The Best of South Iceland

Escorted TourIceland

BEST SELLER
From $2,475 USD
May 12 - September, 2019
8 Days / 7 Nights

The Best of South Iceland explores sights of the Golden Circle, Landmannalaugar highlands, Westman Islands, Vatnajökull National Park and Glacial Lagoon.

Overview

The Best of South Iceland explores famous sights in South Iceland's countryside. Our 8-day tour features guided day excursions and explorations, while staying in only three overnight locations. Visit the Golden Circle sites, Landmannalaugar interior highlands, the Thorsmork glacial valley, and the frozen wonders of Vatnajökull National Park. Enjoy short walks, bathe in the Blue Lagoon, climb volcano craters, glacier walk, a boat trip between icebergs.

Operation

May 12 - September 1, 2019

Departure

May 12, 26
June 16
July 27
August 4, 18
September 1

Price

  • May & September 2019
  • from $2,475 per person in twin room
  • from $3,120 single room
  • June - August 2019
  • from $2,625 per person in twin room
  • from $3,435 single room

Included

  • Arrival & departure transfer by FLYBUS airport shuttle (no guide)
  • 6-day escorted coach tour with an English speaking guide or driver-guide
  • 7 nights accommodation in rooms with shower/wc
  • 7 x breakfast 
  • Visit to two national parks
  • Entrance & towel to Blue Lagoon including silica mud mask and one drink of your choice
  • Boat trip on Jökulsarlon Glacial Lagoon
  • Ferry trip to the Westman Islands 
  • Visit to Pompeii of the North excavations
  • 1,5 to 2-hour glacier hike
  • Entrance fee to Eyrarbakki Maritime and Folk Museum

Not Included

  • International airfare & airport taxes
  • Nature fees
  • Gratuities
  • Personal insurance / personal items

Please note

  • Small group with maximum 20 persons Average of 2-5 hours, 4-16 km moderate hiking/walking per day
  • Minimum age: 10 years
  • Arrival and Departure Day: Sunday
  • Tour starts: On Mondays at 09:30 from Reykjavik
  • Tour ends: On Saturdays between 17:00-19:00 in Reykjavik
  • Pre- and post-nights in Reykjavik included
  • Accommodations: simple but clean country hotels, cottages and guesthouses with private facilitieshis tour includes some walking on uneven terrain and natural trails.
  • In case Landmannalaugar is not accessible during May and June departures, we travel only to Thjorsardalur valley on that day

Tour Options

  • Pre- and post nights in Reykjavik
  • Optional VIP seating* ( $395 per person )

*VIP Seating: Supplement for a guaranteed window seat on our fully escorted coach tours which includes a window seat and the next seat remaining empty (a passenger gets actually two seats). Seats will be reserved in the front rows of the bus, on first comes - first served basis.

Day 1 ARRIVAL ICELAND

The Flybus shuttle brings you from Keflavik International Airport to Reykjavik where you spend the first night in Iceland. We provide ideas how to explore Iceland's capital on your own. (50 km/31 mi)

Hotel Cabin ****

Day 2 BLUE LAGOON - REYKJANES PENINSULA (B)

At 09:30 meet your tour guide and fellow group members and travel to the Reykjanes Peninsula with its hot springs, mountains, bird cliffs, lunar landscapes and fishing villages. We warm up in the geothermal mineral rich waters of the famous Blue Lagoon. In the afternoon we explore Krysuvik, an area with solfataras, fumaroles, mud pots and hot springs. The soil is colored bright yellow, red and green.

We continue through lava fields and coastal landscape to Strandarkirkja, a Lutheran parish church on the southern coast of Iceland. This small, beautiful wooden church, has been a beacon for those traveling at sea and is often referred to as the "miracle church" with the local longstanding belief that it has profound, divine powers.

Next stop is the charming fishing village of Eyrarbakki with a large number of preserved houses from the period 1890-1920, and therefore a visit is like a journey 100 years back in time. We visit the local Maritime and Folk Museum. In the evening we reach Hella, a small village in South Iceland, where we stay for three nights in simple cottages. You might take a walk south alongside the riverbank to experience complete solitude and tranquility. (200 km/125 mi)

Arhus Cabins in Hella ***+

Day 3 LANDMANNALAUGAR - THORSARDALUR (B)

Today we drive the rough unpaved road to Landmannalaugar, an oasis in the barren highlands, surrounded by colorful rhyolite mountains. Group members have the options to explore the area on their own or join the guide for a short hike through a rough lava field and up the slopes with an incredible spectrum of colors. The highlight is a 90-minute round-trip hike up toward Brenninsteinsalda, the rainbow mountain of Iceland, which is one of the most spectacular volcanic mountains in Landmannalaugar. The name in English translates to "sulfur wave". It comes from the yellow sulfur spots which have colored its sides.

But there are other colors too: green from copper, black and blue from lava and ashes, red from iron in the earth and white from silica. It could very well be the most colorful mountain of Iceland, and so its picture is often found in books and calendars. The mountain is still "hot" where you can see sizzling sulfur springs and vapor at its sides. For this hike, good boots and walking poles are helpfull. In Landmannalaugar there is also a natural geothermal stream where you can enjoy a refreshing bath. Have swimwear and towel ready.

On the way back to our accommodation, we stop at the beautiful waterfall Hjalparfoss in Thjorsardalur valley surrounded by unusual basalt rock formations. Nearby we explore the Viking farm ruins at Stong, which was completely buried in pumice during one of Mt. Hekla's bigger eruptions in 1104. A leisurely hike brings us to Gjain, a green oasis in an otherwise rocky, barren moon-like landscape. Thjorsardalur is off-the-beaten-path and is dominated by Mt. Hekla and other volcanoes in the vicinity.

