7 nights/ 8 days
Reykjavik to Reykjavik

Discover Iceland’s South Coast as you inhale fresh Icelandic air and tap into the country’s natural restorative powers. You’ll discover spouting geysers, lava tube caves, thundering waterfalls, and icy glaciers. You’ll also hunt for the elusive Northern Lights! On this adventure, spend a week getting acquainted with this land of fire and ice and see nature in action.

2017 Dates: March 22-29 $2750 ($550 Single Supplement)
September 20-27 $3025 ($750 Single Supplement)
Trip Leader(s):Asdis
Places Visited:Reykjavik, Raufarholshellir, Eyrarbakki, Hvergerdi, Thingvellir National Park, Golden Circle, South Shore Waterfalls, Myrdalsjokull Glacier, Reynisfjara Black Beach, Vik, Lava Fields of Eldraun, Svinafellsjokull Glacier, Skaftafell National Park, Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon, Vatnajokull Glacier, Reykjanes
Activities:Glacier trekking, hiking, snowmobiling, caving, northern lights hunting
Group Size:Min. 8 Max. 16
Travel Style:Comfort
Physical Rating:Easy

Ready to book? Please click the button below to BOOK THIS TRIP and submit your information along with a $500 deposit.  Your deposit is fully refundable for 72 hours and always transferable to any of our other trips, or we can hold it for a future trip.

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Highlights

  • Travel to the southern coast of Iceland in private transportation
  • Search the night skies for multicolored displays of the Northern Lights
  • Go trekking on a glacier
  • Ride a snow mobile on Iceland’s second largest glacier
  • Explore a lava tube cave
  • Be mesmerized as you explore an ice cave with it’s striking, glassy-blue cathedral
  • Explore Thingvellir National Park, declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its history as the oldest existing parliament in the world, first assembled in 930 A.D.
  • Visit Geysir hot spring area and the Gulfoss waterfall
  • Explore the South Shore waterfalls including Seljalandsfoss and Skogafoss
  • Take a soothing dip in the waters of the geothermally-heated hot springs
  • Learn about Iceland’s high-temperature geothermal areas and how they provide electricity for the entire country.

Day 1: Reykjavik

Today is arrival day, so there are no activities planned. Our hotel is located in the heart of Reykjavik, close to a variety of shops, galleries, restaurants, coffee houses and bars to suit all tastes. Once you get settled in, get your bearings by visiting the observation deck of Hallgrimskirkja, or “the big white church.” Visit the church and take the elevator to the top floor for the best view in the city. Afterwards, take a stroll down to the Solfar (Sun Voyager) sculpture on the waterfront and then continue down to the harbor for lunch or dinner.

Overnight at City Center Hotel or similar

Day 2: Reykjavik/ Raufarholshellir/ Eyrarbakki/ Hvergerdi Geothermal Park (B)

In the morning, our guide will pick us up from the hotel for a day trip to Raufarholshellir, the historical village of Eyrarbakki and Hveragerdi where we will enter the geothermal park and boil an egg in one of the hot springs.

After a 50-60 minute drive from Reykjavik, we’ll arrive at Cave Raufarholshellir, Iceland’s 3rd largest lava tube cave. More than just “scratching the surface” during your Icelandic experience, this cave adventure is surely off the beaten path. Raufarholshellir is one of the better known lava caves in Iceland and is easily accessible. The length of the tube is estimated to be 1360 meters (about .8 miles). There are four entrances, all in easy reach of each other. In the backward section, the cave forks into 3 tunnels, the lava flow from those tunnels probably joined in the Raufarholshellir cave 5000 years ago. Lava falls and other spectacular lava formations can be seen deep in those tunnels. There are large chambers in Raufarholshellir lava tube and the walk around the cave is an exciting journey as there are many things to see.

Upon leaving Raufarholshellir, we’ll make our way to the fishing village of Eyrarbakki, one of Iceland’s best kept secrets situated on the south coast of Iceland with a population of about 570 people, not including inhabitants of the prison located there.

We’ll end the day in the town of Hveragerdi, known for its intense geothermal activity. This friendly little community sits on top of a highly active geothermal field and there is a geo-park inside of the town with some of the biggest and best known hot springs. The geo-park is one-of-a-kind as nowhere else in the world is a populated area so close an active high-temperature geothermal area.

