Best of South Iceland

Small group exploration of the South
8 days
May - Sep
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Explore the most interesting sights in South Iceland while staying in just 3 hotels, so there are no long daily drives. You will visit the Golden Circle sites, explore the interior highlands of Landmannalaugar, the glacial valley of Þórsmörk, and the wonders of Vatnajökull National Park. Discover the  green valleys, high mountains, moon landscapes, lava fields, waterfalls, hot springs and glaciers that South Iceland is famed for.

Day 1 Reykjavik Arrival
On arrival at Keflavik Airport transfer by coach 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 Reykjavik -  Reykjanes Peninsula and Blue Lagoon - Hella 
At 09:00 meet your tour guide and fellow travellers and depart Reykjavik. We start by travelling to the Reykjanes Peninsula with its hot springs, mountains, bird cliffs, moon-like landscapes and fishing villages. Then enjoy the warm, geothermal mineral rich waters of the famous Blue Lagoon. In the afternoon we explore Krýsuvík, an area with amazing solfataras, fumaroles, mud pots and hot springs - the soil here is coloured bright yellow, red and green!

We continue through lava fields and coastal landscapes to Strandarkirkja, a small, beautiful wooden church, which has long been a beacon for sailors. The church is known locally as the "miracle church" due to the belief that it has profound, divine powers. Next stop is the charming fishing village of Eyrarbakki, with its large number of charming old houses from the period 1890-1920; here we visit the local Maritime and Folk Museum. In the evening we reach Hella, a small village in South Iceland, where we stay for the next 3 nights.

Day 3 Landmannalaugar & Bjorsardalur  
Today we take a day trip from Hella to Landmannalaugar, an oasis in the barren highlands, surrounded by colourful rhyolite mountains. You can explore the area on your own, or join your guide for a short hike (90 mins return) through a lava field and up into the slopes, through a landscape with an incredible spectrum of colours. There is also a natural geothermal stream where you can enjoy a refreshing swim.

On the way back to Hella, we stop in the Þjórsárdalur Valley at the beautiful Hjálparfoss Waterfall, 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. This valley is dominated by Mount Hekla, one of Iceland's most active volcanoes; over 20 eruptions have occurred since 874! (please note if Landmannalaugar is inaccessible due to weather we will travel only to the Þjórsárdalur Valley today). 2nd overnight in Hella.

Day 4 Golden Circle 
Today we take another day trip from Hella to visit three of Iceland's most important spots: Gullfoss Waterfall, Geyser hot springs area and Þingvellir National Park.  We start the day at the ancient Viking Parliament area of Þingvellir National Park, a UNESCO world heritage site. The Þingvellir plain is situated on the tectonic-plate boundary where North America and Europe are slowly tearing away from each other. As a result, the plain is scarred by dramatic fissures, ponds, and rivers, including the great rift Almannagjá.

Next stop is at the Geysir geothermal fields with a variety of hot springs and bubbling pools where you see the steam pumping from the ground. The original geyser is now dormant and has been replaced by Strokkur, "the Churn", which erupts at 5-10 minute intervals. Next is Gullfoss, "the golden falls", a majestic double waterfall that tumbles 34 metres into the Hvítá river below. 

After a brief stop to see a traditional sheep pen, where Icelandic farmers sort the sheep in September after the annual autumn round up, we continue to Skálholt, one of Iceland's most historic and holy places, the centre of ecclesiastic power for more than 700 years and the place of the first bishopric founded here in 1056. The church in Skálholt has a lovely altarpiece of mosaic and colourful stained glass windows, both designed by a famous Icelandic artist. 3rd overnight in Hella.

Day 5 Hella - Þórsmörk  - Vatnajokull  National Park
We leave Hella this morning and start the day at the high, narrow Seljalandsfoss Waterfall. From here we continue to Þórsmörk, a wide and beautiful valley surrounded on 3 sides by steep mountains and glaciers. The landscape here is dramatic, with Eyjafjallajökull volcano towering on one side and the massive glacial river Markarfljót flowing on the other.

We take a walk to explore the aftermath of an immense flood caused by the eruption of the volcano in April 2010, and depending on the weather, we continue on with a leisurely hike through the nature reserve here, so you can glimpse the elements of the Icelandic highlands - volcanoes, glaciers, high mountains, glacier made valleys and canyons, glacier rivers, lava fields and much more. After the hike we drive on to our next hotel in the  Vatnajökull National Park, where we stay for 2 nights.

Day 6 Vatnajökull National Park: Short Glacier Hike & Glacial Lagoon  
Today enjoy an exciting 1.5-2 hour glacier hike in the majestic surroundings of Svínafellsjökull, a glacier surrounded by some of Iceland´s most spectacular peaks. An experienced glacier guide leads us safely through this glacial wonderland of strangely shaped ridges, deep crevasses, huge water cauldrons and different ice formations.

In the afternoon, we visit the famous Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon for a cruise, sailing between icebergs of all shapes and sizes, which float in the clear blue water. After the cruise, there is time to walk down to the black sand beach in search of icebergs that have floated all the way from the glacier lagoon into the Atlantic Ocean. 2nd overnight in Vatnajökull National Park.


Day 7 South Coast & Reykjavik 
We leave the national park this morning head out today across the sandy deserts of the south coast, overlooked by mountainous cliffs, glaciers and waterfalls, to Vik, where you can stroll along the black lava beach beneath bird cliffs. Then on to the lighthouse and bird cliffs at Dyrholaey, with a stop at the 62 metre high Skógafoss Waterfall, before we return to Reykjavík, where we will enjoy a short  city sightseeing tour before checking in at the hotel. Overnight in Reykjavik.  

Day 8 Departure 
Transfer by coach to Keflavik airport and end of arrangements. 

Departures 2018: 13, 20, 27 May; 03, 10, 24 June; 08, 22, 29 July; 05, 12, 19, 26 August;  02, 09, 16, 23 September 

Includes:  Arrival & departure transfer by coach; 6 day fully escorted coach tour with English-speaking guide or driver/guide;  7 nights accommodation in standard rooms with private shower/wc; daily breakfasts; visit to two national parks, entrance & use of towel at the Blue Lagoon including silica mud mask; boat trip on Jokulsarlon Glacial Lagoon; Vatnajökull 1.5-2 hour glacier hike; entrance fee to Eyrarbakki Maritime and Folk Museum.

Maximum group size 20 persons

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

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Price per person FROM:
Double AUD$ 3306.00
Single AUD$ 4149.00

Includes:  Arrival & departure transfer by coach; 6 day fully escorted coach tour with English-speaking guide or driver/ guide;  7 nights accommodation in rooms with private shower/wc; 7 x breakfasts; visit to two national parks, entrance & use of towel at the Blue Lagoon including silica mud mask; boat trip on Jokulsarlon Glacial Lagoon; Vatnajökull 1.5 - 2 hour glacier hike; entrance fee to Eyrarbakki Maritime and Folk Museum. 

The price here shown is for departures in May and September

Price per person FROM:
Double AUD$ 3705.00
Single AUD$ 4860.00

Includes:  Arrival & departure transfer by coach; 6 day fully escorted coach tour with English-speaking guide or driver/ guide;  7 nights accommodation in rooms with private shower/wc; 7 x breakfasts; visit to two national parks, entrance & use of towel at the Blue Lagoon including silica mud mask; boat trip on Jokulsarlon Glacial Lagoon; Vatnajökull 1.5-2 hour glacier hike; entrance fee to Eyrarbakki Maritime and Folk Museum. 

The price here shown is for departures in June, July and August

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