Fantastic 8-Day Guided Ring Road Tour with Glacier Hiking and Whale Watching from Reykjavik

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Description

Summary

Tour starts
Reykjavík, Iceland
Starting time
at 14:00
Duration
8 days
Ending place
Reykjavík, Iceland
Languages
English
Difficulty
Easy
Available
Sept. - Apr.
Minimum age
8 years old

Description

Explore Iceland’s Ring Road in winter, focusing on finding the northern lights, by booking this incredible eight-day guided excursion. Those eager to see every region of Iceland, embark on a range of adventures, and marvel over the aurora borealis should book this small-group tour now.

You’ll start your tour from Iceland’s capital city, Reykjavik. You’ll meet your guide here, who will be your number one source of information during your adventure. 

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

On your trip, you’ll see hot springs, glaciers, beaches, waterfalls, and more, from the Golden Circle to the South Coast. You’ll also have the chance to explore the best attractions of the Eastfjords and the Diamond Circle in North Iceland. 

From the capital city, you’ll first explore some of the nearest attractions in Southwest Iceland, such as the Geysir Geothermal Area, the Thingvellir National Park, and the Gullfoss waterfall. From West Iceland, you’ll continue exploring the country through the South Coast and enjoy its attractions, including its gem, the Reynisfjara black sand beach. 

After exploring the country’s South Coast, prepare for the cold environment of South East Iceland. You’ll get to explore the Skaftafell Nature Reserve and Jokulsarlon glacier lagoon. You’ll also get to embark on a glacier hike while exploring Skaftafell. 

After some glacier hiking, you’ll traverse the Eastfjords. At the Eastfjords, you’ll marvel over its incredible bays, seek out its wildlife, and hike to some of its spectacular waterfalls. The Eastfjords is a stretch of coastline that runs from Berufjordur to the Borgarfjordur Eystri. 

In North Iceland, you’ll get to tour the Diamond Circle sightseeing route and visit popular attractions such as the Dettifoss waterfall. You’ll also have the opportunity to go whale watching at Dalvik, near the long fjord of Eyjafjordur.

After circling the country, you’ll return to West Iceland and its capital city, Reykjavik. 

This eight-day package includes a two-day exploration of Reykjavik, allowing you to make the most of the wonders of the capital. Thus, you can enjoy Iceland’s natural beauty and culture.

On top of all these, your guide will also take you on northern lights hunting tours every other night of your trip if conditions are promising. In fact, on the first night in Reykjavik, you’ll set out on a northern lights cruise from the harbor in hopes of seeing the aurora borealis. You’ll also stay in countryside hotels for five nights, increasing your chances of seeing the enchanting lights. 

Throughout your eight-day journey, you’ll travel in a spacious, comfortable minibus that boasts free Wi-Fi. The size of your vehicle also guarantees a smaller group. Your guide will be a friendly local expert, trained to keep you safe and entertained.

Don’t miss this immersive eight-day experience encircling Iceland’s ring road, setting out on thrilling tours and hunting for the aurora borealis each night. Check availability now by choosing a date.

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Included

Guided ring road tour
Seven nights of accommodation
Breakfast (excluding day one)
Northern lights cruise
Glacier hiking tour
Whale watching tour
English-speaking guide
Space for one small day bag and one larger bag (up to 44 lbs/20 kgs)

Activities

Glacier Hiking
Whale Watching
Sightseeing
Northern lights hunting

Daily itinerary

Day 1
Reykjavik is stunning by night.

Day 1 - Reykjavik and Northern Lights Cruise

On day one of your eight-day northern lights holiday in Iceland, you’ll have a free day in Reykjavik until your aurora hunting cruise begins. The capital city has a wealth of attractions catering to a whole range of guests. Also, it’s your chance to learn more about the country’s cultural attractions before exploring its vast nature.

If you are interested in architecture, don’t forget to visit the mighty Hallgrimskirkja church and the beautiful Harpa concert hall. If your interest is in history and culture, you’ll find a wealth of museums and galleries in the city. Those who wish to relax can discover spas and pools, while those eager to shop are sure to enjoy the Laugavegur shopping street.

