The amazing south of Iceland is quite literally alive and vibrant. It’s no wonder that it holds all of Iceland’s three UNESCO World Heritage Sites. With its vast lava fields, volcanoes, visible tectonic shift, archipelagos, glaciers and rock formations, the south has the feel of a geological amusement park. In only four action filled days this diverse region can be explored in depth during the summer months. During our time together we will explore the entire south coast of Iceland, hike on a glacier, ferry to the volcanic Westman Islands and explore the popular Golden Circle.
On this four day, three night trip we will explore the entire south coast of Iceland together that will include a glacier hike (can be changed for other activities upon request). We will take a short ferry ride to the Westman Islands and finally make our way inland to the famous Golden Circle. We hike on one of the magnificent outlet glaciers within an UNESCO World Heritage Site, which holds Europe’s largest glacier, the Vatnajökull National Park. Prepare yourself to be awed by the volcanic terrain and cute little puffins on Heimaey, by giant icebergs floating around on the vast Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon, by erupting geysers and geothermal activity, as well as the breathtaking waterfalls coming down from the southern highlands. Furthermore, we will also go on an exciting Rib boat tour, visit interesting museums, swim in the vicinity of bubbling hot springs, stroll down black sand beaches, have lunch in a tomato farm and so much more. All this within the space of 4 amazing days.
These four days of private tours combine our exciting Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon 2 Day Tour and the best-seller Golden Circle: Platinum Tour, with the seasonal Volcanic Westman Island Tour, for a different escape from the mainland. You’ll experience the perfect blend of ocean breeze, geothermal steam, waterfall mist & glacial condensation, while seeing some of Iceland’s most amazing destinations. With your own private guide you won’t feel rushed during your short stay in Iceland. For an even more complete sense of Iceland this 4 day trip can be combined with other tours, for example the other worldly 4 day Wild Westfjords Tour or the enchanting Snæfellsnes Peninsula Tour, the best of the west.
• Seeing the cute puffins and other seabirds up close
• Learning about the “Pompei of the North” and witnessing the aftermath of the 1973 volcanic eruption
• The adrenaline filled RIB boat ride around the Westman Island archipelago
• Glacier hike on the moving Falljökull glacier within the mighty UNESCO World Heritage Site, Vatnajökull National Park
• The glow of the midnight sun over the glorious landscape from a wonderful country side accommodation. If you come in late August / early September you might even see northern lights instead
• Walking on black sand beaches and admiring basalt columns
• Getting close to powerful waterfalls, such as Gullfoss, Seljalandsfoss and Skógafoss
• Icebergs in the middle of summer at Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon and the Diamond Bach, where the washed up ice glitters on the black sand
• A geothermal grown lunch enjoyed inside a greenhouse
• The one and only Geysir and its erupting neighbour Strokkur
UNESCO World Heritage Tour
The Day to Day Itinerary
Day 1 / 4
South Coast Sights
On the first day of this summer adventure we traverse the entire south coast of Iceland, stopping to see many of the most breathtaking sights of the entire island. We’ll experience the power of waterfalls, such as Seljalandsfoss and Skógafoss, going behind the former and probably getting soaked as we try to get as close as possible to the latter. We also go down to the black beach with large waves & unique basalt columns, Reynisfjara, and enjoy a lunch with dramatic coastal view.
As we continue further east we go past different yet incredibly vast landscapes, from the black sand fields of Mýrdalssandur to the boundless Eldhraun lava field, covered in bright green moss. Our guide will tell you the history and unbelievable consequences of the Laki eruption that caused this awe-inspiring landscape. As the cherry on top we’ll take you to the strangely beautiful Fjaðrárglúfur canyon where we hike along its feather like ridges.
After driving past the Vatnajökull glacier and taking in some of its magnitude we’ll arrive at tonight’s accommodation at cozy Guesthouse Lilja, or alternatively the gorgeous Fosshotel Glacier Lagoon.
In late August and September you might just be able to witness the dance of the northern lights, while the summer months bring the pink hue of the midnight sun, lovely to behold amidst mountains and glaciers.
Where do we stay?
We stay either at the wonderful Lilja Guesthouse or at Fosshotel Glacier Lagoon on our first night of the tour.
Fjaðrárgljúfur Gorge by Norris Niman
Reynisfjara Black Sand Beach in South Iceland by Norris Niman
Seljalandsfoss Waterfall by Tom Archer
Reynisfjara Black Sand Beach, photo by Norris Niman.
Skógafoss Waterfall on the South Coast by Norris Niman. Skogafoss.
