the water in, but this water quickly heats up and forms a protective layer due to neoprene’s insulating properties.

Some operators offer tours where you only wear wetsuits. These allow for greater mobility and provide the opportunity to free-dive. However, this option is only recommended for those who are physically very fit and ready to be quite chilly for the 40 or so minutes spent in the water.

People who are scuba certified can take diving tours to explore Silfra. Due to the complications associated with the cold, you'll need to at least be a PADI Open Water Diver (or have equivalent certifications) with a drysuit specialty or have 10 logged drysuit dives in the past 2 years.

This is one of the best tours in Iceland, given its unique nature and the site’s beauty.



6. Hiking in the Icelandic Highlands

Thorsmork is a mesmerising Highland area and one of the most popular tours in Iceland

Visiting the Icelandic Highlands is where you can find some of the best hiking tours in Iceland. They include the country's most remote, raw, and dramatic landscapes.

Defined by lava fields, endless plains of black sands, mountains, rivers, volcanoes, glaciers, and a spectrum of different colors, the Highlands area attracts hikers and photographers from all over the world. 

The two most popular places to access the Highlands are Thorsmork and Landmannalaugar. The Laugavegur trail connects these areas through the country's interior, is Iceland's best-known multi-day hiking route, and is a fantastic way to explore the region.

This 5-day tour is a classic way to enjoy the trail, staying in remote cabins each night and trekking through unbelievable landscapes. You can also opt to follow the same route by bike.

This 3-day tour will cover part of the Laugavegur route while also including a hike through the Fimmvorduhals Pass, through lava and craters created by the eruption of Eyjafjallajokull volcano in 2010.

The Highlands are a magical place to explore.

If you’re an experienced hiker who has done your research and prepared well, a cheap option is to book a Highland Hikers Passport.

With the Highland Hikers Passport, you'll be able to board a bus from the capital to either Skogar, Landmannalaugar, or Thorsmork. There are many drop-off points along the Laugavegur and Fimmvorduhals routes. You can then hike to your chosen spot before taking a bus from one of these destinations.

Thorsmork translates to 'Thor's Valley,’ after the Old Norse God of Thunder. Unlike much of the region, it’s densely forested with birch trees, making a stark and beautiful contrast with the surrounding lava formations and gleaming glaciers.

Landmannalaugar is a place of rhyolite mountains and steaming geothermal areas where you can bathe. Skogar is the area that surrounds the majestic Skogafoss waterfall.

If you are traveling with children or are not keen to take the Laugavegur trail, you can visit these sites on day tours from Reykjavik.

For example, this excursion allows you to reach Landmannalaugar in a super jeep and includes a dip in the hot springs. You can book this buggy tour for even more adventure but need to drive to the Highland area yourself. Meanwhile, this super jeep day tour will take you to both Thorsmork and the waterfalls in South Iceland.

Snow covers the mountains in Iceland's Highlands, even during summer.

Among the many tours around Iceland available, another option is combining Thorsmork and Landmannalaugar with major attractions such as the Golden Circle and the South Coast. In this case, this 6-day Highlands camping self-drive would be a great choice.

If you’re traveling in winter, there may still be some options to see Landmannalaguar. Some tour operators have previously launched tours this time of the year, offering plenty of opportunities to see the northern lights.

If you’d like to take such a tour but want your whole trip sorted for you upon arrival, this 10-day adventure is a great choice. It offers visits to the South Coast, ice caves, Golden Circle, Blue Lagoon, and the Snaefellsnes Peninsula.

Landmannalaugar, Thorsmork, and the Laugavegur trail only cover a tiny amount of the Highlands. There are tours around the country that allow you to access other, more remote parts.

If you’re in North Iceland, you can find this day tour to the incredible Askja Caldera. The caldera is in a dramatic lava field created by some of the country's most violent eruptions. Here you can swim in the warm waters of the Viti explosion crater, surrounded by some fantastic scenery.



Hiking the Laugavegur trail in south Iceland is far from the only way to explore the Highlands.

Alternatively, you could take a day tour to the Kjolur Highland Road, which runs right through the Highlands, the geothermal baths of Hveravellir, and the dramatic mountains of Kerlingarfjoll.

