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3 Day South Coast - Golden Circle, Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon & Ice Cave

Golden Circle, Glacier Lagoon, Diamond Beach, Northern Lights, Ice cave & Reynisfjara

Three-day tour along the south coast taking you to some of Iceland's most precious jewels - glaciers, Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon, a diamond beach, magnificent waterfalls, an ice cave, the Golden Circle and the Northern Lights.

Glacier-Hiking Geysir Ice-Caving Northern-Lights Sightseeing Tours waterfall

This small group 3-day tour is fabulous for those with limited time to enjoy the best of Iceland. An unforgettable adventure, the most popular attractions, spectacular waterfalls, glacier hiking and a magnificent ice cave in Vatnajökull, Europe’s biggest glacier. Your nights are spent away from the city, giving you the best chance of seeing the glittering northern lights.

If an afternoon departure is something that suits you better then you should definitely have a look at our afternoon version instead –
3 Day Golden Circle Afternoon, South Coast & Northern Lights

  • Availability

    October - April

  • Duration

    3 days

  • Level


  • Pickup


  • Meet on location


  • Min. Age

    10 years

  • Ratio


  • Departs from


  • Price from

    87.900 ISK

Tour highlights
Þingvellir National Park (Thingvellir)
Geysir Hot Springs
Gullfoss Waterfall
Seljandsfoss Waterfall
Skógafoss Waterfall
Skaftafell - Vatnajökull National Park
Jökulsarlón Glacier Lagoon
Diamond Beach
Ice Cave Visit
Reynisfjara - Black Beach & Basalt Columns
Small Group Experience
Eyjafjallajökull - Volcano / Glacier Views*
Hekla - Volcano Views*
Fjaðrárgljúfur Canyon*
Guided Minibus Tour
Golden Circle (Gullfoss, Geysir & Þingvellir)
Highlights of the south coast
Ice Cave visit and Glacier Hiking
Certified Glacier Guide
All necessary glacier equipment
Hotel room with private bathroom for 2 nights
Hotel breakfasts on days 2 & 3

Golden Circle and the South Coast 
The Golden Circle has three outstanding natural attractions: Geysir, home to Strokkur, the most active hot spring nowadays, see torrents of boiling water being erupted 25 m high every 5 to 10 minutes! Þingvellir National Park, has a dramatic cliff running through it where the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates have been moving apart. Iceland´s historic parliament was founded in 930 CE, making it the oldest still existing parliament in the world. Þingvellir is listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. Finally, Gullfoss waterfall, (the Golden Falls), see the golden-hued spray as the roaring water crashes through the rugged canyon, dropping 32 m in two stages.

If the day is clear we will get fabulous views the volcano mountain, Hekla, on our way to Seljalandsfoss, a totally unique waterfall. You can walk behind the powerful cascade when the path is clear of ice, a great way place to take photos. We will visit Skógafoss, an elegant 60 m high waterfall on the Skógará (the Forest River), which flows all the way from Eyjafjallajökull glacier. We also see the little town of Vík, your country hotel will be nearby. If the forecast is good this is a great location to look out for the northern lights.

Black Sand Beach and Jökulsárlon Glacier Lagoon   
We stop at Reynisfjara black beach with the incredible black basalt Reynisdrangar peaks rising off the coast, before heading to Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon, one of the most famous glacier lagoons in the world. The surreal beauty of majestic icebergs of all shapes and sizes, some with amazing blue tones, floating on the huge lagoon, as Vatnajökull glacier lurks high above, is impossible to imagine. Your hotel will be near Skaftafell, another great location to spot the northern lights, will they show up? Hopefully, but as always, we will have to wait and see.

Glacier Hiking and Ice Caving
On this tour, you will experience glaciers to the fullest – try glacier hiking and explore the world inside the glacier. You will go on a never to be forgotten glacier hike with a certified glacier guide. Learn all about the moving, living world of the glacier, the great labyrinths of crevasses and moulins which reach down deep into the glacier. We will also step into the ice! Your ice caving guide will explain the extraordinary features and how they were formed, an ice cavern is not pure white, you will see astonishing blue ice.

