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

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

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Iceland has many unique destinations, such as the Reynisfjara black sand beach

Discover the top 10 best tours in Iceland, covering everything from peaceful nature to thrilling adventures. Learn about the country's most popular attractions and the most amazing tours and excursions to do while visiting the Land of Fire and Ice.

Iceland is known for its stunning landscapes and otherworldly attractions. With so many natural marvels all over the country, it can be difficult to pick and choose locations for your Iceland travel itinerary. This is why going on a tour while in Iceland is so practical!

Planned tours help you see the best of Iceland in a stress-free and convinient way. No matter where your accommodation in Iceland is located, you're sure to find some unforgettable experiences to suit all interests.

Explore Iceland's largest selection of trips and enhance your visit it Iceland, or choose from the largest selection of vacation packages in Iceland for easy planning! If you prefer the freedom of driving yourself, you can rent your own car and embark on your own self-drive tour of Iceland.

Each available tour introduces you to different elements that, together, weave the extraordinary tapestry of Iceland. Read on and plan your travel itinerary with these top 10 best tours in Iceland!

Different Types of Tours in Iceland

The Blue Lagoon is the most popular location for hot spring tours in Iceland

Photo from The Golden Circle & the Blue Lagoon Tour with Transfer from Reykjavik

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, like the many available hot spring tours, which may not suit thrill-seekers, while others need some nerve to embark on, ill-fitting for those who simply want to unwind.

River rafting in Iceland is a popular tour option in summer

Photo from Brilliant 3-Hour River Rafting Tour of the Hvita River

Iceland is a country of extreme seasonal contrasts, so excursions such as northern lights tours 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 a different side of 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 in Iceland and tops the list of Iceland tours when it comes to popularity for a good reason! This major attraction route is accessible all year round, you can reach it on a half-day trip from Reykjavik, whether by booking a convenient Golden Circle tour or driving yourself with a rental car, and the sites around it are incredible!

The route starts at the historic Thingvellir National Park, a spectacular UNESCO World Heritage Site where you can see the two tectonic plates of North America and Eurasia separating! Afterward, you will visit the beautiful Gullfoss waterfall, renowned for the rainbows that arc from its spray. Then, you'll see the Geysir geothermal area, where you'll witness the geyser Strokkur erupting to great heights every few minutes.

Some Golden Circle tours visit a few other sites in the area, such as the dramatic Kerid crater lake and Fridheimar tomato farm. If you have the time during a self-drive tour, it's also worth spreading your exploration over two or more days by staying in accommodation by the Golden Circle to enjoy all that the area has to offer.

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 Sigridur Tomasdottir, who campaigned to save the waterfall for 20 years!

Geysir 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. This is part of why the Golden Circle is a must-visit route when in Iceland!

The Best Golden Circle Tours in Iceland

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

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.

One of the best Golden Circle tours you can take is this small-group tour with a visit to an ice cream farm! Not only will you get to see these beautiful locations, but you'll also be able to enjoy a tasty treat at the Efstidalur farm!

Another great way to expand your trip is by taking this 8-hour Golden Circle tour with the Kerid crater. It adds the volcanic Kerid crater to your list of attractions.

If you're visiting Iceland with a summer cruise ship, you can take this special small group Golden Circle tour from Reykjavik port or this afternoon Golden Circle tour so you can see these picturesque destinations at the golden hour.

A visit to Kerid is a great addition to your Golden Circle tour

Photo from Classic 8 Hour Tour of the Golden Circle & Kerid Crater with Transfer from Reykjavik

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. For a different experience, you can try a riding tour on an Icelandic horse or a thrilling snorkeling tour in Silfra, which includes underwater photos! You can also add lava caving to your Golden Circle adventure to witness Iceland both above and below the earth.

If you'd prefer to relax, you can enjoy a trip to the Blue Lagoon with your Golden Circle tour or include a relaxing whale-watching tour from Reykjavik in your exploration - 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

Lake Myvatn is a iconic attraction in North IcelandIf you’re staying longer in Iceland or your stay is short, but you like to visit more hidden 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 Reykjavik doesn’t mean you’ll be short of amenities. There are many hotels in North Iceland in the region, and Akureyri, the largest town outside Reykjavik, is sometimes referred to as "the Capital of the North." It’s a cultural hub and has everything any traveler needs for comfort, including great Akureyri accommodation options.