Hikers seeking a multi-day trek in a more remote part of the Highlands could head to the eastern town of Egilsstadir, and from there, embark on a 4-day journey under the shadow of the mighty Vatnajokull Glacier. As with the Laugavegur trail, you'll spend the nights in basic but comfortable cabins under the mystical light of the midnight sun.

Avid photographers seeking to build their portfolios and improve their landscape photography skills could also embark on this once-in-a-lifetime adventure over 10 days. This workshop visits many fantastic Highland locations with an award-winning photographer and an experienced guide.

5. Jaw-dropping Glacier Tours in Iceland

Glacier hiking is one of the most popular activities in south Iceland.

While the 'fire' in the Land of Ice and Fire represents its volcanoes, the 'ice' speaks of its glaciers.

These gleaming ice caps cover 11 percent of Iceland's surface. Vatnajokull is the largest glacier in Europe.

The glaciers are magnificent places to visit, with stunning ice formations, incredible surrounding views, and a spectrum of colors. Far from just the gleaming white of snow, you'll find veins of electric blue ice and jet black ash from eruptions in centuries past.

With their slippery surfaces, hidden crevasses, and sharp ridges, it’s dangerous to climb them without proper equipment and training. Taking one of the many glacier hiking and ice climbing tours in Iceland is a safe and easy trip.

With ice axes, helmets, crampons, and an experienced, knowledgeable guide, a glacier hiking tour may be the highlight of your Iceland trip.

The most commonly visited ice cap is Solheimajokull, part of the third-largest glacier in the country, Myrdalsjokull. That’s because it’s easily reached from Reykjavik, it’s not too difficult to ascend, and it has magnificent views of the south of the country.

This Solheimajokull glacier expedition is an excellent choice for families since children as young as 10 can participate. This tour also includes an exploration of the South Coast.

Svinafellsjokull is one of Iceland's most popular glaciers and top tours in Iceland

The second most popular glacier to hike in Iceland is Svinafellsjokull. It’s often misnamed Skaftafellsjokull due to its position in the spectacular Skaftafell Nature Reserve.

Tours on its surface are perfect for those traveling to southeast Iceland, especially if combined with a visit to Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon or the crystal blue ice caves.

Skaftafell Nature Reserve is one of Iceland’s most beautiful areas. It has rivers, lagoons, forests, and lava fields. The famous Svartifoss waterfall, surrounded by perfectly formed hexagonal-shaped rock columns, is also located here.

A tour on Svinafellsjokull can be taken by anyone, including children over the age of 7, allowing the young ones to get a taste of adventure. It’s also the best choice for those who aren't the most physically fit.

If you want to partake in ice climbing on your glacier hike, scaling up a frozen wall with just your ice ax and crampons, then this tour is a perfect choice (although participants must be at least 12 years old).



If you’re a family traveling with younger children, this excursion takes you to the human-made ice tunnel carved into the Langjokull glacier. It’s not quite the glacier hiking experience just mentioned, but children as young as 2 years old can participate.

The ice tunnel shows you the world inside one of these majestic natural formations, with long corridors and many rooms, including a chapel. The journey to the tunnel is an adventure in itself, conducted in a massive super jeep.

In the summer months, the truly adventurous can take part in this thrilling tour up the twin-peaked Snaefellsjokull glacier, located on the Snaefellsnes Peninsula in West Iceland.

Snaefellsjokull glacier was made famous in Jules Verne’s novel 'A Journey to the Center of the Earth,’ where it was described as having a cave leading to an underground magical world.

The Snaefellsnes Peninsula is an incredible place in its own right and deserves a visit, even if you don’t get to the glacier. You’ll find out why in the next topic.



4. Sightseeing Around the Snaefellsnes Peninsula

The Snaefellsnes Peninsula has many incredible features.

The Snaefellsnes Peninsula has rightly earned its nickname 'Iceland in Miniature.’ It’s a microcosm of Iceland, with waterfalls, mountains, lava fields, rock formations, jagged coastlines, a wealth of wildlife, and a crowning glacier.

It’s mostly known for the Snaefellsjokull glacier but has appeal beyond glacier hiking. 

The twin-peaked subglacial volcano has inspired artists for centuries. It’s so stunning that it’s the central feature of a national park of the same name. This is quite something, considering there are only 3 national parks in Iceland.

