Information about South Iceland

South Iceland is the most popular part of the country and contains some of the most beautiful natural attractions in Iceland, among them the Golden Circle, some of Iceland's most famous active volcanoes as well as the beautiful Jokulsarlon glacier lagoon.

Geography

South Iceland is usually divided into the fertile South Icelandic lowlands between Hellisheidi and Eyjafjallajokull volcano on the one hand - and on the other hand the eastern part with the big volcanic glaciers Eyjafjallajokull and Myrdalsjokull (home of Katla) and flattened sands stretching towards the sea.

The South Icelandic lowlands

The South Icelandic Lowlands stretch nearly 100 km from Hellisheidi in the west towards Eyjafjallajokull in the east as a very flat and fertile farming land. From the shore the lowland stretches about km towards the inland. This is the best agriculture area in Iceland. The whole area is geologically very young, mainly of tuff type, formed during the Ice Age by the lava flows of the numerous volcanoes of the area. The area is indeed surrounded by volcanically active mountains on all sides. The glacier rivers of the area have helped filling the lavas with sand and clay, leaving it more and less smooth and fertile. Very strong earthquakes are found in this area as well.

The most active volcanoes of the area are Hekla and Eyjafjallajokull. No less active and not far off, but on the east side, is Katla, which we’ll adress in the eastern part-section. South of the mainland are the volcanic Westman Islands, famous for the 1973 eruption as well as the eruption in 1963, when Surtsey island was formed. Closely linked to the volcanic activity in the south is the geothermal heat found in many places, the best known being the Geysir area, which forms a part of the famed Golden Circle, which also consists of Gullfoss waterfall , Iceland's most famous waterfall as well as one of its most beautiful, located in the popular rafting river Hvita and Thingvellir National Park, comprising three of Iceland's most beloved natural attractions.

The earthquakes of the area bear witness to the fact that Iceland is still in shape. This is further evidenced by the endless number of fissures in the lavas, fractures in the mountains and certain pieces of lands sinking. The area of Thingvellir is the best known example of this, showcasing the continental drift. Thingvellir is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the location of the old parliament, Althingi, (now situated in Reykjavik) and one of Iceland's most important sites.

Another of Iceland's most popular attractions is the beautiful Thorsmork valley, situated between Myrdalsjokull and Eyjafjallajokull.

Natural harbour-sites are hardly any on the South shore, due to sand produced by the glacier rivers. A few towns are found in the area, Selfoss being the biggest one, Hveragerdi is another, then there are Hella and Hvolsvollur, all conveniently located by the ring road. By the shore are three fishing villages; ThorlakshofnEyrarbakki and Stokkseyri. Thorlakshofn the only one of those that can accommodate modern ships and ferrys. The ferry to the Westman Islands sails from there. A new harbour has been built on the sandy coast opposite the Westman Islands. The whole south shoreline offers some of the most gigantic braker waves that you are likely to see.

Culturewise, in addition to Thingvellir, we reccomend the ancient bishop seat of Skalholt (weekends at Skalholt further offer rich music life). Also, Iceland's most famous saga, Njal's saga takes place in the South lowlands. We further recommend the large reconstructed turfhouse near Stong and the ancient excavated ruins.

For sports, horse riding is popular in the area as well as catching salmon or trout, hiking, and river rafting in Hvita. 

The east part of South Iceland.

This is the area south and east  of Myrdalsjokull. The volcanic glaciers Eyjafjallajokull (near the border of the eastern and western part) and Myrdalsjokull, dominate the view. The landscape has been shaped by volcanic eruptions and vast sands stretch to the sea. Some agriculture is found here, however, with the farms in a row alongside the mountains.  A few large glacial rivers fall down in this area which also has striking waterfalls, such as Skogafoss and Seljalandsfoss.

Eyjafjallajokull is already well known for its 2010 eruption,  disturbing air communication all over Europe for many days. Much more serious,however, would be an eruption from Katla, a volcano in the eastern part og Myrdalsjokull. 

