Incredible 3-Day Golden Circle & South Coast Guided Tour with Northern Lights from Reykjavik
Visit some of the most sought-after attractions in Iceland on this small-group guided tour of the South Coast and Golden Circle. This tour circuit is perfect for adventurous individuals seeking to experience ice caving and those longing to see the northern lights.
You will start your epic multi-day tour in Reykjavik, Iceland’s scenic capital city. Your experienced English-speaking guide will meet you near your accommodation and help you aboard a comfortable minibus with free Wi-Fi.
Over three days, you’ll visit some of the most incredible landscapes in the world, from the Gullfoss waterfall to the Jokulsarlon glacier lagoon. Every night of this excursion, you’ll get the rare opportunity to seek the aurora borealis before calling it a day in a relaxing hotel with a private bathroom and complimentary breakfast.
You will kick off your trip on a high note with the Golden Circle tour, Iceland’s most famous tourist trail, featuring three famous attractions.
At Thingvellir National Park, 29 miles (47 kilometers) from Reykjavik, you will witness an awe-inspiring cliff face where the North American plate meets the Eurasian plate. The valley between the two is breathtaking.
The Geysir geothermal area and Gullfoss waterfall are two more incredible attractions you will visit in the Golden Circle. The Geysir geothermal area is home to the thrilling geyser, Strokkur, which shoots up hot water to as high as 82 feet (25 meters). Meanwhile, Gullfoss is a majestic waterfall known for its massive spray and mist that often create rainbows on a sunny day.
On day two, you will have the golden opportunity for a back-to-back small-group exploration of the Jokulsarlon glacier lagoon and Skaftafell glacier.
The Jokulsarlon glacier lagoon presents a vivid display of icebergs in varying sizes, floating aimlessly yet beautifully on the pristine water.
You’ll have exciting glacier hiking and ice caving activities atop the Skaftafell glacier while seeing the unique terrain of Iceland’s South Coast.
On the last day of the tour, you will return to Reykjavik but with notable detours along the way. You’ll have the opportunity to enjoy the Fjadrargljufur canyon, the beautiful lava fields of Eldhraun, the iconic Reynisfjara black sand beach, and the breathtaking Skogafoss waterfall.
The trip ends when the minibus pulls up to your hotel or desired drop-off location back in Reykjavik.
The nights of this multi-day tour are spent in remote locations, so you’ll get a better chance to marvel at the northern lights. Although not guaranteed, Iceland is one of the best places to see the aurora borealis in wintertime.
Get the most of Iceland’s incredible tourist destinations when you join this exploration of the Golden Circle and the South Coast in winter. Make your experience more thrilling as you see these sites while glacier hiking, ice caving, and northern lights hunting. Check availability now by choosing a date.
Day 1 - The Golden Circle
The first day of your incredible journey begins as you get picked up by a minibus from a point by your hotel in Reykjavik.
The trip will take you east of the capital, where you’ll spend an entire day roaming around the main attractions of the world-famous Golden Circle. This tourist route, which loops for 186 miles (300 kilometers), is an excellent introduction to Iceland’s diverse landscapes.
Thingvellir National Park is the first stop that you’ll have on this three-day excursion. What better place to know about Iceland’s history than the location of its first parliament. For its cultural and historical importance to Iceland, it earned a UNESCO World Heritage Site honor in 2004.
Apart from its rich history, the place is also home to various geological wonders. The tectonic activity of the Earth’s crust can be witnessed where the Mid-Atlantic ridge is exposed. You can see it firsthand while marveling at its sprawling greenery in the valley between the plates.
Just 37 miles (67 kilometers) away from the park is the Geysir geothermal area. Geysir is the perfect place for you to see an active geological event. Here, you will be amazed by the cinematic action of the Strokkur geyser shooting boiling water toward the sky every ten minutes.
The next stop is at the magnificent Gullfoss waterfall. The cold waters of the Hvita river cascade dramatically on the cliffside from 105 feet (32 meters). This display of the Gullfoss waterfall creates cold mists that often bear rainbows on a sunny day.
Once you get near the waterfall, prepare to get wet a little but fret not, as it’s part of the unforgettable experience.
