3 Day Golden Circle Afternoon, South Coast and Northern Lights
Golden Circle, Northern Lights, South Coast, Jokulsarlon & Ice Cave
Visit some of the most beautiful places Iceland has to offer on this 3 day winter tour packed with full of exciting activities. This is the ultimate Icelandic Winter Bucket List tour!
This is the ultimate checklist tour for Iceland in Winter. In only 3 days you will catch all the best highlights including the famous Golden Circle, magical dancing Northern Lights, the breathtakingly beautiful south coast and the extraordinary ice cave in Skaftafell National Park. Get up close and personal with the greatest contrasts in Icelandic nature, the glaciers and volcanoes – Enjoy the land of ice and fire to the fullest!
Perfect for those who arrive in the morning – we leave Reykjavík at 1 pm.
October 15th - March 31st
Meet on location
- Tour highlights
- Afternoon Departure
- The Golden Circle
- Northern Lights Hunt
- Seljalandsfoss Waterfall
- Skógafoss Waterfall
- Reynisfjara Black Beach
- Reynisdrangar Basalt Columns
- Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon
- Diamond Beach
- Small Group Experience
- Knowledgeable Guides
- Accommodation with a Private Bathroom - 2 nights
- Breakfast at the Hotel
- Private Bathroom
- Guided Minibus Tour
- Guided Golden Circle (Gullfoss, Geysir & Þingvellir) tour
- Highlights of the South Coast
- Guided Ice Cave Tour
- Certified Glacier Guide
- Northern Lights tour
This tour could also be called how to make the most out of 3 days in Iceland. There is no end to the extraordinary vistas that await you. The experience starts with an afternoon tour of the world-famous Golden Circle, it’s a combination of history, nature and beauty. We return to Reykjavik for a Northern Lights hunt in the evening, followed by a guided tour of the South Coast highlights the next day.
The Golden Circle
Your first stop is the unique Thingvellir National park. One of the UNESCO World Heritage sites here in Iceland and the place where we founded the first parliament. As this was in the year 930 the Icelandic parliament, Alþingi is actually one of the first parliaments in the world. But Thingvellir isn’t only historic it’s also an enchanting home to lakes, rivers, waterfalls and the meeting of the Eurasian and North American tectonic plates. You will get a chance to explore this area well and your knowledgeable and friendly guide will tell you all about it.
Next up we have the king of all geysers in the world. Actually, the word geyser comes from the Icelandic name Geysir and its home is your next stop. In 2000 a huge earthquake shook Iceland and Geysir sits quietly ever since but as a result his baby brother, Strokkur gained strength and now puts up the most amazing show every 4-10 minutes bursting into the sky like a firework. Every time you are as amazed and every time it’s as beautiful. This is the perfect place to really feel the power of the Icelandic nature!
Last but not least we have the fascinating Gullfoss waterfall, the Golden Falls. Dropping about 32 meters with two separate drops this endless source of glacier water has amazed locals from the beginning. The water originates at the second largest glacier in Iceland, Langjökull is its river is often named Hvítá, the white river. Enjoy the view, take photos, let is all sink in!
In the evening we will test our chances with the Aurora Borealis or the Northern Lights. They are a natural phenomenon so we cannot guarantee the sight but our expert guides will take you to the best spots and with their professional knowledge they will provide the absolute best chance of seeing them. We can basically say with us you are in the best hands to see the Northern Lights!
After staying the night in Reykjavík you will start your journey to the exciting south coast. Prepare to be amazed as we will make our way along the south coast stopping at all the best spots and enjoying the unbelievably beautiful Iceland.
The South Coast
The first stop will be at the ever so lovely Seljalandsfoss waterfall, often nicknamed as “the one you can walk behind”. Here you will get a chance to go even deeper in your waterfall exploration and your guide will tell you fun facts about this amazing place. Next, on the waterfall menu we have the powerful and alluring Skógafoss waterfall. There is something truly magical about this place and many believe it to hide treasure under its great flow. Numerous folklore tales also mention Skógafoss and if you hike up its hills you will get a chance to see a troll’s face that legend says turned into stone after losing track of time staring at its beauty.
