The Flybus shuttle brings you from Keflavík International Airport to Reykjavík where you spend the first night in Iceland. We provide ideas on how to explore Iceland’s capital on your own.
Hotel Cabin, Reykjavík. Dinner is on your own. Standard rooms are 10m². (50km / 31mls)
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 Krýsuvík, an area with solfataras, fumaroles, mud pots and hot springs. 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 tranquillity.
Arhus Cabins / Hotel Hella, Hella. Breakfast included, dinner is on your own. (200km / 125mls)
Today we drive the rough unpaved road to Landmannalaugar, an oasis in the barren highlands, surrounded by centre 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 colours. 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 “sulphur wave”. It comes from the yellow sulphur spots which have coloured its sides. But there are other colours 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 colourful mountain in Iceland, and so its picture is often found in books and calendars. The mountain is still “hot” where you can see sizzling sulphur springs and centre at its sides. For this hike, good boots and walking poles are helpful. 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 Hjálparfoss in Þjórsárdalur valley surrounded by unusual basalt rock formations. Nearby we explore the Viking farm ruins at Stöng, which was completely buried in pumice during one of Mt. Hekla’s bigger eruptions in 1104. A leisurely hike brings us to Gjáin, a green oasis in an otherwise rocky, barren moon-like landscape. Þjórsárdalur 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 June departures, we travel only to Þjórsárdalur valley on that day.
Arhus Cabins / Hotel Hella, Hella. Breakfast included, dinner is on your own. (290km / 180mls)
Today, we visit three of Iceland’s most famous spots: Þingvellir National Park, Geyser hot springs, and Gullfoss waterfall. We start the day at the ancient Viking Parliament area of Þingvellir National Park, a UNESCO world heritage site. The Þingvellir plain is situated on a tectonic-plate boundary where North America and Europe are slowly tearing away from each other. Next stop is at the Geysir geothermal fields with a variety of hot springs and bubbling pools. Gullfoss, “the golden falls”, is a double waterfall that tumbles 34 meters into the Hvítá river originating from the glacier Langjökull. We continue to Skálholt, which is one of Iceland’s most historic and holy places. It was the centre of ecclesiastic power in Iceland for more than 700 years.
Arhus Cabins / Hotel Hella, Hella. Breakfast included, dinner is on your own. (230km / 143mls)
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 5 pm ferry back to the mainland and continue to our accommodation near the village of Vík in South Iceland, where we stay for two nights.
Hotel Dyrhólaey, Vík. Breakfast included, dinner is on your own. (150km / 93mls)
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-kilometre 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 Jökulsárlón 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.
Hotel Dyrhólaey, Vík. Breakfast included, dinner is on your own. (410km / 255mls)
We start the day with a walk along the black lava beach and bird cliffs at Reynisfjara. We see interesting basalt columns, and rock formations called the petrified trolls. Next, we stop for an easy 1,5 to 2-hour glacier hike in the impressive Sólheimajökulll glacier tongue, suitable for beginners. An experienced glacier guide leads you safely through the icy wonderland of strangely shaped ridges, deep crevasses, enormous water cauldrons and different ice formations. We continue to the thundering Skógafoss waterfall, which tumbles 62 meters over a rocky scarp, kicking up vast sheets of mist. Further west we reach the high but narrow Seljalandsfoss waterfall where you can follow a slick and wet trail and walk right behind the falls. Come prepared and bring a raincoat and good boots, as you will get wet! The Best of South Iceland program ends with a short Reykjavík city tour before we reach the hotel in Iceland’s capital.
Hotel Cabin, Reykjavík. Breakfast included, dinner is on your own. Standard rooms are 10m². (250km / 155mls)
The Flybus airport shuttle picks you up at your hotel and takes you to Keflavik airport.
Breakfast included. (50km / 31mls)