5 Day South Coast Tour, Northern Lights and Snæfellsnes - AA26

Package Tour - The Golden Circle, Snaefellsnes Peninsula & The South Coast

This 5 day tour offers a fabulous way to explore some of Iceland's best sights and some incredible natural wonders. The famous Golden Circle attractions, great waterfalls, glaciers, an erupting geyser, black beaches, hot springs, the stunning icebergs at Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon, and a glacier hike on an outlet glacier of Vatnajökull. You also get a good chance of seeing the Northern Lights.

This is a combination tour which links together two hugely popular tours, the 2 Day Snaefellsnes & Northern Lights and the 3 Day Golden Circle & South Coast.

Duration: 5 Days

Pick-up: 09:00 - 09:30*

Group maximum: 18 persons

Available: Oct-Apr

Age limit: 8 years

Difficulty: Easy

Tour Highlights:
  • Golden Circle
  • Vatnajökull Glacier
  • Diamond Beach
  • Seljalandsfoss Waterfall
  • Skógafoss Waterfall
  • A visit to a natural ice cave
  • Reynisfjara black sand beach
  • Hraunfossar and Barnafoss Waterfalls
  • Snæfellsnes Peninsula
  • Fjaðrárgljúfur canyon
  • Northern Lights

Transport: This tour is operated in a minibus, small groups for a better experience.

Included: Pick up & drop off in Reykjavik, guided tour in a minibus to all highlights with English guidance, hotel room with bathroom for 4 nights, hotel breakfast on 4 mornings, ice caving, glacier hiking and all necessary glacier equipment. *Lava tube caving is an optional extra. Food, other than 4 breakfasts is not included but you can purchase meals at stops on the way.

Bring with you: Warm outdoor clothing, a waterproof jacket and pants, headwear and gloves. Spikes which fit onto your shoes are very useful in icy conditions (ice grips or traction cleats). Good hiking boots are essential, ice crampons are provided for the glacier hike, it is not possible to fit them to any other kind of footwear. If you don´t have good hiking boots you can rent them from us when you book the tour online.

Drop-off information: We drop you off at your hotel or a nearby authorized meeting point between 20:00 and 23:00, depending on weather and road conditions.

Ice Cave info: During the summer months (Apr-Oct), we go to the Ice cave beneath the volcano. If it is inaccessible, we do a glacier hike instead.

For further information: Contact Us

Aerial footage from the south coast

144 990 per adult

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Note: Due to weather conditions and limited daylight during winter time the itinerary can vary between departure dates. Our guides evaluate the circumstances and weather forecasts and make the best possible decision. There are also times when the tour will begin with the Golden Circle and South Coast and end with the West Iceland part.

Tour Description

hraunfossar falls on snaefellsnes peninsula

Hraunfossar Falls are not far from Reykholt

Day 1 - West Iceland and Borgarfjörður

You are picked up between 09:00 and 09:30 from your hotel or a nearby meetings point in Reykjavík.

We introduce ourselves and head out of the city, along the way you will see Mount Esja, Reykjavík´s famous mountain. You will also see Borgarfjörður, a scenic fjord on your way to the first stopping point, Deildartunguhver hot spring. An astonishing 180 l/sec of hot water is pumped out at a temperature of 100°C. This vast quantity of hot water is very valuable in a cool climate, the Icelandic people use it to heat their homes and the buildings in the surrounding area. Next, you will visit Reykholt, an important place in the history of Iceland, and the site of Snorralaug, a famous hot spring pool, where it is said Snorri Sturluson bathed. Dabble your fingers and feel the temperature of the water, and learn about Snorri, a very important saga writer, lawyer and historian.

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The two waterfalls we shall visit each offer something very different. Barnafoss waterfall is picturesque with a fascinating Icelandic legend attached to it. In English the name means ‘Children´s Falls’, you will be told the story explaining how it acquired this name. Hraunfossar waterfall is totally unique, thousands of small streams flow out through the edge of the lava, creating the dramatic and very wide arc-shaped falls. The pure glacial water has traveled through the lava field from its source at Langjökull, Iceland´s second largest glacier.

You are driven to Snæfellsnes peninsula, on the way to the country hotel where you will spend the night we make a stop to view the stunning basalt columns at Gerðuberg. Hopefully, the northern lights forecast will be favorable and a northern lights watch will be on. You get the chance to enjoy dinner (not included), and a little relaxation time. Your guide will go over the northern lights forecast with you.

mount kirkjufell with northern lights

A dance of northern lights behind mount Kirkjufell

Day 2 - Snæfellsnes

We enjoy breakfast at our hotel then head through absolutely epic coastal and mountain scenery to the far west of Snæfellsnes. We will visit the traditional fishing community in the charming village of Arnarstapi, we give you time to take a walk, so you will really be able to appreciate the fabulous scenery. Next up, is an optional tour (extra cost) with a qualified caving guide to explore the subterranean world within the Vatnshellir Cave, in the heart of Snæfellsnes National Park. You will learn how the cave was formed when molten magma flowed beneath lava which was already cooling, there are many incredible lava formations to be discovered. Maybe, you will feel like the character in the Jules Verne story, A Journey to the Center of Earth! You can book the caving tour as an extra when you book your tour.

