Join this best value tour from Reykjavík to explore the South coast of Iceland, with its black beaches, glaciers and volcanoes. On it you will reach all the way to the incredible Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon in Southeast Iceland. On your way you will see beautiful mountains, explore waterfalls and experience fantastic scenery.
Driving through the black volcanic sand desert of Skeidararsandur is also an exhilarating experience. You will see the fishing villages Eyrarbakki, Stokkseyri and Vik, as well as Vatnajokull National Park: Europe's largest glacier.
Join this extremely popular tour to reach the glacier lagoon Jökulsárlón and to see some of the best attractions in Iceland!
From Reykjanesta and the next 100 km onwards, the south shore is characterized by lava formations constantly battered by the wild ocean waves (‘brim’ in Icelandic). For the next 300 km after that the shore consists of sands with hardly any harbours.
Along with the powerful brakers, there is rich birdlife in the lava shore area. As for the sand shores, despite the lack of harbours, people would set off for fishing there anyway, at tremendous risk and this would indeed often result in great losses of life.
Jokulsarlon is a glacier lagoon in the south of Vatnajokull national park that is easily reached by the Ring Road.
Covered in thick glacial ice until the 1930’s when the glacier started retreating, the lagoon today measures 7 square miles (20 km2). More than 300 feet of ice still breaks away each year, reshaping the lagoon and filling it with icebergs - causing an alarmingly beautiful sight.
The water is freezing cold and contains a mixture of salt and freshwater giving it a blue-green color. There is plenty of fish and birdlife by the lagoon and the vast sand area of Breiðamerkursandur, and hundreds of seals stay there in winter.
Vatnajokull is the largest glacier in Europe covering 8% of the island of Iceland. Vatnajokull National Park - which encompasses the earlier national parks of Skaftafell and Jokulsargljufur - is the largest protected area in Europe and believed by many to be the most beautiful place on earth.
In this area you'll find some of the most stunning and diverse sights in iceland. Among those are Iceland's highest peak, Hvannadalshnjukur, its most active volcano, Grimsvotn, beautiful waterfalls such as Svartifoss by Skaftafell and Dettifoss, Europe's most powerful waterfall, stunning canyons such as Jokulsargljufur and Asbyrgi, and the breathtaking Jokulsarlon, an ice-riddled glacier lagoon that is one of the most beautiful attractions in Iceland.
The glacier itself covers a surface area of about 100 km2. The thickness of the ice is generally around 400-600 meters, at its thickest around 950 meters. Under the glacier are valleys, mountains and plateuas as well as active volcanoes, most notably Grimsvotn and Bardarbunga, both the largest and most active of these. Then there are Esjufjoll, a glorious volcanic mountain island, surrounded by the glacier on all sides.
Vatnajokull has over 30 outlets, some of the major ones being Dyngjujokull and Bruarjokull to the north and Breidamerkurjokull, Oraefajokull, Skeidararjokull and Sidujokull towards the south. On the west side from the north are smaller glaciers Eyjabakkajokull, Hoffelssjokull, Flaajokull Heinabergsjokull and Skalafellsjokull.
The highest peak of Iceland then lies to the south, Hvannadalshnjukur in the Orafeajokull outlet, reaching 2109 m, according to latest measurements.
Many rivers have their sources at Vatnajokull, including some of the greatest glacier rivers in the country. To the North are Jokulsa a Fjollum and Skjalfandafljot, to the Northeast are Jokulsa a Bru, and Jokulsa i Fljotsdal and to the south are Jokulsa i Loni, Honrfjardarfljot, Jokulsa a Breidamerkursandi, Skeidara, Nupsvotn, Hverfisfljot and Skafta.
The area around the glacier is highly varied. The highland plateu to the north is divided by glacier rivers which see massive floods in the summer. This is a highly volcanic region, where the volcanoes Askja, Herdubreid, Kverkfjoll and Snaefell tower over the scene. In this area is also the Jokulsargljufur preservation area with its magnficent canyon and the mighty glacier ricer Jokulsa a Fjollum where you'll find stunning waterfalls such as Dettifoss, Europe's most powerful waterfall. Further north are the Hljodaklettar echoing caves and the horse shoe-shaped Asbyrgi canyon, among other incredible sights.
Broad wetlands lie near the glacier and in the vicinity of Snaefell, further east. Particularly notable is the Eyjabakkar oasis, one of the largest nesting places for pink feeted geese in the world and located north of the Eyjabakkajokull outlet. To the east is also the stunning Jokulsarlon.
South of Vatnajokull, majestic mountain ridges characterise the scene, with outlet glaciers lying between them and reaching onto the lowlands. The Skaftafell preservation area is located there, with its rich flora and home to the beautiful waterfalls Hundafoss and Skogafoss, the latter famed for its with its magnificent columnar basalt formations.
