3 day South Coast Tour | Golden Circle, Jokulsarlon & Ice Cave Excursion
In this amazing 3 day winter tour we offer you the highlights of South Iceland. This area includes the Golden Circle, the South Coast of Iceland, Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon and the Skaftafell area. On top of that we maximum your chances to see the Northern lights.
We start with the Golden Circle, which includes the UNESCO site Thingvellir National Park, Geysir Geothermal area and Gullfoss Waterfall. After the Golden circle we head to the South Coast. We start with Seljalandsfoss and Skógafoss waterfalls and end at Reynisfjara black sand beach, before find our accommodation. In the evening you will have the opportunity to spot some Northern Lights.
Then we make our way east along road nr. 1, with a short stop at the coastal village of Vík. In the afternoon we meet our Glacier Guides in Skaftafell and we get ready for the glacier where we will hike and explore the glacier and an ice cave. After the glacier adventure we check in at our hotel in the heart of Skaftafell, surrounded by glaciers. In the evening we will have the second chance to try seek out the Northern Lights.
On our final day we'll check out the famous Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon and black sand beach, both filled with icebergs. After that we slowly start making our way back to Reykjavík. Check booking availability now, by choosing a date.
- Available: Oct. - Mar.
- Duration: 3 days
- Activities: Glacier Hiking, Hiking, Sightseeing, Northern lights hunting, Ice Caving
- Difficulty: Easy
- Minimum age: 10 years old
- Languages: English
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.
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.
Vatnajökull is the largest ice cap in Iceland and the third largest glacier in Europe, covering 8% of the island's landmass. Vatnajökull Glacier can be found in the south west of Iceland and is a popular spot for glacier hiking and ice caving tours.
Facts about Vatnajökull
- Surface: 8,100 km2
- Average thickness: 400 - 600 m
- Maximum thickness: 1,000 m
- Height: 1,400 - 1,800 m
- Highest peak: 2,200 m (Hvannadalshnjúkur)
Information about Vatnajökull
Vatnajökull Glacier belongs to the greater Vatnajökull National Park, which encompasses the former national parks Skaftafell, in the southwest, and Jökulsárgljúfur, in the north. Vatnajökull's highest summit is Hvannadalshnjúkur which rests on top of a stratovolcano known as Öræfajökull.
Underneath the glacier rests some of the most active volcanoes in the country, the most notable being Grímsvötn, Öræfajökull and Bárðabunga. Volcanic activity in the region has occurred on and off throughout the centuries, and many geologists believe that such a period is overdue for immediate future. If their calculations are correct, it would mean significant volcanic activity for Vatnajökull over the scope of the next half century.
The glacier boasts of over 30 outlet glaciers, which are channels of ice that flow out of ice caps but remain constrained on the sides of the valley. The major outlet glaciers of Vatnajökull include Dyngjujökull in the north, Breiðamerkurjökull and Skeiðarárjökull to the south. To the west, one can find the outlet glaciers Síðujökull, Skaftárjökull and Tungnaárjökull.
Glaciers are in constant motion underneath their weight; as they form over the centuries, the accession of snow exceeds its melting, creating a constant "push" on the ice cap. Each year, due to the melting ice water, new ice caves form that disappear come spring.
- Click here for a selection of Ice Cave tours
Numerous rivers run out of Vatnajökull, making up some of the greatest glacial rivers in Iceland:
- Tungnaá (west)
- Köldukvísl (west)
- Þjórsá (west)
- Jökulsá á Fjöllum (north)
- Skjálfandafljót (north)
- Jökulsá á Brú (north east)
- Jökulsá í Fljótsdal (north east)
- Jökulsá í Lóni (south)
- Hornafjarðarfljót (south)
- Jökulsá á Breiðamerkursandi (south)
- Skeiðará (south)
- Núpsvötn (south)
- Hverfisfljót (south)
- Skaftá (south)
Vatnajökull National Park
Vatnajökull National Park, in its current state, was established in June 2008. The park now covers an area of 14.141 km2, making it the second largest national park in Europe. Vatnajökull National Park has 14% coverage over the whole island of Iceland.