Katla’s last eruption was in the year 1918, when an enormous flood of water exploded from the glacier in a matter of minutes, threatening the local farmers of the area. Large amounts of ash and muddy  material were brought to sea to form a new land of sand, Kotlutangi, later washed away by the sea. No people were killed in this eruption. Eruptions in Katla throughout the ages have further created the vast sand area Myrdalssandur. Sixteen eruptions have been recorded for Katla since 930 at intervals of 13-95 years and the volcano is being closely monitored, as time may draw near to its next eruption.

In the same volcanic system as Katla (geologically speaking), are the Lakagigar craters, northeast of Myrdalsjokull. Those erupted in the years 1783-84; producing the largest amount of lava known in historic times. The ashes hindered the sunlight from reaching down to the surface of Earth, resulting in cold climate over northern Europe.

In  this area – what we call the eastern part of South Iceland -, there are many places worth visiting: Solheimajokull is a beautiful glacier in a walking distance (an outlet of Myrdalsjokull); Skogar has a very interesting museum of older time traditions and Skogafoss is only a few km away from there. One of Iceland’s most famous hiking routes, Fimmvorduhals, starts from Skogar. Southwest of the village Vik is one of Iceland’s most spectacular beaches, Reynisfjara. Together with the promontory Dyrholaey, which is the southernmost tip of the mainland of Iceland, it offers a breathtaking view with amazing rock formations, a black pebble beach, an abundance of birds and the powerful waves of the North Atlantic Ocean crashing on the beach.

Further east stretches the world's most vast sand plain, Skeidararsandur. North of the sand is the fascinating Skaftafell preservation area.  At its east end, south of Hvannadalshnukur, Iceland's highest peak, is Ingolfshofdi cape, with its rich birdlife, old fishermen's shacks and its lighthouse. Following the shore further east is the incredibly beautiful and ice-filled Jokulsarlon glacier lagoon. Not far off is the region of Sudursveit, featuring the culture center and heritage museum Thorbergssetur, erected in the memory of Icelandic author Thorbergur Thordarson.

Services near South Iceland

All services in 50km radius

Attractions nearby South Iceland

Bláfjöll

  The Blue Mountains are a beautiful mountain range of the tuff type, located around 20 km from Reykjavik, by the lava plateau of Hellisheidi. T...

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Katla volcano

Katla (meaning “Kettle”) is one of Iceland's largest and most active volcanos. Situated in south Iceland, Katla is partially buried un...

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Katla

Katla is an active volcano situated under the glacier Myrdalsjokull in South Iceland. It is one of Iceland's most well known volcanoes. Katla&...

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Mýrdalsjökull

Mýrdalsjökull is a glacier in the south of the Icelandic highlands. It is the country's fourth largest ice cap, covering nearly 600 ...

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Strútslaug

Strutslaug (also known as Holmsarbotnalaug) is a geothermal pool in the South Highlands, north of Myrdalsjokull glacier and close to Torfajokull glaci...

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Laugavegur hiking trail

The Laugavegur is one of the most popular hiking trails in Iceland. The scenery is breathtaking in its beauty and extremely varied, displaying example...

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Fimmvörðuháls

  Fimmvorduhals is one of Iceland's most popular hiking trails. It made the world news when the Eyjafjallajokull eruption started there in 2...

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Móði

  Modi is one of the two youngest craters in Iceland, along with Magni. These two craters are situated between glaciers Myrdalsjokull and Eyjaf...

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Magni

  Magni is one of the two youngest craters in Iceland, along with Modi. The craters are situated between glaciers Myrdalsjokull and Eyjafjalla...

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Bláhnjúkur

  Blahnjukur (a.k.a. Blahnukur) is a volcano in the area of Landmannalaugar, in the south highlands of Iceland.  Blahnjukur's name (&&#;...