The Snaefellsjokull glacier is visible across the sea from Reykjavik in clear weather. It sits right on the peninsula's tip, creating a beautiful silhouette that beckons thousands of visitors a year.

It’s so awe-inspiring that many superstitious people claim it’s a spot of magic and mysticism.

It was once prophesied that aliens would land on the Snaefellsjokull on November 5th, 1993.

This rumor spread far and wide, to the extent that thousands gathered around it on the predicted doomsday date, accompanied by television crews from around the world, including CNN. Of course, nothing happened, but one glance at it leaves little wonder why extra-terrestrial beings might choose it as their base on earth.

Kirkjufell mountain and Kirkjufellsfoss on the Snæfellsnes Peninsula are among its famous attractions.

In addition to the Snaefellsjokull glacier, the sites on this peninsula are numerous, diverse, and so close together that tourists staying in Reykjavik can visit it in 1 or 2 days.

On its southern shore, you can see the hexagonal columns lined in near symmetry at Gerduberg, a colony of seals resting off the rocky shoreline at Ytri Tunga beach, the dramatic mountain gorge of Raudfeldsgja, and the windswept, long-abandoned village of Budir.

Right by the national park are two more villages. One of them is Hellnar, which has also largely been abandoned. The other is Arnarstapi, which clung to life through fishing and later tourism and boasts stunning coastal geology. Within the park, there are three other natural landmarks worth mentioning.

Vatnshellir is a magnificent lava cave by the glacier that you can take a tour through in summer. 

Djupalonssandur is a black sand beach with four historic lifting stones that fishermen used in the old times to test their strength and suitability for the sea.

Londrangar is an enormous basalt plug that resembles a fortress and is renowned for its birdlife.



The coastal geology around Arnarstapi on Iceland's Snæfellsnes Peninsula is magnificent.

The northern shore of the Snaefellsnes Peninsula is home to Kirkjufell mountain, the second most famous landmark in the area. Fans of Game of Thrones will remember it as a shooting location in season 7.

Not far from here is the largest settlement in the area, Stykkisholmur, steeped in traditional fishing culture and folklore. From the northern coast, you can get magnificent views of the mountainous Westfjords across the sea.

This great and reasonably priced bus tour takes in all the main sights of the peninsula. However, if you'd like a slightly more personalized experience, this minibus tour has a smaller group size and offers some snacks along the way.

To spend more time at the sites, you could choose to go on this 2-day excursion. It includes lava caving in Vatnshellir and a dip in the soothing geothermal waters of the Krauma Spa.

If you’re on a self-driving tour of Iceland in summer, you could opt for unique experiences, such as whale watching or kayaking under Mount Kirkjufell.

Another option is taking the Viking Sushi Tour from Stykkisholmur, enjoying freshly caught scallops from a boat while bird-watching, and marveling over the islands of Breidafjordur Bay and the Westfjords.

3. Witness the Northern Lights in Iceland

The Northern Lights are perhaps the most popular Icelandic attraction in winter.

If you’re traveling to Iceland between September and April, it’s likely that seeing the northern lights is high on your plan.

There are only a handful of countries on the globe where you can reliably witness this phenomenon. As such, aurora hunting is an integral part of Iceland’s tourism industry in the winter.

Seeing the aurora borealis is so high on many people's bucket lists for somewhat obvious reasons. Watching the rays of vivid color descend from a night sky lit only by a canopy of stars and swirl and dance as if conducted by an ethereal force is a mesmerizing and awe-inspiring experience.

Those lucky enough to witness the northern lights are left with little wonder why ancient societies thought they were messages from their gods and ancestors.

Northern lights tours in Iceland are an essential part of many travelers’ bucket lists. But it’s worth remembering that they’re only accessible to winter travelers.

Even though the aurora borealis occurs year-round, you need as little light pollution as possible to see them.

Northern Lights over Vestrahorn in east Iceland.

You don't need to take a guided excursion to see the lights. If you have a rental car, you can drive out of urban areas and search for it yourself. If not, you can head to the darkest parts of towns and cities and hope for the best.

The advantage of going on an official tour is that you’re accompanied by an expert in finding, photographing, and explaining the auroras. These specialists can take you on one of the best guided tours of Iceland, know all the best viewing points, and have access to tools to find places with the least cloud cover.

