Iceland, otherwise called “The Land of Fire and Ice”, has an emotional landscape, for example, volcanoes, fountains, hot springs, and magma handle that pepper the Nordic island country. Both Vatnajokull and Snaefellsjokull are national stops that ensure probably the biggest ice sheets in Europe. Iceland additionally contains the absolute most dynamic volcanoes on the planet. The capital, Reykjavik, keeps running on geothermal influence and has a rich history to investigate. Iceland’s Viking history can be found in the National and Saga historical centers situated in the capital city
The day starts with pick up from your accommodation, or a nearby pick up point in Reykjavík.
Sightseeing at Thingvellir National Park
The first day is all about contrasts as you will do the Golden Circle tour along with the first part of the South Coast, a route which takes you to the historical Thingvellir National Park to get to know a little about the Viking history and the geothermal element here in Iceland, second the hot spring paradise in Haukadalur home to the active Strokkur and the world-renowned Geysir, the namegiver to all the geysers in the world.
Sightseeing at Strokkur
Sightseeing at Gullfoss Waterfall
Next there is the stunning Gullfoss or the Golden Waterfall which is truly an amazing sight and has a lot of history and different viewing angles that you simply must try!
Sightseeing at Seljalandsfoss Waterfall
The day will also include stops at the famous Seljalandsfoss waterfall “the one you can walk behind” and its brother, the endless power source of Skógafoss waterfall.
Sightseeing at Skógafoss Waterfall
Sightseeing at Reynisfjara
From there the trip continues along the South Coast, past glaciers and volcanoes before reaching the alluring Reynisfjara black sand beach, this mystical basalt wonderland is one of these places that you will remember a lifetime. The Reynisdrangar basalt stacks in the ocean, the strong waves, the lava cave carved into a tuff mountain and the volcanic ash sand beach is sure to capture any heart!
The night will be spent in the town of Vík, a charming coastal village with a towering and picturesque white and red church. You spot it from anywhere in the village!
After joining the group for breakfast it is time to check out of this hotel and get a going because the next adventure is waiting for you.
Hiking (Glacier) at Vatnajökull
Today we keep following the Ring Road One but this time heading further East into Skaftafell and Vatnajökull National Parks. Iceland has three national parks: Þingvellir, Vatnajökull and Snæfellsjökull – on this tour you will see them all. In Skaftafell and Vatnajökull National Parks you will find amazing sights such as Iceland’s highest peak Hvannadalshnúkur, the alluring Svínafellsjökull and Falljökull outlet glaciers and the extraordinary Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon.
Today you will hike on one of the two outlets from Vatnajökull, Europe’s largest glacier and the tour will be led by a certified glacier guide that will be with you every step of the way in the exciting experience. Equipped with all the necessary glacier equipment the journey starts. These glacier tongues are amazing places, with crevasses, moulins which can drill down to the base of the glacier and a plethora of amazing vistas for you to explore. Our guides love to be asked questions and talk about this natural playfield they like to spend their days at, so don’t be too shy to ask!
Sightseeing at Jokulsarlon
After this exciting adventure, it’s time to cool down a bit and what betting way of doing exactly that than to enjoy the vista of a glacier lagoon. The multi-colored icebergs and blocks float quietly in the enormous lagoon right of Ring Road 1 and you can easily walk around its beach to enjoy it from different points of view. The icebergs break off from the Breiðamerkurjökull Glacier and drop into the lagoon where they then melt and end up at the pitch black volcanic sand beach called Breiðarmerkursandur. When the icebergs then sit there, bathing in the sun the look of them is like glistening diamond and that is why the beach is often called the Diamond Beach. A must visit with the Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon stop!
In the evening we will lay down our heads at the comfortable accommodation near Höfn, a very pleasant seaside town and the lobster capital of Iceland.
Local Flavor (Fishing Village) at Djupivogur
Today we take on the Eastfjords in Iceland as we continue our tour. Vatnajökull will still continue to follow us the beginning of the route providing truly spectacular scenery. The roads starts to twist and turn and the mountains get closer and steeper as the travel takes you into the Eastfjords. Our point of interest is Egilsstaðir where the mystical Lagarfljót River flows, home to the “Icelandic Loch Ness Monster”. Tales of the giant Largarfljót worm, which is said to show itself from time to time, are firmly established within Icelandic folklore tales and the guide will tell you all about it. Egilsstaðir is often called the capital of the East but many find the smaller villages to host the strongest charm and so the along the way the way we stop off at Djúpivogur, a small and really remote fishing village. The North Atlantic waves wash over the black sandy beach and a rich birdlife thrives in the area. Djúpivogur is home to just over 1100 people greatly outnumbered by the wildlife around. As a community Djúpivogur is known for its reputation as welcoming and being strongly committed to eco issues.
Hiking at Hengifoss
The adventure today will be the 3 hour but easy hike the group will take on the waterfall trail of Hengifoss and Litlanesfoss. Then hanging waterfall or Hengifoss is one of the highest waterfalls in Iceland and the falls drop into a striking gorge. Look out for the layers of red strata threading their way in the cliff’s wall behind the waterfall. This cliff was forged in the fire of many mighty volcanic eruptions, those layers of volcanic ash and basaltic lava developed over thousands of years and are a good evidence to the active volcanic systems in Iceland. On the hike you will also find the Litlanesfoss a completely different but equally as wondrous, a smaller waterfall dropping down hexagonal shaped basalt columns, the vista is truly eye-catching.