Rivers divide the highland plateau to the north of the park; an area that sees massive glacial flows in the summertime. The volcanic table mountain Herðubreið towers over this particular region, along with volcanoes Askja, Snæfell and Kverkfjöll.
The canyon Jökulsárgljúfur was carved out by glacial floods centuries ago. At the upper end of the canyon, you'll find Dettifoss, the most powerful waterfall in Europe. Further north, the horseshoe-shaped canyon Ásbyrgi is believed to have formed when Óðinn's horse, Sleipnir, stepped his foot down from the heavens.
East around Snæfell, one can find wetlands and ranges, home to roaming herds of wild reindeer and abundant birdlife. Steep mountain ridges make up the south side of Vatnajökull, where outlet glaciers crawl in between the ridges onto the lowlands. The sandy plains of Skeiðarársandur also lie to the south as they reach out to sea. The glacial river Skeiðará runs through this vast desert.
One of Iceland's most visited landmarks is the Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon, which sits at the head of outlet glacier Breiðamerkurjökull. There, large icebergs that have broken off the glacier gather to float in the lake before ending up in the Atlantic Ocean, or on the nearby Diamond Beach.
- Click here for a selection of Jökulsárlón tours
The Future of Vatnajökull
The volume of Vatnajökull reached its peak around 1930 but has since been in a steady process of decline. Because of rising levels of global temperature, approximately over the last 15 years, Vatnajökull has on average lost about a metre of its thickness annually.
If temperature levels continue to rise, the glacier could be all but gone nearing the end of the next century, leaving only small ice caps on top of the highest mountain summits.
Vatnajökull and Jökulsárlón in Popular Culture
- HBO's Game of Thrones (season 2, 2012)
- Batman Begins (2005)
- James Bond: Die Another Day (2002)
- James Bond: A View to a Kill (1985)
Skógafoss is one of the country’s biggest and most beautiful waterfalls with an astounding width of 25 meters and a drop of 60 meters. 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 21. 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 trail leads 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 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 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 (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.
The glacier volcano of Eyjafjallajokull (1651 m) is located at the borders of the South Icelandic highlands. It featured prominently in world news in 2010 when ash from its eruption halted air traffic in Europe.
An ice cap of about 100 km with several outlet glaciers covers the caldera of Eyjafjallajökull that stands at the height of 1651 meters. The diamaeter of its highest crater is around 3-4 km2 wide and the rim has several peaks.
Eyjafjallajokull glacier volcano lies north of Skogar, and to the west of Myrdalsjokull glacier and the massive volcano there; Katla.
Eyjafjallajokull is thought to be related geologically to Katla in Myrdalsjokull and eruptions in the former have often been followed by eruptions in the latter.
The 2010 eruptions
The end of 2010 saw some small seismic activity that gradually increased and resulted in a small eruption in March of 2010, characterized by a flow of alkani-olivine basalt lava.
This first stage lasted until April 12th and created the volcanic craters Magni and Modi at the Fimmvorduhals trail. They are so far Iceland's newest vocanic craters, and still eminate steam with lava glowing under the surface.
However it was the second phase of the eruption that started on April 14th that created the huge ash cloud that rose about 9 km into the skies.
This eruption halted air traffic in Europe for days, and its estimated that as many as 107.000 flights may have been cancelled during the week it lasted.
The ejected tephra measured around 250 million cubic meters. This ash cloud lasted for six days and some more localized disruption continued into May. The eruption was officially declared to be over in October 2010, as the snow on the glacier had ceased to melt.
Future volcanic developments?
Eyjafjallajokull erupted in years 920, 1612 and again 1821-1823.
Its latest eruptions were the two that occurred in 2010.
Future volcanic developments remain unclear. The area is still highly active and can be quite unpredictable. It continues, however, to be closely monitored by The Icelandic Meterological Office.
Thingvellir is one of the most important sites to visit in Iceland for its landscape, history and cultural value.
The Icelandic parliament was founded in Thingvellir in 930 and remained there for centuries.Thingvellir 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 Almannagja, which marks the eastern boundary of the north American plate and into which the beautiful waterfall Oxararfoss falls.