INCLUDED:

–Meals: Breakfast
–Reykjavik city orientation tour
–Visit to Raufarholshellir Cave (45 min)
–Hveragerdi Geothermal Park
–Visit to Eyrarbakki

Estimated travel time: 2.5 hours 
Overnight at City Center Hotel or similar

Day 3: Golden Circle: Thingvellir National Park/ Gullfoss Waterfall/ Geysir/ Secret Lagoon (B, L, D)

Today, we’ll travel to Thingvellir National Park, one of the country’s most historical sites and most frequently visited sites in the country. Thingvellir was declared a National Park in 1930 and nominated to the UNESCO World Heritage List in July 2004.

You’ll have some free time to go hiking in the park or possibly one of the many optional activities such as horseback riding or snorkeling in the Silfra fissure, world famous for its crystal-clear water and amazing shades of blue.

We’ll enjoy a picnic lunch in the beautiful surroundings of Thingvellir before heading for the Geysir geothermal hot spring area to observe the hot spring after which all other spouting hot springs on earth are named. Although the great Geysir is not active at the moment, its nearby neighbor, Strokkur, will erupt every 5-7 minutes, so have your camera ready!

From here, we’ll explore Gullfoss (the Golden waterfall), where your proximity to its edge is so great you will feel the spray of the glacial water on your face.

Tonight, we’ll spend the night in one of the most beautiful farming districts in Iceland, located in the region of Fljotshlid. We’ll end the day with a soak in the Secret Lagoon, Iceland’s oldest swimming pool! This is actually a natural hot spring that was adapted to bathing over 100 years ago.

If conditions are good, hopefully we’ll see the Northern Lights tonight!

INCLUDED:

–Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
–Snorkeling in the Silfra fissure
–Gullfoss Waterfall
–Geysir Geothermal Area
–Soaking in the hot springs of the Secret Lagoon

Estimated travel time: 3 hours
Overnight at Hotel Fljotshlio or similar

Day 4: South shore waterfalls/ Myrdalsjokull Glacier/ Reynisfjara black beach/ Vik/ Lava Fields of Eldraun (B, D)

Today, our journey takes us east along the Eyjafjöll mountain range to the Seljalandsfoss and Skogafoss waterfalls. Along the way, we’ll see the infamous Eyjafjallajokull volcano, which shut down Europe’s air space for a few days in 2010, and we’ll drive through the vast sand flats of Myrdalsjökull glacier and the vast lava fields of Eldhraun.

Our first stop is Seljalandsfoss waterfall, unique because you can walk behind the falling water. Stand behind the 60-meter-high waterfall and make a secret wish as you view the world through the watery wall.

Then, we kick the action into higher gear to get even closer to Iceland’s nature and go for a snowmobiling tour on Myrdalsjokull Glacier, the second largest ice cap in Iceland after Vatnajokull. The highest point of the ice cap is about 1,450 meters above sea level.

Close by is another beauty, Skogafoss Waterfall with water running from Eyjafjallajokull. It plunges from the cliffs of the former coastline. At 18 stories high, this majestic waterfall is one of the most visited sites in Iceland and for good reason, legend says that a treasure is buried beneath it.

As we continue our journey towards the Eldhraun Lava Field, we’ll explore the world-famous Reynisfjara shore near the village of Vik, ranked in 1991 as one of the ten most beautiful non-tropical beaches in the world. The black sand beach also features an amazing cliff of regular basalt columns resembling a rocky step pyramid, which is called Gardar. Out in the sea are the spectacularly shaped basalt sea stacks Reynisdrangar. Legend says that the stacks originated when two trolls dragged a three-masted ship to land unsuccessfully and when daylight broke they became needles of rock. (WARNING: Do not turn your back at the sea. The waves are bigger and more powerful than they look.)

The flat, sandy coast will be our companion for a while, but soon we’ll start driving through lava fields… one after another. You may want to try practicing the pronunciation of “hraun” (which means lava) with your guide, as we’ll pass by several.  First, we’ll pass through the Eldgjárhraun lava field, located east of Vik, and then the vast Eldhraun lava field, created from the eruption at Lakagigar in year 1783. This eruption lasted eight months and affected climate change over all of Europe. It is one of the greatest eruptions in recorded history and is the largest of its kind in the world.