After our hike, we make our way to our accommodation for the night in the picturesque area around Egilsstaðir.
Sightseeing at Dettifoss Waterfall
Out of the Reindeer Kingdom in the East and into the Icelandic Horse Paradise in the North. Today we drive from the charming Egilsstaðir through the most moon-like landscapes you’ll ever see towards Möðrudalur, the highest located farm in Iceland and to the magnificent Dettifoss waterfall. The falling waterfall or Dettifoss is the most powerful waterfall in Europe, with an awe-inspiring flow rate of 193 m3/s (6,816 cu ft/s). The river Jökulsá á Fjöllum feeds the waterfall and the origin of the water is in Vatnajökull glacier. There is something quite raw about the vastness found surrounding Dettifoss waterfall and truly lifts your spirit to take a deep breath of fresh and wet air while standing near it!
Hot Springs at Lake Mývatn
Next, we head to the surreal Námaskarð geothermal area, filled with colorful mud pools and fumaroles wafting clouds of steam and hot gases and with the geothermal mindset already in place we make a stop at lake Mývatn and its nature baths, there you will be given the opportunity to relax in the lovely hot spring at an extra cost. We highly recommend you book it beforehand to reserve your spot! The entrance fee to the baths can be added when you book your tour or it can be paid on site. Those who don’t want to bathe can enjoy a walk around this extraordinary lunar-like landscape or relax in the cafeteria. The geothermally heated water in the baths is the same as in the Blue Lagoon, rich with algae and the magical silica which is know globally to have skin-healing powers. No chlorine or other chemicals are added, they are just not needed due to the fauna in the waters. This is truly an experience you shouldn’t miss!
Sightseeing at Hverfjall Volcano
Fresh and clean from the awesome natural baths we continue to Hverafjall, a volcanic crater which formed in an eruption 2500 years ago.
Sightseeing at Dimmuborgir
We will also visit the Dimmuborgir lava formations, known as the ‘dark cities’, some of these lava forms will tower above us like fairytale giants. Dimmuborgir was formed when the roof of a giant lava tube collapsed. The feeling of standing in Dimmuborgir is like no other and many talk about the experience as one of the most eye-opening ones in Iceland.
Sightseeing at Godafoss Waterfall
We continue our drive around picturesque Lake Mývatn on the way to Akureyri, making a stop at the stunningly beautiful Goðafoss Waterfall known as the waterfall of the gods.
We will stay at a country hotel in the area around Akureyri, the second largest city in Iceland.
Sightseeing at Akureyri
After a night spent in the beautiful Akureyri, the capital of the North we start making our way onwards West before going back down South.
Whale Watching at Dalvik
The first stop of the day is an exciting one as Dalvík is home to the most amazing Whale Watching Tours, known as the place with the greatest success rate and the place to see the most variety in marine life!
You will step on a boat led by absolute experts to chase whales, dolphins and vivid birdlife and your guide will make sure you get the absolute most out of the experience. Humpback whales, dolphins and porpoises are the most common but Blue Whales and seals are often seen as well. During the tour, you will have the chance to try a little sea angling adding even more flavor to the experience. When we get back to delightful Dalvík the guides will barbecue the catch of the day. The perfect way to try Icelandic fish, fresh and self-caught!
Local Flavor (Village Tour)
The road then takes us along the Tröllaskagi e. Troll Peninsula and you will see the adorable farm life and little villages along the route, one of them being the vibrant Siglufjörður. There we will make a stop and get to know this important place in Icelandic history.
In the early part of the twentieth century, this village was known as the herring fishing capital of the Atlantic. People rushed to cash-in on the boom, and the town had somewhat of a gold-rush atmosphere. Today, the great shoals of herring are long gone, but the rich history and character of those times in Siglufjörður are very well-preserved. After a photogenic stop in the Sail Fjord (Siglufjörður) we travel onwards through Skagafjörður and Húnavatnassýsla both known for their endless fields of colorful Icelandic horses.
Your accommodation for the night will be at a country hotel in the Bifröst lava area.
Hiking at Grábrók Crater
Today we wake up in a lave paradise in the Borgarfjörður area in West Iceland. Our first stop of the day is quite unusual for most travelers but one of our very favorite, the lesser known but completely miraculous Grábrók Volcanic Crater. The hike to the top to look into the crater is a short one and well worth it as both the trail and the final view are like something from a movie.
Sightseeing at Deildartunguhver
The next stop on the road shows a completely different side to the power of Icelandic nature, after the volcanic power there is the geothermal. We are visiting Europe’s most powerful hot spring, Deildartunguhver. This rainbow colored hot spring provides over 90% of the hot water utilized in the area.
