2 Day Tour to Jokulsarlon | With Glacier Hike, Waterfalls and Black Beach
Join this exciting two-day tour for the chance of exploring the south coast attractions of Iceland. You will behold stunning glaciers, vast lava fields, active volcanoes and powerful waterfalls, as you embark on the Arctic adventure of a lifetime.
The stunning Jökulsárlón glacial lagoon is one of the highlights of the tour, as well as being one of the most visited sights of the entire country. Belonging to the greater Vatnajökull National Park, the lagoon boasts of an ever-changing scenery of icebergs floating in the freezing water.
The tour will not only let you witness the living phenomena of a glacier but feel it under your very feet, as it includes a hike up the Sólheimajökull glacial tongue. Your expert tour guides will provide you with all the necessary equipment, as you ascend the ice amongst its many sculptures and crevasses.
This tour operates all year round, but should you join it in the winter season, every possible measure will be taken to hunt and locate the possible appearance of the Northern Lights, a celestial wonder of Iceland’s night sky. Accommodation for the night is also provided for, on this immensely popular tour of the south coast.
The availability for this tour is limited, so don’t hesitate to reserve your spot now for a chance of beholding all of these unique and natural wonders. Check availability by choosing a date.
- Available: Apr. - Nov.
- Duration: 2 days
- Activities: Glacier Hiking, Hiking, Sightseeing, Northern lights hunting
- Difficulty: Easy
- Minimum age: 10 years old
- Languages: English
Jökulsárlón is Iceland’s most famous glacier lagoon. Conveniently located in the southeast by Route 1, about halfway between the Skaftafell Nature Reserve and Höfn, it is a popular stop for those travelling along the South Coast or around the circular ring road of the country.
It stands out, however, due to the fact that it also fills with icebergs breaking from the glacier, some of which tower several stories high.
These icebergs, other than their scale, are notable for their colouration. Although they are, as expected, largely white, most are also dyed electric blue in part, with black streaks of ash from eruptions centuries past.
When the icebergs finally make it across the lagoon, they either drift out to sea or wash up on the nearby shore. Because of the way they glisten against the black sands of Breiðamerkursandur, this area has been nicknamed ‘the Diamond Beach’.
In spite of being a rather recent formation, Jökulsárlón is the deepest lake in the country, with depths reaching 248 metres. With a surface area of 18 square kilometres, it is also growing to be one of the largest.
Jökulsárlón has not been around since Iceland’s settlement; it only formed around 1935. This was due to rapidly rising temperatures in the country from the turn of the twentieth century; since 1920, Breiðamerkurjökull has been shrinking at a dramatic rate, and the lagoon has begun to fill its space.
Today, the expansion of Jökulsárlón is accelerating. As recently as 1975, it was just 8 square kilometres, and now that size has more than doubled.
In the relatively near future, it is expected that the lagoon will continue to grow until it becomes a large, deep fjord.
Though a dark omen for Iceland’s glaciers and ice caps in general, the retreat of Breiðamerkurjökull has resulted in an incredibly beautiful, if temporary, site. This has not been overlooked by Hollywood.
Jökulsárlón has been featured in the James Bond films A View to Kill in 1985 and Die Another Day in 2002, 2001’s Lara Croft: Tomb Raider, and 2005’s Batman Begins.
In 2017, Jökulsárlón was enveloped into the Vatnajökull National Park, thus it is now fully protected by Icelandic law.
Because of the wealth of herring and capelin that the tides bring into the lagoon, Jökulsárlón is somewhat of a hot-spot for Iceland’s wildlife.
In summer, it is a nesting site for Arctic Terns; stay well away from this area, as these birds are notorious for the fierceness with which they protect their eggs, dive-bombing the heads of any they see as a threat. Skuas also nest on the lake’s shores in this season.
Seals can be reliably spotted here throughout the year, swimming amongst or else hauling out on the icebergs. Jökulsárlón provides them with a safe haven to rest and socialise, especially considering the waters of southeast Iceland are renowned for their population of orcas.
