6 days / 5 nights
See first-hand Iceland’s amazing natural forces on this best-selling winter visit to Iceland’s beloved South Shore region. You’ll also enjoy opportunities to taste delicious samples of Icelandic cuisine and discover Iceland’s culinary heritage.
Day 1: Arrival in Iceland and Evening Meeting
Upon arrival, head through passport control, collect your bags and go through customs to the Arrival Hall. The FlyBus transfer shuttle is waiting outside the arrival hall. Please show your confirmation information to the attendant on board and let him or her know the hotel you are using in Reykjavík. Important: The FlyBus is a shared bus transfer. You will not be met directly in the airport by a driver.
Ingolfur Arnarson, the first settler of Iceland, built his farm on the peninsula where Reykjavik stands today. The town got its name “Smoky Bay” after the columns of steam that rose from the hot springs in the area and made such a deep impression on the first settlers. If you are arriving earlier in the day, you might consider visiting the Grandi area of the city’s Old Harbour. Grandi is a growing culinary center. A new food hall focusing on “upscale street food” was recently opened there. Another Food Hall is located in the Hlemmur of Reykjavik, just at the end of the main shopping street, Laugarvegur. adding a day tour. We’d be happy to make suggestions based on your interests. Some of our culinary-related suggestions include the Reykjavik Food Walk, Meet the Locals experience with lunch, and the unique Cook and Dine cooking workshop. Just remember to leave this evening open.
This evening, around 18:00 (6:00pm) there will be an information meeting at the hotel. Meet your guide and fellow travelers. You’ll go over the trip itinerary together and enjoy a “Welcome Drink.”
Dinner this evening is at your leisure. Reykjavik offers a multitude of restaurants and/or coffee-houses, making dinner a great way to get better acquainted with Iceland's capital.
Please note: If you have added extra nights in Reykjavík before your tour, the guide will meet your group for the start of the tour on Day 2 according to the standard “Hidden Powers and Northern Lights: Foodie Focus” itinerary.
Important: If you have added extra nights in Akureyri before your tour, the guide will meet your group for the start of the tour on Day 2 according to the standard "Arctic Powers" itinerary.
Day 2: Thingvellir - Geysir – Gullfoss- South Iceland
Approximate distance: CA200km / 124miles
Northern Lights Centre - National Park with Geological Wonders (UNESCO) - Exploding Geysers - The Famous Golden Falls
After a hearty Icelandic breakfast, start the day by visiting the fascinating Aurora Reykjavik Northern Lights Centre. You’ll get a great introduction to northern lights, how they are formed and the folklore surrounding them. If you have a camera, the staff at the center will also show you how to capture northern lights on film and help you with adjusting the settings for this.
Then head onwards to Thingvellir National Park (UNESCO World Heritage site) where the world’s oldest parliament met for centuries on the shores of Iceland’s largest lake.
Continue through farmland areas to the geothermal fields of Geysir with bubbling mud pools and the high-spouting Strokkur hot spring. Last but not least, visit the dramatic two-tiered Gullfoss waterfall, a spectacular sight in winter when frozen mid-cascade. Stop at Skalholt, Iceland’s capital during the Middle Ages and now a culture center with a beautiful church.
Visit Efstidalur, a family-owned dairy farm. The farm welcomes visitors and has developed a wonderful “Farm to Table” presentation for guests. You’ll meet members of the farm family and learn about dairy farming in Iceland. Enjoy lunch and sample some of the farm’s excellent feta cheese, ice cream and skyr (an Icelandic dairy product similar to Greek yogurt). The restaurant has windows that look down on the milking parlor, where you can see “the girls,” the farm’s cows. The dairy cows are an heirloom breed of Icelandic cattle that goes back to Viking times.
You will also visit the town of Laugarvatn. The town is built around three hot springs, and the residents have cleverly harnessed the hot springs for heating, greenhouses and even cooking. You’ll visit a unique outdoor geothermal bakery at the Laugarvatn Fontana spa where Icelandic rye bread is baked in the hot sands. Try some of the freshly baked bread, hot from the ground. It’s especially delicious slathered in Icelandic butter.
If weather conditions are right, your guide will take you on a northern lights hunt on foot in the area outside your hotel tonight, or on the evening of Day 3 or 4.
Dinner and overnight in the south coast area.
