LE DESTINAZIONI

Le Destinazioni

Guide pratiche e dettagliatissime su Paesi, città e destinazioni. Cosa vedere, quanto stare, in quale quartiere prenotare l'albergo, come spostarsi, che tempo fa. I miei suggerimenti su come organizzarti e tanti links utili dove cercare info aggiornate. Da stampare e portare in viaggio.

I MIGLIORI ALBERGHI DOVE ALLOGGIARE

Guida ai Migliori Alberghi del Mondo

Le mie recensioni ragionate sugli alberghi più belli da prenotare in viaggio, non necessariamente gli hotels più lussuosi ma quelli meglio situati e con il miglior rapporto qualità/prezzo. Con la descrizione dettagliata e tutti i pro ed i contro di ogni albergo, per stare bene cercando di contenere il più possibile i costi.

I POSTI DA URLO

Posti da Urlo: i Posti Più Belli del Mondo

Quali sono i posti più eccezionali del pianeta? Quei posti da urlo assolutamente da non perdere? Una serie di articoli, sintetici e veloci da leggere, con la descrizione delle attrazioni più belle, quei posti speciali che non devi mancare durante il tuo viaggio. Con le cose da sapere ed i miei consigli su perché andare a visitarle, dove si trovano, come arrivare e quanto tempo dedicare a ciascuna attrazione.

I VIAGGI

I Grandi Viaggi

Veri e propri programmi di viaggio spiegati in dettaglio, giorno per giorno, con tutte le informazioni ed i links che occorrono per poter prenotare, da solo e sul web, alberghi, trasferimenti e voli interni.

IL CLIMA

Quando Andare

Il tempo che potresti trovare, Paese per Paese, regione per regione, quasi mese per mese. Quando è meglio andare e quando è più saggio starsene a casa. I links dove controllare forecasts ed averages di temperatura e piovosità.

LA SALUTE IN VIAGGIO

La salute e le malattie in viaggio.

Sei in partenza per un viaggio? Sei preoccupato per malaria, febbre gialla e dengue e cerchi informazioni su vaccinazioni e profilassi? L’attenzione sulla malattie e sulla salute in viaggio e di conseguenza l’informazione aggiornata sulla situazione sanitaria nel Paese che si intende visitare è un vero e proprio must per qualsiasi viaggiatore.

PASSAPORTI E VISTI

Passaporti e visti

Le informazioni su passaporti e visti, formalità valutarie e doganali, ambasciate e consolati, l'ESTA, il Timatic Web e gli ultimi avvisi per il viaggiatore

The 8 Best Guided Tours and Day-Trips from Reykjavík

The 8 Best Guided Tours and Day-Trips from Reykjavík

What are the best guided tours from Reykjavík? What are the most interesting and beautiful places in Iceland that can be reached in one day, leaving from Reykjavík in the morning and coming back the same evening? A comparison and detailed description of the 8 best guided tours and day-trips from Reykjavík with my reviews and all the pros and cons of each tour. The guided tour from Reykjavík to visit the Golden Circle with the well-known Gullfoss waterfall, the geysers and Thingvellir National Park. The tours to the famous Blue Lagoon with the entrance ticket already included. The day-trip from Reykjavík to explore the stunning South Coast of Iceland, to see the tiny coastal village of Vík, the Black Sand Beach and Skógafoss and Seljalandsfoss waterfalls. The excursions to the Snaefellsnes Peninsula and the very long but rewarding guided day-trip from Reykiavik to Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon with a cruise to see the icebergs. The Northern Lights tours to watch the aurora borealis and the Whale Watching tours to see the whales. With full descriptions, my considerations, some suggestions and direct links to check prices and easily book online by credit card.

 Guided Tour from Reykjavik to Skógafoss Waterfall, South Iceland

Impressive Skógafoss Waterfall, South Iceland

Photo Credit: Reykjavík Sightseeing

What Are the Best Day-Trips To Visit Iceland from Reykjavík?