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Landmannalaugar

Landmannalaugar ("The people's pools") is a vast area of stunning and unique beauty, the true heart of Iceland's southern Highland...

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Brennisteinsalda

  Brennisteinsalda (ca. 855 m) is a volcano in the area of Landmannalaugar National Park, in the south highlands of Iceland. Brennisteinsalda ...

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Þórsmörk

Nestled between the glaciers Eyjafjallajökull, Mýrdalsjökull, and Tindfjallajökull is Þórsmörk (Thor's V...

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Stakkholtsgjá

  Stakkholtsgja is an up to 100 meters deep and  2 kilometers long canyon in South Iceland. The canyon is located near the entrance to Tho...

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Tindfjallajökull

Located in south Iceland, Tindfjallajökull ('The glacier of peak mountains') is a stratovolcano that is covered by a small glacier of 19 ...

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Sólheimajökull

Solheimajokull is a beautiful outlet glacier of the Myrdalsjokull icecap. Solheimajokull is a rugged glacial tounge riddled with crevasses and specta...

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Gígjökull

Gigjokull is one of two glacier outlets from the glacier volcano Eyjafjallajokull, the other being Steinholtsjokull. The 2010 Eyjafjallajokull erupt...

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Eldgjá

  Eldgja is the largest volcanic canyon in the world, 270m deep, 600m at its widest and around 40 km long.  The canyon lies paralel with t...

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Dómadalur

  Domadalur is a valley east of Kringla (Landmannahellir cave) in the south of the Icelandic highlands. The valley has a little shallow lake a...

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Eyjafjallajökull

  The glacier volcano of Eyjafjallajokull (1651 m) is located at the borders of the South Icelandic highlands. It featured prominently in world ...

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Tours near South Iceland

River Rafting Adventure in Gullfoss Canyon

Join this exciting rafting tour on the beautiful Hvita river available from Drumboddsstadir......

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Small Group Vatnajokull Glacier Hike & Glacier Lagoon Tour From Reykjavik

Go hiking on Europe's largest glacier, the mighty Vatnajokull Glacier, and visit the picturistic......

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Best Value Glacier Hiking Tour from Skaftafell

Do this cheap glacier tour from Skaftafell. This glacier tour takes you to the outlet glacier......

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Glacier Explorer Adventure from Skaftafell National Park

This moderately challenging hiking day trip takes you to the impressive Falljokull Glacier, an......

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Ice Climbing Adventure on Vatnajokull Glacier in a Small Group

This is a moderately challenging and enjoyable adventure day trip available directly from......

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Snorkelling & Lava Caving Adventure From Reykjavik

Go snorkelling between the continents of Europe and America and lava caving in a typical......

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Small Group Lava Caving Tour

On this easy and enjoyable half day tour available directly from Reykjavik, you will see the......

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Thrihnukagigur Volcano Tour | Go Inside a Magma Chamber

Descend into the vast and vibrant magma chamber of a dormant volcano. Iceland is the only place......

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Golden Circle Tour with Lava Caving

Golden Circle safari and lava caving tour On this tour you'll be driven by jeep to witness some......

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Golden Circle Tour with Snorkeling in Silfra

Golden Circle Super Jeep Safari and Snorkeling Trip This trip combines snorkeling and super jeep......

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Golden Circle Monster Truck Tour with Caving

Golden Circle safari and caving tour On this easy and fun adventure tour you will be driven in a......

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Small Group Golden Circle Super Jeep & Snowmobiling Adventure

This exciting tour takes you to the Golden Circle, or the "big three" of Icelandic natural......

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Golden Circle Tour on Monster Truck with Snowmobiling

Golden circle tour with Snowmobiling This Golden Circle with snowmobiling tour takes you to the......

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South Shore Tour with Glacier Hike

Glacier hiking in South Iceland This is one of the most popular glacier day tours in Iceland,......

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ATV and River Rafting Tour

Quad biking outside of Reykjavík and river rafting on Hvita river. You'll start your tour with......

