This Ice Cave, Northern Lights & Golden Circle 4 day tour was created to highlight the most sought after activities and sights in Iceland. We make sure your daytime activities fit into the limited daylight hours and give you ample time to search for the Northern Lights each night. This adventurous, yet leisurely itinerary is the perfect trip for travellers with limited time in Iceland.
This trip covers an ice cave visit, two of Iceland’s UNESCO World Heritage Sites, the ever popular Golden Circle region, an erupting geyser, the Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon & Diamond Beach, geothermal hot springs, rural villages and delicious local cuisine. This 4 + day excursion really does provide you with all the winter highlights.
The itinerary below lasts for 4 days and 3 nights, not including arrival and departure day, so make sure you account for an additional 2 days when planning your holiday. For ease, when quoting your custom itinerary, we will add arrival and departure days. We also recommend having at least one full day in Reykjavík before the tour starts to give you time to explore the city. Therefore, with arrival day, departure day, Reykjavík free day and this Hidden Iceland 4 day, 3 night tour your total holiday will last for 7 days.
Of course, if you want to add in some extra activities and locations, we can easily extend this trip by as many days as you have available. In fact, this is actually a shortened version of our Iceland Must See 6 Day winter trip. The main difference is that we have removed the highlands day trip and the day trip around the Reykjanes peninsula.
Conversely, if you prefer the trip to be a little shorter let us know which day you want to take out and we’ll see if it’s possible. A quicker version of this tour is our stripped down Essential South Iceland 3 day winter tour. This covers the same areas but is at a faster pace meaning we fit more into each day. Our 4 day version is more Northern Lights friendly in general though.
Northern Lights Hunting
While this is a Northern Lights friendly trip, please be aware that we cannot guarantee that you will see the Northern Lights while on tour with us. Since each day will be filled with sightseeing and activities, rather than planning a stand-alone Northern Lights tour at night, we prefer to sleep overnight in remote hotels that are ideal for Northern Lights spotting right from their front door. Your expert guide will delight in teaching you all about the science, monitoring the solar activity and helping you take some great pictures.
Please be aware that although your guide will be there at every step of the way, they cannot exceed maximum driving hours each day so you will not be driving around very late at night searching for an empty sky. Thankfully, the hotels we choose are already in the great locations. It’s the perfect mix of daytime adventure and nighttime hunting.
Colourful northern lights by Marc Hoey.
Ice cave, Northern Lights & Golden Circle 4 + Day Tour
Please note that at certain times of year we may need to swap some activities to cater for the changing seasons. For example, the ice cave tour is usually only available between November and March. Outside of these months we may swap it for a glacier hike. We will notify you of any changes when your first query is made.
• Blue ice cave tour on the Breiðamerkurjökull glacier (from late October – late March)
• Alternatively, we take a glacier hike on the Falljökull glacier outside of these months.
• Staying in Northern Lights friendly remote accommodation.
• Taking a stroll on the Reynisfjara black sand beaches
• Witnessing the towering Seljalandsfoss, Skógafoss and Gullfoss waterfalls
• Watching the glacier icebergs up close at Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon and Diamond Beach
• Bathing in the Secret Lagoon hot pool
• Tasting locally sourced food at the Friðheimar tomato farm
• Getting close to an erupting geyser in the Geysir area
Northern Lights over Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon. Hidden Iceland. Photo by Tom Archer
Arrival Day & Reykjavík time
A private driver can wait for you by the arrival gates at KEF Airport upon arrival and take you to Reykjavík where you check into your accommodation. Although Reykjavík is a small city, there are a lot of interesting things to see and do. Not to mention the numerous restaurants to test out! Have a read through our Reykjavík City Guide where we’ve outlined some of our favorite places, covering everything from transportation in the city, to sights, activities and restaurants.
Where do we stay?
Reykjavík boasts of an impressive amount of high quality accommodation for such a small capital. There are many amazing options to choose from with our favourites being Reykjavik Residence Apartments and Alda Hotel. For an upgrade in accommodation then Konsúlat Hótel, Tower Suites or The Reykjavík EDITION Hotel are all amazing options.
Private Ice Cave, Northern Lights & Golden Circle Tour
Day 1 of 4 | South Coast Sights & Northern Lights
Today is all about travelling along the entire south coast.