Next we go down to the sea into the volcanic black sand beach of Reynisfjara. With its dramatic Reynisdrangar basalt stacks, caves and formations this place is quick to capture your attention. Right above the beach, we have the charming little village of Vík and there we will stop for lunch. Be sure to look out for the picturesque little church that stands tall on a hill above the village.
Onwards we go through lava fields that somehow manage to be soft and rough at the same time, through volcanic areas and glaciers views before reaching the town of Kirkjubæjarklaustur. We will spend the night in a country hotel or guesthouse in Skaftafell area and if the forecast is looking good your guide will show you the best spots to watch out for the Northern Lights.
Next morning we wake up for a good and filling breakfast before heading back on the road for the amazing Vatnajökull National park. Vatnajökull glacier is the largest glacier in the whole of Europe and today you will get a chance to visit.
The first stop is at the dazzling Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon, known globally as a Hollywood filming locations for movies such as James Bond Die Another Day, Tomb Raider and Batman Begins and locally as one the most beautiful places in Iceland. With it’s floating blue icebergs the vision is surreal as you stand in front and take it all in. The lagoon is enormous so is the experience! The icebergs slowly move out of the lagoon and onto a black volcanic sand beach and there you can get a chance to touch and really investigate these stunning glittery blocks giving the beach the name The Diamond Beach.
And now the adventure you have all been waiting for: The Ice Cave!
The natural ice cave of Vatnajökull will completely blow you away with its gorgeous blue colors and crystal like ice. We will join an expert glacier guide for this part as the caves are so unique and extraordinary and we want you to get the absolute best experience possible. Your guide will tell you how new ice caves are formed each year and the story of the cave you are visiting.
With stars in our eyes and a mind filled with great memories, we will start to head back to Reykjavík making stops at beautiful spots and keeping an eye out for the Northern lights.
It’s amazing to experience places and phenomenon like this in a great group of like-minded travelers and to have an expert guide to tell you all the best stories and tips for your journey.
Remember 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 recommended.
Note: This is a combination tour which means that you will participate in three different tours. This also means that you, together with other participants on three-day day tour, will have three guides that specialize in different areas for each tour, an experienced Golden Circle guide, expert Northern Lights guide and knowledgeable South Coast driver guide. Your group will also get our very own certified Glacier Guide, based in Skaftafell, for the glacier part of the tour.
Arrival in Reykjavík is expected between 21:00 and 23:00. The Icelandic weather can sometimes influence schedule a little in winter.
Your safety is our number one priority! Keeping this in mind, Arctic Adventures reserves the right to adjust the itinerary and/or take different routes. Please read more information in our cancellation policy.
DAY 1: The Golden Circle and Northern Lights
The trip starts with the wonderful combo of a Golden Circle Afternoon tour plus the Northern Lights tour. This tour is perfect for those who are arriving in the morning the same day.
You travel through beautiful countryside to Þingvellir National Park, the amazing site of Iceland´s historic parliament, Alþingi, the oldest still existing parliament in the world, founded in 930 AD. This incredible UNESCO World Heritage Site is also one of the great geological wonders of the world. The Eurasian and North American tectonic plates have slowly moved apart creating an incredible rift valley which runs right through Þingvellir.
Next on the agenda is the Geysir hot spring area. Great Geysir is no longer active, but Strokkur, a nearby erupting hot spring, spouts huge jets of superheated water every 8 to 10 minutes. These scalding expulsions often soar to 25 m and sometimes even 40 m skywards. Watching a geyser erupt is always a stunning and incredible moment.
You will visit the magnificent Gullfoss Waterfall (the Golden Falls), the river flowing through the falls originates at Langjökull glacier. That river is called Hvítá, meaning ‘the White River’, and there is certainly plenty of white water. The roaring river thunders through the rugged canyon, dropping 32 m in two stages. You will see the golden-hued spray which gave this waterfall its name, and, maybe, a rainbow – remember to make a wish!
