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5 Day South Coast, Snaefellsnes & Northern Lights Tour

Golden Circle, Jokulsarlon, Ice cave, West Iceland & Northern lights

This is a fantastic way to explore some of Iceland's most famous sights. Glaciers, waterfalls, hot springs and a good chance of seeing the northern lights.

Glacier-Hiking Geysir Ice-Caving Northern-Lights Sightseeing Tours waterfall
4.6 rating based on 7 ratings

This five-day tour is a great way to explore some of the most famous and sought-after sights in Iceland. The south coast is a sightseeing paradise with numerous waterfalls, glaciers, a black volcanic beach and other unique locations you just have to see. The west, the Snæfellsnes peninsula will then invite you on an extraordinary visual journey but Snæfellsnes has been picked as the winter destination in Europe by the US travel magazine Travel & Leisure!

  • Availability

    October 1st - April 29th

  • Duration

    5 days

  • Level


  • Pickup


  • Meet on location


  • Min. Age

    10 years

  • Ratio


  • Departs from


  • Price from

    144.990 ISK

Tour highlights
Golden Circle
Vatnajökull Glacier
Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon
Diamond Beach
A visit to a natural ice cave
Skógafoss Waterfall
Seljalandsfoss Waterfall
Reynisfjara black sand beach
Hraunfossar and Barnafoss Waterfalls
Snæfellsnes Peninsula
Northern lights
Small group experience
Fjaðrárgljúfur Canyon
Pick up & drop off in Reykjavík
Guided tour in a minibus
Hotel room with a private bathroom for 4 nights
Hotel breakfasts on 4 mornings
Small group experience
Amazing stops
Ice Caving tour

Explore mind-blowing places by day and in the evening, if the forecast is good, you can spend your free time enjoying the Icelandic northern lights, hopefully, their glorious colors will swirl across the sky.

Taking off from Reykjavík early in the morning we begin with the sights of West Iceland including the dramatic Hraunfossar waterfall, where the water actually cascades out through the black lava in a graceful wide arc. Also on the agenda is Reykholt and Snorralaug, the pool where the historian and saga writer, Snorri Sturluson is reputed to have bathed. The night is spent at a hotel on Snæfellsness peninsula. Snæfellsness has a tremendous diversity of scenery, everything from the craggy sharp inlets and cliffs to the glistening glacier, jagged toothed mountains, soft farmlands and quaint towns and fishing villages. Go caving in an ancient lava tube, hike to a black pebble beach with the most stunning cliff formations, visit Kirkjufell, a favorite of photographers and so much more. Your hotel will be in the Reykjavík area.

The delights of the Golden Circle: Þingvellir, site of Iceland´s historic parliament, Alþingi, and one of the most geologically amazing places in the world. Visit Gullfoss, a truly majestic waterfall, and Geysir where you will witness Stokkur, spouting magnificent jets of steam upwards every few minutes. See Seljalandsfoss and Skógafoss waterfalls and far more along the south coast including the black sand beach at Reynisfjara. You will spend the night at a country hotel near Vík. Tomorrow is glacier day! You will explore a natural ice cave in Vatnajökull, the largest glacier in Europe. Our certified guide will lead through and share some fascinating information about these icy labyrinths. Next, Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon, you will be astonished by the amazingly shaped icebergs, many of them displaying startling shades of blue. Then for the Diamond Beach, to see, in the mystical light of twilight, sparkling ice-monoliths on the black sand beach. The night will be spent at a hotel at Skaftafell.

On your final day you go on a never to be forgotten glacier hike. An hour of power on the ice, your little group, a glacier guide and the forces of nature which created this white majesty. On the way back to Reykjavík there are more sights to be seen along the south coast. Return to the city is between 20:00 and 23:00 – as always in Iceland, nature is somewhat in charge of the itinerary!

Pick up is at 09:00 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.

What to bring: Warm outdoor clothing, a waterproof jacket and pants, headwear and gloves. Good hiking boots are recommended.