Other notable attractions within the park include the beautiful lake Thingvallavatn, the largest lake in Iceland, the Silfra fissure, one of the world's top dives, and Gjabakkahellir, one of Iceland's most interesting lava tubes.
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 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.
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.
The vast Eldhraun lava field (“Fire Lava“), in the south of the Icelandic highlands was created in one of the greatest eruptions in recorded history and is of the largest of its kind in the world. The Lakagigar craters were also created during this eruption.
This eruption lasted from 1783 to 1784 and is known as the Skaftareldar (The skafta River Fires). This was a cataclysmic event for Iceland and beyond. In Iceland it lead to diease, crop failure and disasters.
The eruption affected Europe as well. In Great Britain, that summer known as the Sand-Summer in Great Britain due to the fallout of ash and it is believed that the airborne haze and blocking of sunlight may have contributed to the French Revolution.
Despite the abysmal effect the eruption had, this lava field of 565 km2 is today one of the most stunningly attractive ones in Iceland.
The area features one of the most magnificent lava tube systems in the country, located north of the Lake Laufbalavatn. More than 200 caves have been found there, extending for more than five kilometers and 14 cu. meters.
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
Starting time : 08:00
Please be at your pickup location in time for your departure. Should your pickup location be at a bus stop and you need assistance finding it, seek guidance in your Hotel's reception or contact your tour provider directly.
Pick-up from your hotel in Reykjavík
Guided tour in a minibus
Hotel room with a bathroom for 2 nights and breakfast
Visit to Þingvellir, Geysir, Gullfoss, Seljalandsfoss, Skogafoss, Reynisfjara, Skaftafell, Jokulsarlon Ice Glacier Lagoon
Glacier hike with a certified glacier guide
Please note that food is NOT included on this tour, except breakfast on day 2 & 3
What to bring:
Warm outdoor clothing, a waterproof jacket and pants, headwear and gloves. Good hiking shoes are recommended. Please note that the tour does not include meals.
Good to know:
It can happen that the ice cave tour is cancelled due to drastic weather and/or safety reasons. Then we will find other activities when possible, and refund the price difference.
Please note that if you do not choose the single supplement you will be paired in a twin room with another participant of the same gender.
We reserve the right to change the order of the activities and sightseeing of the itinerary.
Day 1 - Golden Circle and South Coast
In the morning of the first day, you'll be picked up from your hotel in Reykjavík. Then we head of to the famous Golden Circle. The first stop along the way is Thingvellir national park, a UNESCO site. Our next stops are Geysir Geothermal area and Gullfoss Waterfall. After the Golden circle we head to the South Coast. We start with Seljalandsfoss and Skógafoss waterfalls and end at Reynisfjara black sand beach, before find our accommodation. In the evening you will have the opportunity to spot some Northern Lights.
Day 2 - Ice cave & Glacier Hiking
On day 2, we make our way east along road nr. 1, with a short stop at the coastal village of Vík. In the afternoon, we'll we meet our Glacier Guides in Skaftafell and we get ready for the 3 hour glacier hike where we will hike and explore the wonders of Falljökull outlet glacier and the crystal blue ice walls of an ice cave. After the glacier adventure we check in at our hotel in the heart of Skaftafell, surrounded by glaciers. In the evening we will have the second chance to try seek out the Northern Lights.
Day 3 - Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon
On day 3, on our final day we reach the famous Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon both filled with icebergs and the nearby diamond beach, which usually has icebergs from the lagoon laying on the black sands. After having explored the glacier lagoon and the beach, we slowly start making our way back to Reykjavík. We arrive back to Reykjavík early in the evening.
The guide is responsible and hard-working. We've been taken to most of the spots mentioned in the description. Accommodations are really good. But due to the poor weather there was no aurora tour and the blue ice cave was cancelled, which was a shame. We hope we can get refund for not seeing the blue ice cave.
An amazing tour. Fit so much in, and our tour guide , Gummi, was so knowledgeable, personable, and kind. It's a great itinerary and we will never forget this trip!