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We enjoy lunch at Hellnar, a really picturesque village surrounded by sensational scenery. Traveling a little more around the coast we will stop to explore the beautiful black pebble beach at Djúpalónssandur. We take a short hike down to the beach to watch the white-tipped ocean waves flowing onto the black pebble beach. These smooth black pebbles are known as Djúpalóns Perlan (which means ‘Deep Pool Pearls’), the beach slopes steeply and the ocean becomes deep very quickly, so those black pearls really have emerged from the deep! The amazingly-shaped cliffs which frame the beach add to the beauty and drama of this place. In the olden days local fisherman would test their strength using the ‘lifting stones’. Those stones have been made famous by numerous World´s Strongest Man competition, maybe, you would like to test your strength?

Next you will visit the famous and much photographed, Mount Kirkjufell,which has featured in so many photos and paintings. On our journey back to the Reykjavík area, where you will be spending the night, we keep an eye out for the northern lights if the forecast is suitable.

golden waterfall iceland

The famous Golden Waterfall

Day 3 - The Golden Circle and South

Your day begins with the famous sights of the Golden Circle. Þingvellir (Thingvellir, also occasionally known as Þingvellir) is listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site, due to its unique history and amazing geology. The Eurasian and North American tectonic plates meet right here in Þingvellir National Park. However, they have been slowly moving apart, creating the rugged cliff of the Almanngjá gorge, you actually walk through this rift valley when you explore Þingvellir. Alþingi, the historic Icelandic Parliament was founded here in the year 930, making it the oldest still operating parliament in the world.

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We pay a visit to the Geysir area in the scenic valley of Haukadalur. Great Geysir, the hot spring which gave us the English word ‘geyser’, is not active now, Strokkur, a nearby geyser erupts every 5 to 10 minutes, sending superheated water around 25 m high - a moment not to be missed. Next on the agenda, and completing the sights of the Golden Circle, we will stop at Gullfoss Waterfall. You will feel the power at the roaring Hvítá river (‘the White River’) thunders through the majestic canyon, dropping 32 m in two stages.

If visibility is good, you will see views of Hekla, a notorious volcano mountain. Next up is an opportunity to walk behind the cascade of the unique Seljalandsfoss waterfall, giving really unusual photo possibilities. We recommend you put on rainwear for this activity! We will also stop at Skógafoss waterfall, these voluminous but graceful falls descend 60 m into the calm Skógará (river) below. Finally, on a day with so many highlights, you will see Reynisfjara, one of the most beautiful black sand beaches in Iceland, with great basalt columns, and a basalt column cave. Off-shore you will see the towering Reynisdrangar basalt peaks out in the oceans as the Atlantic waves power onto the soft sand. Crafty ‘sneaker’ waves appear from nowhere so stand well back from the tide-line!

Your accommodation for the night will be at a country hotel near Vík, a little coastal town. We hope the northern lights forecast will be good!

seljlandsfoss waterfall iceland

A very pretty waterfall, Seljalandsfoss

Day 4 - Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon and Ice Caving

We continue our journey through glacial desert scenery, the like of which you have probably never seen, as we head towards the first glacier adventure - exploring a natural ice cave in Vatnajökull glacier. Your certified glacier guide will issue your ice caving equipment and take you through the safety information before escorting you into the magic blue/white world of a natural ice cave. Every winter fresh ice caves are formed by the forces of nature, but this is an evolving world with new ice features appearing. Your guide will explain how the cave and its features were formed, and why blue ice is blue! Sometimes your guide will pick an ice cave that combines the glacier hiking and ice caving activities, depending on conditions.

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The Icelandic weather is unpredictable and we want you to have the best possible experience traveling in Iceland. Therefore, your guide will decide the best way to organize the tour, so it is possible that you might visit an ice cave on day three, if your guide feels conditions would be better then. We have a little leeway which allows us to make the best of things. You need to make sure you are dressed warmly for your ice cave visit, the temperature inside is always below freezing.

The final glacier highlight of the day is Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon. You will see incredibly shaped icebergs, some larger than houses, floating on the glacier lagoon, sometimes seals can also be seen. The icebergs calve off the Breiðamerkurjökull glacier, an outlet glacier of Vatnajökull, they then float slowly across the lagoon to the nearby ocean. Some come to rest on the black sands of the nearby Diamond Beach, where they glitter like diamonds, a stunning sight in the mystical late afternoon light.

Your hotel will be in the Skaftafell area, hopefully, the conditions will be good for a northern lights watch, we have to wait and see but fingers crossed!