There are many options for tours in Akureyri, so it’s easy to go on a sightseeing or adventure excursion in this part of Iceland. Alternatively, situated within the beautiful Eyjafjordur fjord and is surrounded by tall mountains, one of which, Hlidarfjall, has arguably one of the best ski slopes in Iceland.

You can reach Akureyri by driving along Route 1 from Reykjavik or by taking a flight to Akureyri from Reykjavik Domestic Airport.

You can unwind in luxury at the Myvatn nature baths in North Iceland

Photo from Serene Geothermal Bathing at the Myvatn Nature Baths

While there are many incredible natural attractions in North Iceland, the most famous and popular is the lake Myvatn area. It's part of the Diamond Circle route, which features some of the region's most beautiful locations, which you can explore while staying at accommodation by lake Myvatn.

When visiting the Myvatn area, you can enjoy spectacular views over the water, unique flora, a wealth of birdlife, dramatic geological formations, surrounding mountains, craters, and lava fields, and abundant geothermal activity. It's truly a marvel of Icelandic nature.

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, especially to recharge after a day of exploring. It's best to book your admission to the Myvatn Nature Baths ahead of time to ensure availability.

Many scenes in the hit TV series Game of Thrones were filmed in North Iceland. For example, the Dimmuborgir lava formations were used as a setting north of the Wall, and the nearby Grjotagja cave was the site for the famous love scene between Jon Snow and Ygritte. Fans of the series will enjoy exploring the region, and you can even go on special Game of Thrones tours to see the show's many filming locations around Iceland.

Godafoss waterfall is one of the more beautiful locations along the Icelandic Ring Road

A 20-minute drive from Myvatn, you'll find 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.

Between Akureyri and lake Myvatn, you'll find another beautiful attraction, the famous Godafoss waterfall. It's just by the Ring Road, and aside from being a spectacular natural landmark, it’s very rich in history. In 1000 AD, it was here that Þorgeir Ljósvetningagoði, a local chieftain and lawspeaker, tossed his idols of the Norse Gods to officially mark the nation's conversion to Christianity.

A bit further east from Godafoss, there are more unforgettable sites that make up the Diamond Circle. Among them is Dettifoss, the most powerful waterfall in Iceland, thundering into the ancient Jokulsargljufur 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.

Husavik is the best place to go whale watching in Iceland

For something different when touring Iceland’s northern region, you could head to the town of Husavik, considered the "Whale Watching Capital of Iceland." In summer, this Husavik whale-watching tour will introduce you to the beautiful creatures of the deep. You may be able to spot humpback whales and white-beaked dolphins, as well as a wealth of birdlife. That may include puffins in the height of summer!

The Best North Iceland Tours

If you are keen to make the most of your visit to North Iceland, 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 experiences. For example, this stunning 10-hour Diamond Circle tour will allow you to go sightseeing while traveling in a four-wheel-drive jeep.

While this 10-day summer vacation in Iceland package misses out on some of the locations mentioned, it includes flights to Akureyri from Reykjavik and back. If you want a shorter but still fantastic experience, then this whale-watching tour from Akureyri is a good option. It brings you out to the beautiful Eyjafjordur fjord, where you'll spot the gentle giants of the sea. These trips in Iceland make touring the northern region easy!

8. Iceland Volcano Tours and Lava Cave Tours

The Raufarholshellir lava tunnel is very accessible

Photo from Classic 1 Hour Lava Tunnel Caving Tour of the Raufarholshellir Lava Tubes

Iceland is known as the Land of Fire and Ice, with the 'fire’ referring to its many volcanoes! While these volcanoes are not in a constant state of eruption, 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. The last eruption in Iceland was at Sundhnukagigar volcano in 2024 and you can explore the nearby aftermath of the July 2023 eruption at Litli-Hrutur, and Fagradalsfjall, which erupted in 2021 and 2022. This is possible with exciting volcano tours!

With volcanos all over Iceland, you can find plenty of locations to visit. From trips to volcanos in the remote highlands or to lava tunnels just by the Ring Road, you're sure to find an experience that suits your interests and travel itinerary!

The Best Volcano Tours in Iceland

Thríhnukagígur is a vast and incredible magma chamber in southeast Iceland.Photo from Inside the Volcano Thrihnukagigur Tour with Transfer from Reykjavik

If you want to add a quick volcano experience to your travel itinerary in Iceland, you can enjoy this easy 1-hour tour of the Raufarholshellir lava tubes, just under an hour's drive from Reykjavik! For a bigger adventure, you can see the craters of one of Iceland's most destructive eruptions, Lakagigar, during this epic 8-hour super jeep tour from Kirkjubaejarklaustur along the South Coast.

