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The Best of South Iceland Small Group Tour

The Best of South Iceland Small Group Hiking Tour | Scandinavian American World Tours

ESCORTED - 7 GUARANTEED DEPARTURES
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 Reykjavik | Reykjanes Peninsula | Krýsuvík | Eyrarbakki
Hella | Landmannalaugar | Skaftafell | Reykjavik

Tour begins in Reykjavik on Sunday
May 12 - September 01, 2019

Explore the most famous sights in South Iceland on this countryside small group hiking tour! This 8-day tour focuses on guided day excursions and explorations from three different overnight locations in Southern Iceland. See Iceland’s famous Golden Circle, explore the interior highlands of Landmannalaugar (including a hike on a volcano!), the glacial valley of Þórsmörk, and the frozen wonders of Vatnajökull National Park. Your Icelandic adventure includes short day hikes, bathing in the geothermal Blue Lagoon, climbing volcanic 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 small-group hiking tour includes six full days of exploring and adventure in South Iceland and the interior highlands.

Itinerary

Day 01: Arrive Reykjavík

You arrive in Iceland today, where a scheduled Flybus shuttle brings you from Keflavík International Airport to Reykjavík. Check in to your 3-star hotel and spend your first night in Iceland; the afternoon and evening are free to explore the city on your own.

Hotel Cabin

Day 02: Reykjavik - Blue Lagoon - Reykjanes Peninsula - Krýsuvík - Eyrarbakki - Hella

In the early morning after breakfast, meet your tour guide and fellow group members and travel to Reykjanes Peninsula: you’ll spend the day experiencing its hot springs, mountains, bird cliffs, lunar 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 colored bright yellow, red and green.

We continue through lava fields and the southern coastal landscape to the charming fishing village of Eyrarbakki which contains a large number of preserved houses from the period 1890-1920, and therefore a visit is like a journey 100 years back in time. While here we will also 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. You might take a walk south alongside the riverbank to experience complete solitude and tranquility.

Árhús Cabins or Hotel Hella

Day 03: Hella - Landmannalaugar - Þjórsárdalur Valley - Hella

Today after breakfast we drive the rough unpaved road to Landmannalaugar, an oasis in the barren highlands surrounded by colorful rhyolite mountains. Group members have the option to explore the area on their own or join a short guided hike through a rough lava field and up the slopes with an incredible spectrum of colors.

The highlight of this leg of the tour is a 90-minute, round-trip hike up toward Brenninsteinsalda – the rainbow mountain of Iceland – which is one of the most spectacular volcanic mountains in Landmannalaugar. The name in English translates to "sulphur wave". It comes from the yellow sulphur spots which have colored its sides. But there are other colors too: green from copper, black and blue from lava and ashes, red from iron in the earth, and white from silica. It could very well be the most colorful mountain in all of Iceland, and so its picture is often found in books and calendars. The mountain is still ‘hot’–you can see sizzling sulphur springs and vapor at its sides. For this hike, good boots and walking poles are helpful. In Landmannalaugar there is also a natural geothermal stream in which you can enjoy a refreshing bath. Have your swimwear and towel ready!

On the way back to our hotel we stop at the beautiful Hjálparfoss Waterfall in Þjórsárdalur Valley, surrounded by unusual basalt rock formations. Nearby we explore the Viking farm ruins at Stöng; the settlement was completely buried in pumice during one of Mt. Hekla's bigger eruptions in 1104 AD. A leisurely hike brings us to Gjáin, a green oasis in an otherwise rocky, moon-like landscape. Þjórsárdalur is off-the-beaten-path and is dominated by Mt. Hekla and other volcanoes in the vicinity. Hekla is one of Iceland's most active volcanoes; over 20 eruptions have occurred since Iceland’s settlement in 874 AD. During the Middle Ages, Europeans called the volcano the ‘Gateway to Hell’.

Arrive back in Hella and overnight at your cabin.

Árhús Cabins or Hotel Hella
NOTE: If Landmannalaugar is not accessible during May and June departures, we travel only to Þjórsárdalur Valley on that day.

Day 04: Hella - Golden Circle: Þingvellir National Park, Geysir Geothermal Fields, Gullfoss Waterfall - Hella

Today after breakfast, we visit three of Iceland's most famous spots: Þingvellir National Park, Geyser hot springs, and Gullfoss Waterfall. 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 a 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: you’ll see steam pumping from the ground as if – beneath it – there are millions of little smoking devils! The original geyser is now dormant and has been replaced by Strokkur, ‘the Churn’, which erupts at 5-10 minute intervals. Gullfoss, ‘the golden falls’, is a double waterfall that tumbles 34 meters into the Hvítá River originating from the glacier Langjökull.

We continue to Skálholt, which is one of Iceland's most historic and holy places. It was the center of ecclesiastic power in Iceland for more than 700 years. The first bishopric was founded here in 1056, with the first bishop, Ísleifur, taking the seat. From then on, it became the center of learning, culture and worldly power in Iceland. The church in Skálholt has the most beautiful altarpiece made with mosaic and colorfully stained windows, both designed by a famous Icelandic female artist. You might like to visit the local geothermal swimming pool with hot tubs to top off your sightseeing day the Icelandic way.

Return to Hella and overnight in your cabin.