You are dropped off downtown in Reykjavík, close to cafés and restaurants where you have time to enjoy supper. You will be picked up outside the City Hall for your northern lights tour.
We will take you to best places out in the country to see the aurora. The moment when you spot their shimmering, jewel bright colors is always awe-inspiring and magical. Green, yellow, white and sometimes blue auroras are usually seen. Violet, purple and rose northern lights happen less often. Really red auroras, from rose to stronger reds, are more common in Iceland than anywhere else in the world, although they are still quite rare. We can never promise that you will see the lights but we always do our very best.
The tour returns to Reykjavík around midnight.
- Þingvellir National park
- Þingvellir e. Thingvellir national park
- Geysir hot springs
- Gullfoss waterfall
- Northern Light hunt
- Expert guides
- Pick up and drop off - Minibus transport
- Golden Circle tour
- Northern Lights tour
- Certified Guides
- Accommodation in Reykjavík
- Private Bathroom
DAY 2: The Grand South Coast and Northern Lights
Pick up is at 8:00 am from your hotel so everyone will gather to start their south coast exploration.
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 Beach
- Village of Vik
- Northern lights hunt (if conditions are right)
- Pick up in Reykjavik
- Guided tour in minibus
- Visit to highlights of the south coast
- Private Bathroom
Day 3: 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. As darkness falls we look out for the northern lights.
We return to Reykjavík around 21:00 – 23:00.
Pick up is at 13:00 from your selected meeting point in Reykjavik. Picking everyone up can take up to 30 minutes but you do have to be ready at 13:00.
Available pick-up points: Arctic Adventures’s pick-up list.
Please note that ice caves are an ever-changing natural phenomenon, it is, therefore, not possible to say we will visit a specific cave. The choice of ice cave will always be based on upon conditions and safety considerations at the time.
- Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon
- Natural Ice Cave
- Vatnajökull Glacier
- Diamond Beach
- Skaftafell Nature Reserve
- Northern Lights Hunt
- Breakfast at hotel in Skaftafell
- Visit to Jokulsarlon
- Guided tour in Ice cave
- Certified Glacier Guide
- Necessary glacier equipment
- Drop off in Reykjavik
We offer pick-ups from most known hotels, hostels and guesthouses in the capital area. We do not pick up from Airbnb. To make the process of finding the nearest pick-up location to your accommodation easier we have made a map of the locations.
This is a great question. We would like to ask all participants to be ready from the start of the pick up time since you could be our first pick up. It’s usually best to wait outside your pick up location but if it’s cold the lobby is perfectly fine.
Note that if the lobby up a couple of floors (like for example at Loft hostel) it’s best to come down.
Have your email and phone number listed with us so we can contact you if we run into any trouble finding you.
No, absolutely not. Due to safety reasons it is strictly prohibited. If we suspect that participants are intoxicated we will prohibit them from joining the tour.
Yes, we do. Langjökull Ice Cave is a magical experience, the tour has no minimum age and is a wonderful option for the whole family. Whale Watching with our partner company Elding, has been a favorite with families traveling with young children, these guys have a great success rate in seeing whales (upwards of 98% in the summer time). Another option would be the Landmannalaugar Safari on this tour you get to explore parts of the Icelandic highlands and bathe in natural hot springs (the hot spring part is particularly popular with the kids:)). Most of our jeep tours (to be found here) are also suitable for all ages. If you would like a nice and relaxing experience we would also recommend the Golden Circle & Secret Lagoon tour.
We recommend that you have personal health insurance coverage when participating in any adventure activities in Iceland, we actually recommend that whenever and whereever you travel you take out a good travel insurance, as world travelers ourselves it has saved us money and aggravation many times.
Before starting any of our more technical trips, participants will receive a safety briefing highlighting the safe and proper use of equipment, the role of guides during the trip, and the significant risks and hazards involved in their particular trip. The safety briefing will also cover potentially foreseeable scenarios that may arise and explain how participants should react in such circumstances. Our guides will also outline their expectations of participants during the trip where needed and address any specific questions or concerns that may arise during this time.