There is, however, one volcano tour that deserves to be highlighted on this list as the best option. For an experience 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. 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.

Inside the Volcano is a once-in-a-lifetime experience in Iceland

Photo from Inside the Volcano Thrihnukagigur Tour with Transfer from Reykjavik

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. 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!

This tour is only available in the summer months, so book well in advance! It's open to anyone over 11 years old and includes a short uphill hike across the rocky ground to reach the elevator. It's truly an other-worldly experience, making it the best volcano tour in Iceland.

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 tours available 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 the 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 toward 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 that when you're snorkeling in Silfra, you're literally swimming between continents!

What makes Silfra so clear is that the water comes from the Langjokull glacier. It travels underground for around 30 miles (48 kilometers) 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 Snorkeling Tour Between Continents in Silfra with Free Underwater Photos & Snacks

As you would expect, the water is also icy cold, at an average of 35.6° F (2° C) year-round. However, by wearing dry suits with insulated 'teddy-bear' suits beneath, you won't 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.

The Best Snorkeling Tours in Silfra

The best way to experience swimming between the continents in Thingvellir National Park is with this snorkeling tour in Silfra with free underwater photos! This is the best option if you're visiting the area. If you want to do a convinient trip from the capital, you can take this unforgettable drysuit snorkeling tour which has transport from Reykjavik!

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.

If you want this experience, then the best option is this extraordinary 3-hour wetsuit-free dive tour. This is one of the best tour options 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

Photo from Scenic 5-Day Hiking Tour from Landmannalaugar to Thorsmork with Transfer from Reykjavik

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. There are also many Highland tours available with super jeeps or other forms of transport for those who prefer to explore this isolated region in comfort.

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.

They're generally only available in summer, as weather conditions can be far more challenging in the Highlands in winter, and available roads will be closed off. The region is, however, very much worth exploring when possible, as it's where you'll find some of Iceland's most breathtaking natural spectacles.

The Best Highland Tours in Iceland

Landmannalaugar are a popular location in the Highlands

Photo from Landmannalaugar Super Jeep Tour With Pickup from Reykjavik

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 scenic 5-day hiking tour from Landmannalaugar to Thorsmork is a classic way to enjoy the Laugarvegur trail, staying in remote cabins each night and trekking through unbelievable landscapes. This challenging 3-day tour takes you on a once-in-a-lifetime hike along the Laugavegur trail, through lava fields and craters created by the eruption of Eyjafjallajokull in 2010.

You can also opt for an adventurous Thorsmork buggy tour for an unforgettable ride through unique Highland scenery.

The Highlands are a magical place to explore.

If you're short on time but want to capture the highlights of the Highlands, this Landmannalaugar Super Jeep tour allows you to experience Iceland's most unique landscapes in comfort, including hiking and hot spring bathing. You'll be able to connect with the region's natural beauty, surrounded by rhyolite mountains and steaming geothermal areas.

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 Landmannalaugar day tour allows you to reach the geothermal area in a super jeep and includes a dip in the hot springs.

Meanwhile, this scenic 10-hour super jeep tour from Reykjavik will take you to both Thorsmork and the waterfalls in South Iceland, including the majestic Skogafoss waterfall.

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 7-day summer self-drive includes an adventure in the highlands would be a great choice.

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

If you’re traveling in winter, there may still be some options to see Landmannalaugar. 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 northern lights winter trip to the Highlands 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 super jeep day tour to Askja Caldera. The incredible Askja 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 12-hour day tour in the Highlands along the Kjolur road, which brings you to the geothermal baths of Hveravellir and the dramatic mountains of Kerlingarfjoll.

Hikers seeking adventure in a more remote part of the Highlands can embark on an 11-day self-drive Ring Road trip. This experience includes three days of exploring the Eastfjords, where you'll venture deep into the mountains and canyons north of Vatnajokull glacier. 

Avid photographers seeking to build their portfolios and improve their landscape photography skills could also embark on this once-in-a-lifetime photography 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.

Photo from Glacier Hiking Tour in Skaftafell

While the 'fire' in the Land of Ice and Fire represents its volcanoes, the 'ice' speaks of its glaciers, most notably the Vatnajokull glacier, the largest one in Europe!

The glaciers of Iceland 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. However, with an experienced guide by your side, taking one of the many glacier hiking and ice-climbing tours in Iceland is a safe and easy trip.

