The South Coast of Iceland is the country's most popular sightseeing route with the Golden Circle. When we talk about the South Coast, we usually think of the shoreline which stretches from Reykjavík to the coastal village of Vík. However, it can also include Jökulsárlón and the Diamond Beach in the Eastern end.
Located along the Ring Road, the South Coast is the most accessible part of the Southern region. There is a vibrant wildlife on the South Coast. During the summertime, many birds including puffins are nesting at Dýrholaey cliffs, near from Reynisfjara beach. Seals can also be spotted along the shore and more often at Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon. The South Coast is thought to be one of the most beautiful areas in Iceland by many tourists who have been there.
Landmannalaugar is a true geological wonder located in the Southern part of the Highlands called Fjallabak Nature Reserve. During summer, it is one of the most popular places to go hiking and bathing in a natural hot spring. The surrounding multicolored rhyolite mountains makes it the perfect place to take great pictures with shades of red, pink, green, blue and yellow.
Landmannalaugar literally means the People’s Pool, because for centuries, it served as an area of shelter and relaxation for weary travellers and settlers. Nowadays, Landmannalaugar is above all the starting point of Laugavegur trek, named one of the 20 Best Hikes in the World by National Geographic. This route links Landmannalaugar to the beautiful Thorsmork Valley. It is necessary to have a 4WD to go to Landmannalaugar, which is why our guides will take you there with a fierce Super Jeep.
For fuller details please see the itinerary section!
The tour will begin with pick up at 8 am (08:00) in Reykjavík. Then, we will leave the city and head towards the South Coast of Iceland, where we will pass by a few villages before arriving to our first stop: Seljalandsfoss waterfall. Walk behind th...)
The tour will begin with pick up at 8 am (08:00) in Reykjavík. Then, we will leave the city and head towards the South Coast of Iceland, where we will pass by a few villages before arriving to our first stop: Seljalandsfoss waterfall.
Walk behind this 60-meter high falls (200 feet) for a panorama of Iceland's lowlands. Don’t forget your waterproof clothes and be prepared to get wet as you will have the possibility to get really close to the flow of water. Sturdy shoes are also a must as the pathway can be a bit slippery. Due to its proximity to the Ring Road, Seljalandsfoss is one of the most famous and photographed waterfall in Iceland.
Back in the minibus, we go on a short journey to the next highlight which is Skógafoss waterfall. With a drop of 60 meters (197 feet) and a width of 25 meters (82 feet),it is possible to walk up to the top thanks to a stairway of 527 steps. As the falls produce a lot of drizzle, beautiful rainbows are often seen on sunny days at Skógafoss. The legend says that a settler named Þrasi buries his chest full of gold under the waterfall, but no one succeeded to catch it yet.
After the two iconic waterfalls of the South, the next stop is Reynisfjara black sand beach, one of the most well-known in the whole world. With its basalt columns and the impressive Reynisdrangar rock formations rising from the ocean, the dramatic beach is really photogenic. Reynisdrangar is actually believed to be two trolls caught and petrified by the daylight. The place is so beautiful that in 1991, Reynisfjara was on the top ten of the most beautiful non-tropical beaches in the world. The roaring waves of the Atlantic Ocean can be sneaky, it is recommended to always pay attention to them and never get too close.
We will stop for lunch at Vík, the southernmost village on the mainland, with approximately 300 residents. The main highlight of Vík is its beautiful church offering a panorama on the town as well as Reynisdrangar on a sunny day. There is a rich birdlife in Vík, one of Europe’s largest Arctic tern breeding grounds.
After a good meal (note that we don’t provide lunch and dinner), let’s make our way further east, where we will drive through unique landscapes including lava fields, volcanoes and glaciers. Once we arrive at the accommodation near the biggest glacier in Europe, we will settle and enjoy some rest in the countryside. From the end of August until the end of April, if the conditions are good, this is a great place to watch the Northern Lights.
Our second day will start with the beautiful Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon, a real gem on the South Coast. In the summertime, it is possible to add an amphibian boat tour to your incredible journey (note that it is necessary to book it in advance). Navi...)
Our second day will start with the beautiful Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon, a real gem on the South Coast. In the summertime, it is possible to add an amphibian boat tour to your incredible journey (note that it is necessary to book it in advance). Navigating along the icebergs and having the opportunity to taste a 1,000-year-old ice is a total delight! The ice lagoon is fed by Breiðamerkurjökull, an outlet glacier from the huge Vatnajökull. Every now and then, the glacier let go some ice chunks into the lagoon, they can be any size and any color. The icebergs then navigate to Jökulsá, the shortest river in Iceland, to end up on the shore of the Diamond Beach.