Map of Iceland - 5 Day Snaefellsnes and Northern Lights

Day 1: West Iceland

Deildartunguhver hot spring Iceland

Pick up is at 9:00 am from the Reykjavík meeting point you have chosen. Please note: picking everyone up can take up to 30 minutes but you do have to be ready and waiting at 9:00 am.

We will drive along the scenic west coast and explore West Iceland (Vesturland in Icelandic). The first stop of the day is at Deildartunguhver hot spring, this is the most powerful hot spring in Europe. It pumps out 180 l/sec of 100°C hot water, and the Icelanders certainly make good use of this vast quantity of hot water, using it to heat the homes and buildings in many neighboring towns. Our next stop will be at the historic site of Reykholt, here you will find a hot spring pool dating back to the medieval period, Snorralaug. This is the pool where the very famous Icelandic Saga writer, historian, and Law Speaker is reputed to have bathed, it has been preserved unchanged.

Barnafoss waterfall in Iceland

Our third stop of the day will be at the waterfalls, Hraunfossar (the Lava Falls) and Barnafoss (Children´s Falls). These waterfalls each offer something very different. You will hear the story of Barnafoss waterfall and learn how it acquired this name. At Hraunfossar you will see how the water flows out through thousands of little springs in the coal black lava. The falls form a very dramatic wide arc, that glacial water has traveled through the lava field all the way from Langjökull glacier.

We then leave Borgarfjörður behind and set our course towards Snæfellsnes peninsula. The Snæfellsnes peninsula has been picked as the winter destination in Europe by the US travel magazine Travel & Leisure and you will understand why in a heartbeat! 


We will stop to view the unique Gerðuberg basalt columns before we arrive at our hotel for the night.

If the northern lights and cloud forecasts are favorable an evening northern lights hunt will be on!

*Please note that the order of the itinerary can change, we do sometimes start with the South Coast part of the tour and end with West Iceland.

Day Highlights
Deildartunguhver Hot Spring
Snæfellsnes Peninsula
Northern Lights
Guided Tour in Minibus
Deildartunguhver Hot Spring
Highlights of Borgarfjörður
Highlights of Snæfellsnes Peninsula
One Night in a Hhotel
  • Hotel Rjukandi, Iceland
  • Hotel Rjukandi, Iceland
  • Hotel Rjukandi, Iceland
  • Hotel Rjukandi, Iceland
  • Hotel Rjukandi, Iceland
  • Hotel Rjukandi, Iceland
  • Hotel Rjukandi, Iceland
  • Hotel Rjukandi, Iceland
  • Hotel Rjukandi, Iceland
  • Hotel Rjukandi, Iceland
  • Hotel Rjukandi, Iceland
  • Hotel Rjukandi, Iceland
  • Hotel Rjukandi, Iceland
  • Hotel Rjukandi, Iceland
Hotel Rjukandi
or Similar

Day 2: Snæfellsnes Peninsula


After breakfast at our hotel we will drive to the western part of Snæfellsnes which will take us through some absolutely stunning coastal and mountain scenery. Our first stop of the day is at the small and charming fishing village of Arnarstapi, here we take a short walk to explore the surrounding area. You then have the option to explore beneath the ground at the Vatnshellir Cave, which is located inside Snæfellsnes National Park. This cave is a lava tube tunnel which is around 8000 years old, your specialist caving guide will explain its formation and fascinating features. This experience takes you about as close as you can get to the Jules Verne story, A Journey to the Center of Earth. If you wish to go caving you need to book this as an extra when you book your tour.
People walking to Vatnshellir cave

Your next stop will be at Hellnar, a really picturesque village where we stop for lunch. We then continue to the beautiful black pebble beach at Djúpalónssandur. Here we enjoy a short hike, as the shimmering silver-tipped Atlantic waves roll over the glossy black pebbles of this beach, which is framed by incredibly shaped cliffs. You will see the remains of the British trawler, Epine, which was ship-wrecked here. At the head of the beach, you will also find the famous ‘lifting stones’. Maybe you would like to test your strength like the Icelandic fishermen did in the old days?