Árhús Cabins or Hotel Hella

Day 05: Hella - Heimaey (Westman Islands) - Vík

Breakfast is at your hotel this morning before checkout. A short ferry ride brings us to the Westman Islands, where we explore the town of Heimaey and this extraordinary island by foot and by bus.

The volcanic eruption at the Westman Islands in 1973 is considered the largest natural disaster in Iceland in recent history. The eruption began on January 23 in the outskirt of the town of Heimaey, the only populated island in the Vestmannaeyjar archipelago. After the evacuation of the 5300 inhabitants, and during the 5 months while the eruption lasted, there was much uncertainty as to whether or not the island could ever be repopulated.

During our tour to the Westman Islands, we explore bird cliffs, walk up a volcano crater and visit “Pompeii of the North”, a volcanic excavation project. There you observe a “house” which was dug up from the thick layer of pumice after 40 years. There is also an exhibition about Surtsey Island that was born from a series of volcanic eruptions lasting from 1963-68, which is preserved today by UNESCO. You have the afternoon free to wander around the town of Heimaey, with its birds and signs of recent volcanic eruptions. We travel with the 4 pm ferry back to the mainland and continue to our accommodation near the village of Vík in South Iceland, where we stay for two nights.

Hotel Dyrhólaey

Day 06: Vík - Vatnajökull National Park – Svartifoss Waterfall Hike - Jökulsárlón Glacial Lagoon - Diamond Beach - Vík

We start with breakfast again today, and then an easy 3-mile round trip hike through Vatnajökull National Park to reach the stunning Svartifoss Waterfall. The waterfall is surrounded by impressive basalt columns.

In the afternoon we head over to the famous Jökulsárlón Glacial Lagoon for a cruise, sailing between icebergs of all shapes and sizes which float in the clear blue water. After the glacial lake experience, there will be time to go down to the black sand beach, the so-called Diamond Beach, and see if we can spot icebergs that have floated all the way from the glacial lagoon into the Atlantic Ocean.

Make the journey back to your hotel with your group, and overnight.

Hotel Dyrhólaey

Day 07: Vík - Reynisfjara - Sólheimajökull Glacier Hike - Skógafoss Waterfall - Seljalandsfoss Waterfall - Reykjavik City Tour

We enjoy breakfast this morning before we stroll along the black lava beach and bird cliffs at Reynisfjara. We see interesting basalt columns, and rock formations called the petrified trolls, before continuing on toward Vík.

Next, we stop for an easy 1.5 to 2-hour glacier hike on the impressive Sólheimajökull glacier tongue, suitable for beginners. An experienced glacier guide leads you safely through the icy wonderland of strangely shaped ridges, deep crevasses, enormous water cauldrons and different ice formations. Our next stop is the thundering Skógafoss Waterfall, which tumbles 62 meters over a rocky scarp, kicking up vast sheets of mist.

We reach the capital in the afternoon and enjoy a short Reykjavik city tour before we check in to our hotel on our final night in Iceland.

Hotel Cabin

Day 08: Depart Reykjavik

This morning after a final breakfast, the Flybus airport shuttle picks you up at your hotel and takes you to Keflavik Airport for your departure back home.

 

Additional Information

Price includes:

  • Arrival & departure airport transfer by Flybus (no guide)
  • Fully escorted 6-day coach tour with an English speaking guide
  • 7 nights’ accommodation in 3-star hotel (Reykjavik) and country cabins/hotels including (7) breakfasts
  • Entrance to two national parks (Vatnajökull National Park, Þingvellir National Park)
  • Entrance with towel at Blue Lagoon; includes silica mud mask and one drink of your choice
  • Cruise on the North Atlantic Ocean to visit the Westman Islands
  • Boat trip on Jökulsárlón Glacial Lagoon
  • 1.5-2 hour glacier hike on Europe’s largest glacier (Vatnajökull)
  • A visit to the Brennisteinsalda Volcano, the ‘rainbow mountain’ of Iceland
  • Entrance fee to Eyrarbakki Maritime and Folk Museum

NOTE: Prices do not include international airfare, extra beverages, extra items, travel insurance, or any services/items not listed in the program above. Minimum age is 10 years (due to glacier hike).

WEATHER NOTE: Several excursions above are dependent on weather conditions. Please note that these may be changed on site if the weather is unpredictable. On September departures there is the potential to see the Northern Lights.

Click here to view the ScanAm Terms & Conditions

 

2019 STARTING PRICES | GUARANTEED DEPARTURES

Departure Dates and Information
=Available =Closed =On Request

Tour dates & availability per 11/16/2018. All departures are guaranteed and in USD. Tour space is not guaranteed until booked and confirmed. All tours are guided in English.

Minimum age is 10 years (due to glacier hike).

Transfer add-ons available. Please contact us for transfer options.

Land Only
Price

Single
Supplement

May
12 & 26


$2483 p.p. twin


$649

June
16


$2668 p.p. twin


$752

July
07


$2668 p.p. twin


$752

August
04 & 18


$2668 p.p. twin


$752

September
01


$2483 p.p. twin


$649

Tour Information

Tour Type:Small Group Tour / Escorted Tour
Price: from $2483
Duration:8 days
Cities Visited:Reykjavik - Reykjanes Peninsula - Krýsuvík - Eyrarbakki - Hella - Westman Islands - Landmannalaugar
Departures: May - June - July - August - September

Tour Map

Click on map for larger image