Our journey ends today in the village of Kirkjubæjarklaustur (Icelandic for “church farm cloister”), a small village with about 120 inhabitants. Even before the time of the first Norse settlement in Iceland, Irish monks are thought to have lived here. Folk tales illustrate the history with stories about good and sinful nuns. The Systrastapi (sister’s rock) is where two of the convent’s nuns were buried after being burned at the stake. One of the nuns was accused of selling her soul to the Devil, carrying Communion bread outside the church, and having carnal knowledge with men; the other was charged with speaking blasphemously of the Pope. After the Reformation, the second sister was vindicated, and flowers are said to bloom on her grave, but not that of the first nun. Systravatn also has a legend relating to the convent. The nuns traditionally bathed in the lake, and one day two nuns saw a hand with a gold ring extending from the water when they tried to seize the ring, they were dragged below the water and drowned.

Our hotel tonight is also the perfect location for viewing the Northern Lights, if conditions permit.

INCLUDED:

–Meals: Breakfast & Dinner
–Snowmobiling
–Seljalandsfoss Waterfall
–Skogafoss Waterfall
–Reynisfjara Black Beach
–Lava Fields of Eldhraun

Estimated travel time: 3 hours
Overnight at Hotel Geirland or similar

Day 5: Svinafellsjokull Glacier/ Skaftafell National Park (B, D)

Today, we’ll continue our journey along the coast eastwards through the vast sand flats south of Vatnajökull, Europe’s largest glacier and one of Iceland’s most outstanding areas of natural beauty. We’ll visit Vatnajökull National Park and take a short hike to Svartifoss waterfall, known as the black waterfall, located in a valley in between the Vatnajökull outlets. Svartifoss is known and admired due to its fantastic lava formations. The area is dominated by spectacular views of the glacier.

After lunch (not included), we’ll enjoy a one-hour hike on the Svinafellsjökull glacier. Enjoy fabulous views all around as we explore this glacier where the movie, Interstellar, was filmed.  At locations where the glacier flows more rapidly, giant cracks called crevasses are formed, so it would be dangerous to walk on a glacier without a specialized tour guide.

Note: Crampons are provided, but you will need to have good hiking shoes. The crampons cannot be fitted onto sneakers or other light walking shoes.  If you do not have good hiking shoes, they can be rented from a local outfitter. 

Afterwards, we’ll continue our drive to the Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon for our overnight stay and search the night skies for the illusive Northern Lights, if conditions permit.

INCLUDED:

–Meals: Breakfast & Dinner
–Glacier Hike (1 hour)
–Hike to Svartifoss Waterfall (1.5 hours)

Estimated travel time: 3 hours
Overnight at Country Hotel Smyrlabjorg or similar

Day 6: Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon/ Vatnajokull Glacier Ice Cave (B, L)

After breakfast, we’ll spend some time at Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon and look out for the seals which can often be spotted in the lagoon. The lagoon is situated at the south end of Vatnajokull glacier in the Skaftafell preservation area in Vatnajökull National Park. Jokulsarlon is the most famous glacier lagoon in Iceland with a depth of about 250 meters and 18 square kilometers. Due to glacial retreat, huge pieces of ice break loose from the glaciers and end up floating in the Jokulsarlon lagoon.

During winter months (through March), we’ll visit an ice cave at Vatnajokull glacier, often called the Crystal Cave. We’ll have an expert local glacier guide take us in a modified Super Jeep to this spectacular cave made completely of ice. This is truly a mesmerizing wonder of nature. On the outside of the cave, the Vatnajokull glacier’s white crust is UV-bleached and scuffed, but on the inside it is transformed into a striking, glassy-blue cathedral, thanks to the tremendous weight of ancient ice pushing air bubbles out for a thousand years. In the spring, the caves melt and buckle, and in autumn local glacier specialists set out in search of new hidden chambers to explore. This impermanence makes Iceland’s crystal caves all the more magical.

During summer months, we’ll take a boat ride across the Glacier Lagoon. Sailing slowly among the majestic icebergs on the glacial lagoon, we take in the power of this magnificent natural phenomenon. Contrasting colors of blue and white ice on the bluish green water is like nothing you’ve ever seen before. Our knowledgeable guides will tell us about the formation of the deepest lake in Iceland and the enormous forces of the glacier that have formed it. We’ll taste 1,000-year-old ice and enjoy the company of curious birds and seals that might glide nearby.