For travelers who want to immerse themselves immediately into the country’s nature, they can do so at places such as the Seltjarnarnes Nature Reserve, the forest of Oskjuhlid, and the beach of Nautholsvik.

On your first northern light hunting night, you will head to the picturesque central harbor to board your comfortable aurora-chasing vessel. This vessel is well-equipped and boasts indoor areas, outdoor viewing sites, and a cafe.

Once the time comes, you’ll set out into the waters of Faxafloi bay and start the hunt. Hopefully, you’ll be able to start your holiday with an incredible viewing. If your group couldn’t see one, don’t worry, as you’ll have more nights and chances to see them.

Watching the northern lights descend from a dark canopy of stars is mesmerizing no matter where you are in Iceland. It’s not surprising since the country has a lot of beautiful attractions that look magical. However, it’s a more extraordinary experience viewing them from the ocean.

Once you return to the capital, you’ll be free to head out for a drink or can else return to your hotel for the night.

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Day 2
Seljalandsfoss pours from a cliff on a winter day.

Day 2 - Golden Circle and South Coast

On the second day of your eight-day winter holiday around the country, you'll enjoy breakfast at your hotel before your guide picks you up and escorts you on your first adventure. You'll start by heading around the Golden Circle sightseeing route before starting a journey along the South Coast to your next accommodation.

The Golden Circle comprises three unique attractions, the Thingvellir National Park, the Geysir Geothermal Area, and the Gullfoss waterfall.

The Thingvellir National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a geological marvel between two tectonic plates. It has a millennium of fascinating history and is the place where Althing, one of the oldest parliamentary in the world, is established. When it comes to its nature, it boasts forests, waterways, volcanoes, and lava fields.

The Geysir Geothermal Area is a stretch of hot springs, fumaroles, and geysers. Among its geysers, Strokkur is the most famous and active. You can watch it blast a column of boiling water high in the sky several times.

After marveling at Geysir, you'll then travel to the Gullfoss waterfall. This breathtaking feature cascades in two enormous steps into a spectacular valley, throwing off blooms of spray that cakes the surrounding rocks in ice in midwinter.

After touring these three sites, you'll head towards the South Coast. You'll have time to enjoy its attractions, such as the Seljalandsfoss and Skogafoss waterfalls and the Reynisfjara black sand beach.

The two waterfalls are almost the same height at around 200 feet (60 meters), but each has its unique charm. Seljalandsfoss is gentle and has a vast cavern. Meanwhile, Skogafoss is immensely powerful, forming a testament to Iceland's nature.

Another place you'll visit on the South Coast is Reynisfjara beach, known for its incredible offshore sea stacks, hexagonal basalt columns, and dramatic waves.

As the sky darkens, you'll begin to search for the northern lights if the sky is clear. After a hopefully fantastic viewing, you'll head to your comfortable South Coast accommodation for the night.

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Day 3
Jokulsarlon is a mesmerising glacier lagoon.

Day 3 - Skaftafell Glacier Hike and Jokulsarlon

After finishing your breakfast on day three of your adventure around Iceland, you will complete the South Coast sightseeing route by visiting the fantastic sites of Vatnajokull National Park.

The park covers around 14% of the country's territory and is the location of the majestic Vatnajokull ice cap. It's also the home of the Skaftafell Nature Reserve and the Jokulsarlon glacier lagoon, two of the most inspiring spots in the country.

Skaftafell is surrounded by amazing attractions, including ice caps, rivers, black sands, and lava fields. The trekking and photography opportunities offered here are unlike anything in the country, as there are countless hidden gems in the area.

While exploring this magical place, you will embark on a three-hour glacier hiking adventure. Your guide will supply the equipment and keep you safe as you marvel over walls of snow, gurgling crevasses, formations in the ice, and unbeatable views from the slopes. Your pace will be gentle, allowing you to enjoy the experience without losing your breath.

After your experience in Skaftafell, you'll continue along the ring road to Jokulsarlon. This lake is one of Iceland's most iconic attractions due to its thousands of gigantic icebergs. They clutter the waters as they slowly break apart on their journey toward the ocean. You'll have plenty of time to admire them before taking the short walk to Diamond Beach.