Day 2 / 4
Vatnajökull National Park, Glacier Hike
Waking up in a remote location in the vicinity of the largest glacier in Iceland is something else! We hope you got a good night sleep because the afternoon today is all about adventure with our private glacier hike. The glacier, and the national park it belongs to, is by far the largest UNESCO World Heritage Site in Iceland, covering about 14% of the country. After breakfast overlooking the other worldly landscape we’ll go and get a closer look at the Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon and admire the building sized icebergs floating nearby. With some luck you might spot a lovely family of seals taking in the sun on a floating iceberg or swimming around the lagoon. We’ll have our last up close look of the ice as we go down to the Diamond Beach to take in the sparkling ice crystals lying on the long black beach.
As promised, the afternoon is time for us to get onto the ice itself with our glacier hike. We’ll get to know the Vatnajökull ice cap on an intimate basis today. The glacier hike last around 4 hours and depending on the group we can take it easy exploring the base of the glacier in crampons or venture higher to experience everything the glacier has on offer towards the ice fall. To hike in this less travelled section of the glacier and look at the ice formations – crevasses (cracks), moulins (holes) & seracs (ice sculptures) – is something you are sure to never forget. To learn more about what the glacier hike entails you can check out our Glacier Hike Guide here.
As the sun dims and the evening approaches we’ll say farewell to the amazing south east and head to tonight’s accommodation, making a stop or two on the way, at the enchanting Hotel VOS, or otherwise the elegant Manor Hotel Skálakot, where we will stay for the next two nights.
Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon 2 Day Tour by Paul Fencaros
Diamond Beach. Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon 2 Day Tour. Hidden Iceland. Photo by Emily Sillett
Falljökull glacier hike by Danny McGee
Falljökull glacier hike
The approach to Falljökull Glacier on the Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon 2 Day tour, by Dagný Björg
Hike up to the icefall on Falljökull Glacier by Amy Robinson. Feature
Day 3 / 4
Volcanic Westman Islands
After breakfast and taking in the new environment we head to Landeyjahöfn Harbour and take the short ferry ride to the volcanic chain of islands known as the Westman Islands. The main island of the archipelago, Heimaey, was almost destroyed by a volcanic eruption in 1973 resulting in a full town evacuation. We will go to the Eldheimar Museum and learn all about how the eruption destroyed hundreds of homes and lasted for months, making it the “Pompei of the North”. From here you can see the lava and new section of the island that was created in 1973, with the island increasing in size by over 20% from all the new lava. We will eat lunch at one of our favorite restaurants in Iceland. The food at Gott is inspired by what is available locally, giving a modern twist to many of Iceland’s favourite dishes.
After lunch we have more time to explore the islands in one of two ways. With your Hidden Iceland guide you can head to the southern side of Heimaey to explore the cliffs, farms and go on a short walk in the search of puffins while hopefully catching a glimpse of the newest of the Westman Islands, the pristine UNESCO Heritage Site Surtsey. Alternatively you can join a 1 hour RIB boat ride. The scenic and fun boat tour takes you deep inside sea caves, and around the small islands scattered around Heimaey, which are otherwise inaccessible. If you are lucky you may even get close to the array of wildlife around the islands, like whales and puffins. It is amazing to see the islands from this angle. In summer the Westman Islands is one of the best places in Iceland to view the cute puffins, with millions calling these islands home for the summer.
In the late afternoon we take the ferry back to the mainland and return to our south Iceland accommodation for dinner and a good night’s rest.
Westman Islands. Hidden Iceland. Photo By Norris Niman
Lunch. Volcanic Westman Islands Tour. Hidden Iceland
View from Eldfell volcanic crater on the Westman Islands by Lucas Peters
Westman Islands. Hidden Iceland. Photo By Norris Niman
Westman Islands by Norris Niman. Feature.
Close up puffins. Photo taken by Dagný Björg Stefánsdóttir.
Day 4 / 4
Golden Circle Area, Friðheimar tomato Greenhouse, Secret Lagoon
On the last day of the tour we leave the coastline and head inland towards further signs of Iceland’s volcanic nature and geothermal power. After driving through lovely farmlands we arrive to the first stop of the day, the Secret Lagoon, a natural swimming pool where Icelanders have been bathing since 1891. The bubbling hot springs surrounding the beautiful pool create a magical atmosphere as we sense the wonders of nature on our skin as we gather energy for the rest of the day.