Sightseeing at Hraunfossar Waterfall
Back on the road, we are heading towards Hraunfossar waterfalls where ice cold glacial water drips at a rapid speed down in a cascade forming the most awe-inspiring sight. The sister fall to Hraunfossar is the wonderful Barnafoss waterfall known for its intensely blue colors and pitch black lava pathway.
Sightseeing at Barnafossar Waterfall
Sightseeing at Reykholt
The final stop of the day is at Smoky Hill or Reykholt which serves as a very important factor in Iceland’s history as it was home to one of Iceland most remarkable poets and historians. Snorri Sturluson was a 12th-century scholar who wrote Snorra-Edda which for is truly a unique insight into life in the Viking times.
After a day of wonders you are driven through the very pleasant Borgarfjörður countryside, you are dropped off at your hotel in the Borgarnes area.
Sightseeing at Ytri-Tunga
oday, we will explore the beautiful Snæfellsnes Peninsula which has earned the nickname “miniature Iceland” for a very good reason. This region features all of the most remarkable natural attractions that Iceland is so famous for. The scenery is incredibly diverse. Snæfellsnes has a stunning, glacier-capped volcano surrounded by rough lava fields. Some of Iceland’s most dramatic rocky beaches and sea stacks are found here, along with one of the largest seal colonies.
The first stop of the day will be the beach of Ytri-Tunga which is also the home of the seal colony. Unlike the majority of the beaches in Iceland which are pitch black, this place is unique for its golden sand and gently undulating small dunes with wild grass. It is very likely that we will come across some seals from the colony. They are adorable, curious, and quite friendly. They usually rest on the rocks where they can be easily spotted.
Local Flavor (Fishing Village) at Arnarstapi
We will continue our drive through the peaceful countryside. Breathtaking mountains and ocean views will surround us the entire way. We will stop at two lovely coastal fishing villages, Arnarstapi and Hellnar. These two remarkable sites are very close to each other. A beautiful natural harbor, columnar rock formations, arch rocks, and basalt caves await our exploration. We will visit a cozy café where you will be given the chance to enjoy lunch (food and drink are not included) with a stunning view of the coast.
Sightseeing at Snæfellsjökull National Park
Next, we head into Snæfellsnes National Park. There is an 8000-year-old spectacular lava cave on Snæfellsnes, Vatnshellir, where we will make a stop. Those who booked the additional lava caving tour will go inside with a specialist caving guide. They will get to explore the natural lava formations of the subterranean world. Those who choose not to go caving will have the chance to go for a short hike through the moss-covered landscape and admire the views of the Snæfellsjökull glacier towering over us.
One of the oddest natural attractions on the peninsula can be seen from kilometers away. The strange, giant Lóndrangar sea stacks dominate the landscape even from a distance. The stacks are 75 and 61-meters (246 and 200-feet) high and together look like a dark castle. It is said that they belong to the elves living in the area so no one dares disturb them.
Sightseeing at Djúpalónssandur
Our next stop is the dramatic Djúpalónssandur beach. This stunning black sand beach stretches between crazily shaped cliffs and marvelous lava formations. You will get time to explore or to even to try your strength at the “lifting stones.” These stones are used by fishermen who lift them to display their strength. A picturesque shipwreck, the British Trawler, is the other gem of this beach. This mystical and truly enchanting place might one of the top three most remarkable beaches in Iceland.
Sightseeing at Kirkjufell
On our way back to Reykjavík, our next stop will be at Kirkjufell, the famous Church mountain. It is, without doubt, one of Iceland’s most iconic landmarks. The symmetrical mountain with its picturesque waterfalls in the foreground looks like the perfectly idyllic postcard picture.
As we leave the peninsula behind, we return to Reykjavík to drop you off at your hotel in the capital area.
Sightseeing at Hekla
Today we take off from Reykjavík along the South Coast but this time, we are going straight into the highlands! This is definitely a road less taken and to access you will need a bigger car. That is why today we will travel by a Super Truck.
Past farmlands and the voluminous volcano Hekla we make our way off the Ring Road and into the wild, where variations of flora and fauna vary in the most incredible ways. We will drive to the vicinity of lava field formed during a volcanic eruption in the year 2000 eruption and if weather allows, we will continue our climb up to 900 meters above sea level to a beautiful viewpoint. From this mountaintop, you will have the chance to explore as far as the eye can see, with glaciers, volcanoes and untamed nature all around.
Hot Springs at Landmannalaugar
The Landmannalaugar area is often called a geothermal paradise and its mountains are without equals. Remember to bring a bathing suit as right under the banks the lava field that sits in the center of the area you will find the most alluring hot baths where you can soak in natural hot waters. This experience is true without comparison!
Sightseeing at Ljótipollur
Other points of interest that will be explored on the day are the explosion crater Ljótipollur or Ugly Puddle and the fairy tale like Þjórsárdalur Valley.
Sightseeing at Hjálparfoss
We will make a stop at the photogenic Hjálparfoss waterfall after making a pit stop for coffee and snacks. This exploration into the Icelandic central highlands is the perfect way to end your tour around the country and will make sure you catch those final crosses needed to complete the Iceland Bucket List.
At the end of the day, we will drive you back to Reykjavík and drop you off at your selected drop-off location around 9 p.m.