Venture into the otherworldly landscapes along Iceland’s South Coast, and set out on a thrilling chase of the Aurora Borealis!
Lace up your hiking boots and join us on this two-day trip for close encounters with the wonders of Icelandic nature. Explore the South Coast with its iconic waterfalls and black sand beaches, and be the first to step into a blue ice cave of Europe’s largest icecap. To top it all off, we’ll have ample moments to hunt the magical, ever-elusive Northern Lights!
Meet on location
Departs from Overwrite
- Tour highlights
- Small Group Experience
- Natural Ice Cave
- Seljalandsfoss Waterfall
- Skogafoss Waterfall
- Vatnajökull - Europe's biggest glacier
- Skaftafell Nature Reserve
- Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon
- Diamond Beach
- Vík - coastal village
- Reynisfjara - basalt columns & black sand beaches
- Northern Lights (conditions permitting)
- Volcano Views (weather permitting)
- Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon Boat Tour - optional (May-Oct)
- Pick-up & drop off from Reykjavík
- Hotel Accommodation with a Private or a Shared Bathroom
- Breakfast at the Hotel
- Guided Group Tour in a Minibus
- Visit to all main highlights of the South Coast
- Guided Ice Cave Tour
- English Speaking Tour Guide
- All Necessary Safety Equipment
- Free WiFi on Board Your Bus
South Coast Highlights
On this South Coast adventure, we set out to explore the most visited attractions in the land of fire and ice. For starters, we’ll drive through farmlands and a few cozy little towns to Seljalandsfoss, one of Iceland’s most well-known waterfalls. If the weather allows, you can walk behind the graceful cascade that drops 60 m (197 ft) and peek through the crystal wall of water. Next up is Skogafoss Waterfall, which can be marveled both from below and from the top of the falls, after a climb of about 500 steps.
Carrying on with our journey, we’ll head to Reynisfjara, a world-famous black sand beach with dramatic Reynisdrangar basalt sea stacks—formed by Iceland’s fascinating volcanic activity—rising up from the Atlantic Ocean. We’ll stop for lunch at the town of Vik, soaking in the view of its picturesque church perched high on a hill.
Back on our minibus, we’ll drive through moss-covered lava landscapes to Kirkjubæjarklaustur, a village wrapped in legends. Our accommodation for the night will be in the area around Skaftafell. If the forecast is favorable, your guide will show where you can see the Northern Lights in all their glory. We can’t guarantee you’ll definitely see the Aurora, but hopefully, multicolored swirls of light will ripple across the night sky.
Vatnajökull Glacier, Jokulsarlon & Diamond Beach
The following part of the tour is centered on Vatnajökull National Park, the largest in Europe. After breakfast, we’ll head to Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon, one of the most surreal sights in the world, let alone Iceland. Floating icebergs dot the enormous lagoon as they slowly make their way towards the open sea. Some blue icebergs run ashore on the famous Diamond Beach, where they glitter like diamond jewels on the black volcanic sand.
The highlight of the trip is stepping into the blueish natural ice cave in Vatnajökull, Europe’s largest ice cap. Led by our expert glacier guide, you’ll be able to safely observe the wondrous ice formations. To satisfy your curiosity, the guide will tell you some intriguing facts about ice cave formation.
Heading back to Reykjavik, we’ll make a stop at Skaftafell National Park, a preservation area with ample hiking trails, fabulous views of ragged-toothed mountains and imposing glaciers. On our way back, we’ll keep a close eye on the Northern Lights and make a short stop if conditions allow for it.
Arrival in Reykjavík is expected around 21:00 (9:00 p.m.). Fluctuating weather in winter can sometimes influence the schedule a little, but don’t worry, our expert travel planners always have a back-up plan – it’s all part of the exciting Iceland experience.
Here you can find a detailed list of information about everything you need to know about this tour:
Pick up is at 9:00 a.m. from your hotel or a nearby meeting point in Reykjavík. Picking everyone up can take up to 30 minutes, so your patience is much appreciated.
Available pick-up points: Arctic Adventures’s pick-up list.
What to bring: Warm outdoor layers (wool, fleece or synthetic are best, not cotton), a waterproof jacket and pants, headwear and gloves. Good hiking shoes are highly recommended.
This tour is offered year-round, but note that the itinerary may change slightly due to the weather conditions. In the winter, we may have to shorten our time at some stops due to the shorter daylight hours. Also, the Northern Lights are usually only visible during the winter months.
If you’re traveling solo or with an odd number in your group, and you don’t choose the single supplement, you will be paired in a twin room with another participant of the same gender.
Your safety is our priority and sometimes weather or road conditions mean that access to certain ice caves is unavailable and/or unsafe. Our main ice cave in the winter is the Crystal Ice Cave. However, at times when it’s inaccessible, we’ll visit an alternative ice cave. During the summer months (from April to October), we’ll visit the Ice Cave Under the Volcano. If it’s inaccessible, we’ll do a glacier hike instead.
If you do not choose the single supplement you will be paired in a twin room with another participant of the same gender.