Extreme Iceland is very great company, 3 days tour is very great, althought we only saw the north light on the first night, but the views are very great and surpised for us, Skaftafell Glacier Hike is the best, before i think that blue ice caving is already the most beautiful, but the Hike you must need to join since it's very great, i am recommend to join this tour and you will get the best.
This trip was incredible. My guide Auni (not sure how to spell his name) was very knowledgeable and even took us to spots away from the tourists that he liked personally. The tour is very personable as you can pretty much decide how long you want to be in a location and let the guide know if there is anything else you are curious to see along the way (though I would recommend moving through the golden circle and spending more time at the less touristy areas). There were about 11 people on our tour bus (it's a small Mercedes Benz bus). On the last night, the weather was not good enough to see Northern Lights so we just grabbed a beer at the hotel with our a guide and enjoyed good company. Highly recommend this trip.
Leslee Howard Traurig
Our family of 4 did this tour. Our guide was terrific. Her name was tricky for us (Icelandic) so we called her Edith. We had a group of 20 which was larger than I had hoped for but it worked. Although I don't normally do tours, it was great to hear all the folk stories as well as the geological information about the areas we visited. Our biggest disappointment of the tour was the Ice Cave portion. There are a lot of tour companies all trying to fit into a small, confined space. We enjoyed the other stops and activities. We even got to see the Northern Lights on our last night and it was beautiful. The accommodations are basic but clean and spacious. The food /meals are expensive but that was expected. Iceland has such diverse, beautiful terrain. We are glad we went, but be forewarned- there are a lot of other visitors and tour buses. One piece of advice would be to pack waterPROOF clothing. Our water resistant clothes, including gloves, were soaked by the end of the day. Enjoy. And hopefully you will get to meet "Edith".
Thoroughly enjoyed the 3 day tour between 26th - 28th Feb. Despite the snow blizzard the guide managed to pick us up late in the afternoon and we managed to see everything as part of original tour planned. Our stay the hotels (as part of the 3 day package) was great. Guide was really considerate, resourceful and shared his knowledge of iceland. Would highly recommend and thanks to the team for all their help.
Our tour guide Ash was very knowledgable about Iceland, kept us to a good schedule so that we could see everything with plenty of time and ensured that the whole atmosphere was very relaxing. He was easy to communicate with at all times and was just generally a very pleasant guy to be around and talk to. As a group we enjoyed spending time together and tried to help each other out. The weather made the Northern Lights a bit tricky but it doesn't matter, because the rest of Iceland was incredible. It was probably the best trip I've ever been on and I would not hesitate to recommended Extreme Iceland as well as Guide to Iceland.
ALVARO A CAICEDO C
Thanks for your services, we really enjoyed the 3 days tour (8th - 10th February ) we've taken with you operated by Arctic Excursions. We want to give you a special mention to our guide Lenas who was an excellent and very professional guide. We will come back to Iceland soon and we'll use your services.
Exciting experience!! We had 8 years son in this tour. He was also excited to visiting glaciers etc. Unfortunately we could not see the northern light during the tour. However they did best effort including taking us to the seeing location on the 3rd night before returning to City center. One recommendation to improve is , it would be great if the tour could indicated the seat where each guest take. We participated in this tour with another 2 family members. Some other guest take 2 seats by putting their luggage etc. we could not have seats side by side on the 1st day.
My experience with this tours couldn't be better! Even though the weather was icelandic crazy, we went to all the places and had an amazing experience in all of them. Our tour Guide, Adolf, was the nicest - he shared cool facts about Iceland and told us some traditional stories. The hostels we stayed in were amazing and the van was comfortable and warm, which helps to handle those crazy rainy days, haha.
Fantastic tour!!! If you have limited time in Iceland, just choose this tour, it will bring you to every most beautiful scenery you should take a look in Iceland. This is the best part of our travel this time. The guide who always wear a Red hat is very helpful and humorous, thanks for him giving us a very memorable experience!