Day 3: Iceland’s South Shore – Eyjafjallajokull Volcano- Southeast Iceland
Approximate distance: CA257km / 160miles
Waterfalls – Lava Centre - Glacial Views - Black Sand Beaches
Breakfast at your hotel. Drive along the South Shore, an area of Iceland that is especially beautiful to view in the winter. This is one of the main farm regions of the country, and the road will pass by typical Icelandic farms, often with Icelandic horses in the fields. This part of Iceland is home to the wonderful LAVA Centre, an interactive, high-tech educational exhibition depicting volcanic activity, earthquakes and the creation of Iceland over millions of years. Enjoy both the exhibit and viewing an interesting film about Icelandic volcanoes at the Centre‘s cinema. Continue onwards. If the skies are clear you might see the area’s two most famous volcanoes in the distance: Mount Hekla (last eruption 2000) and Eyjafjallajokull (last eruption 2010). You might also possibly catch a glimpse of Westman Islands archipelago off the coast of Iceland.
Lunch today is a real treat. Visit Hotel Anna, located on Moldnupar farm. The hotel is named after Sigridur Anna Jonsdottir, an early 20th century dairy maid who grew up on the farm. She was a self-educated journalist who may have also been Iceland’s first travel writer. Hotel Anna’s restaurant specializes in Icelandic “soul food.” Enjoy tasting cured salmon and plokkfiskur, a hearty fish stew.
Stop at the spectacular waterfalls Seljalandsfoss and Skogafoss. Both of them are a “must-see” for photographs. If trail conditions are right, you might be able to walk behind Seljalandsfoss falls.
Head onwards, passing Myrdalsjokull Glacier, to visit Reynisfjara beach. Take a walk on the black sands, admiring the extraordinary rock formations and thundering waves of the Atlantic Ocean. Cross a vast lava field created from a destructive 18th century eruption as you head into Southeast Iceland.
Dinner and overnight stay in Southeast Iceland.
Day 4: Skaftafell National Park - Jokulsarlon Glacial Lagoon
Approximate distance: CA210km / 130miles
Western Europe's Largest National Park - Glacial Lagoon with Icebergs - Europe's Largest Glacier
Breakfast at your hotel. Today enter the southern area of Vatnajokull National Park, named after Europe’s largest glacier. This national park is also the largest one in Western Europe, and the total park area covers almost 14% of Iceland. Drive through vast sand plains created by glacial outwashes as you head east en route to the Vatnajokull area. Visit Jokulsarlon Glacial Lagoon where you can enjoy a breath-taking sight of icebergs floating in the fantastic 180m (591 ft.) deep glacial lagoon. Nearby is the dramatic beauty of the Diamond Beach, where shrinking icebergs settle on the black sands before they drift out to sea.
Then view Svinafellsjokull, one of the most beautiful of the glacial outlets emerging from Vatnajokull. Visit the national park’s famous Skaftafell area, a site of outstanding natural beauty dominated by several magnificent glaciers. While here, visit the park’s Hotel Skaftafell, where you´ll enjoy a surprise taste treat from the Vatnajokull region (shhh…. it’s a surprise!). Return to the hotel for dinner and overnight.
Day 5: Hveragerdi - Blue Lagoon – Reykjavik
Approximate distance: CA408km / 254miles
Greenhouse Village – Thundering Waves - Geothermal Lagoon
Breakfast at your hotel. Head back along the beautiful South Coast, enjoying a different view of the winter landscapes. Visit the village of Hveragerdi, which is one of the few sites in the world located directly in the middle of a geothermal area. Hveragerdi is often called ""The Flower Village"" because of its many greenhouses heated by hot water from nearby springs.
Turn onto a southern coastal road and follow alongside the shoreline with its breath-taking sea waves. Several pretty fishing villages are in the area, including Stokkseyri. This town is known for its charming Fjorubordid (Seaside) restaurant that does magical things with langoustines (Norway lobsters). Enjoy a scrumptious lunch featuring langoustine tails sautéed in garlic and butter.
Continue onwards, passing through a deserted community that once was a flourishing coastal town. The trip then takes you through the surreal landscapes of the Reykjanes peninsula, where you can enjoy a dip in the famous Blue Lagoon, a unique wonder of nature with pleasantly warm, mineral-rich water in the middle of a black lava field. Return to Reykjavik, where the evening is at your own leisure. Dinner is on your own."
Day 6: Departure
Breakfast at your hotel. Please note that this might be a light breakfast if you are taking an early morning departure flight. Transfer to the international airport by bus for your departure flight. We recommend you depart your hotel no later than three hours before your departure flight.
Please advise us at booking time if you have food allergies or dietary preferences. Vegetarian and gluten-free diet alternatives are usually possible. We will do our best to accommodate all requests but cannot guarantee alternatives will be available.
Northern lights are dependent on weather conditions and sightings are not guaranteed
Note: We reserve the right to alter routes without prior notice, due to road conditions.