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 travellers 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.
Solheimajokull is a beautiful outlet glacier of the Myrdalsjokull icecap.
Solheimajokull is a rugged glacial tounge riddled with crevasses and spectacular ever-changing ice formations, jagged ridges and sinkholes and is popular for hiking and ice climbing.
The glacier river Jokulsa a Solheimasandur has its source at the glacier, flowing over the sand plain of Solheimasandur towards the sea.
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.
Reynisfjara is a world-famous black-sand beach found on the South Coast of Iceland, just beside the small fishing village of Vík í Mýrdal.
With its enormous basalt stacks, roaring Atlantic waves and stunning panoramas, Reynisfjara is widely considered to be the most beautiful example of Iceland’s black sand beaches. In 1991, National Geographic voted Reynisfjara as one of the Top 10 non-tropical beaches to visit on the planet.
Reynisfjara is found around 180 km from Iceland’s capital city, Reykjavik, and is a popular stop-off for those taking a sightseeing tour along South Coast. Driving to the beach is particularly easy, taking an approximate two and a half hours from the capital.
Upon visiting the beach, travellers will immediately observe rocky sea stacks sitting off the shoreline, known as Reynisdrangar. According to local Icelandic folklore, these large basalt columns were once trolls engaged in trying to pull ships from the ocean. However, as bad luck would have it, the dawn quickly arose, turning the trolls into solid stone.
Another legend tells of a husband whose wife was kidnapped and killed by two trolls. The man followed the trolls down to Reynisfjara where he froze them, ensuring that they would never kill again.
The sea stacks themselves are home to thousands of nesting seabirds. Species that can be found here include Puffins, Fulmars and Guillemots, making it a must-see location for all birdwatchers out there.
Visitors to Reynisfjara must be made well aware of the potential dangers present at the beach. First of all, the rolling, roaring waves of Reynisfjara are particularly violent, often pushing far further up the beach than many would expect.
Visitors are advised to never turn their back on the waves, don't go chasing after them and keep a safe distance of 20-30 metres.
Aside from these sudden and dramatic shifts in tide (known as “sneaker waves”), the currents off the shore are infamous for their strength and ability to drag helpless people out into the freezing cold open ocean. A number of fatal accidents have occurred at Reynisfjara, the last of which occurred in January 2017.
Vik in Myrdalur valley is the southernmost village on the Icelandic mainland, located 186 km from the capital Reykjavik.
Vik is important as a service centre 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.
Gljúfrabúi ("Canyon Dweller“) is a beautiful waterfall located at Hamragarðar in South Iceland, close to its better known counterpart, Seljalandsfoss waterfall.
The 40 metre high Gljúfrabúi can be considered somewhat of a hidden gem. It is indeed partially hidden behind a huge cliff that lends much atmosphere to the scenery.
To enjoy a view of the fall you need to wade the Gljúfurá river into a narrow opening in the cliff or follow a steep path up the cliff. Both endeavours are demanding so utmost caution is advised.
As mentioned, this waterfall is less known than its neighbour but as a result may provide for all the greater serenity, in addition to excellent scenery.
The South Coast of Iceland is the country's most visited sightseeing route, along with the Golden Circle.
The famed South Coast shoreline stretches from the greater Reykjavík area and is dotted with natural wonders such as cascading waterfalls, volcanoes both active and dormant, black sand beaches and glacier lagoons.
Geography, Nature & Wildlife
Iceland is divided into eight geographical regions. Out of these, the Southern Region is the largest, as it spans over 24.000 square kilometres with its administrative centre in the municipality of Selfoss.
What is known as the South Coast embodies the shoreline of this particular region. The area consists of a lowland that is mostly composed of marshlands, bays and cultivated pastures that are met by a series of black beaches where the estuaries to the east and west of the district close off the coastal body.
Underneath the soil rests a vast lava field, known as Þjórsárhraun. Its edges reach several hundred metres offshore where the ocean waves crash upon them, thereby protecting the lowland from the invasion of the sea. This results in the South Coast being unusually lacking in the deep fjords that so distinctly characterise the rest of Iceland's shore line.
