Day 1 - Golden Circle, South Coast
After pickup from your Reykjavik hotel we head on the Golden Circle route where our first stop is Thingvellir National Park. Iceland’s first parliament was founded here in the year 930 AD and this is also the geological meeting point of Europe and North-America, surrounded by a stunning landscape. Thingvellir has a special place in the heart of every Icelander, a combination of its natural beauty and its historical significance.
The next feature in our tour is the Geysir hot spring area. The English word “geyser" (a spouting hot spring) actually derived from the Icelandic "Geysir". You will get the chance to walk through the area and admire the Strokkur geyser as it bursts every 5-7 minutes, so have your camera at hand.
Next on our agenda is Gullfoss (the Golden waterfall). It roars down the river Hvítá, which is fed by the Langjökull glacier, forming a giant staircase. As we go east towards Seljalandsfoss waterfall we will also see the Hekla volcano. You’ll be able to observe the 18- story high waterfall from its other side, without getting wet. There aren’t many many waterfalls that you can actually view from front and back, so enjoy the experience!
Coming up next is Skógafoss waterfall. This beautiful waterfall with glacier water streaming from Eyjafjallajökull catches your eye straight away. There’s no wonder that it’s one of the most visited sites in Iceland, and the best way to understand why is to see it with your own eyes. Legend has it that a treasure was buried behind the waterfall and even though the locals found the chest years later, they couldn’t pull it out before it disappeared again.
We’ll drive on to Reynisfjara , the famous black sand beach near Vik. Here you can get up close and personal with the Atlantic, but be careful as the waves here are so powerful that they can sweep you off your feet and drag you into the sea. Never turn your back to the sea, so you can watch for the coming waves as they can appear suddenly even on a calm day. At Reynisfjara beach you can admire the beautiful basalt columns and have a great view of the magnificent basalt pillars Reynisdrangar, rising from the sea. We will drive through the village of Vík and spend the night at Hotel Katla nearby.
If there are clear skies, your guide will take you on a northern lights hunt after having checked the aurora forecast.
Day 2 - Sightseeing & Ice Cave
If you are interested in geology and volcanic eruptions then you’ll really enjoy today. As we start our drive we will see a giant lava field , formed by the largest volume lava flow from a single eruption on earth known to man. We'll see the debris of past and present glacial floods and witness the ever changing course of the glacial rivers when we cross the long bridges over enormous sand plains.
In the afternoon an expert local glacier guide will take us by super jeep so we can explore an ice cave. It's up to our guide, who is highly experienced mountain glacier guide, to decide each time which cave is best to visit depending on weather conditions and safety issues. Some caves are more special than others, but in the right light and light and conditions they all offer magical experience. Your should wear your hiking shoes now, since there's a bit of a hike to the cave. We recommend you have water resistant hiking boots that cover your ankle. Now is definitely not the time to wear city leather boots as it’s cold and slippery in the cave, where we’ll spend around 45 minutes. We’ll also provide a protective helmet for you so make sure you have a thin winter hat that can fit under it.
Why is the ice so blue?
The color and transparency of the ice caves is the result of time, pressure, and a bit of added mystery. As the glacier travels on its way down the mountain slopes and ridges, the air bubbles trapped in the ice get squeezed out increasing the size of the ice crystals and making the ice clearer. The damaged outer surface hides the real beauty of the centuries old compressed ice. This intense blue color can be observed in ice caves and on floating icebergs that reveal their lower side when they have recently rolled over or split in two.
After seeing the inside of the glacier, it is time to continue to Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon . It's 75 stories below the surface making it a really deep lagoon so there you can see what the true meaning of "the tip of the iceberg" is. The lagoon is really magnificent to observe in low light.
We’ll spend the night either at the Country Hotel Gerdi or Country Hotel Hali. They are both about 14 km away from the iceberg lagoon. The rooms there are basic, with bathroom and the all important wi-fi connection. Breakfast is included in the price. You’ll enjoy a terrific view as the hotels are located between the mountains and the sea. We will check for the northern lights again in the evening and you will be able to admire them if the sky is clear and the aurora forecast favourable.
Day 3 - Skaftafell Glacier Hike & Sightseeing
In the morning of the third day we will have time to go seal-watching by the Jökulsárlón Lagoon. Even if we don’t spot any seals you’ll be able to admire the icebergs' proportions and their amazing shades of blue. For your own safety, please don’t walk out on the frozen lagoon as the ice can easily twist. Next up is a 1-2 hour glacier hike in Skaftafell Nature Reserve. This activity doesn’t require you to be in a particularly good physical shape, but it is important to dress warmly and have water and windproof outer layers. We’ll provide you with crampons and axes for support. Please follow closely the instructions of your experienced guide as the glaciers are always moving and changing so wandering off by yourself is not safe. This hiking adventure is something you’ll never forget. We will head back to Reykjavik and on our way stop at Ingolfsskali, a viking style restaurant close to the town of Hveragerdi. From there we’ll go on the northern lights tour but before that you’ll get a chance to rest and recharge your batteries, enjoy dinner (not included) or eat your own food. The real hunt for the magic Aurora Borealis begins here.
We’ll drop you off at your accommodation in Reykjavik between midnight and 1 am.
We hope that you would’ve had a fantastic time and collected memories that will stay with you forever!
Note : As the weather in Iceland is quite unpredictable your guide will have some flexibility about the itinerary and might change the order in which you visit places to give you the best traveling experience.