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Horse Riding & Quad Biking Winter Trip

Horse riding and ATV tour This easy and popular tour offers horseback riding on an Icelandic......

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Small Group Glacier Hiking & Ice Climbing Tour on Solheimajokull Glacier

Hop aboard for this adventurous and popular ice climbing and glacier hiking adventure, taking......

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Best Value Kayaking Tour

On this tour you'll be kayaking on the beautiful and tranquil fjord of Hvalfjordur. This is a......

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Golden Circle Tour with Snowmobiling Trip

Golden Circle safari and snowmobile tour This easy end enjoyable tour brings you to the 'big......

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Glacier Hiking Tour on Falljokull

Falljokull glacier hiking tour This moderately challenging hiking day tour takes you to the......

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The Popular Golden Circle Tour | Geysir, Gullfoss and Thingvellir

Join this tour to see the "Big Three" of essential travelling locations in Iceland: Geysir hot......

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Golden Circle and River Rafting Tour

Golden circle and rafting trip On this trip you will see the famous Golden Circle, but start......

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Blue Lagoon Transfer & Golden Circle Express | Day Tour to the Famous Sites

This best value combination tour not only saves you money, but time too, so you explore the most......

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Horse Riding and Golden Circle Day Tour | Two Essential Icelandic Experiences

Combine two essential Icelandic experiences in one on this awesome combo tour: ride the......

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Quad Biking and River Rafting Tour

Quad biking and rafting This is a thrilling ATV and river rafting tour to the Hellisheidi......

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Reykjadalur Hot Spring Hiking Tour

Go hiking to the scenic Reykjadalur, or Steam Valley, for bathing in natural hot springs. Choose......

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The Golden Circle & Reykjavik Sightseeing | See Iceland's most Famous Sites

This great tour offers a combination of the Reykjavik City Sightseeing and Golden Circle Express......

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The Golden Circle Tour with Whale Watching from Reykjavik

Go whale watching and see the famous Golden circle of Iceland. This is an unforgettable......

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Whale Watching Tour & Blue Lagoon Trip

Go whale watching on this tour from Reykjavik harbour and relax at the Blue Lagoon hot spring......

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Midnight Whale Watching Tour

On this summer tour you'll have the chance of enjoying the beautiful midnight sun as you'll set......

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Whale Watching Adventure from Faxaflói Bay

Hop aboard and sail out on Faxaflói Bay to meet the largest inhabitants of Iceland, our gentle......

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Small Group Silfra Snorkelling Adventure From Þingvellir

Swim between two continent and go snorkelling in one of the world's top dives, the crystal clear......

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Golden Circle & Lava Caving Small Group Adventure

This all year round adventure tour takes you on a caving exploration of the wonderous......

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Whale Watching Tour and Rafting Adventure from Reykjavík

On this combination tour you'll go whalewatching on a boat from Reykjavik harbor and river......

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South Coast Waterfalls and Solheimajokull Glacier Hiking Tour | Medium Difficulty

Join this tour to go on a glacier hike and see the south coast of Iceland. Given clear weather,......

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Hot Spring Hike | Including Pickup from Reykjavik

A pleasant hike to the wonderful hot spring area in Reykjadalur valley where you get to......

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The Wonders of South Iceland Sightseeing Flight

Take this flight over the south coast of Iceland, a truly magical area. The coastline is filled......

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Reykjavík | 60 Minute Pilot's Special

Jump aboard for an unbelievable sightseeing flight. On this unique trip, your pilot chooses your......

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Hot Spring Hiking & Horseback Riding

Combine a beautiful hike through geothermal area to a naturally hot river that you can bathe in,......

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South Iceland Surf School | Learn the Basics of Arctic Surfing

Come join the action and learn the basics of surfing on the rolling waves of Iceland’s beautiful......

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Sled Dog Ride Tour | Meet on Location

Come along on a thrilling dog sled ride through the beautiful Icelandic countryside. Spend an......