Please note: ice caves are natural wonders which are constantly changing and are, thus, unpredictable. We will visit an ice cave on the tour and the choice of cave is based purely on the conditions and safety considerations.

glacier walk in iceland

Walking on the glacier is a unique experience

Day 5 - Glacier Hike and South Shore

We enjoy breakfast at our hotel then get on our way to the glacier! The great ice-dome of Vatnajökull is the mightiest glacier in Europe. There are many glacier tongues or outlet glaciers which reach down from Vatnajökull, stretching out like the fingers of an icy hand. These outlet glaciers are fabulous for glacier hiking, our specialist glacier guides will choose the most suitable one for your hike. Your guide will issue you with all necessary equipment, including ice crampons, then you are off on an exciting walk across the ice! See and learn all about the wonderful ice features including the networks of crevasses which riddle their way through glaciers. Marvel at this white wonderland which is always evolving and moving - your time on the ice will pass very quickly!

Read more about day 5...

Proper hiking boots are required, it is not possible to fit ice crampons to any other kind of footwear. You can hire sturdy hiking boots when you book your tour or on location on the day of the hike (although keep in mind that we cannot guarantee that your shoe size is available on location). The glacier hike is easy, if you are capable of hiking at a slow pace for an hour you can do it.

At the end of your glacier hike we need to think about heading back to Reykjavík. There is an opportunity to see more places as we journey back to the city, with the chance to make some additional stops – fitting around the weather and conditions, we know that during the winter, in Iceland, the forces of nature are somewhat in charge.

We will also stop at the amazing pearl of nature called Fjaðrárgljúfur, a gorgeous canyon with a river running through.

We get back to Reykjavík in the evening between 20:00 and 23:00, the timing depends upon the conditions on the day.

Read customer reviews

5 Day South Coast Tour, Northern Lights & Snæfellsnes - Rated 4.7/5 based on 6 customer reviews

If I could give 8 stars I would

5 by AnneK. 2018-03-16
Went on this tour with my 82 year old mom and 19 year old daughter. Awesome, amazing experience for both. Our tour guides Feeva and Siggi were organized, informed, funny, and personable. Accommodations were more than comfortable. And the small group size fostered an enhanced experience since our group really connected. Loved it and can't wait to come back and tour with Arctic Adventures.

Exploring Iceland in winter with Extreme Iceland

4 by Kiran Vairagkar 2018-03-11
Dynamic weather, dynamic tour operator. In spite we had very stormy , windy weather , tour was managed with best of possibilities. It was quite well informed to all via e mail for timing and revised agenda. Hilmer was our guide for the first two days , a gentle polite and very friendly person. If micro phone would have been working it would have been better. We were well taken at all places though first half day was cancelled he still could make it to all places. Snæfellsnes peninsula,Borgarfjörður, a scenic fjord on & Deildartunguhver hot spring. Stay at Reykjavik Lights was good and comfortable. Next three days tour was with Swene, ( crazy sewene as calling himself ) was thro' rough weather but sailed well. Due to wind we had to start early and and start at 7 am instead 9 am. Windy weather forced us to drop Golden circle. Which we made it separately. We would appreciate if it could be informed to guest by company well in advance the way inform on timing. While we would get cancellation charges but booking in advance would have helped us to plan better. Ice caves and Glacier walk with Micheal was some thing life time experience. He was a fabulous in entire four hour. We wish we could make Diamond beach in the evening. it was a sunny day it would have been great show. Instead we saw next day which was again windy and cloudy. We had good stay Katla and as well other places. While we missed Northern lights in this trip , sure we will visit again Iceland. This was our one of the great family trip.

5 by Persephone 2018-02-05
Our tour guide Fifa is very helpful and nice, shared a lot of interesting stories about Iceland to us! :)

5 by Fion 2018-02-28
The tour guides are funny, and they explained a lot of history and myth of the tourist attractions.

Great Tour!

5 by Margie Nilson 2018-04-09
This basically two tours with a stop in between in Reykjavik. There are not quite as many sights on the Snaefellsnes part (the first tour) which is more that made up for on the second part. We actually had a different guide on the second tour and he was great about giving us lots of information and stories about the area and what we were seeing. We were in the tour bus for a bit in between stops so it really helped to pass the time plus I felt like I came away knowing so much more about the country. I do wish the walk on the glacier had been a lot longer...I felt like we had to turn around and go back early which kinda bummed me out. They recommend bringing your own YakTraks...would only do that if you are coming in the winter when the sidewalks in Reykjavik can be icy. They provide you with proper ice spikes for both the glacier walk and the ice cave. Rain pants are a really good get pretty up close and personal with several waterfalls which means you will get wet!!! That also means to make sure you have rain proof outerwear (coat and gloves especially). Overall, it was a great trip.

Unforgettable travel experience in Iceland

4 by Ming Hung 2018-03-20
We had a great time during the 2-day tour. Snaefellsness peninsula is definitely worth visiting. The guide is a Polish guy (sorry for forgetting his name). He is really friendly. He talked a lot about Iceland to make participants know more about this beautiful country. The volcano caving is amazing too. We even saw northern lights on the second day! Besides, the 3-day tour is wonderful. Our guide Olafsson is nice and helpful. It was great to travel with him. The glacier hiking is good, but we think the tour to Solheimajokull we joined the other day is better. This one is shorter. The weather was not that good, so we weren't able to see the aurora. And it seem that we didn't stop at Fjaðrárgljúfur. And we got back to Reykjavik at about 18:00. Overall, the 5-d tour is great.
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