Kirkjufell mountain over Grundarfjordur

From Djúpalónssandur, we continue our journey around Snæfellsnes peninsula and our next stop will be at the famous and much photographed, Mount Kirkjufell, a favorite spot for many photographers.

Day Highlights
Arnarstapi Fishing Village
Vatnshellir Cave (optional/extra fee)
Djúpalónssandur Beach
Snæfellsnes Peninsula & Mount Kirkjufell
One Night at Hotel in Reykjavík
Visit to Arnarstapi Fishing Village
Caving Guide & Caving Equipment
Hiking at Djúpalónssandur Beach
Photo Opportunities at Mount Kirkufell
  • Reykjavik Lights Hotel, Iceland
  • Reykjavik Lights Hotel, Iceland
  • Reykjavik Lights Hotel, Iceland
  • Reykjavik Lights Hotel, Iceland
  • Reykjavik Lights Hotel, Iceland
  • Reykjavik Lights Hotel, Iceland
  • Reykjavik Lights Hotel, Iceland
  • Reykjavik Lights Hotel, Iceland
  • Reykjavik Lights Hotel, Iceland
  • Reykjavik Lights Hotel, Iceland
  • Reykjavik Lights Hotel, Iceland
  • Reykjavik Lights Hotel, Iceland
  • Reykjavik Lights Hotel, Iceland
  • Reykjavik Lights Hotel, Iceland
Reykjavik Lights Hotel
or Similar

Day 3: The Golden Circle

Thingvellir National Park overview

First, on the agenda today is the Golden Circle. Starting at Þingvellir National Park (Thingvellir), one of UNESCO’S world heritage sites due to its geology and history. The Icelanders founded their historic parliament, Alþingi, here in the year 930, making it one of the oldest parliaments in the world. The Eurasian and North American tectonic plates meet at Þingvellir, the rift valley clearly shows how these plates have drifted apart.

Strokkur Geyser

Haukadalur valley and the geothermal area of Geysir is next, we will see Strokkur, a geyser/hot spring which can be relied upon to erupt every few minutes, propelling boiling water up to 25 m into the air. The majestic waterfall, Gullfoss (the Golden Waterfall) is our final golden circle attraction. Watching huge volumes of water crashing and roaring through the rugged canyon is awe-inspiring. The cascade drops 32 m in two drops, turning a little as it does so.


As we continue along the Ring Road we will get a view of the famous mountain volcano, Hekla, if visibility is good. We then visit Seljalandsfoss waterfall  – you can actually walk behind the tumbling falls for a unique vantage point. Another waterfall, Skógafoss is next, water from the great glacier, Eyjafjallajökull, flows through these falls. The impressive cascade drops 60 m into the calm Skógará (river) below. Your last stop on this magical day is at Reynisfjara, a black sand beach, to see the powerful Atlantic Ocean waves – make sure to stand well back! You will see the Reynisdrangar basalt peaks rising like trolls from the sea, giving you a good idea where some of the Icelandic folklore sprang from. We spend the night in a country hotel near the small coastal town of Vík. Maybe conditions will be ripe to see some northern lights?

Day Highlights
Þingvellir National Park
Geysir Hot Springs
Gullfoss Waterfall
Seljalandsfoss Waterfall
Skógafoss Waterfall
Reynisfjara Black Beach
Northern Lights
Hotel Accommodation
Hotel Breakfast
Visit to all Highlights of Golden Circle
Waterfalls of the South Coast
Reynisfjara Black Beach
Hotel Near Vík
Hotel Dyrholaey
or Similar

Day 4: Ice caving and Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon

Raven in Iceland

We continue our journey towards the east through enchanting lava fields and glacial desert sands, really wonderful contrasting scenery. Our main objectives today are glacier adventures, exploring a natural ice cave* in Vatnajökull glacier and the magnificent Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon. We equip ourselves and get a thorough safety briefing before spending about 45 minutes exploring the magical blue ice and taking photos. Your certified glacier guide will lead you through the ice cave, making sure you are safe. New ice caves are formed each winter, they are continually changing and totally reliant upon the forces of nature. The blue color appears when the air is pressed out of the ice and it becomes very dense.