The 8 Best Tours and Guided Day-Trips from Reykjavík

Are you in Reykjavík and want to see the Blue Lagoon and the Golden Circle in one day? Do you wish to visit the South Coast of Iceland and the spectacular Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon with a group tour without spending too much money and without renting a car? Are you in Reykjavík and want to book a Northern Light tour or a Whale Watching tour? Are you looking for a tour to see some of the stellar attractions of Iceland leaving from Reykjavík in the morning and coming back the same evening? Are you looking for an excursion by private car and a personal guide or would you like to join a cheaper group tour?

  • I have selected tens of guided tours and day-trips from Reykjavík organized by locally based travel suppliers and sold online, and have chosen 8 different tours. These are not the only ones you can book but in my opinion they are among the best and most complete guided day-tours available on the market.
  • All tours are described below, in a very detailed way, with my considerations, some suggestions and all the pros and cons of each tour. Have a look and see if there is a tour you like.
  • You can book all these tours easily by credit card through Get Your Guide and Viator. For the great majority of tours you get instant confirmation, while for some, tour confirmation is subject to availability and will be given within 48 hours of your booking.
  • The final chapter is dedicated to how pick-ups and drop-offs of the tours work for the hotel located in central Reykjavík.
  • If you want to book a snowmobile excursion, a Super Jeep or a guided trek on one of Iceland’s glaciers, on the blog there is another post that may be useful for you. It’s Iceland: the 5 Best Snowmobile and Glacier Trekking Tours from Reykjavík, with a comparison and detailed description of the most beautiful excursions you can book in Reykjavík to discover the magical world of Iceland’s glaciers.
Golden Circle Guided Tour, Gullfoss Waterfall, Iceland

Golden Circle Guided Tour, Gullfoss Waterfall, Iceland

Photo Credit: Francisco Anzola

Golden Circle Tour: Gullfoss Waterfall, the Geysers, Þingvellir National Park and Kerið Volcanic Crater in One Day from Reykjavík

This is by far the most interesting day-tour to do in Reykjavík, there is no other excursion that for the same cost can compare with the Golden Circle. In a single tour, you see the three great wonders of the Golden Circle: the spectacular Gullfoss waterfall, the geysers of the Haukadalur Geothermal Valley and the Þingvellir National Park. And this specific tour adds a surprise: the magnificent Kerið Volcanic Crater Lake, not included by many other companies that offer excursions to the Golden Circle.

Once you leave Reykjavík, after less than an hour and a half you will reach the Kerid Crater, the bus stops a few steps from the crater and you have half an hour to make the easy circumnavigation of the crater lake. Another 30 minutes of travel and around lunchtime you arrive at the Haukadalur Geothermal Valley where the longest stop is scheduled, it is here that you can admire several hot springs and the famous Strokkur geyser, it erupts every 5 minutes and is a real spectacle. After lunch, another 30 minutes of travel and in front of your eyes one of the absolute wonders of Iceland materializes. It is Gullfoss. And it’s worth the trip.

On the way back, a stop of about 1 hour is made at Thingvellir National Park, the guide takes you on an easy and pleasant walk inside the fault that separates the North American plate from the Euro-Asian plate. At the end of the visit, get on the bus and in just over an hour you are back in Reykjavík, in time to dine properly.

