3-Day Northern Lights Tour of Iceland’s Golden Circle & South Coast with Ice Caving & Glacier Hiking
Start your adventure with a three-day trip to Iceland. Explore the famous sites of the Golden Circle and South Coast, as well as the Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon to explore a blue ice cave.
Discover glaciers and other natural wonders. With three days in Iceland, you increase your chances of seeing the northern lights. This tour is perfect for anyone looking to experience the best attractions in Iceland in just a few days.
On this tour, you will have the opportunity to see famous sites such as the Geysir geothermal area, the mighty Gullfoss waterfall, Thingvellir National Park, and the Jokulsarlon glacier lagoon, which are world-famous for a reason. You will also see all of the fantastic attractions of the South Coast of Iceland, such as the waterfalls Skogafoss and Seljalandsfoss and the black sand beach, Reynisfjara.
The experience of exploring an ice cave within Europe's largest glacier is what makes this tour even more special. Ice caves only form throughout winter, so only a few people are fortunate enough to witness their beauty firsthand.
The ice caves are always covered in otherworldly shades of blues and whites, making it a wondrous experience. They also change each year due to the continuous movement of the mighty glacier, Vatnajökull, meaning your visit will always be unique.
By reserving this tour, your three days in Iceland will be fully organized. You won't need to worry about negotiating the winter road conditions or arranging your accommodation; everything will be handled. During your trip, you will stay at the best accommodation available, providing a comfortable and relaxing end to each day.
All equipment will be provided for the glacier hike and ice cave exploration. You only need to remember your hiking shoes, warm clothes, a camera, and your sense of adventure.
Please note you can only bring one item of carry-on luggage per guest on this trip, but you can store more pieces in Reykjavik for a small cost.
Book this action-packed and great-value three-day, two-night trip in a winter wonderland as soon as possible to avoid missing out.
Check availability now by choosing a date.
Day 1 - The Golden Circle
You will be picked up from your accommodation and, from there, set out to explore the most popular tourist trail in Iceland: the Golden Circle. Three sites make this trail world-famous, all of which you will get the chance to visit.
The first of these is Þingvellir National Park, the only UNESCO World Heritage Site on the Icelandic mainland. Sitting directly between the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates, it is an area of fascinating geology and stunning nature; it is the best place in the world to see the edges of these continents.
It is also the original site of what is now the world’s longest-running, ongoing parliament. The Alþingi was formed here in 930 AD and still continues in Reykjavík today.
The second site you will visit is the Geysir Geothermal Area. The largest geyser here, Geysir, gave all others around the world their name. It is mainly inactive these days, but the nearby Strokkur erupts every five minutes or so, blasting water as high as 98 feet (30 meters). The surrounding area is beautiful, with the earth dyed in the colors of the elements and many hot springs dotted around.
The third and final classic location on the Golden Circle is Gullfoss. Otherwise known as ‘the Golden Waterfall,’ this feature is iconic. Tumbling down two steps into a dramatic ravine, its scale and might are mesmerizing. There are several viewing platforms that you can admire it from; in good weather, one opens right beside where it’s falling.
As you head in for the night, keep an eye on the skies for the northern lights.
Your accommodation this evening will be at a welcoming hotel in the Hvolsvollur area in South Iceland. This puts you in the perfect position to explore the magical South Coast tomorrow.
Day 2 - South Coast and Glacier Hiking
On your second day, you will explore the South Coast of Iceland. This area is famed for its wealth of landmarks and dramatically diverse scenery, visible from the road as you drive.
The first places you will stop at are two impressive waterfalls, Seljalandsfoss and Skogafoss. Between these waterfalls, you may see Eyjafjallajokull. This sub-glacial volcano erupted in 2010, famously halting European air traffic and causing headaches for news anchors everywhere trying to pronounce its name.
Next on the agenda is a glacier hike at either Skaftafell, by Vatnajokull glacier, or at the famous Solheimajokull glacier in the south. When here, you will be provided with all your equipment and receive a safety briefing. Following this, you will ascend the glacier and be rewarded with spectacular views.
The ice's color, shape, and scale are truly awe-inspiring, and you will be told all about the history and geology of these magnificent glaciers.
Arriving at your hotel in the southeast of Iceland, you will be informed whether the conditions are suitable for viewing the northern lights. If everything goes right, you can enjoy the evening marveling at this beautiful natural phenomenon.