Glacier Ice Cave Iceland

There is a degree of flexibility with this tour. The weather in Iceland is unpredictable and we want to ensure you will have an optimal travel in Iceland experience. Your guide will, therefore, decide the best way to organize the tour each time, you might, therefore, visit the cave on day three, this depends on which day your guide feels the conditions will be best. The temperature inside the ice cave is well below freezing point so please dress warmly. Your guide may decide to combine the ice cave and glacier hike into a single activity depending on conditions.

Bird swimming in Jokulsarlon

Finally, we visit Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon and the nearby Diamond Beach where you will see icebergs of many shapes and sizes floating on the lagoon or resting on the beach in the dream-like fading late afternoon light.  Seals can sometimes be seen in the lagoon. Your hotel will be in the Skaftafell area, of course, we hope conditions will be right for some northern light spotting!

Please note: ice caves are an ever changing natural phenomenon and, therefore, unpredictable. We will visit one ice cave during the tour and the choice of cave is based purely on conditions and safety considerations.


Day Highlights
Vatnajökull National Park
Natural Ice Cave in Vatnajökull Glacier
Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon
Diamond Beach
Northern Lights
Breakfast at a Hotel in Vík
Guided Ice Cave tour
Certified Glacier guide
Specialized Ice Caving Gear
Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon
Hotel in Skaftafell
Hof 1 Hotel
or Similar

Day 5: Glacier Walk and the South Shore

Glacier Explorer Tour in Iceland

After breakfast, we head off to the glacier again. The splendid Vatnajökull is the biggest glacier in Europe, thus, it has many outlet glaciers or glacier tongues which reach out from its huge white icy hub. These tongues are just perfect for glacier hikes – our specialized glacier guides will pick the best possible outlet glacier for your hike. You will be provided with all necessary glacier equipment including ice crampons and a helmet. Then let the excitement on the ice commence! Your guide will provide some fascinating insights into the glacial wonderland beneath your feet.

A group having fun in Iceland

Proper hiking boots are absolutely essential, it is not possible to fit ice crampons to any other kind of footwear. If you do not possess these you can hire them when you book your tour. Hiking boots cannot be rented on the day. There are no special physical requirements for the glacier hike other than the ability to hike for at least an hour. If you are capable of doing this you will be able to fully enjoy the glacier hiking tour.

Glacier exploring in Iceland

After the hike, we begin the journey back to Reykjavík. This gives us a chance to visit more sites as we travel through the south on our way back to the city. There will also be possibilities for some additional stops – all in accordance with the weather and conditions, for we know that the forces of nature are always in charge during the winter months in Iceland. We get back to Reykjavík between 20:00 and 23:00, again the timing depends upon the weather conditions on the day.

Day Highlights
Vatnajökull National Park
Glacier Hike on Falljökull Glacier Tongue
South Coast
Fjaðrárgljúfur Canyon
Breakfast at Hotel in Skaftafell
Guided Glacier Hike
Specialized Glacier Gear
More South Coast Highlights
Drop off in Reykjavík
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.

View our pick-up locations in Reykjavík.

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 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.

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.

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 routes depending on conditions. Please read more information in our cancellation policy.

Is there a guide on each Arctic Adventures tour?

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.

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 that 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. View Golden Circle Tours.

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!

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 144.990 ISK per person.