Diamond Beach got its name from the icebergs of Jokulsarlon that washed up on its black sands. As a result, they look like jewels, glistening on the sand, resulting in a mesmerizing spot in this part of the country. Ensure your camera is handy to capture the uniqueness and beauty of Diamond Beach.

While at Jokulsarlon and Diamond Beach, keep a keen eye for seals resting on the ice. If the conditions are right, you'll also stay here to marvel over the northern lights.

After a tiring but fulfilling day, you'll head to your accommodation near the town of Hofn.

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Day 4
Litlanesfoss is a beautiful waterfall, found in East Iceland.

Day 4 - Eastfjords

Day four of your winter adventure around Iceland will have you explore the mesmerizing Eastfjords. This region of Iceland is sparsely populated and not always visited, so it provides some of the world’s most beautiful untouched landscapes and breathtaking seascapes.

As you travel the Eastfjords, you’ll visit several viewing and photography points for some unforgettable panoramas and pictures. Thus, be ready with your camera and get amazing shots you can check after the tour. You should also keep an eye out for seals and reindeer as you travel, as they are abundant in this region.

Your first significant destination on day four is Djupivogur, a beautiful fishing village on the east coast. You’ll get to enjoy the slow-paced way of life in this settlement allowing you to relax in the middle of your trip. The village is also known for its “Eggs of Merry Bay,” a series of egg replicas showing the 34 types of birds nesting on its coast.

After a relaxing stroll in the village, you’ll then pass the mystical lake of Lagarfljot, and the largest forest in the country, Hallormsstadhaskogur. Lagarfljot is narrow and, according to the local stories, home to the Lagarfljot Wyrm, a cousin of the Loch Ness monster. Meanwhile, Hallormsstadhaskogur is the country’s largest forest, home to beautiful trails, wildlife, and trees.

Your next stop is a three-hour hiking path to two waterfalls, Hengifoss and Litlanesfoss. The former is the third tallest waterfall in the country at around 367 feet (111 meters), tumbling from a cliff with basalt and red clay. Meanwhile, Litlanesfoss is 98 feet (30 meters) tall and falls down a basalt cliff.

After your hike, you’ll then head towards your accommodation in Egilsstadir. Keep an eye on the skies, as you have an excellent chance to see the aurora borealis in the usually clearer skies of the east.

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Day 5
Dettifoss thunders into an ancient valley.

Day 5 - Diamond Circle

On day five of your eight-day trip around Iceland, you will head to the sites of North Iceland. The attractions you will see are on the Diamond Circle sightseeing route, the most popular trail in the region.

Your first stop is at the Dettifoss waterfall, which is 150 feet (45 meters) tall. This wonder is said to be the most powerful waterfall in Europe, with a flow of around 6,186 cubic feet (175 cubic meters) per second. It cascades into the Jokulsargljufur canyon, which holds other powerful waterfalls aside from Dettifoss.

Next, you will travel to the Lake Myvatn area, a place renowned for its lake and the many beautiful islands surrounding it. Myvatn is located in an active geothermal area, which resulted in its hot springs and bizarre landscapes, including the Skutustadagigar pseudocraters, the Dimmuborgir lava field, and its dramatic lava fortress. Moreover, if you want to see hissing fumaroles and steaming events, you can check the Namaskard Pass.

Myvatn has a lot of amazing places to explore, but its most famous site is the Myvatn Nature Baths. The Baths are home to geothermal pools and steam baths that can help revitalize your energy. As part of your tour’s booking process, you’ll be asked if you want to get admission to the Baths or not.

Godafoss, a 39 feet (12 meters) waterfall, is next on your schedule. Godafoss is part of the Skjalfandafljot river, one of the largest rivers in Iceland. Aside from its beauty, the waterfall has an interesting name, which means “waterfall of the gods,” and a fascinating history linked to it.

According to local stories, Godafoss played a huge role when the country transitioned from worshiping its old Gods to Christianity. It is said that a local leader threw all his idols on the waterfall, symbolizing the transition.

As the sky turns dark, you’ll have another chance to hunt for the northern lights before continuing your journey towards your hotel in Akureyri.

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Day 6
A humpback whale leaps from the waters in Iceland.

