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South Coast and Jokulsarlon - Overnight tour

This overnight tour along the South Coast of Iceland will take you all the way to the Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon. A glacier hike is also included, and you’ll have the chance to sail across the glacier lagoon. The list of places in the tour description is only indicative, we’ll try to visit as much as possible but it will all depend on the weather conditions, the season and the group’s abilities.

Tour Highlights

Operated by minibus this tour is one of our best sellers and will take you along the south coast of Iceland and up close to glaciers, icebergs and black sand beaches. The timing and location of the stops will vary depending on the weather, amount of daylight and the group preferences. We stop at Seljalandsfoss and Skogafoss waterfalls, then move on to the village of Vik with the Reynisfjara black sand beach. We drive to Vatnajokull National Park and then to Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon where we spend the night. On day 2 we’ll have a glacier hike, some more time around the lagoon then head back to Reykjavik with a stop for dinner before drop off.

CLOTHING TO WEAR:

The weather in Iceland is ever changing and it is important to be prepared. We recommend the following clothing:

• hiking boots (over ancle)
• waterproof parka • warm hat & warm gloves
• wool or fleece sweater / jacket
•  NO jeans or trainers

Good hiking shoes & warm socks are an essential part of the tour.

***  To be able to participate in the glacier hike you will need hiking shoes of similar type as shown on the picture at the bottom. If you don't have good hiking shoes you can rent them from us when you book the tour online.

It varies from one trip to another where we stop and for how long. It depends on weather, the group, how much daylight we have, etc. During summer months we usually have the boat tour on Jokulsarlon glacier lagoon in the morning of the second day. And we usually have the glacier hike on Svinafellsjokull glacier on the second day as well. If the weather is good on the first day, and the weather forecast is bad for the second day, then the guides often put the glacier hike on day 1. During winter (15th September to 15th April) we hunt for the northern lights in the evening of the first day (if the sky is clear). In the tour description here below you can read about the areas and places we see during this tour, but it does not mean that we stop at all those places.


Tour Description

Day 1 - South Coast & Black Sand

We start with pick up from your accommodation in Reykjavik and drive southeast to go over the Thjorsa River. This is the longest river in Iceland, at around 230 kilometres, with a flow of about 370 cubic metres per second. There are several large hydroelectric plants located around the Thjorsa River. If the weather is good we might be able to see the central volcanoes Hekla and Tindfjoll .

We’ll have our first stop at Seljalandsfoss , a very photogenic waterfall that drops down from the ancient sea cliffs for over 60 m into a shallow pool. Here we can walk behind the fall into a cave and admire the beautiful landscape. The waterfall originates from the infamous volcano and glacier Eyjafjallajökull . The beautiful glacier of the central volcano Eyjafjallajokull rises to over 1600 meters in the fertile countryside just north of  Seljalandsfoss. It’s the sixth largest glacier in Iceland and it covers the top of the mountain like a white cape. The great magma chamber is located just beneath the mountain. There have been 3 recorded eruptions of Eyjafjallajokull; in 1612; from 1821 to 1823; and the most recent one that made the news all over the world and disrupted air traffic in Europe was from 13th April to 22nd May 2010.

As we drive along and the weather is clear you might be able to see the Vestmannaeyjar islands were formed in a subaquatic eruption and are located just off the coast to the south. The last eruption was in 1973, however 10 years before that the island of Surtsey was formed dramatically in another subaquatic eruption. Surtsey island is the southernmost point of Iceland.  

We will stop next at Skogar to see the Skogafoss Waterfall . It's the same height as Seljalandsfoss and is regarded by many as one of the most beautiful waterfalls in Iceland. From here you might get a glimpse of Myrdalsjokull Glacier , which is hiding Katla volcano, one of the most active and explosive volcanoes in the country.

Next we get out at the village of Vik where you will see a black sand beach striking basalt column formations as well as the magnificent Reynisdrangar sea stacks.

If you are inspired by geology, then you should listen to what your guide has to say about "Jökulhlaup" as we approach the enormous devastated area of sandy plains and ash. Glaciation causes changes to the surrounding landscape but it doesn’t necessarily happen over thousands of years. If a volcano erupts under a glacier, it might destroy an ice dam or release huge volumes of melt water by heat alone, thus causing a devastating flood, known as “Jökulhlaup”. The word is Icelandic and has been adopted in English too. Over one of these glacial flood areas, lies the longest bridge in Iceland (900m).