This is the longest day of driving but don’t worry, there’s plenty of incredible stops along the way. We start at the impressive Seljalandsfoss and Skógafoss waterfalls. Make sure to wear a rain coat if you want to get close. Afterwards, we travel onwards to the Reynisfjara Black Sand Beach with its unique hexagonal basalt columns and ferocious crashing waves. Next, we continue our drive further east where we’ll soon start to see the spectacular glaciers and Iceland’s highest mountains.
As we come to our accommodation for the night at the Fosshotel Glacier Lagoon (or equivalent) we stay in their deluxe rooms (customisable). The dinner at the hotel showcases traditional Icelandic meals using local produce. The hotel is in a great location for seeing the northern lights on a clear winter’s night, with a wake up call list offered by the hotel if you haven’t spotted them before bed.
Where do we stay?
We stay at the Fosshotel Glacier Lagoon on our first night of the tour (or equivalent)
Seljalandsfoss waterfall in winter by Norris Niman
Skógafoss waterfall in winter by Brendan Bannister
Reynisfjara Black Beach on the South Coast. Photo by Paul Fencaros
Reynisfjara Black Sand Beach, photo by Norris Niman.
Reynisfjara Black Sand Beach. Hidden Iceland. Photo by Norris Niman. Feature
In awe of the Northern Lights photo by Norris Niman. Feature
Day 2 of 4 | The Vatnajökull National Park, Northern Lights
Today is all about the glaciers!
After breakfast this morning we make our way to the nearby Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon where we’ll be spending most of the day. It’s here that we meet with our partners in the area for the true highlight of our trip, the Ice Cave & Super Jeep Adventure. Together, in their specialised super jeeps we travel over the rugged terrain to the more remote parts of the glacier. From here, it’s a tranquil walk over rocky but mainly flat ground, to witness the blues and textures of the inner workings of the glacier in one of the ice caves of the area located on the vast Breiðamerkurjökull Glacier.
This ice cave tour can be customise to the ability levels of the group. From an easier 4 hour ice cave tour to a more adventurous glacier hike, discovery a more distant ice cave. This would be a 5 – 6 hour trip.
Between mid October – late March we will visit a blue ice cave on the Breiðamerkurjökull glacier. For the rest of the year we hike on the Falljökull glacier which is designed for first timers with good mobility.
Once we come back from the ice cave, we spend the rest of the daylight hours by the Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon and watch the giant icebergs float around and wash up on the black sand shores of Diamond Beach. Today is the most adventurous day but is also the most rewarding. Especially with the views of the surrounding area from the the glaciers.
Where do we stay?
We stay at the Fosshotel Glacier Lagoon on our second night of the tour (or equivalent)
Looking to customise this day?
Alternatively, if you want to go even further off the beaten path, we can arrange with our helicopter partners to fly us to a more remote ice cave in the area. Often referred to as the Blue Dragon Ice Cave. From the helicopter landing spot there is just a short walk to the cave entrance to the massive opening of the enormous Blue Dragon Ice Cave.
Day 3 of 4 | South Coast Half Day with Optional activities, Northern Lights
After the adventurous day on the ice yesterday, it’s best to take this day a little easier (or not, it’s up to you). As we start our journey back west, we’ll start with an easy hike along the feather like ridges of the canyon with the impossible to pronounce name; Fjaðrárgljúfur Canyon. We stop by a few more south coast sights as daylight hours allow until we come to the picturesque town of Vík.
For those choosing to take it easy today, we will have ample time to get some souvenirs, try the ‘best coffee in the south of Iceland’ at the Skool Beans converted school bus café. Our hotel for the night is just a short drive from here where you can spend the late afternoon relaxing and revisiting all the pictures taken for the past couple of days.
However, if you are wanting to keep the excitement up, then you can choose between 3 optional extras today.
The Icelandic Lava Show in the town of Vík where the locals will share tales of past eruptions before pouring re-melted lava over ice just metres from your face. A great family friendly experience on a cold day.
Take a horse ride on the famous Icelandic horse with its smooth 5th gait. These docile animals are as friendly as they are fast. This is a great way to see Iceland’s hidden landscape off the beaten path.
Snowmobile on top of one of Iceland’s ice caps. To get there you will jump in the back of a super jeep before swapping over to a snowmobile where you will zoom across this snowy landscape with incredible views on clear days.
Where do we stay?
