Overview

Having a hard time picking between the South Coast or the Golden Circle? Hit both attractions on a 3-day tour of Iceland’s most precious highlights including glacier lagoon, ice cave, waterfalls, and more.

Highlights

  • Small Group Experience
  • Þingvellir National Park (Thingvellir)
  • Geysir Hot Springs
  • Gullfoss Waterfall
  • Seljalandsfoss Waterfall
  • Skógafoss Waterfall
  • Skaftafell - Vatnajökull National Park
  • Jökulsarlón Glacier Lagoon
  • Diamond Beach
  • Ice Cave Visit
  • Reynisfjara - Black Beach & Basalt Columns
  • Eyjafjallajökull - Volcano / Glacier Views*
  • Hekla - Volcano Views*
  • Fjaðrárgljúfur Canyon*

This small-group, 3-day tour is fabulous for those with limited time to enjoy the best of Iceland. We highlight the most popular adventures: spectacular waterfalls, glacier hikes, and an ice cave at Vatnajokull, Europe’s biggest glacier. Your nights are far away from towns and light pollution, giving you the best chance of seeing the glittering Northern Lights.

If an afternoon departure is something that suits you better, check out our afternoon version instead –

3 Day Golden Circle Afternoon, South Coast & Northern Lights

Nominated Best Tour of 2019 in Iceland by TourRadar

  • Free Wifi
  • Personal Experience
  • Trusted Tour Operator
  • Small group experience
  • Expert guides
Availability Oct - Apr
Duration 3 days
Departs From Reykjavik
Level Easy Suitable for most people in fair condition.
Minimum age 8 years
Ratio 1:18 Guide to client ratio
Accommodation Included
Pick Up Yes
Meet on Location No

Customer reviews on TripAdvisor

3 Day - Golden Circle, South Coast, Jökulsárlón & Ice Cave adventure tour

Excellent tour, our guide Einar was very knowledgeable and spoke perfect English. All of the activities on the tour were very good and we felt like we fitted a lot in to just 3 days.

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What's included

Included

  • Pick-up & drop off from Reykjavík
  • Guided Minibus Tour
  • Golden Circle (Gullfoss, Geysir & Þingvellir)
  • Highlights of the South Coast
  • Ice Cave Visit and Glacier Hiking
  • Certified Glacier Guide
  • English Speaking Tour Guide
  • All Necessary Glacier Equipment
  • All Required Safety Equipment
  • Hotel Room with Private Bathroom for 2 nights
  • Hotel Breakfasts on Days 2 & 3
  • Free WiFi on Board Your Bus

What to bring

  • Warm outdoor clothing including layers
  • Thermal underwear (top and bottom)
  • Waterproof jacket and pants
  • Headwear
  • Scarves
  • Gloves
  • Sturdy hiking boots are essential for glacier hiking

Not Included

  • Lunch & Dinner

Contact us for more Information about this tour

Itinerary

Information

On this 3-day tour,  you don’t need to choose between the Golden Circle or South Coast. Discover it all!

The Golden Circle 

The Golden Circle’s three outstanding natural attractions are absolute must-sees on any Iceland trip. At Geysir Geothermal Area, home to Strokkur – the most active hot spring in Iceland –  witness torrents of boiling water erupting 25 m high every 5 to 10 minutes!

In Thingvellir National Park, step between the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates below a dramatic cliff face. 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, at Gullfoss (the Golden Falls), watch the golden-hued mist spray on cliffs as roaring water crashes through the rugged canyon.

Drive along the Ring Road to your country hotel for the night near the little harborside town of Vík. If the forecast is good, this is a great location to look out for the Northern Lights.

Jökulsárlon Glacier Lagoon and Ice Caving

We stop at Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoonone of the most famous glacier lagoons in the world, before heading to Skaftafell Nature Reserve. You will go on a mind-blowing glacier hike with a certified glacier guide.

Learn all about the ever-changing, shifting glacier, and the great labyrinths of crevasses and moulins that lie deep underneath. Your ice caving guide will explain the giant ice tongue’s extraordinary features and how they were formed, and brilliant colors of white, blue, and black.

End your day at a hotel near Skaftafell Nature Reserve, for another great chance to spot the Northern Lights.

