We joined a 3 day trip to South Iceland. Although weather was not all good but we have a great, young and professional guide- Eagle(English name)who managed our itinerary well and tried best to make our trip unique. Thanks for the forgettable experience in South Iceland. We will recommend Artic adventures than others.
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.
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
Meet on location
- Tour highlights
- Small Group Experience
- 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
- Eyjafjallajökull - Volcano / Glacier Views*
- Hekla - Volcano Views*
- Fjaðrárgljúfur Canyon*
- 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
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!
We will return to Reykjavík between 20:00 – 23:00 pm, depending on the conditions.
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’s pick-up list.
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.
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!
- 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. Your guide may decide to combine the ice cave and glacier hike into a single activity depending on conditions.
- 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.
- 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
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.
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.
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.
View our pick-up locations in Reykjavík.
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 Special Tours, 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 are also suitable for children over the age of 6 years old. 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.
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 depending on conditions. Please read more information in our cancellation policy.
Yes, there is a specially trained and certified guide on each of our tours. The only exception to this is for our self-drive tours.
All of our tours are guided in English.
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.
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. View Golden Circle Tours.
We offer numerous options to spice up your Golden Circle tour and to make the most of your day. Here is a list of all of some great tours.
All year around options:
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 an accommodation, breakfast is included during the tour at the hotel/guesthouse restaurant. Meals and beverages are otherwise not included on your tour. However, 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 travelers 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 they 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.
- 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.
“Worth your money!”
Just got back from a 3 day South Coast tour. Our guide was Hilmar and he was absolutely wonderful. He was very patient and full of knowledge. He made frequent stops during the tour for restroom and food breaks, and still was able to follow a schedule where we could spend about 40 minutes at every destination. He was also the reason we were able to see the Northern lights. When we were in Skaftafell, he took out time after dinner to show us an area behind our hotel where we could probably catch the lights the best. When the lights came out, we were able to see them perfectly from the location he directed us to. He also so kindly came knocking at our doors when the lights came out to make sure we didn’t miss it.
Arctic adventures valued our safety and switched our glacier hike day around with the glacier lagoon day because of the possibility of rainy/bad weather. We really appreciated that because that allowed us to see and do everything we had planned without running into problems. I was skeptical about a long journey in a van throughout the coast, however the views were BEAUTIFUL, the ride was smooth, and I could not stop looking out the window. One of the best guided trips I have taken! Would recommend to anyone wanting to see the south coast of Iceland!
“Great 3 day tour”
We had an amazing time in our 3 day tour. When we decided to go to Iceland we were scared to drive by ourselves during the winter and we’re pretty excited to see the northern lights. We selected the dates carefully to go during new moon and prayed for clear skies. We had an amazing time with out tour guide Oliver. He was kind and knowledgeable, helping us from camera settings for the lights to additional secret spots whenever the weather was good. The group had 16 people, hotels were good, lunch food was ok (mostly small cafeterias by the road) and we got super lucky with northern lights, seeing them on two nights. Be prepared for a long drive and unpredictable weather.
Our excellent three day trip around the golden circle was made epic with our guide, Christian, and friends we met along the way.
During the winter season, when weather makes ALL the difference and can change from green fields to a hailstorm in five minutes, we seemed to find every rainbow.
Under massive waterfalls, up close and persobal with geysers, along a black sand beach, to the glacier (above and below), and into the bay where the seals were swimming, our guide provided history, humor, and a steady hand through the storms.
A must for lifelong memories, and yes, we did get that shot of the Northern Lights!
Thanks for everything!
"Awesome 3 day tour with Oliver"
We went on the 3-day Southern Iceland tour with Oliver as our guide. As someone who travels a lot it means a lot to say that this was by far the best guide I ever had on a tour. Oliver went above and beyond taking care of our safety, making sure we get to see all the gems of Iceland and take amazing pictures of the norther lights by sharing his tips with us and staying out helping us to take pictures. We got to see northern lights on two of the nights which was a real bonus! Oliver gave us sufficient time to explore all attractions but at the same time staying punctual to make sure we get to maximize the days. Big THANK YOU Oliver! We did a glacier hike on the last day of the tour and had Scott as our guide for that activity. He was also great- very knowledgeable about glaciers and geology which made the hike extra interesting. The accommodation throughout the trip was very comfortable, both hotels were clean, had wi-fi and other basic amenities. Although there will be snack stops along the way I would recommend bringing some food with you just in case.
Fantastic 3-day trip
"Excellent introduction to Iceland"
Review of: 3-Day Golden Circle and Ice Cave Adventure from ReykjavikArctic adventures and their outstanding guide Hjalti Steinn made our trip to Iceland memorable. Iceland is a beautiful country with breathtaking landscapes. We felt that we covered a lot of distance in three days without feeling rushed. This is the first time I’ve done a group tour and had concern that it would take away from our experience. However, we were a small group of 16 and made some great friends and Hjalti, our guide, felt more like a friend showing us his country. The three days of travel, sightseeing and lodging/meals all were well coordinated. I would highly recommend a trip with Hjalti and Arctic Adventures. We hope to return for a guided trip in the future with them!
"Fantastic tour with a great guide"
Review of: 3-Day Golden Circle and Ice Cave Adventure from ReykjavikOverall, the tour was fantastic. On the first day of our tour, Oliver, our guide, told us that there was a storm coming in and we would have to cut the first day short. He was very adamant that what we missed would be made up during the next 2 days. He fulfilled his promise and then some. Oliver is definitely one of the best tour guides that I’ve ever experienced. He was very accommodating and incredibly knowledgeable of the sites and Iceland in general. The sites on the tour were awesome to see and visit. We were able to experience the northern lights on our last night. The hotels that we stayed in were great. I would recommend this tour to anybody who is thinking about it.