Small-Group 3-Day Golden Circle and South Coast Tour with Glacier Hiking and Ice Caving

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Description

Summary

Tour starts
Reykjavík, Iceland
Starting time
at 09:00
Duration
3 days
Ending place
Reykjavík, Iceland
Languages
English
Difficulty
Easy
Available
All year
Minimum age
8 years old

Description

Visit an ice cave and discover the most popular attractions in Iceland on this three-day small-group tour of the Golden Circle and South Coast, with glacier hiking and ice caving included. Travelers who want to see diverse landscapes, including the Jokulsarlon glacier lagoon, should book this best-value tour today. 

Your spectacular trip in Iceland starts with a convenient pick-up near your Reykjavik hotel. You'll meet your friendly tour guide, who will provide you with all the information and assistance you need for the next three days.

After boarding a comfortable minibus with free Wi-Fi, you'll visit the top attractions of Iceland. You'll spend two nights in two countryside hotels offering complimentary breakfast meals the following day.

Guests can bring one small day bag and a larger bag up to 44 lbs (20 kg).

Staying in rural Iceland in winter provides plenty of opportunities to see the northern lights, while summer travelers can enjoy the light of the midnight sun.

Day one takes you from the capital to the most famous travel route in the country, the Golden Circle. 

The three sites of this journey, Thingvellir National Park, Geysir geothermal area, and the Gullfoss waterfall, offer a striking look at the geological forces at work in Iceland. You can find the rift that separates the two tectonic plates of Europe and America at Thingvellir, and the dramatic geyser eruption in the Geysir area is a sight to behold.

The next stop is the mighty and beautiful Gullfoss, meaning the Golden waterfall.

After these sites, the minibus will bring you along the South Coast to your hotel in southeast Iceland.

Day two's highlight, however, is a thrilling adventure into the Vatnajokull National Park, home to the largest glacier in Europe. Enjoy the experience of seeing icebergs floating in the Jokulsarlon glacier lagoon and resting on the neighboring Diamond Beach.

You'll also embark on a glacier hiking and ice-caving adventure today, though the destination will change depending on the time of year you visit.

Between May and September, you'll head to the glacier over Katla volcano for a two-hour exploration. For the rest of the year, you'll cross a glacier of the Skaftafell Nature Reserve to a crystal blue ice cave.

The last day of your three-day tour will allow you to explore the South Coast in depth. Fjadrargljufur canyon, the Eldhraun lava field, the Reynisfjara black sand beach, and the waterfalls of Skogafoss and Seljalandsfoss are all on the agenda.

After this once-in-a-lifetime experience, you'll make your way back to Reykjavik. 

Hike atop a mighty glacier, explore an ice cave, and see the most diverse landscapes in Iceland on this three-day tour of the South Coast and Golden Circle. Check availability now by choosing a date.

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Included

Reykjavík pick up & drop off service
Guided tour in a minibus
Accommodation for 2 nights with breakfast
Glacier hike with a certified glacier guide
Glacier and ice caving equipment
Certified English-speaking guide for sightseeing and glacier hike tour
Small group tour
Space for one small day bag and one larger bag (up to 44 lbs/20 kgs)

Activities

Glacier Hiking
Hiking
Sightseeing
Ice Caving

Daily itinerary

Day 1
The hot spring, Strokkur, captured mid eruption in Haukadalur valley.

Day 1 - The Golden Circle and Waterfalls of the South Coast

Your three-day tour in Iceland starts with comfort and convenience as you get picked up by a minibus from your chosen location in Reykjavik, the capital of Iceland.

The journey will take you east of the capital city to visit the top attractions of the Golden Circle. You’ll spend most of the day venturing into the travel route’s 190-mile (300-kilometer) loop.

First is the Thingvellir National Park, a place of geological and historical importance to Icelanders. The rift that separates the Eurasian and North American tectonic plates is visible in this area, one of the reasons why Thingvellir is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The national park was also the original home of Iceland's ongoing parliament, founded in 930 AD.

Next, you will head to the attraction that gave all geysers their name, the Great Geysir. At the Geysir geothermal area, expect a thrilling show by Strokkur geyser as it erupts boiling water 66 feet (20 meters) into the air every five to 10 minutes.

The last attraction on the Golden Circle is the most famous waterfall in Iceland, the Gullfoss waterfall. This Icelandic waterfall is part of the mighty Hvita river and cascades beautifully at 105 feet (32 meters) in two stages. If you visit on a sunny day, you can see rainbows in the spray of Gullfoss.

From the Golden Circle, the minibus will escort you along the South Coast to your hotel. En route, you can marvel over beautiful attractions such as the Seljalandsfoss and Skogafoss waterfalls and the black sand beach of Reynisfjara.