The most common and affordable northern lights tour is a bus excursion, which will take you into the nature around Reykjavik for your aurora hunt. 

You can also take a similar trip in a minibus or with a private driver for a more personal experience.

You could even hunt for the lights in a super jeep to access more remote areas. This super jeep tour, for example, is conducted with a professional photographer aboard who will help you get stunning images of the auroras. 

Another popular but more unique choice is a northern lights cruise. You’ll head out into the waters surrounding the capital and search for this phenomenon from the deck of a ship. A similar tour from Akureyri is also available.



The Northern Lights can be seen on a range of tours from around the country.

Northern lights tours will not head out if the aurora forecast is weak or there’s too much cloud cover. Even if you do set out, this natural occurrence can be fickle, and they may not show. In either case, most operators will allow you to try to see the lights again for free another night.

A great way to maximize your chances of catching the auroras, however, is to book a self-drive tour or guided package that is tailored to searching for them.

This 7-day winter self-drive tour of Iceland will provide you with countless opportunities to hunt for the Northern Lights. A self-drive 7-day vacation package is a great alternative if you would rather not drive yourself. Both also include enjoying Iceland's other spectacular winter experience, a trip into an ice cave.

The longer you spend in Iceland, the greater your chances of seeing the northern lights.

This 14-day package takes you around the entire country, includes an ice cave tour, and gives you 13 opportunities to catch the auroras in various locations. If you take the tour between November and March, it will also include an ice cave trip.



2. Touring Iceland’s South Coast

Second, only to the Golden Circle, the South Coast is one of Iceland's most popular sightseeing routes. Like the Snaefellsnes Peninsula, It's somewhat of a microcosm of Iceland.

This region has beautiful waterfalls, a spectacular coastline, glacier-capped volcanoes, stretches of black sands, geological marvels, and islands adding to its beauty. It culminates in the far east with the magnificent Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon.

Traveling from the capital, you’ll initially pass through some lovely countryside and geothermal areas before reaching the shoreline.

In clear weather, you may be able to see the volcanic archipelago of the Westman Islands jutting out to sea on your right. You can also have glimpses of the glaciers Myrdalsjokull and Eyjafjallajokull to your left before reaching the first destinations.

You’ll then spot the unmissable Seljalandsfoss, a 197-feet tall (60 meters) waterfall that descends in a narrow cascade before a gaping cavern.

Seljalandsfoss waterfall is unique due to the path that goes right behind it. In summer, this allows you to see the waterfall and South Coast from a mesmerizing perspective.

A short walk from Seljalandsfoss falls, you’ll find the Gljufrabui waterfall. It’s a hidden gem that many visitors miss out on, as it’s hidden in a mountainside cleft.

Continuing along Route 1 heading east, you'll pass the aforementioned Solheimajokull glacier tongue and reach another waterfall, Skogafoss.

Though the same height as Seljalandsfoss, Skogafoss waterfall is far more powerful, thundering to the ground with a great cloud of spray. A staircase next to it allows you to marvel over it from many different angles.

The next major stop is at Dyrholaey, a magnificent rock arch that curves out into the ocean, large enough for ships (and small planes, as a few brave pilots have proven) to travel through.

If you're traveling to Iceland between May and September, look out for puffins, which nest among the rocks in the thousands and have little fear of people.

The coastal geology becomes no less spectacular at the nearby Reynisfjara Beach. It’s renowned for its jet black sand, powerful waves, and sea-stacks towering offshore, known as Reynisdrangar.

Icelandic folklore says these basalt pillars are frozen trolls caught in sunlight as they attempted to drag a ship to shore.



Reynisdrangar is an example of the beautiful coastal geology off of Iceland's South Coast.

The village of Vik sits just inland from Reynisfjara and is often the final stop on day tours of Iceland’s South Coast.

However, those that continue on pass through more diverse scenery of lava fields, estuaries, and black sand deserts before reaching Vatnajokull. At this point, the landscapes to your left will turn into dramatic mountains, dozens of glacier tongues, and countless waterfalls.

Finally, you’ll reach what is referred to as 'the Crown Jewel of Iceland's Nature,' the Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon.