For details of daily schedules and more information please see the itinerary. This trip really is the cream of South Iceland 3-day guided tours!


Pick up & drop off
Pick up will be 08:00 from your hotel or a nearby meeting point in Reykjavik. This process can take up to 30 minutes, so you may need to be patient, but you do need to be ready at the time stated on your itinerary.
We enjoy a scenic drive back and return to Reykjavík between 20:00 and 23:00 on day 3.

Here you can find a detailed list of information about everything you need to know about this tour:
3 Day South Coast Guide

Remember to bring: Warm outdoor clothing including layers, thermal underwear (top and bottom), a waterproof jacket and pants, headwear, scarves and gloves. Sturdy hiking boots or similar are essential for glacier hiking since they are the only kind of footwear that fit ice crampons. Hiking boots for the glacier hike can be rented in the booking process or at the Glacier Guides Booking Center in Skaftafell. We recommend renting in advance.

What if I don’t own all of these clothing items?
Don’t worry, you can always rent sturdy hiking shoes, waterproof jacket and pants in the booking process. Hiking boots, waterproof jacket and waterproof pants can be rented on location, at the Glacier Guides Booking Center, for the glacier hike. However, if you wish to rent extras for the whole duration of the tour then this must be added to your booking at least 48 hours before your tour starts.

Map of Iceland - 3 Day South Coast

Day 1 - The Famous Golden Circle Route

Your tour begins with the three famous Golden Circle attractions:  Þingvellir (Pingvellir), Geysir and Gullfoss.  Thingvellir National Park, a UNESCO listed World Heritage Site, is the place where the Icelanders founded their historic Parliament, Alþingi, in the year 930. This is the oldest continuously operating Parliament in the world, it is certainly situated in one of the most geologically amazing places on the planet. The boundary between the Eurasian and North American tectonic plates is here, they have been slowly edging apart creating a rift valley, and a great cliff right behind where the Law Speaker would stand in the olden days. Þingvallavatn is a very beautiful lake set within this incredible landscape.


You will visit the geothermally active area of Geysir, this is the erupting hot spring from which the English word, Geyser, has been taken. Great Geysir is not active now, so we will visit Strokkur, a nearby spouting hot spring. You will not have to wait more than a few minutes to see Strokkur erupt scalding water up to 25 m skywards. Next, is Gullfoss (the Golden Falls), the most often visited waterfall in Iceland. See the golden spray around the waterfall, and feel the water droplets in the air as the amazing powerful Hvíta (the White River), roars through the rugged canyon, dropping 32 m.

On a clear day, we will get great views of Mount Hekla on the way to Seljalandsfoss, one of the most unusual waterfalls in the world. You can walk behind the powerful but graceful falls to enjoy the view from both sides. Next up, is Skógafoss, a really impressive waterfall which drops 60 m into the tranquil pool below. There are 527 steps leading to the top giving another vantage point. The famous volcano, Eyjafjallajökull, lurks high above the waterfall, if visibility is good you will get a view of this magnificent mountain glacier.

Your country hotel will be close to the small coastal town of Vík, a really great place to catch the mesmerizing northern lights if the conditions are right. A little northern lights luck is very useful!

Day Highlights
Þingvellir National Park (Thingvellir)
Geysir hot spring area
Gullfoss Waterfall
Seljalandsfoss Waterfall
Skógafoss Waterfall
The small coast town Vík
Guided Minibus Tour
The Golden Circle (Þingvellir, Gullfoss and Þingvellir)
Seljalandsfoss and Skógafoss Waterfalls
Northern Lights Hunting (in good conditions)
One night at a hotel near Vík

Day 2 - Black Sand Beach, Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon and an Ice Cave Exploration

After a nourishing breakfast we head off to the dramatic black sand beach at Reynisfjara. The powerful, rolling waves of the Atlantic Ocean really show their force here. Watch as these roaring white-tipped beauties crash onto the black beach – a word of warning – follow the advice of your tour guide and stand well back. These fierce waves can be very unpredictable! You should visit the amazing black basalt column cave before you leave the beach. You will see incredible black basalt pillars rising from the sea just off the shore at Reynisdrangar, these will give you a good idea of where some Icelandic toll folklore sprang from!