  • Pick-up and drop-off: you can pay less and be ready at the starting point of the tour – which at the time of the update of this article is at Bus Stop number 12 Höfðatorg, Thórunnartún 4, exactly in front of Storm Hotel by Keahotels – or include the supplement for the pick-up and drop-off at the bus stop closest to your hotel; in the latter case during the booking process enter the name of your hotel, the local supplier will send you an email specifying exactly the time and where you need to be to collected.
  • Duration of the tour: more than the 8 hours specified, in my experience about 9 and a half hours, including the time dedicated to pick-ups and drop-offs at the different collection points.
  • Guide: driver plus English speaking guide.
  • Features: shared group tour carried out with the classic large coach; the local supplier is the well known and appreciated BusTravel Iceland.
  • Price: it includes transportation, guide and all entries.
  • Pros: the extraordinary quality / price ratio, very few excursions in Iceland cost so little and are so profitable for what you see during the day; the reduced travel times to and from Reykjavík and between the 4 attractions of the Golden Circle, unlike other tours here the time actually dedicated to visits is greater than the time you spend on board the bus.
  • Cons: the waste of time to collect people at the departure and deposit in the different hotels and bus stops on the return; when I participated in this excursion from when I arrived at the bus stop in the morning (half an hour before the indicated time) to when the bus actually left Reykjavík in the direction of the Golden Circle almost an hour and a half passed. Don’t worry, it is quite common for many shared excursions and not a prerogative of this specific tour.
  • Good to know: after about 40 minutes from departure, a 10′ stop is made in a small shopping center, take the opportunity to buy snacks, biscuits or a sandwich at the Bonus Supermarket so you can eat on board the bus and use the entire time available at the geysers to see the geysers themselves, without having to waste more than 40 minutes for a seated lunch at the geysers self-service.
  • Recommended: to everyone, this is the perfect tour for the first or last day of your stay in Iceland.
Golden Circle Guided Tour, Kerið Volcanic Crater Lake, Iceland

Golden Circle Guided Tour, Kerið Volcanic Crater Lake, Iceland

Photo Credit: travelourplanet.com

  • The option of the Golden Circle in small groups: the exact same tour of the Golden Circle and the Kerid Crater but operated with a smaller bus with a maximum of 19 people, clearly the cost goes up, this is the link to check the price and book GetYourGuide | Golden Circle and Kerið Crater Small Group Tour, the provider is Nice Travel.
  • The option with the Fríðheimar Farm: in addition to the classic attractions of the Golden Circle, this tour includes a visit to Fríðheimar Farm, one of the best known Icelandic farms for the production of tomatoes and basil in greenhouses. Perhaps the most interesting aspect, especially if you are traveling as a family with children, is being able to attend the show with horses organized by the farm itself, followed by a visit to the stables where you can see the horses up close. The tour is generally conducted by minibus and this justifies the higher price, here the link to book GetYourGuide | Reykjavik: Golden Circle, Volcano Crater, & Fridheimar Tour. Note that there is a cheaper version of this tour but the visit to Kerid Crater is missing, the local supplier is Reykjavík Excursions and you can book it at the following link GetYourGuide | The Golden Circle and Fridheimar Day Tour from Reykjavik, this last tour is carried out by big bus.
  • The Golden Circle with Snorkeling in Silfra Fissure: have you ever imagined going to Iceland to snorkel? But it is possible, and the place you go swimming, equipped with a special wetsuit, is phenomenal. The Silfra Fissure is located in Lake Thingvallavatn, inside the Thingvellir National Park (Þingvellir), at the exact point where the North American and Euro-Asian plates meet; and you swim exactly inside the fault, in a very pure and transparent water coming from the nearby Langjokull Glacier, the temperature is 2-4 degrees and the visibility reaches almost 100 meters. The tour lasts about 9 hours, includes a visit to the Geysir Geothermal Area, the magnificent Gullfoss waterfall and the Þingvellir National Park, all the technical equipment for snorkeling is included as well as the photos with the GoPro that the instructors will take for you when you swim in the fault, here is the link to investigate GetYourGuide | From Reykjavík: Golden Circle with Snorkel in Silfra, the local supplier is the acclaimed Troll Expeditions.
  • Video: the 3 main attractions of the Golden Circle in the images of Amazing Places on Our Planet, the video starts with Gullfoss, the geysers arrive at 1’25”, the Thingvellir National Park at 2’55”, so you have a idea of what awaits you:

Blue Lagoon: Day-Tour from Reykjavík to the Famous Blue Lagoon with the Golden Circle in Small Groups

A very interesting excursion. All the most beautiful attractions of the Golden Circle plus admission to the Blue Lagoon in a single tour carried out in small groups. Located in Grindavik, 8 Km from Fagradalsfjall Volcano, 20 minutes drive to Keflavik International Airport and 50 Km from the center of Reykjavík, the Blue Lagoon is the most popular geothermal SPA in Iceland. And, probably, the most well-known attraction of the entire island.

