Sample program for 5 days/4 nights
Iceland is a unique country that offers the most breathtaking and contrast-filled landscapes with active volcanoes, bizarre-looking rock formations, majestic green mountains, amazing waterfalls, deep fjords and stunning glaciers. Iceland looks like another planet. It's no wonder it attracts the best photographers from around the world. South & West Iceland Tour is a quick and intensive exploration tour of South & West Iceland in just five days, ideal for a stopover or an extension program combined with other international destinations.
Visit the Reykjanes Peninsula, the South Coast, the Golden Circle, Borgarfjörður Valley in West Iceland and the Snæfellsnes Peninsula; all that in just three days. Explore different hot springs, waterfalls, volcanic landscapes, mountains and fjords. Expect lonely lava plains, steaming hill rocks, spurty geysers, black sand beaches and sites where the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates collide. Travel to fishing villages, view glaciers, go bird watching and get a quick peek into some of Iceland's highlights and beautiful scenery.
Day 1: WELCOME TO ICELAND (50 km/31 mls)
Private transfer from Keflavík International Airport to the accommodation in Reykjavík where you spend the night. We provide ideas how to explore Iceland's capital on your own, dinner suggestions too! Food lovers will be pleased and perhaps even impressed by the number of diverse restaurants in Reykjavík. Many award winning chefs create delicious Icelandic cuisine that is characterized by an imaginative use of local ingredients such as fresh seafood, organic lamb, and wild game; but be sure to try the fabulous Icelandic hot dog and pizza too!
Optional activities: Blue Lagoon or whale watching depending on your flight schedule
Day 2: REYKJANES PENINSULA & SOUTH COAST (350 km/217 mls)
Early morning travel to the Reykjanes Peninsula with its hot springs, lava fields, mountains and moon-like landscapes. The first stop is at Kleifarvatn, the largest lake on the Reykjanes Peninsula situated on the fissure zone of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. It's picturesque and epic with black sandy beaches and steep rocks, cliffs and small caves. The soft green moss in between gives the lunar landscape some softness and color. According to legend, the lake is said to be inhabited by a monster, last seen in 1984. Nearby are the Krýsuvík geothermal fields with solfataras, fumaroles, mud pots and hot springs. You will smell the area long before arrival, and once you are there, it's like landing on a different planet. The soil is bright yellow, red and green, steamy and burning hot. On we go to Grænavatn, a small lake in an explosion crater with a distinctive green color caused by sulfur and the extreme depth of the lake. The trip continues towards the south through extensive lava fields, along with mountains and the Atlantic ocean. A short stop at the charming village Eyrarbakki with a large number of preserved houses from the period 1890-1920, and therefore a visit feels like a journey 100 years back in time. After a lunch break, we reach Seljalandsfoss waterfall, where you can follow a slick and wet trail and walk right behind the falls. Come prepared and bring a rain coat and good boots, as you will get wet. The southern-most point during our South & West Iceland Tour tour is the village of Vík, surrounded by green mountains, black lava beaches, and impressive bird cliffs. We take a short walk along Reynisfjara beautiful black beach with amazing basalt rocks, caves, and crashing waves. Maybe you will see puffins from May to the beginning of August. Our journey takes us past two glaciers, Mýrdals- and Eyjafjallajökull. Our next stop is the gorgeous Skógafoss waterfall, another must-see location in South Iceland. The crashing water creates a mist that results in frequent and magical rainbows in sunny conditions, just adding some more memorable experiences to the sheer beauty of this stunning scenery and place. Welcome drink and overnight in South Iceland. If you fancy, we recommend visiting the local geothermal swimming pool and hot tubs. Icelanders love hot tubs, the same as the Finns love their sauna.
Day 3: GOLDEN CIRCLE, BORGARFJÖRÐUR VALLEY & SELFIE WITH AN ICELANDIC HORSE
(350 km/217 mls)
A day to visit three of Iceland's most famous spots: Gullfoss waterfall, Geyser hot springs, and Þingvellir National Park. Gullfoss, "the golden falls", is a double waterfall that tumbles 34 meters into the Hvítá river and attracts tourists and travelers all year. You see the steam from the Geysir geothermal fields as you arrive. There are a variety of hot springs and bubbling pools. The original geyser is now dormant and has been replaced by Strokkur, "the Churn", which erupts at 5-10 minute intervals. Next stop is the ancient Viking Parliament area of Þingvellir National Park, a UNESCO world heritage site. The Þingvellir area is part of a fissure zone running through Iceland, situated on the tectonic plate boundaries of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. The faults and fissures make evident the rifting of the earth's crust. Our route brings us to the bottom of the picturesque Hvalfjörður fjord and on a gravel road over a small mountain ridge, passing farms and summer cottages. We continue to West Iceland, reaching Borgarfjörður, known as Iceland's Saga Valley because of its many important historical events. The Hraunfossar waterfalls, "the lava falls", are exceptionally beautiful. The water seems to magically appear from underneath the lava cascading over a long and moss covered lava wall, falling into a bright turquoise-colored river originated from the glacier Langjökull. The next stop is at Deildartungahver, Europe's most powerful hot spring concerning the volume of water produced. The water that flows here is boiling and sizzling. Before we reach our overnight location in Borgarnes, West Iceland, we visit a local family and their horse farm, where you will be able to hug an Icelandic horse or take a selfie with your new friend. The family members tell us about living and farming in rural Iceland.
Day 4: SNÆFELLSNES PENINSULA
(400 km/248 miles)
We travel to the picturesque fishing town of Stykkishólmur on the north shore of the Snæfellsnes Peninsula. In the summer time a beautiful fjord & bird watching cruise takes you around the small islands of Breiðafjörður Bay for just over two hours where you can observe seabirds and taste freshly caught scallops. Stykkishólmur is beautifully situated where you find charming and well-preserved old houses in the center of town, also known as the gateway to the innumerable islands of Breiðafjörður Bay, which is renowned for its natural beauty and remarkable wildlife. The church in Stykkishólmur is impressive architecturally. It makes a beautiful landmark both from land and sea. The view from the church over Breiðafjörður Bay is spectacular. In the afternoon we travel through friendly towns and villages, explore a region where volcanic craters, lava flows, an ice cap, mountains, fjords, sandy beaches and high cliffs shape its landscapes. The peninsula itself is also named Iceland in Miniature. We stop at Kirkjufell, one of Iceland's most photographed mountains. The Snæfellsnes National Park is the westernmost part of the peninsula, including the mystical glacier Snæfellsjökull, as well as other unique sites. We continue by the roots of the stratovolcano made famous by Jules Verne in his book "Journey to the Center of the Earth". We visit some of the nearby bird cliffs, basalt rocks, and strange lava formations before we reach Búðir, the setting of one of Iceland's most photographed churches. The tiny pitch-black wooden church from the 17th century, surrounded by ancient lava fields, is just a stone's throw from the pink beach decorated with black lava. Our journey takes us via the town of Borgarnes back to Reykjavík, Iceland's capital city.
Day 5: DEPARTURE HOME (50 km/31 mls)
Private transfer from your accommodation in Reykjavík to Keflavík Airport.
Optional activities: Blue Lagoon depending on your flight schedule
Total mileage in 3 days (excluding arrival & departure day) is about 1,100 km (682 miles), which is an average of 367 km (228 miles) per day. You spend about 5 hours per day driving, depending on road conditions, traffic, and daily distances. On some days, the driving might be longer than on some other days.
- On September departures, there is a chance to see the Northern Lights.
When you visit Iceland between May and August, the sun barely sets - and even when it does go down, the sky remains eerily bright.