The region boasts vibrant bird life during all seasons. It is not only rich with both marshland birds and seabirds but also migrating birds such as the North Atlantic puffin. Some species stay throughout the harsh Icelandic winter, including the northern diver, the loom and various species of gulls and ducks.
Highlights of the South Coast
The South Coast offers an unprecedented array of natural wonders that draw thousands of visitors each day. When driving the route from Reykjavík City, the highlights in their correct order are:
- Seljalandsfoss Waterfall
- Vestmannaeyjar; The Westman Islands
- Eyjafjallajökull Glacier Volcano
- Skógafoss Waterfall
- Sólheimajökull Glacier
- Dyrhólaey Peninsula
- Reynisfjara Black Sand Beach
- Reynisdrangar Sea Stacks
- Coastal Village Vík í Mýrdal
- Skeiðarársandur Glacial Sand Plain
- Vatnajökull National Park
- Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon
These attractions count for but a fraction of what the South Coast has to offer. The vast sand plains of Sólheimasandur are home to a crashed DC-3 Plane Wreck, and close to Seljavellir by the Skógar Village there's Seljavallalaug, one of the oldest swimming pools in Iceland.
- Explore the many wonders of the area on these South Coast Tours
Starting time : 09:00
Pick-up & drop-off in Reykjavík
Hiking gear (crampons, ax, helmet)
What to bring:
Good hiking shoes
Good to know:
If you want to stay in a single room than there is an extra fee of 7.500 ISK
Although your guide will provide you with ice crampons to attach to your shoes, you must be wearing your own hiking boots
Day 1 - South Coast, Waterfalls and Glacier Hike
After meeting your transportation in Reykjavík, your adventure begins with a visit to the two great waterfalls of the south coast, Seljalandsfoss and Skógafoss.
You will also be treated with visiting the smaller and lesser known waterfalls Gljúfrabúi, Kvernufoss and Írafoss, all of which are equal in beauty to their larger and more frequently visited counterparts.
As your journey continues, your drive will take you to the infamous Eyjafjallajökull glacier volcano that so memorably erupted back in 2010. Its neighbour is Mýrdalsjökull, where you will embark on your glacial hike adventure, up one of its outlet glacial tongues Sólheimajökull.
Next up is Reynisfjara, a black sand beach on which the ocean waves crash with great power. Visible just offshore are the basalt sea stacks Reynisdrangar - the rocky remains of two trolls dragging a three-masted ship to shore, according to legend.
At the end of your first day your accommodation awaits you in Seljaland, and hopefully, be it the season, you will be treated by the Northern Lights appearing in all their colourful glory.
Day 2 - Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon & Skaftafell National park
On your second day, you will be visiting Vík in Mýrdalur, the southernmost village in Iceland, with Mt. Reynisfjall looking over it. Next up is an excursion to the waterfall Foss á Síðu, about 10 km east of the town Kirkjubæjarklaustur. From there you will head on to Skaftafell National Park for a lunch stop.
Then it is time to head to Jökulsárlón glacial lagoon, the photo opportunity of a lifetime. The icebergs drifting in the lagoon have broken off from Breiðamerkurjökull, one of Vatnajökull’s over 30 outlet glaciers. Vatnajökull itself is the largest ice-cap in the country and the second largest in all of Europe.
Some of those icebergs wash on shore, at a beach rightly dubbed Diamond Beach, where they sparkle like gemstones in the sun.
As your adventure concludes, you will be taken back to the city of Reykjavík in the afternoon, with your head full of memories and your memory card full of photos. Go ahead and book your Arctic adventure now.
Great!! Beautiful nature, amazing landscapes and enough time to visit all the highlights. Well organised and very friendly and informative guide and driver.
Really nice two days tour with guide Jaka and David! Both guys are funny and easy going and helped a lot when I was on glacier hiking due to my problem with downhill.