South Coast Sightseeing

The next day, you’ll get to experience all of the South Coast’s top highlights. If the roads are clear, we’ll start the day off with a quick detour to Fjaðrárgljúfur Canyon. Next, we’ll have the chance to visit the iconic Eldhraun lava field before heading to Reynisfjara black beach. Marvel at its incredible basalt Reynisdrangar sea stacks rising off the coast.

Afterward, we’ll end the tour with a visit to South Iceland’s iconic Skogafoss and Seljalandsfoss Waterfalls. Take a visit to Skógafoss, an elegant, 60-m high waterfall on the Skógará (the Forest River), which flows all the way from Eyjafjallajökull glacier.

If the day is clear, we’ll get fabulous views of the volcano mountain, Hekla, on our way to the unique Seljalandsfoss Waterfall. You can walk behind the powerful cascade when the path is clear of ice. 

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

Your 3-Day Golden Circle and South Coast tour begins with the famous Golden Circle:  Þingvellir (Thingvellir), Geysir and Gullfoss.  Thingvellir National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is the historic location of the Icelandic Parliament, the Alþingi. Established in 930 c.e., this is the oldest continuously operated Parliament in the world, situated in one of the most geologically fascinating places on the planet.

Thingvellir is home to a rift valley between the Eurasian and North American tectonic plates. Stand atop the Law Rock where the Law Speaker, the Parliament’s orator, would make speeches. The cliffs look out over Þingvallavatn, a very beautiful lake set within this incredible landscape.

Next, you’ll visit the geothermal wonder Geysir Geothermal Area. Geysir was once a magnificent geyser that lent its name to the English word geyser. Though now dormant, its neighbor Strokkur always delights. You won’t have to wait more than a few minutes to see Strokkur burst forth scalding water skywards, jumping up to 25 meters high.

Finally, we stop at Gullfoss (the Golden Falls), the most-visited waterfall in Iceland. Witness the powerful Hvita (“White”) River roar down the two-tiered cliffs into the rugged canyon below. The force of the falls and the beauty of the surrounding golden mist are a sight to behold.

After the Golden Circle, we drive southward. Your hotel for the night will be close to the small town of  Kirkjubæjarklaustur, a fantastic base to catch the mesmerizing Northern Lights if conditions are right. A little luck is very useful when it comes to auroras!

Day Highlights
  • Þingvellir National Park (Thingvellir)
  • Geysir hot spring area
  • Gullfoss Waterfall
  • The small coastal town Vík
Included
  • Guided Minibus Tour
  • The Golden Circle (Geysir, Gullfoss and Þingvellir)
  • Northern Lights Hunting (in good conditions)
  • One night at a hotel near Vík
Accommodation
Hótel Geirland

In the morning, we head east towards the magnificent Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon and nearby Diamond Beach. 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. The multifaceted colors are caused by a combination of factors, including ice compression.

Many of them are washed ashore at the Diamond Beach, where they glitter like diamonds on the black sand. There’s nothing quite like walking on the beach as sunlight illuminates the beach with bright blue tones of the icebergs. Ocean birds are abundant and, if you’re lucky, you might spot a playful seal. Your hotel for the night will be in the Skaftafell area, another great base to test your Northern Lights luck!

From Jokulsarlon, we head to Skaftafell Nature Reserve for a new adventure. Join our certified glacier guide and step into the mesmerizing world of Vatnajokull Glacier

After taking a beautiful glacier hike, we’ll enter a natural ice cave where you’ll have some time to explore and take photos. Photographers will get the rare chance to capture mysterious blue light passing through glacial ice. During your adventure, an expert guide will explain the process of how these glacial ice formations came to be. 

The ice cave we visit will be chosen based on current conditions. Including both ice cave and glacier hike exploration, we’ll spend roughly 2 hours on the ice. This tour is suitable for people who are able to comfortably walk around 2 hours across easy outdoor terrain.

Ice cave temperatures hover well below freezing, so don’t forget to dress warmly.

Your accommodation for the night will be at the same hotel – Adventure Hotel Geirland.