Any medical conditions or personal health concerns that may jeopardize your well-being or affect your ability to meet the physical demands of the trip must be clearly communicated to the trip leader before the tour start. Any medications you may require for minor medical conditions (asthma inhalers, etc.), should be kept close and you should bring it with you on the trip if possible. It is important that you notify your guide about such medications and their whereabouts before setting off.
Last we would like to underline how important it is to dress according to instructions of the tour and the weather of the day. Always read the “what to bring” very well.
Like you might have heard, the northern lights are a pretty difficult thing to predict. You can check en.vedur.is to see the forecast and if the level is high and the skies are clear then it’s very likely that the tour is going. We do update our website’s tour departure sheet with the information at 17:00 the latest. If the canceled you will receive an email telling you so.
If we think there is no chance at all of seeing the lights we will cancel the tour. We don’t want to bring you out and disappoint if there is no chance to see the light
The Northern Lights are natural phenomena and we unfortunately cannot promise you will see them. Their appearance depends upon atmospheric and weather conditions.
If we cancel the tour it’s because in our opinion there is no chance of seeing the lights and we don’t want to bring you out for nothing.
Then your options are:
1. Reschedule for another day.
2. Find another tour to do and use the deposit for it.
3. Get fully refunded.
In all cases you will need to contact our sales desk via email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or phone +354-562-7000.
Unfortunately there isn’t just one simple answer to this question.
There is not just one single setting for your camera that ensures great captures. but if you have manual options, you are probably best served with experimenting with various combinations of ISO, aperture, and exposure settings. As a rule of thumb, ISO setting between 800 and 3200, aperture between f/2.8 and f/5.6, and shutter speed at between 15 seconds and 30 seconds have proven effective.
Nonetheless if you have manual options, you are probably best off with experimenting with various combinations of ISO, exposure and aperture settings. , ISO setting between 800 and 3200, aperture between f/2.8 and f/5.6, and shutter speed at between 15 seconds and 30 seconds have proven effective.
A good thing to keep in mind, ISO setting between 800 and 3200, aperture between f/2.8 and f/5.6, and shutter speed between 15 seconds and 30 seconds have given great results.
Different combinations may give very different results. Higher ISO setting will allow you to capture faster exposures, but the downside to this might be for example grainier images.
If the shutter speed is above 15 seconds it will result in slight star movement.
Wider angle lenses are usually more versatile in low light settings, but longer lenses give you different options for compositions. Make sure that you remove all lens filters, as they may distort images. You will probably get the best results with manual setting for infinite focal length
Be sure to remove all lens filters, as they may distort images. You will probably get the best results with manual setting for infinite focal length
The Golden Circle is a name for the very popular sightseeing route that connects Reykjavík with Þingvellir National Park (Thingvellir), Geysir Hot Springs and Gullfoss Waterfall. We offer several Golden Circle trips that combine sightseeing with some of our adventure tours.
Yes, we offer the tour Golden Circle small group tour which is basically the Golden Circle with some extra stops. This tour is focusing on sightseeing and the history of Iceland. Our stops are Gullfoss waterfall, Þingvellir national park (home to one of the first parliaments of the world), Geysir hot spring area and the historic Skálholt cathedral.
We offer numerous options to spice up your Golden Circle tour and to make the most off your day. Some are season depending but others are operated all year around. Here is a list of all of the tours.
All year around options:
Our multiday tour include accommodation during you tour which is often booked far in advance and expensive so by booking with us you don’t have to worry about that.
The tours take you further away from the capital to explore some of the most beautiful highlands Iceland has to offer.
You will have a guide for the whole time who will tell you about everything you will see along the way and know where to stop to get the absolute best experience.
The hotels we have partnered with are all of the same standard and offer nice hotel rooms with private bathrooms.
Breakfast is included.
All our tours are undertaken on the responsibility of its participants. Arctic Adventures does not assume any responsibility for accidents that are caused by its customers or can be traced to their own actions. Participants have to sign a waiver before undertaking all trips stating that they realize that all outdoor activities carry an inherent risk.