Small-Group 3-Day South Coast and Golden Circle Tour with Glacier Hiking & Ice Caving
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 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 explore two more waterfalls, the Skogafoss and Seljalandsfoss waterfalls. These attractions are breathtaking up close.
Skogafoss is incredibly powerful, and Seljalandsfoss has a cave you can walk behind.
Day two of your guided excursion in Iceland brings you to the Reynisfjara black sand beach, known for its volcanic black sands and basalt columns by the Atlantic Ocean.
The day'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.
Not far from these attractions is a breathtaking crystal blue ice cave, which you will have the rare opportunity to explore. You'll have ample time to photograph the cave while learning about how it forms from your guide.
If you are taking this tour outside of midwinter, you'll instead visit the Katla ice cave. While less blue, this feature sits on top of an active volcano!
The last day of your three-day tour will let you gear up with crampons to experience one of the most popular activities in the land of fire and ice, glacier hiking.
There are few places more exciting than the frozen wilderness of Svinafellsjokull glacier. Ice ridges, moulins, and otherworldly geological formations await your small party atop this ice cap.
If it's your first-time glacier hiking, don't worry, as the hike is easy, and the guide will assist you.
After this once-in-a-lifetime experience, you'll make your way back to Reykjavik. To cap off a fantastic adventure, you will have several more stops on the South Coast.
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.
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 take you to the South Coast to visit the region’s most beautiful tourist spots.
The area’s 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.
The final stop for the day is the scenic coastal village of Vik, where you’ll rest for the night at a cozy accommodation.
Day 2 - Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon and 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. You will also have time to explore the village of Vik, particularly the nearby shore famous for its black sands.
Reynisfjara beach is 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.
As you travel eastward, you’ll finally 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.
From here, the guide will bring you deeper into the glacier for the much-awaited ice-caving tour. The particular cave you’ll be visiting will depend on the season you’re touring and the weather conditions of the day.
Fortunately, whichever cave you explore, you can expect to have a great time seeing ice walls with breathtaking formations and colors.
The crystal blue ice caves you can visit in winter are incredibly rare, only forming in Iceland's coldest months, making this a particularly special experience. Meanwhile, the Katla ice cave is found on one of the country's most active and historically significant volcanoes.
The day ends as you retire to a charming country hotel near the glacier lagoon.
Day 3 - Glacier Hiking and Return to Reykjavik
After breakfast at your hotel on day three, you’ll make your way back to Reykjavik, but not before an exciting glacier adventure! Your guide will drive you to the famous Skaftafell Nature Reserve, where the Svinafellsjokull ice cap awaits.
Skaftafell is so beautiful that it was a national park before being incorporated into the larger and newer Vatnajokull National Park. A valley sheltered by three glaciers, you can marvel over dramatic mountains, rushing rivers, and patches of birch forest as your guide brings you to your destination.
They will provide you with all the necessary equipment to enjoy your hike safely, including crampons for your feet, a helmet, and an ice ax. They will then lead you up the icy slopes for a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
As you ascend the glacier, you will marvel over crevasses, ridges, ice formations, streams, and maybe even more ice caves. In clear weather, you can also enjoy beautiful views from your increased height.
Your guide will tell you about how the glaciers form and the risks to their future as you travel. Feel free to ask any questions as you travel.
After a fantastic adventure, you’ll descend, return your equipment, and continue the journey back to Reykjavik. Witnessing the South Coast attractions from the opposite direction and under different conditions is like seeing them for the first time, particularly the waterfalls of Seljalandsfoss and Skogafoss.
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.
What to bring
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 is only possible at 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.