We are always ready for lunch after leaving Flúðir and the pool and so happy to arrive at our next destination, Friðheimar Tomato Farm. There we feast on everything the greenhouse restaurant has to offer in the cosy setting amongst the tomato plants. This lunch is all inclusive (with the exception of alcoholic beverages) so you can explore the menu and try out the renowned tomato soup, the ravioli, Icelandic mussels, green tomato and apple pie or even the homemade tomato ice cream!
We then continue towards the dynamic duo of the Golden Circle, the mighty Gullfoss waterfall, whose force has formed a vast canyon for the white water river Hvítá. The next stop is the famous geothermal area where you can see the erupting Strokkur and the original geyser Geysir, surrounded by the colourful landscape, steam vents and bubbling hot springs.
Last but certainly not least is the first of Iceland’s UNESCO Heritage Sites – the National Park Þingvellir. The site is protected primarily due to its historical and cultural significance, however it is no less important because of its geology and incredible landscape. This is where we will observe the division of the tectonic plates, separating North America and Eurasia, nowhere can you find a better location for seeing this phenomenon. Upon departure from Þingvellir and as we head back to the capital we hope you feel like you have gained a profound understanding of Iceland and it’s different landscapes, along with having had memorable moments with our wonderful guide who will take you back to Reykjavik in time to have at least one last dinner in Iceland.
Where do we stay?
After our tour through the Golden Circle we say goodbye to your Hidden Iceland guide and settle into your accommodation in Reykjavík. Alternatively we can drop you off either at Silica by Blue Lagoon or The Retreat by Blue Lagoon for most indulgent way to wrap up your stay in Iceland.
Looking for something extra?
If you would like to amend this tour to fit with flight times or experience another must see like the Blue Lagoon on this final day we can amend the tour accordingly. Staying at Silica by Blue Lagoon or Retreat by Blue Lagoon is a truly unique way to relax after a few adventure filled days while traveling around Iceland. We recommend spending two nights at The Retreat by Blue Lagoon to get the full experience.
Autumn at Thingvellir National Park in the Golden Circle Platinum Tour. Photo by Dennis Stever
Friðheimar Tomato Greenhouse by Dagný Björg Stefánsdóttir
Þingvellir National Park | Golden Circle: Platinum Tour | Hidden Iceland | Photo by EJS Creative
Strokkur at Geysir Erupting in the Golden Circle by Guindo Amezcua
Secret Lagoon. Hidden Iceland | Photo by Kat Craats
Gullfoss in summer by Daniel Guindo
Operates: Mid May to Mid September
Duration: 4 days, 3 nights
Minimum age: 10 years old (glacier hike, can be customised)
Level of difficulty: Moderate (glacier hike, can be customised)
Accommodation for 1 night at the lovely Lilja Guesthouse (or similar) including breakfast. Rooms are all new with private bathrooms. Accommodation at Hotel VOS (or similar) with private bathrooms for two nights, including breakfast. Private glacier hike on the Vatnajökull ice cap with your Hidden Iceland guide with all necessary safety equipment provided (crampons, helmets, harness and axe). Ferry to Heimaey and return fare, entrance to Eldheimar Museum, lunch at Friðheimar Tomato Greenhouse (all inclusive aside from alcoholic drinks) and entrance to the Secret Lagoon geothermal pool. Private transportation in a comfortable vehicle (type of vehicle is dependant on group size) and our friendly and knowledgeable English speaking glacier and driver guide for the duration of the four days. Pick up and drop offs in Reykjavík, airport pickup and/or drop off can be requested.
1 Hour RIB Boat Tour in Westman Icelands
Flights to and from Iceland, meals unless otherwise specified.
Customise this Trip?
A private tour allows you to customise this trip to ensure your Iceland experience is perfect. More days can be added to the tour in order to get an even more immersive Iceland experience. Are you feeling adventurous? We can add a Rib boat tour to the Westman Island day and introduce multiple other activities if you have days to spare.
Are you in the mood for some luxury while in Iceland? We can upgrade the accommodation to stay at Fosshotel Glacier Lagoon, Skálakot Manor Hotel or UMI Hotel. These elegant and gorgeous hotels are perfectly located, with suites or superior rooms that are designed and inspired by Icelandic nature with amazing views. The options are endless, utilise our expertise to help you come up with the perfect experience.
Have more than 4 days to explore? Contact us below and we can help you come up with best plan to maximise your time, or continue looking through more of our private tours here for further inspiration! We especially recommend the Wild Westfjords 4 day tour for those who want to see everything Iceland has to offer.
Ready to make this your dream trip?
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