Its steaming milky blue waters create an extraordinary contrast with the black lava that surrounds the entire huge artificial lagoon. The Blue Lagoon is NOT in fact a natural lagoon, its waters rich in sulfur and silicon come straight from the Svartsengi geothermal power plant located next to the lagoon, mixed with sea water and cooled to a temperature of 38° the waste water of the plant is introduced every 2 days inside the pools of the Blue Lagoon.

The Blue Lagoon complex is huge, very modern and very well organized, with several restaurants and bars, spotless changing rooms separated by sex, saunas and steam baths. And, of course, there are the pools. All are very large, in addition to the main lagoon there are several smaller pools connected to each other by walkways.

And it is precisely the Blue Lagoon the destination of this tour, left at the end of the day after visiting first Thingvellir, the geysers, the Gullfoss waterfall and the Kerid crater lake. Returning to Reykjavík in the evening. The local provider is BusTravel Iceland, the reviews on TripAdvisor of this specific tour are really excellent.

Blue Lagoon and Golden Circle Tour, Blue Lagoon at Sunset, Iceland

Blue Lagoon and Golden Circle Tour, Blue Lagoon at Sunset, Iceland

Photo Credit: BusTravel Iceland

  • Pick-up and drop-off: pick-up and drop-off is included in one of the many bus-stops located in the center of Reykjavík, enter the name of the hostel or hotel during the booking process, the local supplier will send you an email with the exact point and time where you need to be found; some hotels located outside the more central area of Reykjavík allow buses to stop right in front of the hotel, in both cases be ready half an hour earlier.
  • Duration of the tour: usually more than the 11 hours declared, from the moment the bus picks you up and when it takes you back to your hotel, it takes 12 or 13 hours.
  • Guide: driver plus English speaking guide.
  • Features: small group tour carried out with a maximum of 18 participants.
  • Price: includes the guided tour to the attractions of the Golden Circle and the Comfort entrance ticket to the Blue Lagoon; which in addition to the entrance to the swimming pools, the sauna and the steam room includes the locker, the free use of towel, shampoo, balm and shower gel in the showers, a face mask with silicon mud and a drink at the swim-up bar.
  • Pros: entry to the Blue Lagoon already included means that you already have the ticket, do not queue at the ticket office and have immediate access to the pools; the small size of the group allows greater agility and reduces wasted time.
  • Cons: the high price, due to the high cost of entry to the Blue Lagoon; although the kilometers traveled are not so many, the excursion is long, you will return to the hotel no earlier than mid-evening, avoid booking a restaurant; at the Blue Lagoon you have a total of 3 hours, but you would probably want more, also because half an hour goes on arrival and just as much on departure in the changing rooms.
  • Good to know: when you compare the costs of the excursions that lead to the Blue Lagoon, look very carefully if the entrance ticket is included or not, if you see a low cost it is likely that the entrance is NOT included. All visitors to the Blue Lagoon are given an electronic bracelet, to always wear during your stay in the complex and which allows you to use the various services including the locker. Do not immerse yourself in the pools with jewelry, watches, glasses and contact lenses, a cap is also useful to protect your hair from the waters rich in sulfur and silicon. Don’t forget your sandals and swimwear, before leaving the Blue Lagoon complex, rinse it with fresh water while taking a shower in order not to damage it. Lastly, keep in mind that you will not be alone, the Blue Lagoon is visited by an average of 4,000 people every day, over 1,300,000 visitors a year, if you can book the excursion on weekdays, you will find fewer people.
  • Recommended: if in a single tour you want to combine those that are the largest and most famous attractions of Iceland in the vicinity of Reykjavík.
  • The interesting and much less expensive option with the Secret Lagoon: a tour to discover the Golden Circle combined with the Gamla Laugin, known in English as Secret Lagoon, the oldest thermal pool in Iceland, this is the link to book GetYourGuide | Reykjavik: Golden Circle, Kerid & Secret Lagoon Tour, entry to the Secret Lagoon is included in the price. The place is completely different from the Blue Lagoon, a swimming pool in the middle of the countryside with an evocative setting, water at 38-40° and a small geyser that feeds it, erupting every 5′, changing rooms and bars, all with small dimensions, very less commercial than its more famous cousin. As in all Icelandic swimming pools it is mandatory to shower naked before entering the water, the showers are divided by gender. There are two key points to consider. The first: the Secret Lagoon is located in the very heart of the Golden Circle, in the village of Flúðir, just 10 minutes from Geysir and half an hour from the Gullfoss waterfall, which greatly reduces travel times. The second one: the Secret Lagoon is much less expensive than the Blue Lagoon, you can experience a thermal pool at a very low cost. Here the link to the official site of the Secret Lagoon to realize what it is.
The South Coast Tour, Skógafoss Waterfall, South Iceland

