July 31, 2019

Top 10 Day Tours in Iceland | Best Value & When to Do Them

by Ragnheidur Harpa
Things to do
Travel tips
Ragnheidur studied anthropology with a minor in media so it might not come as much of a surprise that she is curious about the nature. She loves educating others about her findings or her home country, Iceland. Ragnheidur is into country living, traveling, Icelandic horses, the Icelandic naming system, plants and all things having to do with food and beer. Her favorite places in Iceland are the Westfjords and the South Coast but she has lived in downtown Reykjavik for the last few years.
Top 10 Day Tours in Iceland | Best Value & When to Do Them

Iceland is the land of adventures; there is no doubt about it! With its gleaming glaciers, spouting geysers, bubbling hot springs and active volcanoes, there is no shortage of wondrous places and sights to visit. Travelers flock from all over the world to behold Iceland’s uniqueness and wonder and, since you are reading this post, you might just be next! To help you in the process of planning your trip to Iceland, we have put together this post about the best tours in Iceland. Bon voyage!

Seljalandsfoss Waterfall
But first a couple of pointers:
  • The northern lights aren’t visible in summer due to the ongoing daylight
  • Puffins only reside in Iceland from May to September, then they head off to warmer places
  • You can easily spend every night in Reykjavik and still see a lot of the country on day tours
  • The weather can change very quickly — be sure to check the weather forecast frequently 

10. Boat Tour on Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon

Jokulsarlon glacier lagoon is located in the southeastern part of Iceland. It is a place of incredible natural beauty and bustling wildlife surrounded by glaciers and black sand beaches. Breidamerkurjokull is the closest glacier. It is an outlet glacier from Europe’s largest glacier Vatnajokull, which feeds the lagoon with its broken off icebergs.

The icebergs appear in an array of blue colors and different sizes, often flipping over in the water to reveal even newer natural ice sculptures. This site is like something you would imagine in a winter-themed fairytale. Only this time it’s 100% real!

The very best way to explore the Glacier Lagoon is by going on a boat tour and sailing between the icebergs. We offer the Amphibian Boat Tour, which you can join at the Glacier Lagoon from May to October (multiple departures available each day). For those who are looking to stay off the typical tourist track, there is a lesser-known lagoon called Fjallsarlon (The Iceberg Lagoon) where we offer Zodiac Boat Tours. Whichever one you choose, this will be a tour to remember!

fjallsarlon zodiac tour
Fjallsarlon Zodiac tour

Best Time for Tour: May-October.

Price: About 50 USD.

Time: 40 min to 1,5 hours.

9. Whale Watching Tour

Whales are deeply embedded in the Icelandic culture. They swim in our nearby oceans and pop up to play in fjords and inlets, where they jump, frolick and spout water. They are majestic and strong, yet also curious and gentle. They tend to get very close to boats. Some Icelanders even say that whales like showing off. Maybe they sense our amazement. I wouldn’t be surprised: it is pretty hard to hide your admiration once in the presence of these royal creatures.

Whale safari

Iceland is definitely a place you want to take a whale watching tour. Iceland Travel has collaborated with the best operators scattered around the country. You can book a meet- up in charming fishing villages such as Husavik (the capital of Whale Watching in Iceland, Olafsvik, Grundarfjordur, iny Hjalteyri or even the capital of Iceland, Reykjavik

Arctic whale watching

Best Time for Tour: Summer (May-September), but available all year round.

Price: About 90 USD.

Time: About 3 hours.

8. The Blue Lagoon 

The Blue Lagoon is likely a place you know. Its azure blue healing waters and incredible location in an ebony-black lava field has been the highlight of many trips to Iceland. Stars like Beyoncé, Justin Timberlake, Kim Kardashian and Gerard Butler don’t miss out on a soak when they are in Iceland — and neither should you.

Blue Lagoon Iceland

The all-natural water possesses medically proven minerals that heal skin problems such as psoriasis and eczema, as as well as being extremely good for acne.

Blue Lagoon

But for those who are just looking for a relaxed and lovely time, the Blue Lagoon has saunas, steam baths, waterfall massage showers, in-water bars, a skin-mask bar, a relaxation room, a place to get in-water treatments, and more. The Blue Lagoon in Iceland can hardly be described in the way it deserves – we recommend a visit! 

Best Time for Tour: All year-round.

Price: 37 USD for bus to and from Reykjavik + about 58 USD for standard admission.  (Admission must be booked in advance.)

Time: It’s totally up to you; the admission has no time limit.

Pro Tip: The Golden Circle and Blue Lagoon are now offered together in one with transfers and admissions included! 

7. South Shore Adventure

The South Coast in Iceland is a true must-see. It is home to the majority of Iceland’s glaciers, which then feed an abundance of stunning waterfalls such as the world-famous Seljalandsfoss , “the one you can walk behind.” and the great and powerful Skogafoss.

A bit further east you’ll find the volcanic black sand beach Reynisfjara and the awesome basalt rocks Reynisdrangar that stand tall against the strong waves of the Atlantic Ocean. 

