This whole area which this route covers is just essential for those who are visiting Iceland for the first time.
Staff review:Jon Heidar Thorsteinsson
Reviewed September 1, 2018
Planning a short visit and want to see more than Reykjavik? Catch the essence of Iceland’s powerful natural forces on this two-day adventure, South Shore and Glacier Lagoon Mini-Tour.
This compact, value-priced “mini” escorted tour is a perfect way to experience the south coast’s glacial and volcanic marvels. Stay one night in the countryside where you can be close to Iceland’s fabulous nature. You’ll be in a good location to hopefully view winter northern lights or to enjoy the summer midnight sun.
Note: This tour does not include pre or post hotel nights in Reykjavik. Iceland Travel would be happy to assist you in booking your Reykjavik accommodation or day tours. Please let us know at booking time if you would like us to arrange Reykjavik accommodations. You can also book day tours on the Iceland Travel web site.
What’s in it for You?
Great small group experience
Ideal itinerary for a short visit
Excellent local guides
Great Customer service and support from Iceland’s longest running tour operator
Snap that perfect picture at Skogafoss, Iceland’s most photographed waterfall
Enjoy Seljalandsfoss, a waterfall you can walk behind
Feel the power of the thundering waves at Reynisfjara black sand beach
Cross the world’s largest known lava field
Travel in the landscape dominated by volcanoes and glaciers
Experience the majesty of the world-famous Glacier Lagoon and its sparkling Diamond Beach
Visit Vatnajokull National Park, famous for Europe’s largest glacier
Pick up for the tour between 7:30—8:00 (7:30am – 8:00am). Please be at your assigned pick-up location no later than 7:30, as your location may be one of the first for tour pick-up. (Check your confirmation information for pick up location details.)
Make sure that your phone number and e-mail are listed with Iceland Travel so we can contact you if needed.
The route leads your group over the Hellisheidi Pass where you’ll glimpse the vast South Shore laid out far below. Pass by Hveragerdi, a village known for its hot spring-fed greenhouses. Southern Iceland is one of Iceland’s most fertile areas, and you’ll drive by several charming Icelandic farms, often with colourful herds of Icelandic horses in the fields. With a bit of luck and clear skies you’ll glimpse Hekla, Iceland’s most frequently erupting volcano, as well as the glacier-crowned Eyjafjallajokull volcano, famous for its 2010 eruption.
Make the acquaintance of two impressive waterfalls. The ribbon-like Seljalandsfoss streams gracefully down from high cliffs. If the trail conditions are just right, you can actually walk behind the waterfall. Skogafoss is a beautiful glacial waterfall plunging into a quiet pool. It’s a beautiful subject for photos and, if you’re up to the challenge, you can climb up 527 steps for a magnificent view over the falls.
The route leads you along scenic coastline to Vik, Iceland’s most southerly town. At the nearby Reynisfjara beach, you’ll feel nature’s power as you see waves thundering and crashing onto the black sands. Framing the beach are beautiful geometric columns and a small cave. Far out to sea loom basalt spires that legends say were once trolls. While on the beach listen to your guide’s advice and stay back from the water; the waves are dangerous and unpredictable.
During the summer months it is also possible to view Dyrholaey, a peninsula with an unusual natural arch. It is a nature reserve that is home to many bird species, including puffins. (Dyrholaey is closed between mid-May and late June for bird nesting. Puffins are generally in Iceland between early May and early August).
Continue the tour, passing by the dramatic Eldhraun lava field, the largest flow of lava in recorded history. The 18th-cenntiury volcanic eruption that created Eldhraun led to serious famines in both Iceland and Europe. Cross over vast, imposing plains of black sands left behind when volcanic activity caused glaciers to melt and flood the area. You´ll soon be entering the domain of Vatnajokull, the largest glacier in Europe, which you can see in the distance. Many glacier outlets have been creeping down from Vatnajokull, creating amazing glacial vistas. One of these is Beridamerkurjokull, a rippling wall of ice marked with cracks and crevices. Chunks of ice break from it and tumble into the nearby Jokulsarlon, the Glacier Lagoon, and then out to the Atlantic Ocean.
Stop at the Glacier Lagoon to take in the unforgettable sight of icebergs drifting and bumping together in the frigid water.
Head to your overnight accommodation in the scenic beauty of South Iceland. During the winter you’ll be in a good place to observe northern lights if the conditions are right. During summer you’ll surely find inspiration in the quiet atmosphere and mystical lighting of the midnight sun.
Vatnajokull National Park – South Shore - Reykjavik
Breakfast at your hotel. Start with a second visit to the Glacier Lagoon, where you can enjoy its beauty in different light conditions. You’ll also see the Diamond Beach where glittering glaciers have drifted on the black sands. They sparkle like white gems, sometimes gleaming with the blue colours of ancient ice.
Spend some time in the area to take in the unforgettable scenery and capture amazing photographs. You might even catch a view of seals swimming in the water or sunning on the rocks.
Vatnajokull National Park is the largest of its kind in Western Europe. It covers 14% of Iceland, with Vatnajokull glacier as its centre piece. Today you’ll visit part of the southern section of park, an area known as Skaftafell. This region is filled with forests, black sand deserts, waterfalls and mountains surrounded by impressive glaciers. Iceland’s highest peak, Hvannadalsnjukur can be seen from the park. During the winter time some of the outlet glaciers around the park become blue in colour. The park has several scenic trails that can be enjoyed year-round, and your guide will take you on a short hike that brings you closer to view glaciers.
Afterwards head back west towards Reykjavik, enjoying the ever-changing landscape from a new perspective. The tour will make several stops, so you can experience the beauty of Iceland’s southern region. During the winter, if weather conditions permit, you might see northern lights once darkness falls. In the summer months, the long daylight hours put a special glow over the countryside.
Tour arrives in Reykjavik in the evening. The tour ends at the designated drop-off location (see your confirmation for details). Please note during the winter arrival times may vary based on the weather and road conditions.
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