Afterwards, we’ll take a stroll on the sand shore where the lagoon empties out to the Atlantic Ocean. Here on the shores, small and large icebergs wash ashore when the conditions are in our favor, giving the beach the well-deserved name of “Crystal Beach.”

We’ll return to Reykjavik late this evening with short stops and dinner (not included) along the way.

INCLUDED:

–Meals: Breakfast & Lunch
–Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon
–Vatnajokull Glacier Ice Cave (winter months)
– Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon Boat Tour (summer months)

Estimated travel time: 4.5 hours
Overnight at City Center Hotel or similar

Day 7: Reykjanes/ The Blue Lagoon (B)

Around mid-morning, we’ll visit the Reykjanes peninsula to experience a few highlights.  The Reykjanes peninsula is a geothermal wonder, where lighthouses outnumber villages. The area is a veritable hotbed for recreational activities. The dramatic, rugged landscape features volcanic craters, caves, lava fields, geothermal waters and hot springs.

After a short drive from Reykjavik, we’ll arrive at Lake Kleifarvatn, also the setting for a popular Icelandic crime novel which is named after it. A unique feature of this incredibly deep lake (318 feet at its deepest point) is that it has not visible surface drainage, meaning no rivers run to or from it. Because of this, the water level only changes with the ground water, which has varied almost 13 feet in a few decades. After the earthquake of 2000, a fissure formed below the lake and it started to drain quickly. The fissure has since refilled and the lake has returned to its previous levels.

A little further on, we’ll stop at the geothermal area at Seltún giving you the chance to walk amongst the hissing steam vents, solfataras and bubbling mud pots with the unmistakable smell of sulfur hanging in the air.

We’ll end our adventure at the famous geothermal spa of the Blue Lagoon. The warm waters are rich in minerals such as silica and sulfur and bathing in the Blue Lagoon has many health benefits and is perfect for relaxing and re-energizing. The Blue Lagoon is recognized as one of the wonders of the world according to National Geographic and has also been named one of the Top 25 Spas in the World.

We’ll return to Reykjavik in time for a final group dinner as a group or on your own. We’ll return to Reykjavik in the evening in time for dinner and a bit of free time. Be sure to take advantage of Reykjavik’s nightlife or “jammith” as the local’s refer to it. It’s certainly gaining a reputation for being one of the hottest places to party in the world today!

INCLUDED:

–Meals: Breakfast
–Reykjanes Sightseeing Tour
–The Blue Lagoon

Estimated travel time: 2 hours
Overnight at
 City Center Hotel or similar

Day 8: Reykjavik (B)

Today is departure day and a free day to knock off those last minute bucket list items and possibly do some shopping.

Not ready to leave? Your trip leader can help with travel arrangements to extend your adventure, if availability permits.

What’s Included?

3-4* hotels w/ breakfast, 7 nights
Meals indicated in the itinerary (B=Breakfast L=Lunch D=Dinner)
Local, English & Icelandic speaking guide(s)
Private Transportation
National Park Fees
Reykjavik Sightseeing Tour
Reykjanes Sightseeing Tour
Entrance at Geopark Hverageridi
Entrance at Secret Lagoon
Entrance at the Blue Lagoon
Cave Raufarholshellir
Ice Cave at Jokulsarlon (winter months) or Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon Boat Tour (summer months)
Golden Circle Tour
Snowmobiling
Snorkeling at Thingvellir National Park or Horseback Riding (Requires a group of 4+)
1-hour Glacier Hike

What’s Not Included?

Roundtrip international airfare to Reykjavik
Airport taxes and excess baggage fees
Round-trip ground transportation from KEF to Reykjavik (Fly Bus is recommended)
Beverages & Meals not specified
Optional Activities
Gratuities
Personal Expenses
Travel Insurance

Note: Understandably, there is no promise of viewing the Northern Lights. We will hope for the best and be prepared if luck smiles on us. We will pay close attention to the cloud cover and the aurora forecast and our guides will keep us informed of the best chances of seeing the Northern Lights. The Aurora Borealis are usually green, though white, red and purple colors may also appear. According to ancient Icelandic religion, the dancing northern lights are the fierce Valkyrie riding into battle in Valhalla.  

 

Trip Length
7 nights/8 days
Travel Style
Comfort
Physical Rating
Easy
Price
Starting at $2750