When my friends and I booked a 3 Day Golden Circle, Jokulsarlon & Ice Cave Trip with Arctic Adventures during our mid-January trip to Iceland, we weren’t sure what to expect but it turned out to be an amazing experience! We endured all kinds of crazy weather during the trip, but the tour was filled with so many genuine smiles and laughs nevertheless. We had our guide, Oliver D. to thank for everything! Oliver paced the trip wonderfully so that we didn’t encounter crowds of tourists while sightseeing (or in the background of our breathtaking pictures) or during our lunch stops. It truly felt like we did a lot in a short amount of time and all without feeling totally drained by the end of the day. Unlike other tour groups, Oliver also provided us with crampons to use for the whole trip. Those crampons came in very handy for my clumsy friends and me. We found it so easy and comfortable to walk across icy and wet steps and terrains. From the start, we could not help but admire Oliver and his efforts to make this whole journey unforgettable, enjoyable, and comfortable. Oliver alone drove and guided our tour group (of ten people). Despite the long days, he was always sociable, patient, and attentive. He made everyone feel safe during the drives especially when there was unexpected severe weather. He also helped everyone to get to know each other, which made our short time together as a tour group feel like a group of friends on a road trip rather than a group of strangers. He never rushed any of us from one spot to another and provided many photography opportunities. My group really wanted to see the Northern Lights, but the weather didn’t look too good during our time there so my group didn’t hold out much hope. Nevertheless, Oliver took the time to stop right outside of Reykjavik to try to catch some clear skies on our way back from the tour. Somehow, we were able to capture a sliver of the Northern Lights. More heartwarming and memorable than seeing the aurora borealis that night was how Oliver helped my friend with her camera settings to capture the scene and how he postponed getting home to his family and being done with this long job assignment all in order to meet everyone’s expectations of the tour. As for the tour itself, Iceland is gorgeous and it’s hard to go wrong trying to see any of its natural beauty. There are only a few hours of daylight in the winter and the weather at the time we were there (Mid-January) was mostly cloudy, but I was able to capture some truly unique and beautiful shots anyways. The only negative of the tour was that the ice cave was tiny and not as grand as I had expected, but the glacier hike and the sights outside the ice cave made up for that minor disappointment. Plus, we had some really great, knowledgeable, and entertaining guides (Marcin from Poland and Ryan from Scotland) from Glacier Guides. They really made sure every minute of our time on the glacier was filled with cool facts and tons of photo opportunities. We even experienced an icequake (possibly, according to Ryan) on our trek, which was really unique (though happened too quick for us to truly realize what was going on). Moreover, our guides weren’t at all offended if we were a bit inattentive to their informative talks because we couldn’t stop taking pictures of the beautiful sights. Due to the timing and changes of the weather, we were able to capture the stunning sunrise over the glacier, then a snowy winter wonderland, and of course, the brilliant blues of the glacial ice against the black and white of other areas of the glacier all during the hike. This whole experience was spectacular. I really appreciated everything this tour provided me. You should really go!
My friends and I had a great time in Iceland with the 3 day 2 night tour package. Our tour guide was awesome with great sense of humor, he tried to accommodate everyone's needs at all times. We had approximately 18 people in our tour group, which is relatively larger compare to some of the smaller group, but our tour guide tried his best to manage the time we had since the day light in Iceland during winter last about only 5 hours. The sites we visited in the country side were just amazing and breathe taking, you would not regret visiting Iceland for the scenery you will get to see. Unfortunately we didn't have a chance to see the Ice Cave, and the northern light night trip on day 3 was also cancelled, both due to weather as it was raining on the second day and snowing on the third day. However, they made it clear that we would get a refund on Ice Cave and a reschedule of the northern light night trip in the future. Also, you will get a chance to grab food and snacks along the way, our tour guide made sure all of us knew when to get foods ahead of time if there would be no other options for dinner besides the hotel restaurant. If you are traveling in a group of 3, you will get a queen size bed and a twin size bed to get a night of good rest. Overall, my friends and I had a great time, if you are considering visiting Iceland in the near future and not sure about driving in the ever changing winter weather condition, I recommend this tour to everyone.