Our main ice cave to visit is the Crystal Ice Cave. At times it is inaccessible however and in that case we will visit another ice cave. During the summer months (April-October), we will go to The Ice Cave Under the Volcano ice cave. If it is inaccessible, we will do a glacier hike instead.
DAY 1: The Grand South Coast & Northern Lights
Pick up is at 09:00 am from your hotel or the Reykjavík meeting point you have chosen. Please note: picking everyone up can take up to 30 minutes but you do have to be ready and waiting at 09:00 am.
This jewel of Iceland tour packages will take you south before continuing to the east as we whisk you away for two days of amazing adventure sightseeing. We drive towards the slowly rising sun on the way to our first stop, the very unusual Seljalandsfoss waterfall, you can actually walk behind the gracefully falling cascade. It is well worth getting a little damp for such an exciting experience!
Our next highlight is another waterfall, Skógafoss, located at the foot of a very famous volcano, Eyjafjallajökull. On a clear day, you will also get a great view of another volcano mountain glacier, Mýrdalsjokull. As we continue on, we come to Reynisfjara, a black beach where some fantastic sights, such as the picturesque basalt column formations and the famous Reynisdrangar peaks, will greet us. We will drive through the charming small town of Vík on our way to our accommodation. Throughout the entire day, you can expect to see breathtaking landscapes consisting of vast lava fields, waterfalls, black sands and glacier tongues. We will enjoy a relaxing evening, if the conditions are right we will hunt for those northern lights! The countryside close to Vatnajökull glacier, away from the city lights, is perfect for spotting this natural phenomenon. Your hotel will be in the Skaftafell area.
- Seljalandsfoss Waterfall
- Skógafoss Waterfall
- Reynisfjara Black Sand Beach
- Villages of Vik
- Northern lights search
- Pick-up in Reykjavik
- Guided Tour in Minibus
- Visit to Highlights of the South Coast
- One night in a country hotel in the Skaftafell area
- Private or Shared Bathroom
Day 2: Land of Ice
Today you will really get to know the glacier, venturing into the sparkling, blue/white world of an ice cave with a qualified guide, and visiting the extraordinary glacier lagoon, Jökulsárlón. Getting up close and personal with a vast glacial tongue of the great Vatnajökull glacier does not get any better than this!
The renowned Jökulsárlón Ice Lagoon, made famous by several blockbuster movies including Batman Begins and The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, to name just a couple, is a totally mind-blowing place. Splendid icebergs of amazing shapes, some incredibly large, have calved off the receding Breiðamerkurjökull glacier. They jostle one another in the huge lagoon before gliding on their surreal and stately journeys to the Atlantic ocean. Many of these natural ice sculptures are washed onto the nearby Diamond Beach, you will see them glittering like diamonds, as they rest on the dramatic coal blackness of the beach.
Next, you go into the glacier with a qualified guide! Ice caves are fascinating. New caves are formed each winter by the melt/freeze cycle of the glacier, they are always changing, both from year to year and within each winter. The journey into an ice cave will give photographers the most amazing opportunity to capture the shimmering blue light which passes through the glacial ice. Surprisingly deep shades of jewel blue will surround you, these tones are caused by ice compression, the way we perceive light and color, and the blueness can sometimes be intensified by algae.
After visiting the ice cave we head towards Reykjavík. We stop at Skaftafell Nature Reserve in Vatnajokull National Park, a green area in the midst of amazingly jagged mountains and glacier-topped peaks, the splendid scenery of Skaftafell is certain to be a highlight of your tour. We will keep an eye out for the Northern Lights on our way back to the city and will make a short stop if conditions allow for it.
We return to Reykjavík around 21:00 pm.
- Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon
- Natural Ice Cave
- Vatnajökull Glacier
- Diamond Beach
- Skaftafell Nature Reserve
- Northern Lights search
- Hotel breakfast
- Visit to Jokulsarlon Lagoon
- Safely guided tour in a natural ice cave
- Certified Glacier Guide
- Necessary glacier equipment
- Drop off in Reykjavik
Our multi-day tours are operated in a minibus which will give you a small group experience and a better connection with the guide.
Accommodation is included during your multi-day tour which is often booked far in advance. By booking with us, you don’t have to worry about finding an accommodation during the time of the tour. Staying overnight in the countryside gives you the opportunity to explore Iceland further and experience places that you would normally not be able to on a one day tour. Note that Adventure packages do not include accommodation.
You’ll have an English speaking licensed adventure guide throughout the tour that will be able to tell you about everything you will see along the way and knows where the best locations to stop by are to give you the absolute best experience.
When booking with Arctic Adventures, you are guaranteed an accommodation at a nice country hotel and/or a guesthouse. The hotels we have partnered up with are all of the same standard and offer nice rooms with made-up beds. The rooms come with private or shared bathrooms, depending on your booking. The standard room is a twin room but it’s possible to request a double room or a triple room, with no extra charge.
If you are traveling solo, you will have to add the single room fee if you wish to have a single room.
All hotels have free Wi-Fi. Towels, a hairdryer and a kettle are accessible at all of the hotels. Hotel breakfast is included!