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Sled Dog Ride and the Golden Circle Tour

Get the ultimate Arctic experience; see the famous Golden Circle and whizz across the beautiful......

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Sled Dog Ride Tour| Transfer service from Reykjavik

Witness the marvellous Icelandic landscape in the most fun way possible: from the back of a dog......

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Transfer and Admission to the Secret Lagoon

Bask in one of Iceland’s most beautiful geothermally heated swimming pools: the Secret Lagoon.......

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6 Days Circle of Iceland Guided Tour

Join a small group on a guided tour of some of the most popular tourist sites Iceland has to......

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Sólheimajökull Glacier Walk & Ice Climbing | Medium Difficulty

A glacier walk with introduction to ice climbing On this glacier adventure we combine our......

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Small Group South Iceland Tour

Join us for a south coast sightseeing – A great day tour from Reykjavík with a small group......

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Lakagigar day tour from Klaustur by Super Jeep

Join the full day tour to Lakagigar craters in Vatnajokull National Park. Super Jeep tour is for......

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Secret Lagoon, Dinner buffet and Northern Lights

Geothermal Water and Northern Lights; both are at the very top of the list when it comes to the......

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Southern Iceland Waterfalls and Beaches Day Tour

The South Coast of Iceland has many natural wonders and quaint villages to explore. During the......

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South Coast Waterfalls and Black beach by Minibus

At this point, there is lots of decisions behind you. You’ve choosen the right flight and......

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The Full Monty Helicopter Tour

Visit the best that South Iceland has to offer with this fantastic helicopter tour exploring all......

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Horse Riding Tour on a Beach

Don't let the chance fly away, hop on the Icelandic horse and ride along the soft black sand......

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Private Superjeep Tour | Tailored to your Interests

Travel the country at your own pace on this luxurious super jeep tour. Tailor the itinerary to......

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Thorsmork Superjeep Day Tour

Explore a valley hidden between three glaciers on this exhilarating super jeep tour to Þórsmörk.......

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Iceland On Your Own | Highlights of Iceland Bus Passport

Choose to explore Iceland in your own way with this bus passport of Iceland’s highlights.......

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Iceland On Your Own | Beautiful South Bus Passport with Golden Circle

Explore the incredible sites of southern Iceland without being beholden to anyone else with the......

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Południowe Wybrzeże- wodospady, czarna plaża i lodowiec (mówimy po polsku)

Spektakularna jednodniowa wycieczka dla miłośników przyrody, wzdłuż południowej części Islandii.......

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Iceland Classic Set private tour

Iceland classic set is a short private tour which includes two most popular day tours and......

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6 Day Summer Package | South Iceland with a Greenland Day Tour

Explore the high Arctic, from Iceland’s Golden Circle to the remote fjords of Greenland. This......

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8 Day Winter Excursion | Guided Circle of Iceland Minibus Tour

Join this all-encompassing, guided minibus tour, travelling the full circle around Iceland to......

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Black Beach Yoga

Get ready for a unique Icelandic yoga experience - Yoga on the black volcanic beach in South......

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ATV & RIB Boat Tour

Get ready for a true Icelandic adventure on this thrilling tour of the South Coast of Iceland.......

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Lava ATV Tour from Þorlákshöfn

Join this splendid three-hour ATV Tour where you head into the lava fields by Þorlákshöfn. You......

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Black Beach Bird-Watching Tour

Embark on a bird-watching adventure out on the open waters, on this two hour RIB boat tour of......

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Black Beach RIB Boat Trip

Join this RIB Speed Boat Tour of the black beaches of the south coast of Iceland. This coastline......

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The Lava Tunnel | Raufarholshellir Caving Tour

Descend into another world on this fascinating tour into Raufarhólshellir lava tunnel, one of......

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The Golden Circle Day Tour | Gullfoss Waterfall, Geysir Hot Spring & Thingvellir National Park

Join this affordable guided tour and get the essential Icelandic experience by visiting the......

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