Day 6 - Whale Watching and North Iceland

After breakfast on day six of your trip around Iceland, you will depart Akureyri and drive up the breathtaking fjord of Eyjafjordur to the village of Dalvik. This beautiful settlement is small, with only around 1,400 people living there. However, it is known as one of the best whale-watching ports globally, and an adventure is included in this package.

On your whale-watching adventure, you are almost guaranteed to see creatures such as white-beaked dolphins, harbor porpoises, and even great whales such as humpbacks. Though these larger creatures are rarer in winter when most migrate, you are more likely to see rare animals such as orcas and belugas in this season.

After seeing the whales, enjoy Dalvik’s picturesque setting, surrounded by vast mountains.

After a fantastic whale adventure, you’ll return to the road to explore some of the more remote attractions of North Iceland, away from the tourist crowds.

First, you’ll head to Siglufjordur, a magnificent village with a rich culture, history, and splendid harbor. The village had a prosperous seafaring industry and was one of the biggest herring ports in the country. A museum in the village called the Herring Era Museum showcases this role.

After you explore Siglufjordur, you will then tour the Trollaskagi Peninsula. This part of the country is renowned for its stunning coastline, dramatic mountains, and abundance of Icelandic horses. If possible, your guide will stop and allow you to greet them, as they are renowned for their friendly personalities.

You’ll end your day on the cusp of west Iceland in the beautiful, rural area of Laugarbakki. The Laugarbakki village is a wonderful place to rest because of its geothermal nature. In fact, this feature helps heat the village’s houses.

While at the village, look out for the northern lights before retiring to your hotel.

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Day 7
Hraunfossar pours through a lava field.

Day 7 - West Iceland

On the penultimate day of your northern lights trip around Iceland, you will have the opportunity to explore the magical sites of West Iceland. After breakfast, you’ll head to the spectacular crater of Grabrok and hike up its rocky slopes for some incredible panoramas. The crater has been around for more than 3,000 years ago and is the largest crater among three located in the same volcanic fissure.

After your hike and sightseeing activities in Grabrok, you’ll then head to Deildartunguhver geothermal area. Deildartunguhver is the highest-flowing hot spring in Europe. Its boiling waters make for a unique natural attraction, and these waters heat homes as far away as Reykjavik.

From Deildartunguhver, you will visit two waterfalls, Hraunfossar and Barnafoss, which are just a minute’s walk from each other.

Hraunfossar is a series of waterfalls known for its peacefulness and gentleness, aconsiderablee contrast to its neighbor’s stark power and dark history. Barnafoss is a rapid waterfall associated with a dark folklore story about lives lost and witchcraft. According to local folklore, siblings who forgot to heed their parents’ words fell to their deaths here.

During your visit to these two impressive waterfalls, don’t forget to take amazing pictures of them.

After photographing these features, you’ll continue to the quaint village of Reykholt. This small village is packed with rich culture and history and is home to one of Iceland’s most famous polymaths, Snorri Sturluson. Sturluson is a historian, a writer, a law speaker, and also a chieftain.

Sturluson’s name may not be as well-known outside of the Nordic world, but he’s a crucial figure in shaping European history as we know it today. You may have heard some of his famous writings, such as the Hemskringla and the Prose Edda.

After a history lesson and some sightseeing, you’ll return to the capital city of Reykjavik. You’ll take the long route around the beautiful fjord of Hvalfjordur. You’ll also go on a final hunt for the northern lights before being dropped off at your hotel.

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Day 8
Harpa is a magnificent feat of Icelandic architecture.

Day 8 - Free Reykjavik Day

Your day eight at Iceland consists of taking some rest before your flight back home or another adventure.

After breakfast at your Reykjavik hotel on day eight, your incredible package around Iceland is complete. If you have planned to head home today, you'll make your way to Keflavik International Airport in good time for your flight.

Otherwise, you can continue your holiday with a fantastic day in this vibrant capital until it's time to depart. You can see the landmarks of the city, and its nearby natural areas, or explore the Reykjanes Peninsula in depth.

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What to bring

Warm, waterproof clothing with layers
Sturdy hiking boots
Camera

Good to know

- Seeing the northern lights cannot be guaranteed as these are natural phenomena. Fortunately, this tour was designed to maximize your chances as Iceland is one of the best places to see the aurora borealis.

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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