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

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5 Day South Coast, Snaefellsnes & Northern Lights Tour | Average rating: 4.6/5 based on 7 customer reviews

"Great way to see a lot of Iceland" | 5 stars By Thomas Michaels 18/03/2018
The 5 day tour was great for my wife and I. We saw a lot of Iceland with knowledgeable Guides and drivers. The small bus comfortably held 14 people and also had usable wi-fi for trip. Which was an unexpected bonus. I would highly recommend for your Iceland trip.
"We had an incredible time" | 5 stars By Josh Bergman 11/03/2018
We had an incredible time and a wonderful guide; however, we weren’t too crazy about Hotel Dyrholaey.
"Fantastic---we lucked out!" | 5 stars By Shannon Of Denver 26/03/2018
This was a good length of time with many nice little stops- unexpected waterfalls, hidden views and time to enjoy the sights. Combined with a tour guide who seemed to enjoy his job - made me glad I selected to pay a bit more --- no big buses for us! The Icelandic music, USB ports and WiFi were added pluses. This was the way to go. And we did get Northern Lights which was topping on our cake.
"Fun family trip!" | 4 stars By LynnP 07/04/2018
My 12 year old daughter and I took the 5 day tour along with my sister and her partner and we really enjoyed our experience. It was my first time doing a tour and it exceeded my expectations. The tour guides were really knowledgeable and engaging, especially our guide on the 3-day part, Simrin (spelling?). I learned so much from the tour guides and it's a great way to see the country. We did have two hiccups that I wasn't happy about. The first one was entirely preventable. When we booked, we requested to remain with my sister and her partner throughout the tour meaning on the tour buses, hotels, etc. After the 2-day tour and before the 3-day tour we went back to Reykjavik. Arctic Adventures didn't put us in the same hotel as my sister which I was very upset about as we had shared food items they had packed for us to accommodate my daughter's food allergies. The hotel where my sister ended up wasn't full so I don't know why they separated the group between two hotels in Reykjavik not to mention the one we ended up in was very basic in comparison to the other. The other thing happened at the end of our 3-day tour. Weather conditions necessitated them having to move some things around on the 2nd and 3rd day which was fine and unavoidable. Our guide kept us informed and we did alternate things. Given we had to cut some things short and moved things around, our guide told us we'd be done on the last night of the tour by 8 so most of us booked a northern lights tour which we all ended up missing and losing our money on, due to one of the tours we met up with earlier that day running almost 2 hours behind. AA wouldn't do anything for us since we didn't book the northern lights tour. We were all disappointed about how they treated us given it was everyone's last night in the country. Thankfully our guide was really accommodating and he offered to take us on a northern lights tour on his own time. We were all appreciative of it. Turns out the weather conditions changed and we couldn't see the lights but we were all moved by how our tour guide tried to make it right, unlike AA. That said, I wouldn't hold this against them as overall the tour was great and I'd recommend it to anyone who wants to see the beauty of that country.
"Fantastic trip to Iceland" | 5 stars By Roz DeKett 14/04/2018
This was my first trip to Iceland and I didn't know what to expect, and Arctic Adventures made it one of the best experiences I've had in any country. The guides were tremendous. And the tours of volcanoes, lava fields, farm hotels for the overnights, glaciers, beaches, cleffs - spectacular. I'd happily recommend you to anyone.
"Tour is very nice " | 4 stars By Vianca 21/04/2018
Tour is very nice and already covers West, Southwest, and South part of Iceland. Tour guides are very accommodating and do their best to make their guests comfortable and get their value for money. One suggestion to improve your service would be to clarify that chasing for the Northern Lights is not part of the tour. A separate tour should be booked for this. Reading the itinerary from your website, I thought that hunting for the Northern Lights is part of the tour already so I didn't book a separate one for this. However, we were told that after 7PM, the tour guides are not allowed to take us anywhere outside the hotel. I understand that in some hotels that we stayed at, we would be able to see the Northern Lights already if we go outside, but this assumes that the weather permits it.
"5 Days of Fun, some information might be needed on the description" | 4 stars By Dennis Subrata 26/04/2018
Overall great small group experience. Traveled with a group of 6 on a 5 days tour consisted of one elderly people. The tour description could be more descriptive regarding the activity of the tour itself. Traveled on a micro bus of 6 for the west peninsula, and another micro bus for the south coast.
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