On this spectacular three-day tour, you will see the best that Iceland has to offer on her magnificent South Coast. We’ll start by taking you on a full circuit of the Golden Circle, including visits to the Thingvellir National Park, the golden waterfall of Gullfoss and the hot-water spout at Geysir, as well as a look at the colorful Kerid crater. The journey continues with long looks at four gorgeous waterfalls and a thrilling walk along the dramatic black sand beach at Reynisfjara. Your South Coast expedition concludes with a day of wonder at the glittering Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon and Diamond Beach, crowned with an unforgettable underworld experience in a blue ice glacier cave.
If you want to see the best of Iceland, then this tour is for you. Book now to secure your spot!
Your three-day tour will begin with a convenient collection from your accommodation in Reykjavik and a delightful drive out of the capital city through striking scenery, passing Mount Esja on our way to the Thingvellir National Park, the first stop on the Golden Circle.
Thingvellir is Iceland’s most important historical site, a place where Viking chieftains declared laws and made alliances for nearly a thousand years. Home to the Althingi, thought to be the world’s first democratic parliament, Thingvellir is now protected as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
It’s a superb natural setting too, as immense fissures in the Earth’s crust have been splitting the Eurasian and North American tectonic plates along the Mid-Atlantic Ridge here for millions of years. That means that you can stand with one foot on each continent at the same time!
Our next stop is the Haukadalur Geothermal area, where you’ll find Geysir, the original hot-water spout after which all other geysers around the world are named. Strokkur sits nearby, a reliable “old faithful” spout which sends cascades of super-heated water up to 30 meters into the sky every six or seven minutes in a dazzling display. Just remember to stand upwind to avoid a shower! There are lots of hissing hotpots and bubbling streams to see here too.
The Golden Circle is also the home of Iceland’s most famous waterfall, Gullfoss. “The Golden Waterfall” is a roaring double-drop waterfall, with millions of glacial gallons continuously cascading into a deep ravine. Sheets of spray hang in the air and on sunlit days, sparkling rainbows make Gullfoss an unforgettable sight. Powered by meltwater from the nearby Langjokull glacier, it’s possible to see Gullfoss from several viewing platforms at varying heights.
As an added extra to the standard Golden Circle tour, you’ll next see the colorful Kerid crater. Kerid is an unusual Icelandic volcano because it’s streaked with red earth and green mosses too. Combined with the blue-water caldera lake, the stunning mix of colors makes it a magnificent sight to see. It’s even possible to walk down to the crater’s bottom for a closer look.
OVERNIGHT STAY AT HVERAGERDI - town famous for Geothermal Activity
The second day of our tour will take us on a glorious drive along the famous Ring Road through the farm country of the South Coast. We’ll pass through the little towns of Selfoss and Hvolsvollur, where we’ll take a short break. On the way, you’ll be able to see the Atlantic Ocean, and on bright days the Westman Islands will be visible too. Inland, there will be impressive views of mountains and glaciers to catch the eye, as well as the brooding presence of Hekla, Iceland’s most active volcano.
Our first stop on the South Coast section of the tour brings us to Seljalandsfoss, which will have been coming into view as we head eastwards. We’ll take you first to the “hidden” waterfall of Gljufrabui, which cascades into a concealed cave that many other visitors miss altogether. It’s an extraordinary feeling to be so close to a waterfall like this. The waterfalls here are all fuelled by Eyjafjallajokull, the volcano whose last great eruption put a stop to air traffic for weeks in 2010, making Iceland famous all over the world. A few minutes away lies Seljalandsfoss itself, a much larger waterfall that gracefully plunges from a 60-meter high cliff-face into a deep pool. Seljalandsfoss has featured in many films and music videos, including one for Justin Bieber.