A single supplement is available if you want to have your own room, but you are not required to pay a single supplement. If you are a single traveler and do not wish to book a single room, you’ll be roomed with another traveler of the same gender.
If your tour includes accommodation, breakfast is always included during the tour at the hotel/guesthouse restaurant.
Meals and beverages are otherwise not included on your tour. (Unless it’s specifically stated in the description of the tour)
On our multiday tours, we will be making stops at restaurants and convenience stores where you will be able to purchase all necessities.
You should count on spending around 8,000 ISK (80$) on food each day per person. Cash is not necessary, as credit cards are almost always accepted. Having a small amount of cash doesn’t hurt though.
Breakfast is included at all the hotels we stay in during the tour. The breakfast will be a typical breakfast buffet, offering bread, toppings, cereal, yogurt, fruits, coffee, and tea etc.
Your guide will also find a good place for the group to eat lunch. We always try to choose places that have a wide selection of dishes on the menu, so there will be options available for everyone. The dinner is usually at the hotels we stay at for the night.
For multi-day tours, each participant is allowed to bring a small backpack and 1 piece of luggage weighing a maximum of 20 kg (44 lbs).
* The combined dimensions of each bag must not exceed 158 cm (62 in).
* It’s possible to store your luggage with us in Reykjavík while you are on your tour, for a small fee. We highly recommend storing the luggage in Reykjavík to help us reduce our carbon footprint.
* Please note that luggage storage is not refundable.
We do welcome participants of all ages older than the listed minimum age for each tour. We have people of ages ranging from 8-99 years joining our multi-day tours. Our average group usually consists of participants between the age 20-55 years. We do get a lot of solo travellers joining our tours, as well as families and friends.
If you have difficulties participating in any of the activities included in the tour, for example, a glacier activity, you are more than welcome to skip it. You can explore your surroundings in the meantime or wait elsewhere. Our guide should be able to drop you off at a nearby place where there are some services available.
We drive on average around 300 km (186 miles) per day on our multi-day tours. You will be spending approximately 4-5 hours in the car each day. We do of course stop on multiple locations throughout the tour for sightseeing, activities, bathroom breaks and lunch stops.
If you are not sure that you have suitable gear for your tour, we offer some necessary items for rent. For most of our multi-day tours, we rent out waterproof jackets and pants as well as hiking boots. You can book these items and more under the selection “Extras” in the booking widget when booking your tour on our website.
If you have already booked the tour and wish to add some rental gear to your booking, you can do so at least 24 hours prior to your tour starts.
For further information about rental gear:
Most of the hotels we use during our tours are remotely located and therefore ideal to spot the northern lights. If the forecast is in your favor, then it is more than likely that you will be able to see the magical show put on by the dancing northern lights during your tour with us. Most of the hotels offer a Northern Lights wake up call up on request if the lights are spotted.
The Northern Lights are a natural phenomenon and therefore we can unfortunately never promise that they will be seen. Their appearance depends upon atmospheric and weather conditions. The best time to see them is between September and March when it’s dark and clear. The sky needs to be as dark as possible, so the best places to see them are well away from city lights (that’s where we are going!).
For more information on the Northern Lights, please have a look at our Northern Lights information.
We always recommend booking a multi-day tour starting at least one day after arriving in Iceland. If you’re flying in from the US or will be landing early (4-6:30 am) you should be able to join the tour, but some risks would follow (i.e if the flight gets delayed) and could, therefore, miss out on the tour.
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“Incredible 2 Day Tour of the South Island!”
Outstanding tour and our guide Erla was excellent. She was bubbly, fun, attentive and drove us to our destinations smoothly and quickly.
This tour showed us waterfalls, black sand beaches, iceberg lagoon, walked a glacier, explored an ice cave, viewed the glaciers and volcanoes from afar, and saw the Northern Lights. It was everything we wanted, packed into 2 full days.
These are busy days, you will have things to do all day and end the evening around midnight (if you want to see Northern Lights) well worth the price.
We stayed the night at a pleasant hotel overlooking the mountains, outstanding dinner and breakfast, very comfortable clean accommodations.
If you want the South Island highlights in a quick couple days this is the tour for you. Not very challenging hiking, moderate on the glacier, my mother is 72 years old and she did it with minor difficulty.
“2 Day - South Coast, Ice Cave, Skaftafell, and Jokulsarlon Ice Lagoon”
This was the best part of our trip. The Ice Lagoon is beautiful and awe-inspiring. We had a fantastic guide in Hugrun, she was great and if you are offered the chance at a nighttime glacier hike, take it! With the full moon lighting the way it was something I won’t soon forget.
“2 Day - South Coast, Ice Cave, Skaftafell & Jokulsarlon Ice Lagoon”
This was the highlight of my trip to Iceland in winter! Our guide, Adolf, was amazing and so knowledgable. Every stop was gorgeous and it was so nice to experience more than just Reykjavik and the places nearby. The hotel we stayed in was also very nice and clean. We were able to stay up and watch for northern lights right outside the hotel – the hotel will do a wake up call if they see some action! Overall, I thought it was a little pricey at first, but definitely worth every cent and made my trip a wonderful experience. I suggest everyone go.