Hekla is one of Iceland's most active volcanoes; over 20 eruptions have occurred since settlement in 874. During the Middle Ages, Europeans called the volcano the "Gateway to Hell". Please note that in case Landmannalaugar is not accessible during May and June departures, we travel only to Thjorsardalur valley on that day. (290 km/180 mi)

Arhus Cabins in Hella ***+

Day 4 GOLDEN CIRCLE (B)

Today, we visit three of Iceland's most famous spots: Thingvellir National Park, Geyser hot springs, and Gullfoss waterfall. We start the day at the ancient Viking Parliament area of Thingvellir National Park, a UNESCO world heritage site. The Thingvellir plain is situated on a tectonic-plate boundary where North America and Europe are slowly tearing away from each other. As a result, the plain is scarred by dramatic fissures, ponds, and rivers, including the great rift Almannagja.

Next stop is at the Geysir geothermal fields with a variety of hot springs and bubbling pools, where you see the steam pumping from the ground as if beneath it there were lots of little smoking devils. The original geyser is now dormant and has been replaced by Strokkur, "the Churn", which erupts at 5-10 minute intervals. Gullfoss, "the Golden Falls", is a double waterfall that tumbles 34 meters into the Hvita river originating from the glacier Langjökull. After the three "must-see" sights on the Golden Circle, we add a little extra. There is a small waterfall called Faxi, "the Main".

Nearby, we show you a traditional sheep pen, where Icelandic farmers sort the sheep in September after the sheep had been rounded up in the mountains. We continue to Skalholt, which is one of Iceland's most historic and holy places. It was the center of ecclesiastic power in Iceland for more than 700 years. The first bishopric was founded here in 1056, with the first bishop, Isleifur, taking the seat. From then on, it became the center of learning, culture and worldly power in Iceland. The church in Skalholt has the most beautiful altarpiece made with mosaic and colorfully stained windows, both designed by a famous Icelandic female artist. You might like to visit the local geothermal swimming pool with hot tubs to top off your sightseeing day the Icelandic way. (230 km/143 mi)

Arhus Cottages in Hella ***+

Day 5 WESTMANN ISLANDS (B)

A short ferry ride brings us to the Westman Islands, where we explore the town of Heimaey and this extraordinary island by foot and by bus. The volcanic eruption in 1973 is considered the largest natural disaster in Iceland in recent history. The eruption began on January 23 in the outskirt of the town of Heimaey, the only populated island in the Vestmannaeyjar archipelago. After the evacuation of the 5300 inhabitants, and during the 5 months while the eruption lasted, there was much uncertainty as to whether or not the island could ever be repopulated. During our tour to the Westman Islands, we explore bird cliffs, walk up a volcano crater and visit "Pompeii of the North", a volcanic excavation project. There you observe a "house" which was dug up from the thick layer of pumice after 40 years. There is also an exhibition about Surtsey Island that was born by volcanic eruptions between 1963-68 and preserved today by UNESCO. You have the afternoon free to wander around the town of Heimaey, with its birds and signs of recent volcanic eruptions. We travel with the 4 pm ferry back to the mainland and continue to our accommodation near the village of Vik in South Iceland, where we stay for two nights.  (150 km/93 miles) 

Hotel Dyrholaey****

Day 6 VATNAJÖKULL GLACIER & ICE LAGOON (B)

Today we travel to Vatnajökull, Europe's second largest national park, which has Iceland's highest mountains, an alpine environment, and Europe's largest glacier. A 5-kilometer round-trip hike takes us through the national park to Svartifoss waterfall, which is surrounded by impressive basalt columns. In the afternoon we head over to the famous Jökulsarlon glacier lagoon for a cruise, sailing between the icebergs of all shapes and sizes, which float in the clear blue water. After the glacial lake experience, there is time to go down to the black sand beach, the so-called Diamond Beach, in case we find icebergs that have floated all the way from the glacier lagoon into the Atlantic Ocean. (420 km/260 miles) 

Hotel Dyrholaey****

Day 7 SOUTH COAST - REYKJAVIK (B)

We cross the sandy desert of the south shore, overlooked by rugged cliffs, glaciers, and waterfalls. We stroll along the black lava beach and bird cliffs at Reynisfjara. We see interesting basalt columns, and rock formations called the petrified trolls. About 10 km west of Vik is the rocky plateau at Dyrholaey, which rises dramatically from the surrounding plain. We walk to the lighthouse, observe birds on the cliffs, and enjoy the spectacular views of the black beaches, the sea and surrounding mountains and glaciers. Our next stop is the thundering Skogafoss waterfall, which tumbles 62 meters over a rocky scarp, kicking up vast sheets of mist. The Best of South Iceland program ends with a short Reykjavik city tour before we reach the hotel in Iceland's capital. (350 km/220 mi)

Hotel Cabin ****

Day 8 REYKJAVIK DEPARTURE (B)

After breakfast the Flybus airport shuttle picks you up at your hotel and takes you to Keflavik airport. (50 km/31 mi)

Please note:
Total mileage in 6 days is about 1,510 km (942 miles), which is an average of 252 km (157 miles) per day.
You spend about 3,5 hours per day on the bus, depending on road conditions, traffic, and daily distances.
On some days, especially in the interior highlands, the driving might be longer than on some other days.
The hotels and cabins used on this tour are simple but clean, and all rooms offer private facilities.
On September departures, there is a chance to see the Northern Lights.
In case Landmannalaugar is not accessible during May and June departures, we travel only to Thjorsardalur valley on that day.
This tour includes some walking on uneven terrain and natural trails.

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