This tour was amazing and our guide was fantastic! The size of our tour group was about 12 people, which is one of the great aspects of this tour. Since the groups aren't too big, the tour feels personal and you tend to get the opportunity to meet and converse with some awesome people from other countries. During our trip, the weather wasn't the best. We had icy rain 2 of the 3 days but our guide was so well planned and made sure we got to see almost everything on the itinerary. We also, thankfully, were able to do ice caving and glacier hiking, both of which are incredible experiences. Honestly, this trip was such a wonderful balance of adventurous activities and sightseeing. The countryside we travelled along was so beautiful and our guide even stopped at times on the way when we asked at spots not in the itinerary so that we could take pictures. I HIGHLY recommend this tour to anyone considering!
It was a wonderful trip. The driver was really nice and helpful. The scenery was amazing. Additionally, ice caving was really fun. It was worth trip.
Great experience！I still want to go again！
We really enjoyed the 3 day/2 night Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon, Golden Circle, Ice Cave and Glacier Walk. We were picked up promptly from our hotel. After they completed all the pickups we transferred to a small bus and headed to the Golden Circle. We were in a group of 16 people. We got to see and do so much that I am sure many people who visit Iceland miss out on. Especially the adventurous parts like the Ice Cave Tour and the Glacier Walk. We had a great 3 day trip, and they give you 3 full days, as we did not get back to our hotel until 11pm. I would definitely recommend this tour.
This is simply the best tour I've ever had and the Iceland in a nutshell (the best and the must-see in winter at least I think)! Highly recommend! The descriptions of the itinerary is very accurate, no exaggeration and no under-estimates and the tour was very well delivered by a super-experienced Guide Jon (sorry I only remembered part of his name), a very knowledgeable and responsible guide. He told us a lot about volcanoes and various Icelandic landscapes and even Icelandic traditional stories. You learn so much more from him about the country. The tour was very well designed and well organized. Ice cave and glacier hiking is super cool experience! Though we didn't get to see the northern lights but that's about the solar and weather condition and nothing to blame about the tour. Really enjoyed it and many thanks to Jon, our guide (I was in the tour Feb 27-29, 2016).
The tour was really good. Our tour guide Yung is really fun-loving and patient, and made the tour really enjoyable. This is a great tour to take if you want to cover major attractions of Southern Iceland. These people are professional and thoughtful, the first thing when we started our tour in Golden Circle, Yung handed out crampons - which from my understanding, other tours often don't offer crampons. It is so much easier to walk and avoid falling with crampons. The professional guides brought us to ice-caving and glacier hiking as well. Everything was well taken care of. Yung even drove us to Jokulsarlon for northern lights on he second night, which was really a great idea! We have also seen northern lights on the way back to Reykjavik on our third night. As I joined this tour in late February to March, the time of daylight has become longer and Yung has added a few extra stop points on top of the itinerary, which was great. Yung is also very accommodating when some of the guests want to stop on the road and take photos. The only drawback is that you only get short stops at each point, say like 45 mins to 1 hour. This is necessary as the road trip from Reykjavik to Jokulsarlon is quite long.
Excellent tour!!! I met with a great tour guide name "Wolf" who has a good command of knowledge of iceland nature and made our out-door trip full of fun. Also the people in the package tour were kind and nice. This is a exploration-oriented tour which is quite focus on the experience of nature in person. We really had a memorable 3 day trip. I have already recommended to all my families and friends and they are quite attracted by my posting on social media. Hope we can visit Iceland again in Summer!!! Thank you for the team, cheers!!!
I attended this tour in Jan 2016. This tour is a great package if you want to cover South Iceland in a reasonable time, all major attractions are included in this trip. The tour was very well planned and covered. Our tour guide was amazing, he guided us extremely well, was friendly and told several good stories about the tour and Iceland. The only drawback of this tour was that you only get limited time at major attractions due to limited day-light.
Lui Weng Chee
Despite the unpredictable weather, we managed most, but unfortunately no all, of the sites mentioned in the itinerary. But the experience was still an excellent one. The guide was very professional and took very good care of the group. Highly recommended. Already considering a visit in the summer to see the different aspects of Iceland.
The entire trip was wonderful. Our guide "Day" did a great job, especially driving on snow packed roads. Our glacier guide "Gary" was excellent. Would highly recommend the 3 day/2night tour to anyone looking for an adventure. Accommodations and food good.