A little further around the other side of Eyjafjallajokull, we come to another set of “secret waterfalls”, where Irafoss and Arjanurfoss tumble their way down the rocky cliffs. Missed by most, we’ll make sure that you see them. Beyond lies Skogafoss, which rivals Gullfoss as the most famous waterfall in the country now. Probably one of the most recognized waterfalls in the world, Skogafoss is a sensational sight at any time of year. It has been seen in “Game of Thrones”, several Hollywood films and many music videos too. Skogafoss faces directly south, which means that there’s a great chance to see rainbows arching over the 60-meter-high cascade. It’s possible to climb some stairs right up to the top to see the Skoga river fall into the plunge pool and then make its way out to the sea.
Close to Skogafoss lies Solheimajokull, the “Sun’s Home Glacier”. This is one of the most accessible glaciers in the country, part of the mighty Myrdalsjokull ice-cap and the Katla Global Geopark. We’ll take you up close to one of the glacier tongues for a good look from a viewing platform.
The last stop on this second day of our tour is the fabulous black sand beach at Reynisfjara. Here dark volcanic sands stretch for miles, with powerful Atlantic waves crashing into the Reynisdrangar, a collection of brooding rock formations that lie just out to sea. There’s also an astonishing cliffside stack of basalt columns resembling a church organ that has to be seen to be believed. The stone arches of Dyrholaey can also be seen far out to sea. Watch your step as you explore and take pictures – the waves are often faster and stronger than you think!
OVERNIGHT STAY ON THE COUNTRYSIDE
Everyone who visits Iceland hopes to see the Northern Lights. Magical displays of green, white and purple light shimmer across the skies on clear nights. If we are lucky with the weather and if the aurora is active, we will make the best use of the low light pollution in this area to try to see them. Remember though – the Northern Lights are not “switched on” every day!
The third day of our South Coast adventure takes us further east into the Vatnajokull National Park.
First stop stop is the astounding Diamond Beach, where the glittering fragments of icebergs are slowly being sculpted into weird and wonderful shapes by the wind and waves. Lying on the vivid black sand beach like diamonds on a velvet cushion, the ice formations here are incredible. We will bring you here first, to make sure that you get the best photos, before taking you to the place the icebergs come from – the Glacier Lagoon at Jokulsarlon.
Just a few hundred yards inland lies the spectacular glacier lagoon of Jokulsarlon, a place featured in Batman and James Bond films. Here, enormous multi-colored icebergs tear themselves away from the Breidamerkurjokull glacier and then spend as long as five years making their way slowly out to sea, swaying back and forth and ever-changing in shape and size. Some of the bergs are striped with volcanic ash from ancient eruptions, so you’re seeing geological time on display here. Seals and seabirds make their home here too, so look out for them as they bask in the sun.
The highlight of our South Coast tour is a three-hour expedition to explore a unique natural blue ice cave. Jump onboard a Super Jeep with us to find this rare phenomenon deep in a glacier, something that really displays the tremendous forces of Icelandic nature. Blue ice caves are formed naturally in glaciers when fresh water freezes in the plunging winter temperatures, with new caves created each year as the glaciers freeze and melt in different shapes. It’s a mesmerizing sight to see, with fantastic shapes in a range of colors. Our local guides will take you to the most impressive blue ice caves to be found here in the Vatnajokull National Park. Once you’ve been there, that blue ice cave may never exist again, so this is truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
Hofskirkja is thought to be among the last turf churches to be built in Iceland, dating back to the 19th century. Layers of green turf lie on the roof of this story-book church, surrounded by moss-covered burial mounds, which makes it look like it’s melting into the landscape around it. Rebuilt in the 1950s, locals still worship here now, so this will be a quick stop for a photograph.
After visiting this unique place, we’ll begin to make our way back to the capital city. As we head west, the landscape becomes more desolate as we pass through the Eldhraun lava field, a flat coastal area filled with rugged rock formations.
Vik is the most southerly village in the country and a busy spot for resting Ring Road travelers. There is a beautiful hilltop church which has fantastic views of the coast, including the Reynisdrangar. We’ll stop here so that you can take some great pictures from this vantage point.
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