3-Day Complete South Coast Tour | Golden Circle, Watefalls & Jokulsarlon
See the most majestic sights in South Iceland -Glacier Lagoon and the Golden Circle, stunning waterfalls, blue-ice glaciers, volcanoes and more
What to expect
Day 1 | Golden Circle & Kerid Volcanic Crater
We will pick you up from your accommodation or a designated meeting point in Reykjavik and then make our way out of the capital city towards Thingvellir, the first stage of your Golden Circle experience. The journey takes us past Esja, the mountain that dominates the skyline wherever you look when you’re in Reykjavik. The busy city streets are soon replaced by wild Icelandic landscapes as we approach Thingvellir National Park, with the lake of Thingvallavatn stretching as far as the eye can see.
Thingvellir National Park
Thingvellir is a cherished national shrine for Icelanders, home to their Viking Parliament for nearly a thousand years and now protected as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Here, the Eurasian and North American tectonic plates have been tearing apart along the Mid-Atlantic Ridge for millions of years, with spectacular splits visible in the Earth’s crust. That means that you can stand with one foot on each continent here – a unique opportunity! The nation of Iceland was created in Thingvellir, with her first laws passed here at the “Law Rock” and independence from Denmark was declared here in 1944.
Geysir & Haukadalur Geothermal Area
The next stage on our tour brings us to the Haukadalur Geothermal area and Geysir, the place that gives it’s name to spouting hot springs everywhere. Geysir and Strokkur are the most famous geysers here, with Strokkur shooting boiling water high into the sky every six or seven minutes.
As well as the geysers, there are lots of bubbling hotpots and boiling streams here too. This is the place for perfect picture-taking. Just make sure that you’re standing upwind when Strokkur wakes up again with another enormous eruption!
Gullfoss - The Golden Waterfall
The tour of the Golden Circle then takes us to Gullfoss, which translates as the “Golden Waterfall”, one of Iceland’s most adored natural wonders. A double-drop waterfall with millions of gallons of water cascading into a deep canyon and sheets of spray generating rainbows on sunlit days, Gullfoss is an unforgettably spectacular sight. Powered by glacial meltwater from Langjokull glacier that can be spotted in the distance, it’s possible to see Gullfoss in all her glory from several viewing platforms at varying heights.
Kerid Volcanic Crater
The next stop on this tour brings us to Kerid, a 3000-year-old multi-colored volcanic crater with a deep turquoise-blue mineral water lake. Unlike most other volcanic craters in Iceland, Kerid is strikingly streaked with red rocks and earth. Along with the green mosses that hug its sides and the blue-water caldera lake, the mix of colors makes it a magnificent sight to see. It’s even possible to walk down a pathway to the crater’s bottom for a better look.
Our first day will end with an overnight stay in the town of Hveragerdi, which is well-known for being sited on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge and its geothermally-heated greenhouses, as well as the nearby “Hot River”. Hveragerdi translates as “hot springs”, and you will see lots of steam vapor rising all around the town. There are several bars and restaurants here too. Your overnight accommodation will be based on your selection at check-out.
Day 2 | South Coast Waterfalls, Black Beach & Glacier
Our second day will start with a pick up from your accommodation in Hveragerdi and a scenic drive along the Ring Road through the fertile farmlands of the South Coast. We’ll pass through Selfoss, before taking a short break at Hvolsvollur. On one side of the road, you’ll be able to see the Atlantic Ocean and the Westman Islands on clear days. At the same time, inland you’ll have breathtaking views of mountains like Hekla and glaciers too. Soon, directly ahead down the road, you’ll see our next stop – Seljalandsfoss.
Seljalandsfoss & Gljufrabui Waterfalls
Here we will take you first to the “hidden” waterfall of Gljufrabui, which tumbles down into a concealed cave that many other visitors miss altogether. It’s a special feeling to be standing so close to a waterfall in this way. The glacial meltwaters here are running down off the side of Eyjafjallajokull, the volcano whose last eruption stopped air traffic for weeks in 2010, making Iceland famous all over the world. A few minutes away lies Seljalandsfoss, a much larger waterfall that gracefully plunges from a 60-meter high cliff-face into a deep-green pool. Seljalandsfoss has featured in films and music videos, including one for Justin Bieber.
Skogafoss & Irafoss Waterfalls
Just a few minutes drive away from Seljalandsfoss, the cliffs of Eyjafjallajokull offer yet more waterfalls at Irafoss and Arjanurfoss. These are more “hidden” waterfalls, often missed by other visitors to the South Coast, but we will show you how to find them. The next stage of our tour brings us to Skogafoss. This is one of the most recognized waterfalls in the world, featured in “Game of Thrones”, feature films and music videos. Because it is south-facing, rainbows are a frequent sight here, as the 60-meter cascade of water produces a lot of mist and spray! Skogafoss is one of the biggest waterfalls in the country, and it’s possible to climb a flight of stairs to the top of the falls to see it from there too. There is also a café here if you want to grab a snack.