As the tour goes southward, you’ll visit one more Icelandic attraction called Seljalandsfoss waterfall. You can view this waterfall from all directions if the ground isn't frozen because of the walkable path around it.
The day ends as you retreat to a cozy hotel near the village of Kirkjubaejarklaustur. You might even see the northern lights from here if the conditions are right.
Day 2 - Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon and Ice Caving
Before starting the second day of your small-group tour around Iceland’s South Coast, you will be treated to a delightful meal courtesy of the hotel.
You will head further east to visit Iceland’s most famous glacier lagoon. With a depth of 824 feet (248 meters), the Jokulsarlon glacier lagoon is also the Nordic country’s deepest lake.
Breathtaking is an understatement when describing the lagoon. It is one of the few places on Earth where you can see varying sizes of icebergs floating toward the ocean. These chunks of ice and meltwater came from the Breidamerkurjokull glacier, an outlet glacier of the Vatnajokull icecap.
Most of these icebergs end up on the adjacent Diamond Beach, where you’ll see them glitter like crystals against the black sands.
The next spot you’ll explore is the mighty Vatnajokull glacier, the second-largest icecap in Europe. At the Skaftafell outlet glacier, a thrilling glacier hiking experience is possible.
On this adventure, you'll enjoy beautiful views and fascinating formations. Your guide will also tell you about how these incredible features can be.
Soon after, you’ll be taken to another beautiful natural attraction for an incredible ice-caving tour. If you’re joining the summer tour, Katla ice cave is the only natural cave site that can be fully explored. But during winter, there are more natural ice caves to see.
While inside an ice cave, prepare to marvel at the blue ice walls and crystals that will surround you. No ice cave is ever the same anywhere in the world, so you’re assured of a unique experience for the last activity of the tour’s second day.
The night presents another opportunity to see the aurora borealis before you rest for the day in the same cozy hotel. Away from the city lights, spotting these enchanting lights is easier.
Day 3 - Iceland's South Coast
The third day of the excursion is when you’ll return to Reykjavik. But before heading back to the capital, there are more stops to make on the charming South Coast.
After having a sumptuous breakfast in your hotel, the tour will have a quick stop in the serpent-shaped Fjadrargljufur canyon. If the weather permits, you’ll be able to explore and take some great photos here, overlooking the canyon’s 328 feet (100 meters) depth teeming with lush vegetation.
Close to the canyon is the epic lava field of Eldhraun. The historic Skaftareldar volcanic eruption created this ‘Fire Lava’ and spans 218 square miles (565 square kilometers). Today, the area offers a stunning view of rugged terrain covered in green moss.
A trip to the South Coast wouldn’t be complete without stopping at the iconic volcanic sands of the Reynisfjara black sand beach. The panoramic view of massive Atlantic waves hitting the black sands and basalt stacks is particularly exceptional.
If you’re lucky enough, you might spot nesting seabirds in the area, such as guillemots and fulmars. While enjoying these views, your friendly tour guide will tell local folklore stories about the basalt column and the nearby Reynisdrangar rock formations.
The final stop in your three-day Golden Circle and South Coast guided tour is at the spectacular Skogafoss waterfall. It’s one of the most visited attractions on Iceland’s ring road.
The viewing deck on top of the waterfall lets you see a suspenseful look at its drop of 197 feet (60 meters). Due to the massive spray the Skogafoss waterfall creates, it is possible to see a rainbow above it.
To cap off your incredible tour on the South Coast, take some great photos on the flat ground below the waterfall. It’s a perfect spot to capture Iceland’s beauty.
The great adventure ends as you reach Reykjavik aboard the minibus early in the evening.
What to bring
Good to know
-Minimum age for tour participants is eight years.
-Each traveler is allocated a small backpack and one piece of luggage weighing up to 20 kilograms. Extra baggage can be stored in the tour operator's Reykjavik office for a minimal fee.
-Seeing the northern lights isn't guaranteed but Iceland is one of the best places to see one.
-Itinerary for the winter tour is slightly different from the summer tour. For the summer tour, ice caving is only possible at the Katla Ice Cave.
-Solo travelers will be roomed with another traveler of the same gender. But a single supplement is also available.