You'll better explore these sites on day three, however, when you have more time.

You'll then reach your accommodation in the village of Kirkjubaejarklaustur. 

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Day 2
The strange and surreal patterns of an ice cave's interior truly defy the imagination.

Day 2 - Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon, Glacier Hiking, & Ice Caving

Day two of your small-group trip to Iceland will let you venture into the crown jewels of the Vatnajokull National Park, particularly the Jokulsarlon lagoon and the Diamond Beach. You will also have an ice-caving experience to cap off a wonderful day in and around the Vatnajokull glacier.

Before traveling to the largest ice cap in Europe, your group will enjoy a tasty breakfast from your hotel.

As you travel eastward, you’ll reach the Vatnajokull National Park, where you’ll spend most of the day.

Jokulsarlon glacier lagoon is one of the most stunning views you’ll see anywhere in the world. Thousands of floating icebergs scatter throughout the lagoon, with varying sizes, shapes, and colors. Jokulsarlon lagoon continuously expands yearly due to the meltwater from the nearby Breidamerkurjokull glacier.

While some of these ice chunks float into the Atlantic Ocean, most end up on the adjacent Diamond Beach. While in the area, don’t miss the opportunity to take photos of the contrasting image of ice crystals melting on the black sands.

After a mesmerizing experience, it is time for your adventure. During winter, you will head into the Skaftafell Nature Reserve for a glacier hike and visit a crystal blue ice cave. In summer, you'll visit an alternate ice cave on the glacier covering the Katla volcano.

Skaftafell was once its own national park before it became a major part of the Vatnajokull National Park. Sheltered by enormous ice caps and filled with diverse scenery, you'll love the views as you drive to the bottom of a glacier.

Here, your guide will dress you in all the gear needed for a safe and exciting ascent. Once you begin to walk up the slopes, you'll witness spectacular ice formations, otherworldly terrain, and beautiful views. Your guide will also tell you about these features and answer any questions you have.

At the end of your trail, you'll come to a magical crystal-blue ice cave. These can only be accessed in winter and provide you with a fairytale experience once you enter and explore the shimmering corridors and chambers.

If you are taking this tour in summer, you'll head to one of Iceland's most active volcanoes instead, Katla. This peak is covered by Myrdalsjokull glacier, which is also home to ice caves. Though less colorful than those seen in Skaftafell, they are still breathtaking and provide a fantastic glacier hiking and ice-caving experience.

The day ends at a hotel in southeast Iceland.

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Day 3
Thanks to their natural beauty, the South Coast's glacial lagoons are often considered 'the gold at the end of the rainbow.'

Day 3 - South Coast to Reykjavik

After breakfast at your hotel on day three, you'll make your way back to Reykjavik, exploring the many other sites of South Iceland as you travel.

Those taking this tour during summer will start at Fargljufur canyon. This breathtaking attraction has vivid blue rivers, beautiful greenery, and dramatic geology.

Otherwise, you'll head to Eldhraun, one of the world's lava fields created in an enormous eruption.

Next, you'll visit Reynisfjara beach, arguably the most popular black sand beach in Iceland. Thanks to its jet-black volcanic sands and surrounding basaltic cliffs, Reynisfjara draws thousands of tourists annually, even if you can't swim in the area due to the mighty waves of the Atlantic.

The final highlights today are the Skogafoss and Seljalandsfoss waterfalls, equally towering at 200 feet (60 meters) but offering different viewing experiences. Skogafoss has a traditional shape but a powerful flow, and you can walk behind the unique Seljalandsfoss to see its gentle cascade from behind.

Of course, you'll make plenty of stops for refreshments and extra photos. As the sky grows dark towards the end of your journey (if traveling in winter), you and your guide can keep an eye out the windows should the northern lights bless you with an appearance.

Your guide will drop you off at your meeting point in Reykjavik at the end of the day.

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What to bring

Warm and waterproof clothing with layers (suitable for wet and freezing conditions)
Winter gloves, hat, and scarf
Sturdy hiking boots (can be rented upon booking)
Camera

Good to know

-Some attractions on the tour are subject to road and weather conditions.

-Itinerary for the winter tour is slightly different from the summer tour. Ice caving in winter is usually at the crystal ice cave or an alternative nearby cave, but it is only possible to visit the Katla Ice Cave during summer.

-Solo travelers will be roomed with another traveler of the same gender. But a single supplement is also available.

-Each traveler is allocated a small backpack and one piece of luggage weighing up to 44 lbs (20 kgs). Extra baggage can be stored in the tour operator's Reykjavik office for a minimal fee.

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