Nice tour, wonderful itinerary and good restaurant, a very traditional tour. Around 15 persons in a group, I would prefer a smaller group. Anyway, the guide and also driver David did a very good job, he well arranged everything and took care everyone's need.
We joined the two days tour with nice traval. The tour guide (Jaka) and (Mihal) were so nice and funny. Providing the informative tour and safe journey to us. Also, wifi included in the bus! We four had a great time with nice travel!
Except for some bad weather, the tour was amazing. Specially our guide David was fun to be with, gave us some really good insight into Icelands geography and history. He also took us off route in between to some beautiful locations and also to good restaurants where possible. The stay at the Nice Hostel was also a beautiful location and comfortable stay.
This was the best part of my week in Iceland. The trip was really well planned- we had time do and see everything even though light is so limited in Iceland in November. Our tour guide Antonio was filled with information and could answer every question. Our tour guide in training, Ivar (from Iceland) was also wonderful to have on our trip, and I think he will make a fantastic solo guide! Our trip got stuck in the south for an extra night because horrible weather conditions closed the roads. NICE & Antonio were very communicative and handled the difficult situation well. NICE covered the extra night in the hotel, which I appreciated. If you're coming to Iceland, you have to go to the south, and I firmly believe that NICE is the perfect way to do it. When I come back (and eventually I will!), I will book more trips with this company.
This 2 day tour was the highlight of our 7 days in Iceland. Our driver and tour guide were friendly and both spoke English very well. It was evident that they are passionate about this country and enjoyed sharing its natural beauty with us. Our tour included us, two Americans, and another couple, so in total, only 6 of us in the bus that seats around 14, so it was a very comfortable ride. On the first day of the tour we saw too many waterfalls to count while driving through the scenic southern part of Iceland. We stopped at the big waterfalls to hike around them, behind them, above them, and into them in some cases and took some great pictures, and had lunch at a place with many options for food, coffee, etc. in the afternoon we went on a glacier hike which was incredible. We then went to the black sand beach to see the salt columns. We grabbed dinner and ended the day at the company's guest house/hostel which was very comfortable. The guest house had nice showers and bathrooms and private rooms - it was actually the biggest room we had our whole stay in Iceland! We did not see the northern lights due to Hurricane Nicole but the guest house is in a perfect location to see them on a clear night. Day 2 included more waterfalls, and a drive to the glacier lagoon, which was absolutely breathtaking. We also went to the Ice Beach and saw a seal! Although the drive back to Reykjavik is long, it was completely worth it to see the beautiful southern part of Iceland. As I said, our guide was amazing giving us history on the country and made us feel very comfortable. They lock the van every time you get out and usually the driver stays in or close to it so your valuables are safe. There are stops whenever needed for restrooms, snacks, souvenirs, and meals. I cannot tell you how much we truly enjoyed this excursion. We did several other things during our time in Iceland (blue lagoon, snorkeling Silfra, golden circle, etc.) but again, this 2 day tour was the highlight by a landslide. I highly recommend it! -Andrew & Sarah Chicago, IL, USA
Great memory! Very nice driver and guide! There's only 10 people in our tour and we can communicate better in a small tour. The hostel of nicetravel is so nice with delicious breakfast. The driver and guide are very easygoing person and they helped me a lot. I really like iceland and hope to come back again!
+ the diver and guide are very friendly - car is too small that make me uncomfortable. The guide barely introduce attractions
Everything is wonderful in this trip. The group is small (5 people in total). I would definitely come back again for this trip.
NG wai yee
Tour in small group, a nice tour guide. Let us have more geography knowledge of Iceland! A remarkable trip！
We had a great time and saw lots of Ice and waterfalls, the scenery was well worth the trip , the weather was great and the people were very helpful and friendly and very proud of their soccer team. We needed at least 10 days not 5
Very wonderful trip! Nice tour guide, nice restaurants, and interesting Glacier hiking...etc.
small-group trip, very nice tour guide and personalized trip expereince! highly recommended!