When taking a tour, you'll be provided with ice axes, helmets, crampons, and an experienced, knowledgeable guide, and a glacier hiking tour may be the highlight of your Iceland trip.

The Best Glacier Hiking Tours in Iceland

Glacier hiking is one of the best things to do in Iceland

Photo from Fantastic 2.5 Hour Easy Glacier Hike & Sightseeing Discovery Tour on Solheimajokull

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 as a day trip from Reykjavik, it’s not too difficult to ascend, and it has magnificent views of the south of the country.

This 2.5-hour easy glacier hike and discovery tour of Solheimajokull is an excellent choice for families since children as young as 10 can participate, and this Solheimajokull glacier hiking tour guarantees a small group size so you can get the most from your glacier hiking experience.

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 the Jokulsarlon glacier lagoon or the crystal blue ice caves.

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

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.

This top-rated glacier walking tour in Skaftafell can be taken by anyone, including children over the age of 10, allowing the younger 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 4-hour ice climbing and glacier hiking tour is a perfect choice, although participants must be at least 12 years old.

Into the Glacier is perfect for families visiting Iceland

Photo from Exhilarating 10-Hour Into the Glacier Ice Caving Tour in Langjokull from Reykjavik

If you’re traveling with younger children, this Into the Glacier ice-caving tour from Reykjavik 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 1 year old can participate!

The ice tunnel shows you the world inside the majestic glacier, with long corridors and many rooms, including a chapel. The journey to the tunnel is an adventure in itself as you travel along the beautiful Borgarfjordur fjord, conducted in a massive super jeep.

In the summer months, the truly adventurous can take part in this thrilling glacier hiking 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.

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 Snaefellsjokull National Park! This is quite something, considering there are only three 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.

There are some beautiful rock formations along the Snaefellsnes peninsula

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 one or two 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. All of these are worth a stop, and it's where you can find some great Snaefellsnes accommodation options!

You can also stay in accommodation in Stykkisholmur, the largest settlement in the area. Stykkisholmur is a charming town known for its traditional fishing culture and folklore. It sits along the northern coast, where you can get magnificent views of the mountainous Westfjords across the sea.

The Best Snaefellsnes Tours in Iceland

Within the Snaefellsjokull National Park, there are three natural landmarks worth mentioning. Vatnshellir is a magnificent lava cave that you can visit with this unforgettable 50-minute cave tourDjupalonssandur 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 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 where it was called Arrow Head mountain.

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

This scenic 12-hour Snaefellsnes day tour from Reykjavikbus tour takes in all the main sights of the peninsula. However, if you'd like a slightly more personalized experience, this Snaefellsnes minibus tour from Reykjavik 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 Snaefellsnes and West Coast 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 in the Breidafjordur bay or kayaking under mt Kirkjufell.

Another option is taking this magical 2-hour seafood boat cruise 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 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 in Iceland. 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 you don't have a car, 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 as they know all the best viewing points and have access to tools to find places with the least cloud cover.

The Best Northern Lights Tours in Iceland

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 this minibus northern lights tour for a more personal experience, and you'll get to enjoy a nice hot chocolate to keep you warm as you search for elusive auroras.

You could even hunt for the lights in a super jeep to access more remote areas. This northern lights super jeep tour from Reykjavik, 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 2-hour northern lights boat cruise from Reykjavik. You’ll head out into the waters surrounding the capital and search for this phenomenon from the deck of a ship. If you're staying in northern Iceland, you could take a northern lights bus tour from Akureyri or combine the aurora experience with a whale-watching tour for an unforgettable evening.

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 northern lights winter self-drive tour of Iceland will provide you with countless opportunities to hunt for the northern lights. A 7-day winter vacation package is a great alternative if you would rather not drive yourself. Both also include another 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 northern lights package tour of the Ring Road takes you around the entire country, includes an ice cave tour, and gives you many 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

Seljalandsfoss is one of the more beautiful waterfalls in IcelandSecond, 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 Southeast with the magnificent Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon.

Traveling from Reykjavik, 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-foot tall waterfall (60-meter) 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 waterfall, you’ll find the Gljufrabui waterfall. It’s a gem that many visitors miss out on, as it’s hidden in a mountainside cleft.

Dyrholaey offers stunning views of the black sand beaches of South IcelandContinuing 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 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.

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 Best South Coast Tours in Iceland

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. There are a wide variety of South Coast tours to choose from, so you're sure to find one suited to your interests.