We have plenty to choose from in this area from the quaint Hotel VOS guesthouse to the Skálakot Luxury Manor or the pristine Hotel UMI (or equivalent). All great options based on your budget and preference.
Fjaðrárgljúfur in Winter by Brendan Bannister
Horse Riding. Horseback. Snow. Glacier. Trail. Horseback. Farm. Hidden Iceland. Photo Skálakot
Horse Riding. Horseback. Snow. Black Beach. Trail. Eyjafjöll. Horseback. Farm. Hidden Iceland. Photo Skálakot
Reynisdrangar in Vík í Myrdal. By Tom Archer.
Lava Show Vík. Hidden Iceland.
Colourful northern lights by Marc Hoey.
Day 4 of 4 | Golden Circle, Friðheimar Tomato Greenhouse and Secret Lagoon
Ready for your last day of touring? Today we will visit the most popular area of Iceland, the Golden Circle!
After breakfast we head straight to relax in the warmth of the natural hot springs of the Secret Lagoon, the perfect way to start the day. This is Iceland’s oldest natural swimming pool, opening its doors back in 1891.
Afterwards, lunch will be served nearby inside the tomato greenhouse farm of Friðheimar Tomato Greenhouse. Surrounded by busy bees and tomato plants. We will be able to try their famous tomato soup or any number of tomato inspired recipes. This is the most talked about culinary experience from any of our tours. Well worth the pit stop. Make sure to pop outside to say hi to the Icelandic horses before leaving too.
Next, we get to witness the force of Gullfoss, one of Iceland’s most powerful waterfalls. From there, we drive to the must see geothermal area of Geysir. The geyser Strokkur erupts every 5 to 10 minutes. After all this, we drive to the famous Þingvellir National Park. Þingvellir is the site of the first known parliament in the world, where many of Iceland’s most important decisions were made. It also sits in the rift valley of the separating North American and Eurasian tectonic plates. We return to Reykjavík in the early evening to give you the chance to have dinner in the city after a fantastic 4 days.
Where do we stay?
Tonight we give you the chance to explore Reykjavík and try some of the best restaurants in town. If you wish us to arrange accommodation for this night, we will pick from one of many of our favourite hotels.
Gullfoss in winter. Golden Circle: Platinum Tour. Hidden Iceland. Photo by Norris Niman. Feature
Friðheimar Tomato Greenhouse Lunch by Kat Craats
Strokkur at Geysir Erupting in the Golden Circle by Guindo Amezcua
Friðheimar Tomato Soup. Golden Circle: Platinum Tour. Hidden Iceland. Photo by Vala Fanney
Icelandic Horse by Brendan Bannister
Þingvellir National Park by Dennis Stever
Secret Lagoon with Hidden Iceland by Kat Craats. Feature
What an incredible short break! We hope you’ll agree it included all the winter highlights. On this final day, a private driver can pick you up from your accommodation and take you to KEF Airport for your outbound flight. If you have a late flight today then we can pull together some great suggestions before you leave us.
Reykjanes Drive. Between Continents: Reykjanes & LAVA Tunnel Day Tour. Hidden Iceland. Norris Niman
October – April
Minimum 4 days plus
arrival and departure days
No minimum age, but can vary
(10 y.o. for some activities,
ice cave tour)
LEVEL OF DIFFICULTY
(ice cave tour is moderate)
can be customised
can be customised
Accommodation, activities requested & private transportation in our luxurious vehicle (type of vehicle is dependant on group size) and our wonderful English speaking driver guide for the duration of the trip. +
Reykjavík accommodation, airport pickup and/or drop off can be included if requested.
Flights to and from Iceland, meals unless otherwise specified.
Customise Your Ice Cave, Northern Lights & Golden Circle Trip?
A private tour allows you to customise this trip to ensure your Iceland experience is perfect. We can arrange pick up or drop off at the airport for those on a tight schedule. Don’t think you are up for a glacier hike? We can take that out and add in more sights as there is so much to see in the south of Iceland.
Want to make this trip even more luxurious? Let us know that you wish for 4 star and above type of accommodation.
If your budget doesn’t quite allow you to do all these wonderful places with us you can look to combine a number of our scheduled, small group tours that travel to some of the same areas. For our scheduled, small group tours our maximum group size is 12 guests.
Ready to make this your dream trip?
Please try to give us as much information as you can in the form below so that we can come up with the best private trip for you as quickly as possible. We will respond to all messages within 72 hours.