Day 3 - The Ice Caves and Return to Reykjavík
On your third day, you'll arrive at the stunning Jokulsarlon glacier lagoon. The lagoon is stunning in low light, the floating ice sparkling in shades of gold.
When an iceberg has just tumbled into the lagoon, you'll be able to see the gorgeous deep blue color of the underside, caused by oxygen bubbles compressed into the ice for thousands of years.
This is often referred to as the crown jewel of Iceland's nature. Hundreds of great icebergs litter a serene lake, creating an otherworldly spectacle. When these bergs eventually leave the lagoon, they wash up on the nearby shore, lending it its name, the Diamond Beach.
After taking in the views of the unique glacier lagoon, you will explore one of the magnificent ice caves of the Vatnajokull glacier. These incredible natural features only appear over winter and are weather-reliant, so the chance to enter one is an incredibly rare opportunity. Before following your guide into this ethereal space, you will be provided with crampons and helmets.
After exploring the ice caves, you'll head to Reynisfjara, a gorgeous black sand beach with stunning vistas of rock formations and ocean waves. The rocks at Reynisdrangar, beyond the coast, stand strong against volatile Atlantic Ocean waves.
You'll have a lunch break and continue further east, past a large extension of black sand plains resulting from a single volcanic eruption. This area is home to one of the largest pseudo-crater collections in the world. Right next to these enormous sand plains, you'll see the impressive Vatnajökull glacier.
Once you have reveled in the stark beauty of the black sand beach, you will return to your van and return to Reykjavík. This drive is long but promises to be spectacular. Your guide will point out anything that you missed the day before.
You'll arrive in the city in time for a late dinner, giving you plenty of time to enjoy the famous Reykjavík nightlife. It is highly recommended that you do not plan to fly out the same night in case of any delays or bad weather. Enjoy the charms of Iceland's capital and visit one of its many restaurants and bars.
What to bring
Good to know
- Customers travelling on their own will receive a single room. Reservations for 2 people will be allocated a double room. For bookings of 3 or more, triple rooms will automatically be allocated. For example, a group of 8 will receive 2 triple rooms and 1 double. If these arrangements do not meet your requirements, please contact the provider.
- The Northern Lights are a natural phenomenon, and therefore cannot be guaranteed, but this itinerary is designed to maximise your chances to see them if weather allows. Please be advised that there is no specific Northern Lights hunt on this tour, but your guide will notify you if the conditions are favourable and advise you on how to best spot them
- It can happen, in the case of extreme weather, that an activity is cancelled. If your chosen activity is cancelled, we will assist you with rearranging or booking other activities when possible, and any potential price difference will be refunded to you.
- Please note that only pick up and drop-off from designated pick up locations in the greater capital area is available, not from Keflavík International Airport. Therefore, we do not recommend attempting to start this tour on your arrival day in Iceland. Arrival time back to Reykjavík at the end of your tour can vary depending on weather and traffic.
- It is highly recommended that you do not book your flight home the same night as bad weather or delays could affect your journey. Please be sure to arrange accommodation for this evening and an airport transfer the next day to take you to Keflavík International Airport for your departure.
- Please note that you might need to repack to a smaller suitcase or backpack before your journey, as only one piece of hand luggage is allowed on this tour per guest. Extra luggage can be stored in Reykjavik for a small fee.
- No minimum age. However, 8 year old is the age limit for glacier hike and ice caving. If children under those ages are on the tour then an adult needs to stay with them while others do these activities.
Due to increased demand for travel services in Iceland and low availability, travel companies in Iceland can not guarantee specific accommodations. However, we can always provide you with the best available accommodation at the time of your booking. Below you can see our preferred partners for accommodation. For the first night, they are Hótel Hvolsvöllur and Hótel Eyjafjallajökull. For the second night, they are Gerði Guesthouse, and Hotel Smyrlabjörg. In the case of these hotels not being an option, an alternative of the same standard will be arranged.
Standard bedrooms with private bathroom in 3 star hotel in Hvolsvöllur. Breakfast is included.
Standard bedrooms with private bathroom in a country hotel on the south coast of Iceland. Breakfast is included.
Located near Höfn, Gerdi cottages make a perfect home base for day trips and sightseeing in Southeast Iceland. Visible from your Gerdi cottage and from all of Höfn is the spectacular Icelandic glacier Vatnajökull.
Hotel Smyrlabjorg is a 68 room hotel located almost halfway between the magical Jokulsarlon glacier lagoon and the first sites of the Eastfjords, making it a perfect stop for those on a Ring Road adventure.