After that we’ll drive to Skaftafell Nature Reserve in the Vatnajokull National Park , where we'll make a brief stop. The glacier tongues in the national park make the scenery look like something out of a magical a fairy tale. The Skaftafell National Park, which is now called Vatnajokull National Park, was established in 1967 and it is the biggest park of its kind in Europe, at around 5000 km2. Its magnificent scenery is formed by the glacier tongues of the Skeidararjokull , Morsarjokull , Skaftafellsjokull and Svinafellsjokull . There aren’t many places in the country where you can get closer to the great white heartland of Iceland.As part of this tour we usually do a 1 hour glacier hike on Svinafellsjokull.  

Jokulsarlon glacier lagoon has been used as location for many Hollywood productions. It is situated at the end of an outlet glacier of the great Vatnajokull Glacier. Massive pieces of ice split from the glacier and then float in the lagoon before reaching out to sea. The Breidamerkurjokull Glacier is the largest of the Vatnajokull ice cap glacier tongues. It almost reached to the sea around 100 years ago and it came to only about 200 metres from the surf of the ocean. The glacier then started to retreat in the beginning of last century. The Jokulsarlon lagoon was formed in front of the glacial tongue in 1935. In 1975 the lagoon was 8 km2 but today it has increased to 20 km2. At around 248 m, the lagoon is the deepest lake in Iceland. We’ll have plenty of opportunity to take a close look at countless icebergs that float on the glacial lake of Jokulsarlon. During summer it is also possible to take a boat tour on the lagoon.  

After enjoying the iceberg lagoon we will drive to our accommodation at the Country Hotel Gerdi. All rooms all have bathroom and free WiFi is available in the dining room. The menu in the restaurant uses mainly products sourced by local producers. The price includes breakfast.  We’ll have dinner upon arrival (not included in the tour price).

Day 2 - Glaciers & Icebergs

After breakfast on the second day we’ll have some more time to spend at Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon and if the weather allows it you can buy a 40-minute boat ride among the icebergs. We can also take a walk around the lake and black sand shores and look for seals which are sometimes spotted in the lagoon.

Next up is one of the highlights of the trip, getting up close and personal with the glacier. Glaciers are not made up of frozen water as some might think but of fallen snow. So how does snow turn into ice then? The explanation is simple, it’s the result of compression due to the weight of the snow as it keeps accumulating. If you can imagine taking a handful of fluffy snow, squeezing it hard into snowball, and then keep doing this for hundreds of years. The ice will eventually become so compact that most of the air will be forced out of it. This is the reason why glacial ice has this amazing crystal blue color - and the older the ice, the more intense the color. We pull on our crampons and embark on a one hour long glacier hike in the Skaftafell area, enjoying fantastic views along the way. If you want to join the glacier hike you should have good, ankle high hiking shoes. It’s not possible to fit the crampons onto sneakers or other light walking shoes. Giant cracks called crevasses are formed where the glacier flows more rapidly, which makes it extremely dangerous to walk on it without a an experienced specialist tour guide.The crevasses can get covered over by snow and become very perilous.

We had back to Reykjavik and are estimated to arrive there between 19:00 and 21:00. Usually we make a stop for a quick late afternoon or early evening meal on the way. We hope that you would have had an awesome time with us! The glorious nature of Iceland is more than likely to stir admiration and wonder.

Note

In the summer the boat tour on Jokulsarlon glacier lagoon is usually in the morning of the second day and the same for the glacier hike on Svinafellsjokull glacier. However If the weather is good on day one with the weather forecast not looking good for day two, the guides might swap the glacier hike for the first day. In the winter (15 Sept - 15 Apr) we do a northern lights hunt in the evening of the first day if the sky is clear.

Disclaimer

Glacier trips are undertaken at the responsibility of the participants. Made By Iceland does not assume any responsibility for accidents which are caused by its customers.  It can happen that the glacier hike is cancelled because of weather and/ or safety reasons. Then we will find other activities when possible, and refund the cost of the glacier hike.
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