Best of South Iceland

Small group exploration of the south
6 days
Jun - September

Explore the most famous sights in South Iceland from the countryside, without the need for long daily drives from Reykjavík. This small group tour focuses on some fabulous guided day excursions and explorations from only 3 different overnight locations in Southern Iceland. You visit the Golden Circle sites, explore the interior highlands of Landmannalaugar, the glacial valley of Þórsmörk, and the glacial wonders of Vatnajökull national park. Your Icelandic adventure includes short walks here and there, bathing in the geothermal Blue Lagoon, climbing volcano craters, walking on glaciers, a boat trip between floating icebergs and lots of time to take pictures.

With a maximum group size of 20 persons, this programme includes six full days of touring, exploring and adventure in South Iceland and the interior highlands. You discover national parks, green valleys, high mountains, moon landscapes, lava fields, waterfalls, hot springs and glaciers. You explore Icelandic highlights and secrets. Accommodation is provided in simple and clean hotels and cottages with private facilities.

Day 1 Reykjavik Arrival
On  arrival at Reykjavik's Keflavik Airport transfer by airport express bus to your hotel. The city centre is a small area characterised by eclectic and colourful houses, good shopping, dining and drinking. Reykjavík has recently established itself as a haven for food lovers, with numerous restaurants taking advantage of the abundance of local seafood, meat and game.Reykjavik has many wonderful museums including the National Museum displaying artefacts from the first settlement to the modern age, giving an excellent overview of Iceland’s history and culture, the Reykjavik 871+2 Settlement Museum, an archaeological museum based around a 10th-century Viking longhouse unearthed in 2001, the Reykjavik Art Museum and the National Gallery. Overnight in Reykajvik.

Day 2: Blue Lagoon and Reykjanes Peninsula 
At 09:00 meet your tour guide and fellow group members and travel to the Reykjanes Peninsula with its hot springs, mountains, bird cliffs, moon-like 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. The soil is coloured bright yellow, red and green. We continue through lava fields and coastal landscape to Strandarkirkja, a Lutheran parish church on the southern coast of Iceland. This small, beautiful wooden church, has been a beacon for those travelling at sea and is often referred to as the "miracle church" with the locals' longstanding belief that it has profound, divine powers. 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.

Day 3: Landmannalaugar & Bjorsardalur  
Today we drive to Landmannalaugar, an oasis in the barren highlands, surrounded by colourful 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 incredible spectrum of colours. 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 extraordinary basalt rock formations. Nearby we explore the Viking farm ruins at Stöng and enjoy a leisurely hike to Gjáin, a green oasis in an otherwise rocky, barren moon-like landscape. Þjórsárdalur is off-the-beaten-path and is dominated by Hekla and other volcanoes in the vicinity. Hekla is one of Iceland's most active volcanoes; over 20 eruptions have occurred since 874. During the Middle Ages, Europeans called the volcano the "Gateway to Hell". 

Day 4: Golden Circle 
A day to visit three of Iceland's most important 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 been replaced by Strokkur „the Churn", which erupts at 5-10 minute intervals. Next stop is at the ancient Viking Parliament area of Þingvellir National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
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Day 5: Borsmok & Vatnajokull  
We start the day at the high but narrow Seljalandsfoss waterfall and continue to Þórsmörk, a wide valley named after Thor, the Viking God of Thunder. This beautiful valley is surrounded on three sides by steep mountains and glaciers. Fording raging glacial rivers and gentle streams is a big part of the great adventure. The landscape is dramatic with Eyjafjallajökull volcano towering on one side and the massive glacial river Markarfljót flowing on the other. We walk to explore the aftermath of the immense fast flowing flood, caused by the eruption of Eyjafjallajökull in April 2010, which destroyed a glacial lagoon and left a blackened area. Þórsmörk is one of the most popular hiking areas in Iceland. Depending on weather we enjoy an easy hike through nature. You see the rumored Icelandic highlands at its best - volcanoes, glaciers, high mountains, glacier made valleys and canyons, glacier rivers, lava fields and many more gems that the Icelandic nature holds captured. After our Þórsmörk adventure trip, there is a long drive to our next overnight location at Vatnajökull National Park. We stay for 2 nights at the simple but well located Hotel Skaftafell, next to Europe‘s largest glacier and beneath Iceland‘s highest mountain.
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Day 6: Glacier Hike & Glacial Lagoon  
This is a day packed with fun activities and breathtaking sceneries. We start with a moderate 1,5 hour glacier hike in the majestic surroundings of Svínafellsjökull. The glacier is hemmed in by some of Iceland´s most spectacular peaks. An experienced glacier guide leads you safely through the glacial wonderland of strangely shaped ridges, deep crevasses, huge water cauldrons and different ice formations. In the afternoon we head over to the famous glacier lagoon for a cruise, sailing between the icebergs of all shapes and sizes, which float in the clear blue water. After the glacial lagoon experience there is time to go down to the black sand beach to take a closer look at the icebergs that have floated all the way from the glacier lagoon into the Atlantic Ocean.
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Day 7: South Coast & Reykjavik 
We cross the sandy desert of the south coast, overlooked by mountainous cliffs, glaciers and waterfalls. We stroll along the black lava beach and bird cliffs near the village of Vík, travel to the lighthouse and bird cliffs at Dyrholaey and stop at 60 meter high Skógafoss waterfall. The Best of Iceland program ends with a Reykjavík city tour before we reach the hotel in Iceland's capital.
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Day 8: Departure 
Transfer by coach to Keflavik airport and end of arrangements. 

Maximum number of guests: 20

Departures 2018: June 24; July 08, 22 and 29; August 05, 12, 19 and 26; September 02 and 09.

Includes:  Arrival & departure transfer by FLYBUS airport shuttle, 6 day escorted coach tour, 7 nights accommodation in rooms with private shower/wc, 7x breakfasts and 2 dinners (days 5,6), visit to two national parks, entrance & towel to Blue Lagoon, boat trip on glacial lagoon, Vatnajökull 1 - 1.5 hour glacier hike, entrance fee to Eyrarbakki Maritime and Folk Museum.

Accommodation is at the following hotels or similar: Hotel Cabin, Reykjavik first and last nights, Árhús Cottages in Hella, South Iceland 2nd, 3rd and 4th nights; Hotel Skaftafell, Vatnajökull National Park 5th and 6th nights.

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