Here you’ll find an enormous lake filled with towering icebergs groaning, rotating, and splitting apart as they make their slow journey from a glacier tongue to the ocean.

You can spend hours at the shores of Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon, marveling over the views here, made all the more delightful by the many resident seals.

When these icebergs finally reach the ocean, they wash up on a beautiful stretch of black sand coastline called Diamond Beach.

The Jokulsarlon glacier lagoon is beautiful in both summer and winter.

As noted, most South Coast day tours will take you to Vik and back, allowing plenty of time at the great sites en route. This minibus tour with small groups is a good example.

It's possible to reach Jokulsarlon in a day, such as with this excursion, although you’ll have less time at the other attractions.

This 2-day trip offers the best of both worlds, and if traveling in winter, this 3-day tour is a great option. It also includes the Golden Circle and a trip to the ice caves. You’ll learn more about them in the next and final point in this list of top 10 tours of Iceland.

If you’re spending some time around the Jokulsarlon glacier lagoon in summer, there are some great options to explore it more personally.

The most affordable option is to book a tour on an amphibious boat that will take you right amongst the icebergs. For an extra small cost, you could instead look at this zodiac tour

Those who like to keep active will find this kayaking trip very enjoyable.

All three excursions will not just get you closer to the ice but allow you to see the lagoon's seals up close.



1. Explore an Ice Cave

When thinking about the top Iceland tours, exploring the crystal blue ice caves under the Vatnajokull glacier has to take the top spot.

They’re only accessible between mid-October (sometimes early November) and March. But their uniqueness, beauty, and ever-increasing popularity make it simply unfitting for them to be placed any lower.

Technically called glacier caves (as ice cave is the definition of any cave with permanent ice), they can only be found in a few places worldwide. It’s even harder to find any as accessible as the ones at the Vatnajokull glacier.

Each ice cave in Iceland is different in size, shape, and formation. However, they all share the same vivid electric blue colors with gleaming white.

What makes them even more impressive in Iceland is their location. The country's southeast region offers 2 other top attractions - the Jokulsarlon glacier lagoon and the Skaftafell Nature Reserve.

This means that, in a single day, you can enjoy three incredible and vastly different experiences you'll never forget.

However, unlike Jokulsarlon and Skaftafell, you can only experience the ice caves on a guided tour.



Inside an ice cave in south-east Iceland, on a tour only accessible in summer.

If you’re eager to see a crystal blue ice cave, it’s important to book early. They’re only open for a few months of the year and are on many people's bucket lists. Available spots can be hard to come by if you try to make a last-minute reservation. 

This ice cave tour is perfect if you’re on an Iceland road trip. You’ll meet your guide at the parking lot of the glacier lagoon and be whisked to the site. You’ll have plenty of time to plumb the depths of this phenomenon and take some incredible photographs.

Several winter self-drive tours are tailored to ice cave exploration while incorporating other sites and adventures.

This 3-day self-drive, for example, is perfect for those on a shorter holiday. 

Meanwhile, those seeking the winter adventure of a lifetime will find a 2-week journey around the whole country, an experience that they will never forget.

Self-drive tours are excellent for taking away the stress of organizing your vacation since your accommodation, tours, and vehicle will be booked before your arrival.

Please note that you must rent a four-wheel drive and be confident in icy, dark conditions if you drive yourself in winter. The temperature rarely rises above freezing in December and January, and the country only gets around 4 hours of daylight.



If you're not driving yourself, the ice caves are still easily accessible. This 3-day adventure includes glacier hiking and a Golden Circle trip.

Like the self-drives, there are also plenty of winter vacation packages tailored to the ice caves, including a 15-day trip around the whole country.

Although the crystal blue ice caves are only open from November to March, there are other ice caves you can visit at different times of the year. These won’t have the same blue color but are still spectacular.

The ice caves within the Myrdalsjokull glacier are open year-round. They’re defined by their veins of black ash within the white snow from the mighty volcano Katla’s eruptions.

You can drive yourself to Vik and take an excursion from there or incorporate the tour into exploring the South Coast from the capital.

We hope you found some travel inspiration from our guide to the top 10 best tours of Iceland. It was designed to ensure your trip is truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience. We'd love to hear and respond to any questions or comments you may have in the section below.