Your tour will then take you through enchanting lava fields and incredible desert sands, formed by enormous glacial floods, known as Jökulhlaup, as we head east. We continue to Breiðamerkurjökull, a glorious outlet glacier which reaches down, like an icy finger, from Vatnajökull, the second largest glacier in Europe. The magnificent Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon and the nearby Diamond Beach are our next stop. The lagoon is filled with icebergs of all shapes and sizes, as they glide in a dreamlike procession towards the salty waves of the Atlantic. They have often washed ashore at the Diamond Beach, where they shimmer like diamonds on the black sand. You will be amazed at the bright blue tones which glitter within many icebergs, these colors are caused by a combination of factors including ice compression. Ocean birds are abundant and seals can sometimes be seen. Your hotel will be in the Skaftafell area, a great place to test your northern lights luck! If the forecast is good you need to keep an eye on things, will shimmering colors dance across the sky? We can never say for sure, but you don´t want to miss them!

From Jokulsarlon, we head for a new adventure. Accompanied by a certified glacier guide you will explore the mesmerizing world inside an ice cave. Usually, we visit the Crystal Ice Cave in Breiðamerkurjökull, a glacial tongue of Vatnajökull. Other times a different ice cave will be chosen, your guide will choose the cave with the best conditions at the time. Ice caves change a lot, both from year to year and within each winter. Your guide will explain how these caves and the incredible formations in them are formed. Photographers will get a rare 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.The temperature inside the ice cave is well below the freezing point so please dress accordingly.

Day Highlights
Reynisfjara Black Sand Beach
Balsalt pillars of Reynisdrangar
Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon
The Diamond Beach
Natural Ice Cave
Breakfast at the hotel
Guided Minibus Tour
Reynisfjara Black Beach
Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon
Northern Lights Hunting (in good conditions)
One night in a hotel near Skaftafell
Guided ice cave tour

Day 3 - Glacier Hike on Vatnajökull Glacier

Today we try a new glacier experience – glacier hiking! Your guide will give you ice crampons and everything you need to explore *Svínafellsjökull glacier. The glacier is dynamic, it is always moving and changing, incredible ice features are constantly being formed. Your guide will explain all about sink holes, crevasses, ice falls and ridges, and how climate change is impacting upon the glaciers in Iceland. Your glacier adventure will be filled with wonder and fascinating facts. Stand still and you will hear the ice groaning at it moves – on the glacier there is peacefulness but, in a true sense, never complete stillness!


We enjoy a scenic drive back to Reykjavik, making some stops along the way. The weather is somewhat in charge, particularly during the winter! We will return to Reykjavík between 20:00 and 23:00, depending on the conditions.

An added bonus visit to the Fjaðrárgljúfur canyon will be added to this already amazing tour when the roads leading up to it are clear.

*Please note that we may need to change glaciers or glacier outlets on this tour due to various reasons, including weather conditions. Other glaciers or glacier outlets used on this tour include Falljökull and Sólheimajökull, both amazing and unique glaciers, equally as beautiful as Svínafellsjökull.

Day Highlights
Glacier walk on Vatnajökull glacier
Fjaðrárgljúfur Canyon
Breakfast at the hotel
Guided Glacier Hike on Vatnajökull Glacier
Certified Glacier Guide
Guided Minibus Tour/Return to Reykjavík
Which ice cave will we visit on this tour?

Ice caves are ever-changing and unpredictable natural phenomena. We usually visit the Crystal Cave at Breiðmerkurjökull during this tour, however, which ice cave is chosen will depend upon the conditions and safety considerations on the day, sometimes a different ice cave is visited.

Are meals included on the tour?