Solheimajokull Glacier (with optional glacier hike)
After leaving Skogafoss, we will make our way to Solheimajokull, which translates as “Sun’s Home Glacier”. The Solheimajokull glacier is part of a much larger ice-sheet in the Katla UNESCO Global Geopark, and this is a tremendous opportunity to get a closer look at this natural marvel, crisscrossed with crevasses, ice tunnels and fascinating glacial formations. You will have the option of taking a hike on a blue-ice glacier for a 1.5 hour trip, accompanied by a qualified guide and with all the necessary safety equipment provided, including ropes, crampons, and helmets. If you don’t wish to take the glacier hike, you can relax and enjoy a leisurely look at the glacier and the surrounding area from a viewing point.
Black Beach of Reynisfjara
The last stop on the second day is a visit to the iconic black sand beach at Reynisfjara. Here, the dark volcanic sands are pounded continuously by crashing Atlantic waves, and beautiful basalt columns hug the cliffs. Your gaze will be drawn to the brooding rock formations that lie just beyond the shore – these are the Reynisdrangar, a collection of black rock sea stacks that make for a perfect picture. The stone arches of Dyrholaey can also be seen from here. Don’t go too close to the waves – they’re often much faster and stronger than you might expect!
There’s a café here if you didn’t grab a bite to eat earlier in the day. After our time here at the Black Beach we head to our accommodation.
Day 3 | Glacier Lagoon & Fjadrargljufur Canyon
Our third day will take you further east into the Vatnajokull National Park, with stops at the picture-postcard village of Vik, the Fjadrargljufur Canyon, the Hofskirkja turf church and then concluding at the magnificent Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon and Diamond Beach.
Vik is the southernmost point in Iceland and is often described as one of the prettiest villages to be found anywhere in the country. A beautiful church sits on a hill, overlooking the village and out to the Atlantic, where the Reynisdrangar and Dyrholaey rock formations can be seen too – we’ll take you to have a look from that vantage point. Unusually for a seaside village, there is no harbor at Vik, but there are colonies of Arctic terns and countless other seabirds in the summer, so keep an eye out for them.
After we leave Vik, we’ll pass through the Eldhraun lava field, a flat coastal plain filled with intriguing moss-covered lava formations as we make our way towards Fjadrargljufur Canyon.
Fjadrargljufur is a magnificent winding canyon that is about a hundred meters deep and nearly two kilometers long, made famous by being featured in a Justin Bieber music video and now very popular with visitors as a result. It’s an extraordinarily beautiful place, and very fertile, covered in fragile moss and vegetation. The canyon was formed a few thousand years ago during a glacial period, leaving a snaking river behind it and this incredible spectacle too. We will bring you to this magical place for just under an hour.
Hofskirkja is thought to be the last turf church to be built in Iceland, dating back to 1884. Thick layers of turf lie on the roof of this church, surrounded by moss-covered burial mounds. Restored in the 1950s, it is still a practicing church to this day, made of a timber skeleton and stone slabs, but seemingly merging into the landscape around it. Very few turf churches have survived in Iceland, so this is a rare sight nowadays. The church is not open to the public, so this will be a quick stop for a photograph or two.
The highlight of our tour comes next, as we come to the Diamond Beach and the Glacier Lagoon at Jokulsarlon.
The Diamond Beach gets its name from the glittering remnants of icebergs that have made their way to the Atlantic Ocean. On the Diamond Beach, these fragments are then sculpted into wild and incredible shapes by the relentless wind and the mighty Atlantic waves. We will bring you here first so that you can get lots of fantastic photographs.
Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon (with optional amphibian boat tour)
A short drive away from the Diamond Beach brings us to the Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon. Here, gigantic multi-colored icebergs tear themselves from the Breidamerkurjokull glacier and crash into a 25-square-kilometer lake, before they slowly start making their way towards the sea.
Jokulsarlon truly is an astonishing place, featured in James Bond and Batman movies, and offers incredible images for your camera too. The view here is continually changing, as wind and tides gently move the bergs from one place to another. There’s a seal colony here, as well as flocks of seabirds to spot.
Here, you can also add an optional trip for a 45-minute amphibious boat tour on the glacier lagoon itself, sailing amongst the enormous icebergs, and looking out for the seals as they swim or basking on the beach.
After enjoying the wonders of the Glacier Lagoon, it will be time to return to the capital, which means driving back to Vik for a rest stop and then onwards to Reykjavik.
Know Before You Go
Any questions? We will be happy to assist you!
Have Questions? We will be happy to assist you!
+354 419 0100 | firstname.lastname@example.org
NICETRAVEL was founded by three Icelandic families with the aim of helping visitors to Iceland to enjoy a nice and enjoyable experience
All our services are of course fully licensed by the appropriate Icelandic authorities
Fiskislóð 45M, 101 Reykjavík
ID. 650712-0800 | TAX. 120367