Min Chi Chuang
Even though there was a blizzard during my trip, all the schedule was well- arranged! I also learnt a lot of knowledge about Iceland ! If you would like to experience something different in Iceland,join this trip,it won't let you down .
Our 3 day tour had to be split into two parts due to heavy storms period during my stay in Iceland beginning December. I had two tour guides, one who led us to golden circle on 6 dec (I forgot his name), and another one, Thor, who led us to Jokulsarlon and glacier hiking on 8-9 dec. Both were very nice and professional, with a lot of knowledge about Iceland, the horses, folk tales, and weather. The lady who took care of the itinerary during these stormy period also did her best to re-schedule the initial plans for my and all other customers. Unfortunately, I was not informed about the possibility of 2 days tour to Jokulsarlon and ice caving, so I chose the jokulsarlon and glacier hiking instead since it was the only one available to my knowledge. Only then on the D-day I realised that the tour to Jokulsarlon and ice caving also proceeded. I was not informed about that option. I found this an enormous pity since the biggest attraction to me in Iceland is the ice caving.
The tour guide is really nice. We said that we didn't see the aurora. He drive us to the field to see the northern lights. Even it is not included in our tour. The glacier is stunning. The hotel we lived is quite good. The whole tour is perfect!
Although because high wind we didn't met ice hole and northernlight, but we saw the blue ice and lots of waterfalls. The tour put safety at first, that's great! So we got a comfortable journey!
The 3 day trip was fantastic! Everything is well arranged. We were very lucky to see the sunrise, sunset and northern light during the trip. Will definitely recommend to our friends!
Very nice experience which you won't forget! Definitely will recommend it to anyone who wanna go to Iceland:)
Beautiful scenery, lovely people, marvellous tour. The tour is very well organised and exciting. We have very limited time in Iceland. This tour enable us to see Iceland from a few different angels. In addition, we are extreme lucky to be the last group to do the Ice Caving for the year, extremely worth it!!!! Iceland is a truly beautiful country. Absolutely love it, definitely wish to go back and taking some other tours, as there are is still lots to do. Also sharing a short video (combine with photo montage, which taken from our iPhone) of our Iceland trip here: https://youtu.be/Ymel9ZT7Y_I Thank you so much, GP&S
My main reason for choosing this tour was ICE CAVES. What I’ve got was DISASTER – to cave I had to crawl on my knees for 25 meters to see small cave size 4 x 5 meters with over 30 people packed at the same time! I am 190 cm tall so had my hands wounded in blood. View had nothing to do with photos you produce in your advertising leaflet. This is absolutely misleading. I have absolute right to be informed honestly at first. Northern lights – ZERO, but in this case weather should be blamed to. Black Sand Beach – Reynisfjara – we DID’NOT see it. Hotels and logistics – OK acceptable.
Very well organised trip with friendly and knowledgable guides. Thank you:)
This tour is amazing! Love the combination of waterfalls and ice cave - although the ice cave we went was a bit smaller than I expected. Also saw some wonderful northern lights on the 2nd night. Wish we had more time at the ice lagoon but weather did not permit it - had to rush back to RVK before road closed down.
this trip is great， and the ice caving is amazing！！
Haocheng Scofield Chi
it was a great experience. Very nice and warm guide. Thoughtful equipment for us. It's a very safe and cheap way to enjoy your trip in Iceland.
Best tour I have ever done in my life. The ice cave is just incredible, and the guide Hawk was very knowledgeable about the area and told us some great stories on the way. If you can only see one place in Iceland this should be it. Don´t miss this tour, which also takes you to some incredible waterfalls in the south. Until next time, adios!
We went on this guided tour to see the ice cave. It was the most beautiful place I have been to. 5 stars for this tour.
Tim Tianpai Li
I used Guide to Iceland to book my 3 days tour to Southern Iceland and it went really well! I recommend everyone to use it while visiting Iceland. 我在Guide to Iceland网站上订了冰岛南部三日游，很流畅预订体验！极力推荐来冰岛的各位童鞋使用～