To the south lies the vast sand desert Skeidararsandur, reaching all the way to the sea. The glacier river Skeidara runs through it and the sand was indeed created by great glacier bursts from Skeidara, with its origins in volcanic activity at Grimsvotn.
To the west of Vatnajokull there is strong volcanic activity as well. Some of the world's greatest fissure and lava eruptions happened there, at the Eldgja volcanic chasm and the Lakagigar craters in the 18th century. Vonarskard pass, to the northwest is also worth checking out, a highly colourful geothermal area that connects the North and South of Iceland.
Fans of the James Bond films might recognize the glacier from A View to a Kill and the stunning Jokulsarlon from Die Another Day, though the events of the former were supposed to take place in Siberia.
Scenes by the Wall in the HBO fantasy series Game of Thrones were also shot by Vatnajokull and further scenes were shot at lake Myvatn, another Iceland's major attractions.
Skogafoss is one of the biggest and most beautiful waterfalls of the island with an astounding width of 25 meters and a drop of 60 meters.
This is one of the most popular waterfalls in Iceland for travelers to visit. It is located in South Iceland, not far from Skogar, which itself features a highly interesting regional museum. Due to the amount of spray the waterfall often produces a single or double rainbow on sunny days.
Seljalandsfoss in the river Seljalandsa in South Iceland is one of the most sought waterfalls in the country.
Seljalandsfoss has a narrow cascade but is one of Iceland's highest waterfalls, at 63 meters. The waterfall is highly picturesque and has the rare distinction that one can actually walk behind it.
Skaftafell is a nature preserve in Oraefasveit. It used to be a national park of its own but joined the larger Vatnajokull National Park in 2008.
Skaftafell is notable for its rich flora, growing between sands and glaciers, and overall for its amazing and contrasting scenery. You can take short and easy trails to the waterfalls Svartifoss and Hundafoss, as well as Skaftafell glacier, with the mountain Kristinartindar and Morsardalur valley further off.
Skaftafell is also the perfect base camp for those seeking to climb Iceland’s highest peak, Hvannadalshnukur.
Skeidararsandur is a vast sand plain, formed from alluvial deposits. It covers 1300 km², making it the largest sand in the world.
There is little vegitation in general to be found at Skeidararsandur. It is very rocky near the glacier, becoming more muddy and gravelly further on and made up of of sand and clay where it reaches the sea. Carex does however grow to a degree at Skeidararsandur and it is one of the largest nesting places for the Great Skua. There is also an abundance of seals by the shore.
Eruptions under the Vatnajokull glacier have caused many glacial bursts, the latest one being in 1996. They start at the Grimsvotn volcanic area and are known as Skeidararhlaup.
Oraefajokull is a glacier volcano in South-East Iceland. On its north-western side is Iceland's highest peak, Hvannadalshnjukur (2109 m).
Oraefajokull, which has several glacier tounges of its own, is considered a part of the larger Vatnajokull and thus belongs to Vatnajokull National Park. It has erupted twice, in 1362 and 1727.
Eyrarbakki is a fishing village in South Iceland with a population of around 570 people, located at the end of the great Thjorsa lava field For centuries Eyrarbakki was a main port and trading center for the south.
The oldest house in Eyrarbakki, built in 1765, features a regional folk museum and there is a charming old church in the village, built in 1890. The breaking waves seen from the seaside are breathtaking. The nature around Eyrarbakki holds a particular attraction and there are good opportunities for enjoying the rich birdlife of the area, particularly at the Flói natural reserve, north of the town.
Vik in Myrdalur valley is the southernmost village on the Icelandic mainland, located around 180 km from the capital Reykjavik.
Vik is important as a service center for the inhabitants and visitors of the marvellous Reynisfjara beach.
Reynisfjara is widely considered one of the most beautiful beaches on earth (see for example Islands Magazine). This black pebble beach boasts an amazing cliff of regular basalt columns called Gardar, which resembles a rocky step pyramid and out in the sea are the spectaculary shaped basalt sea stacks Reynisdrangar. The area has rich birdlife, including puffins, fulmars and guillemots.
This was an amazing experience. The seals swimming around the bay were so cute. My luggage was delayed so the nice people at the tour lent me a warm jacket from the lost and found :) Let's prevent global warming and preserve the beautiful Icelandic nature!
The landscape and the boat tour were magic! We came from Costa Rica and the glaciers are not commun in our country. The sense of humour of the guide was a good sample of Icelandic philosophie. We recommend this trip to all visitors! and hold your camera ready to shoot every little detail you could see when the bus are driving.
I never saw a landscape alike! I enjoyed the trip a lot and met nice people on the tour, which is great when traveling solo. One advice: try to pick a seat on the driver's side on the bus. The view is better there ;)
this tour was great, we had limited time in Iceland but really wanted to see the glacier lagoon. this tour took us there in one day, and it was amazing. the most beautiful place i have seen. if you have the chance, go there.