Day Highlights
  • Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon
  • The Diamond Beach
  • Natural Ice Cave
  • Glacier Hike
  • Vatnajokull Glacier
  • Skaftafell Nature Reserve
Included
  • Breakfast at the hotel
  • Guided Minibus Tour
  • Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon
  • Northern Lights Hunting (in good conditions)
  • One night in a hotel near Skaftafell
  • Guided ice cave and glacier hike tour
Accommodation
Hótel Geirland

After a nourishing breakfast, we’ll start our day slowly driving towards Reykjavik and making plenty of stops along the way.  If the roads are clear, we’ll start the day off with a quick detour to Fjaðrárgljúfur Canyon.

Next, we’ll have the chance to visit the iconic Eldhraun lava field before heading to Reynisfjara black beach. The powerful 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 – the waves here can be unpredictable! Always follow the advice of your tour guide.

You should pop into the black basalt cave before you leave the beach. Reynisfjara is famous for its basalt columns just off the shore, called the Reynisdrangar. Gazing up at these dramatic black pillars, you’ll get a good idea of where the legends of Icelandic troll folklore sprang from!

After Reynisfjara, our next stop will be a visit to Skógafoss, an impressive waterfall that drops 60 m into a tranquil pool below. There are 527 steps leading to the top, yet the steep climb is worth it for the panorama alone. The famous volcano, Eyjafjallajökull, lurks high above the waterfall, so if visibility is good you’ll get a glimpse of this magnificent mountain glacier.

On a clear day, we’ll get great views of Mount Hekla on the way to Seljalandsfoss, one of the most unusual waterfalls in the world. You can walk behind these graceful falls to enjoy the view from both sides.

After enjoying our final stop at Seljalandsfoss, your 3-Day Iceland’s South Coast tour comes to an end. We’ll return to Reykjavík between 16:00 and 19:00, depending on the conditions.

Day Highlights
  • Eldhraun Lava Field
  • Fjaðrárgljúfur Canyon
  • Seljalandsfoss and Skógafoss Waterfalls
  • Reynisfjara Black Beach
Included
  • Breakfast at the hotel
  • Guided Minibus Tour/Return to Reykjavík

Return time: We will return to Reykjavík between 16:00 – 19:00 (4:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.), depending on the conditions.

Pick-up Information: 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, your patience is much appreciated. Available pick-up points: Arctic Adventures’s pick-up list.

Practical Information: Here you can find a detailed information packet 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 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.

FAQ

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:

2 Day Tours – Rental Equipment & Upgrades

3 Day Tours – Rental Equipment & Upgrades

4 Day Tours – Rental Equipment & Upgrades

5 Day Tours – Rental Equipment & Upgrades

6 Day Tours – Rental Equipment & Upgrades

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!

Reviews

5
Based on 3 reviews

3 Day South Coast & Golden Circle Tour

1- of 3 reviews

Phenomenal tour !!!

Reviewed on March 27, 2020 by Maddy From our post-trip system

Pascal was our tour guide and she was amazing !!! I would take another tour in a heart beat to wherever she was going, I don’t even care where ! Overall the tour was perfect and I would absolutely recommend this to anybody going to Iceland !

Awesome Family Trip with Arctic Adventures

Reviewed on March 09, 2020 by Shannon Jewell From our post-trip system

I did a three day tour with Arctic adventures with my husband and kids (11 and 9). We had an absolute fantastic time. Three days planned and executed by our guide Siggi, took the stress away from us mapping out routes, watching weather reports and trying to decide what highlights to hit. Siggi even altered the original plan to avoid bad weather and good thing he did because the main road closed behind us! The sights were amazing, including the northern lights from our cabinin the woods on the tour. Can't say enough good things!! Highly recommend!!

Perfect way to experience Iceland

Reviewed on March 04, 2020 by Sandra Goodsell From our post-trip system

This was our first experience of an organised trip and we thoroughly enjoyed it, the minibus was extremely comfortable and well equipped with very fast internet too. We were picked up near our hotel and taken to the many amazing sights, with stunning views of the vast countryside. We had enough time at each stop plus time for a coffee etc. What really made the trip was our guide, we learnt so much about the history of Iceland, modern Iceland its nature and thoroughly enjoyed listening to folk takes about people in the rocks and giants. We stayed overnight in a lovely hotel in the middle of nowhere and were amazed at the gourmet quality of the food. We thoroughly enjoyed the walk on a glacier and ice caves, it was extremely well organised and great fun. Can't wait to go back and see another part of Iceland and will definitely book Arctic Adventures again

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