Reynisfjara and Reynisdrangar

The South Shore Adventure tour tour visits filming locations for Rogue 1: A Star Wars Story, Russell Crowe’s Noah, and the famous Marvel movie Thor, as well as some Game of Thrones locations.

Best Time for Tour: All year-round.

Price: About 81 USD.

Time: About 10 hours. 

6. Viking Sushi Boat Tour

This tour departs from the colorful fishing village of Stykkisholmur on the Snaefellsnes Peninsula. You will get an insight into life on the Icelandic seas, along with a modern cuisine twist of fresh fish — hence the name Viking Sushi Tour. All aboard: it’s time for a foodie adventure at sea! 

Best Time for Tour: May-September

Price: About 64 USD.

Time: About 2,5 hours. 

5. The Golden Circle

It’s the most popular excursion in Iceland ever: The Golden Circle! 

First up is the historical, geological and wonderful Thingvellir National Park, a UNESCO heritage site. This is the meeting place where Vikings held their annual national parliament. At Thingvellir you can also see where the North American and Eurasian continental plates drift apart. 

Þingvellir National Park

Second on the tour itinerary are the geysers in Haukadalur valley. This area is home to the namesake of all geysers , The Great Geysir, His baby brother Strokkur now acts as a stand-in since Geysir went dormant in an earthquake a few years back. But fear not: Strokkur goes off every 4-10 minute, resulting in complete awe and astonishment for anyone who witnesses. 


Last but not least is a two-storey high waterfall that plunges into a gorgeous glacier-carved canyon. This is the Golden Falls, or Gullfoss as we call it in Icelandic. You can view the waterfall from three different viewing points, so make sure to view the glorious falls from all the different angles.

Different ways to do the Golden Circle

These three stops make up what is known as the Golden Circle, however there are many different ways of enjoying it. You can have amazing experiences such as bathing in hot springs, visiting local farms and exploring glaciers. Be sure to check out our variety of Golden Circle tours and make the most of your day out in the Icelandic countryside. 

Best Time for Tour: All year-round.

Price: From 62 USD. 

Time: About 6 hours (the basic tour), including pick-up and drop-off in Reykjavik. 

4. Snaefellsnes Peninsula

Often nicknamed “Iceland in a nutshell,” the Snaefellsnes Peninsula is truly one of the biggest gems on Iceland’s crown. It is home to the picturesque mountain Kirkjufell, the Djupalonssandur pebble beach, the infamous Snaefellsjokull glacier, and many other outstanding sights. Covering the peninsula is a moss-covered lava field, and everywhere you look will be a new and fascinating sight giving you those travel tummy butterflies we all know and love. The Premium Snaefellsnes Peninsula tour takes you to all the major sights straight from Reykjavik, with a knowledgeable guide to feed you interesting info along the way. You can just sit back, relax and take it all in. It’s time to be amazed!

Kirkjufell mountain

Best Time for Tour: All year-round.

Price: About 129 USD. 

Time: About 10 hours.  

3. Reykjavik Food Walk

For the Foodie travelers out there, the Reykjavik Food Walk is a must-do! You’ll have a chance to explore the colorful and quirky city of Reykjavik while being invited into restaurants and cafes for bites and tastes of the yummiest and/or unique cuisine Iceland has to offer. 

Icelandic hot dogs are popular with kids

Your fun and friendly food-expert guide will tell you all about food traditions and will take you to places which will give you a  great insight into the food culture in Iceland. 

Warm-up your taste buds– you are in for a flavourful ride! 

Best Time for Tour: All year-round.

Price: About 114 USD. 

Time: About 4 hours.  

2. Northern Lights

The northern Lights are an incredible phenomenon, well worth the patience they require. These dancing neon waves light up the northern atmosphere’s otherwise pitch black sky. They make the almost light-less winter months, well, bearable – to say the least. It is hard to put into words the feeling of seeing the lights when they appear, so we’ll let this video take a shot at it. Viewing northern lights is a moment you will remember for the rest of your life.

Iceland Travel offers many different ways of exploring the northern lights or the Aurora Borealis (as people sometimes call them). We have the Northern Lights Tours by boat, the Northern Lights by a Super Jeep and the Northern Lights Mystery.   

Best Time for Tour: Winter (Late September through mid-April)

Price: From 55USD. 

Time: About 3 hours. 

1. Katla Ice Cave Tour

If someone would have asked to visit a natural ice cave in summer a few years ago the answer would have been, “ Sorry, that is not possible.” However, things changed in 2017, and the completely natural and heavenly Katla Ice Cave is available to visit on a guided tour year-round. The ice cave is conveniently located only a short driving distance from Vik and can easily be visited on a day tour out from Reykjavik. It is a great option for those looking to explore a glacier without having to do much hiking.

Ice cave in Myrdalsjokull

Fun Fact: It’s named Katla ice cave because the powerful volcano Katla sits in the very same glacier where this ice cave formed. Now, that’s nature’s magic!

Best Time for Tour: All year round!

Price: From 163 USD. 

Time: About 3 hours from Vik. 

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