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

If you're visiting Iceland in summer, this 2-day tour of the South Coast with glacier hiking and the Jokulsarlon glacier lagoon offers the best of both worlds as you have more time. For winter visits, you don't have to miss out as this 2-day South Coast tour brings you to the same locations and includes a visit to the beautiful ice caves of the Vatnajokull glacier!

If you want to expand your winter trip, this 3-day Golden Circle and South Coast tour is a great option. It also includes the Golden Circle and a trip to the ice caves, and as it's in winter, you'll be able to see the northern lights!

Kayaking on Jokulsarlon will bring you close to the icebergs

Photo from Kayaking in Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon

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 1-hour zodiac boat tour of the Jokulsarlon glacier lagoon. For an even more unique experience, you may want to try kayaking in the Jokulsarlon glacier lagoon right beside the icebergs!

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

Ice caves are some of the most stunning locations in Iceland

Photo from Best Ice Cave Tour in Vatnajokull Glacier Starting from Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon

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 than in first place!

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. Iceland's southeast region offers two 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.

The Best Ice Cave Tours in Iceland

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.

The best ice cave tour in Vatnajokull Glacier is perfect if you're on an Iceland road trip. You’ll meet your guide at the parking lot of the Jokulsarlon 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 northern lights self-drive tour, for example, is perfect if you want to maximize a shorter holiday. Meanwhile, if you're seeking the winter adventure of a lifetime, this two-week self-drive tour of the complete Ring Road and the Snaefellsnes peninsula is an experience that you 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.

Katla ice cave is a great option along South Iceland

Photo from The Katla Ice Cave Tour

If you're not driving yourself, the ice caves are still easily accessible. This 3-day northern lights South Coast tour 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 this 15-day Ring Road 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 they are still spectacular.

The ice caves within the Myrdalsjokull glacier are open year-round, and you can visit with this Katla ice cave tour. They’re defined by their veins of black ash within the white snow from the eruptions of the mighty Katla volcano.

You can take a Katla ice caving tour from Vik or enjoy it as part of this 2-day South Coast ice cave tour from Reykjavik.

The Best Tours in Reykjavik

Reykjavik is best explored with a walking tour

Photo from Reykjavik Food Walk Tour

If you're visiting Iceland and are planning to stay within Reykjavik, you don't have to miss out on fun experiences. There are plenty of fun tours available in the capital which are sure to provide a great experience.

If you don't have a rental car in Reykjavik, you can still experience the countryside with guided day trips from the city. Many of the tour types featured on this list also offer pick-up from Reykjavik!

For the best tour experience within city limits, you should try a Reykjavik walking tour. You'll get to explore the city while learning about its history and culture, making your experience much more enjoyable! One of the best tours available is this magical 1.5-hour folklore walking tour, where you'll get to hear tales of trolls, elves, and the famous hidden people or "huldufólk."

You can also try a food and drink tour, where you can get to know Icelandic food culture. This Reykjavik food walk tour is the best option for this, as you'll get to know traditional and modern cuisine while exploring the city. Alternatively, if you want a fun start to your night before getting to know the city's famous nightlife, you can take this guided 2.5-hour Reykjavik beer and schnapps walking tour!

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

Photo from Sky Lagoon Full Access Ticket

For those in search of relaxation, you can enjoy a visit to the Sky Lagoon. It's located in the town of Kopavogur, just a 15-minute drive from the city center, and is accessible by public bus. You can also visit the Sky Lagoon with a transfer if you prefer. This luxurious geothermal lagoon features a beautiful infinity edge pool, and you can try out their special seven-step spa ritual to complete the visit.

It's quickly becoming a favorite among visitors in Iceland, so make sure to book your Sky Lagoon access ticket in advance. You can also get this more affordable Pure Lite admission ticket if you prefer to skip the spa ritual.

Alternatively, you can take a Blue Lagoon tour from Reykjavik. The famous geothermal spa is just a 50-minute drive from the city, and you can book a shuttle bus transfer from Reykjavik for optimal convenience. Remember to book your Blue Lagoon admission well ahead of time, as it's one of the most popular locations in Iceland!

Summary of the Top 10 Best Tours in Iceland

Whether you're visiting Iceland in summer or winter, you're sure to have some amazing experiences during your travels. As a country with so much to offer, taking a tour will enhance your vacation and bring you to some stunning sights. Make your trip unforgettable, and book some of the best tours available in Iceland!

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.

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