Breakfast is included on days 2 & 3 at your hotel restaurant. Meals and beverages are otherwise not included on this tour. We will, however, be making stops where you will be able to purchase all necessities.

How is it best to be ready for a pick up for a tour with Arctic Adventures?

This is a great question. We would like to ask all participants to be ready from the start of the pick-up time as you could be our first pick up.
Please be at your assigned pick-up location from the start time of your pick-up and wait for your guide to arrive.

Have your email and phone number listed with us so we can contact you if we run into any trouble finding you.

Can I drink alcohol before or during Arctic Adventures tours?

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.

Do you offer any family friendly tours, for younger children?

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.

Do I need an insurance before going on an Arctic Adventures trip?

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.

What is a safety briefing?

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.

Can the itinerary for the tour change?

Your safety is our number one priority! Keeping this in mind, Arctic Adventures reserves the right to adjust the itinerary and/or take different routesdepending on conditions. Please read more information in our cancellation policy.

What should we wear on our glacier trip in Iceland?

Iceland is known for colorful weather. It can sometimes show you all 4 seasons in one day.
Dressing for this sort of weather can be a challenge so we always recommend to dress in layers. Dress is 3 or 4 upper layers such as a light t-shirt (preferably wool) next to the skin, then a fleece or heavy wool garment, topped off with a waterproof wind-breaker. Jeans are not recommended for our trips as they become very heavy, cold and uncomfortable to wear when they get wet. Lightweight hiking pants, track pants or long cotton pants are best and then wind/waterproof pants over. We also recommend using sunglasses and sunscreen even if it is cloudy due to the high UV and sunlight reflection off of the glacier.
You will need sturdy hiking boots that fit crampons for the glacier hiking tours. If you do not own a pair then we rent out good hiking boots as well as a waterproof raincoat and trousers.

Do I need to bring a backpack on a glacier trip in Iceland?

We recommend bringing your own backpack on our full day or 1/2 day tours. It’s great to carry a small lunch or some extra clothing.

Can I bring my camera along on a glacier tour?

You can bring you camera along, and you should definitely bring one since the setting on the tour is full of amazing, scenic views.

I am pregnant, can I still join a glacier hike?

This is, of course, a personal choice, we have often had pregnant women on our trips. We recommend you take a close look at our trip description and difficulty rating, they will hopefully give you a better idea. It is also good to contact your physician, pregnant women’s health can be quite different. Feel free to contact us if you have further questions or concerns.

Do I need to bring a lunch with me on the glacier tours?

We do not provide lunch on any of our trips, so we recommend you bring your own lunch (for the longer trips), snacks and a bottle of water (you can refill it on the trip).

What are crampons?

Crampons are metal spikes that we attach to the soles of your hiking shoes, these enable you to walk on the glacier ice without slipping.

Is there a guide on each Arctic Adventures glacier tour?

Yes, there is a specially trained and certified glacier guide on each trip glacier tour we offer.

Will I definitely see Northern Lights on the tour?

The Northern Lights are natural phenomena and we unfortunately cannot promise you will see them. Their appearance depends upon atmospheric and weather conditions.

For more information on the Northen Lights, please have a look at our Northern Lights information.

What are the best camera settings for photographing the Northern Lights?

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

What is the Golden Circle tour in Iceland?

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.

Do you offer a tour this is solely the Golden Circle?

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.

What are the main advantages of booking a multiday tour with Arctic Adventures?

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.

What kind of rooms can be expected when booking the multi-day tour with Arctic Adventures?

When booking with Arctic Adventures you are guaranteed an accommodation at a nice country hotel in one of the most popular parts of Iceland. The hotels we have partnered with are all of the same standard and offer nice hotel rooms with made-up beds with private or shared bathrooms, depending on your booking.

Hotel breakfast is included!

What is my luggage allowance on a multi-day tour?
For multi-day tours, each participant is allowed to bring a day 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 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.

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.

Book this tour

Price from 87.900 ISK per person.

If you are staying downtown Reykjavik please read this information about pickup.

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