The black sanded Diamond Beach hosts hundreds of white and blue ice chunks.You definitely don’t want to miss this place on your trip to Iceland! Located right on the other side of the street at Jökulsárlón, Breiðamerkurssand (which is the real name of the beach) is a perfect place to stop and take incredible pictures with high contrast.
The magic doesn’t stop here as we are now heading to the majestic Vatnajökull glacier tongue to visit an ice cave. Vatnakökull is the biggest ice cap in Europe and covers 8% of Iceland’s territory, with a surface of about 8,100 square kilometers (3,127 square miles). Our certified guides will take you deep into the ice cave to explore the hidden wonders beneath! Ice caves are all gorgeous, blues and whites that will take your breath away. On our journey, we'll see meet some incredible ice formations and crevasses.
You will learn a lot about glaciers and ice caves as the guide will provide some surprising information about them. Vatnajökull National Park has been a major filming location for movies and TV shows such as Batman Begins, Game of Thrones and The Secret Life of Walter Mitty.
Afterward, it is time to go to the accommodation for our second night in the countryside. We will rest at Hella, a small town with approximately 800 inhabitants, located on the Ring Road.
During winter, we try to visit an ice cave instead of going glacier hiking.
From Hella, we will head to the beautiful Highlands, one of the most remote parts of Iceland. Landmannalaugar is only accessible with four-wheel drive vehicles. With our fierce Super Jeep, the guide will take you all the way up to the mountains, with...)
From Hella, we will head to the beautiful Highlands, one of the most remote parts of Iceland. Landmannalaugar is only accessible with four-wheel drive vehicles. With our fierce Super Jeep, the guide will take you all the way up to the mountains, with the snow-covered peak of Iceland’s most active volcano (Hekla) in the background.
If the weather allows it, we will drive up to 900 meters above the sea level to a wonderful panoramic viewpoint, where it is possible to enjoy a splendid view of the surrounding region. We will pass by rugged lava fields, big craters and several streams until we finally arrive at Landmannalaugar.
Time for a refreshing dip in the natural hot springs around. Don’t forget your bathing suit! What a great experience to be in a warm water with fresh air outside. It will be hard to go out of the pool. The next highlight is Ljótipollur explosion crater. There is a lake inside the crater, which makes it particularly photogenic. With its red slopes, blue water and lava layers visible at the brim, the crater is a great attraction for photographers.
Þjórsárdalur, or Thjorsardalur, is a lush valley formed by Hekla volcanic eruptions. Two rivers are running through the valley: Sanda and Fossa, and there are wide areas of birchwood, making this place part of the National Forests. The valley also hosts two beautiful waterfalls called Hjálparfoss and Haifoss, the latter being one of the highest in Iceland. This place has an impressively wide variety of landscapes. We will make a stop at Hjálparfoss, which is not less beautiful.
Hjálparfoss is a unique waterfall. The falls are on the top 20 of the most easily accessible waterfalls in Iceland. Hjálparfoss is a two-stepped waterfall near the confluence of river Thjorsa and Fossa. The name of the falls can be directly translated to “Help waterfall” because in the past, Icelanders traveled from the Northern Region to the Southern one throughout the Highlands and it was hard to find a good field for their horses to graze along the way, until they found Hjálparfoss, which was a great help for the horses.
The last highlights that we are going to see on our long trip is Lake Frostastadavatn. Surrounded by black lava fields and colorful rhyolite mountains, Frostastadavatn covers around 2,5 km² (1 square mile) and lies at 570 meters above sea level. The lake is rich in trouts and many fishermen are going there for fresh catches. The lake is also renowned for its vivid blue water and green vegetation.
Everything comes to an end and so does our amazing trip! We will drop you off in Reykjavík, near from your accommodation, by the end of the day.
Accommodation: Accommodation for 2 nights with breakfast is included. You will stay at a hotel or guesthouse out in the countryside. Pick-up Information: Pick up is at 08:00 from your hotel or a nearby meeting point in Reykjavík. Picking everyone up ...)
Accommodation: Accommodation for 2 nights with breakfast is included. You will stay at a hotel or guesthouse out in the countryside.
Pick-up Information: Pick up is at 08:00 from your hotel or a nearby meeting point in Reykjavík. Picking everyone up can take up to 30 minutes, your patience is much appreciated. Available pick-up points: Arctic Adventures’ pick-up list.
If you do not choose the single supplement you will be paired in a twin room with another participant of the same gender. Breakfast is included at your hotel restaurant on day two and three. Meals and beverages are otherwise not included on this tour...)
If you do not choose the single supplement you will be paired in a twin room with another participant of the same gender.
Breakfast is included at your hotel restaurant on day two and three. Meals and beverages are otherwise not included on this tour. We will, however, be making stops where you can purchase all necessities.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!