The South Coast Tour, Skógafoss Waterfall, South Iceland

Photo Credit: Reykjavík Sightseeing

The South Coast Tour: Vík, Black Sand Beach, Skógafoss and Seljalandsfoss Waterfalls Full Day Trip from Reykjavík

If you go to Iceland without renting a car this is the second organized excursion that you should not miss. Why? Because in a single day, and at a very affordable cost, you see most of the greatest attractions of the entire South Coast, and in my opinion of the entire island.

What awaits you is the very best of the South Coast: the charming village of Vík with its photogenic church, a glacial tongue, two famous waterfalls completely different from each other, and a fabulous and wild black sand beach beaten by the mighty waves of the Atlantic.

You leave Reykjavík in the morning, after a short stop in Hvolsvöllur to buy snacks and sandwiches, the first stop is the famous Skógafoss waterfall, 60 meters high, you have time to follow the path that leads to the top of the waterfall. Then yiu reach the tiny coastal village of Vík, if you have brought your picnic lunch you avoid wasting time in one of the restaurants, and instead take a walk in the village and go to the beach to admire the sea stacks of Reynisdrangar, one of the most classic images of Iceland.

Now, it’s time for Reynisfjara, or Black Sand Beach, another unmissable sight of the South Coast, with stunning basalt columns and the impressive waves of the ocean. Listen to the guide and keep well away from the shore, this is a beach to pay attention to. The next stop is Sólheimajökull, in front of you the glacial tongue that descends from the Mýrdalsjökull glacier, you reach it on foot in less than 20 minutes.

Before returning to Reykjavík there is one last gem. It is the beautiful waterfall of Seljalandsfoss, less rich in water than Skógafoss but with a peculiarity. If the weather allows a rather slippery path allows you to get behind the waterfall, the view is screaming, be careful that without a waterproof jacket you get completely wet. 

  • Pick-up and drop-off: choose whether to reach the starting point of the excursion or include pick-up and drop-off at your hotel or the nearest bus stop.
  • Duration of the tour: usually a generous 10 hours plus time for pick-ups and drop-offs in Reykjavík.
  • Guide: driver plus English speaking guide.
  • Features: group tour with the classic large bus with USB sockets and free Wi-Fi on board. Local supplier is BusTravel Iceland and the reviews of this specific excursion on TripAdvisor are great if not excellent.
  • Price: includes transport and visits with the assistance of a guide, there are no entrance fees to pay.
  • Pros: the quality / price ratio of this tour is very high.
  • Cons: in one day the kilometers you travel are more than 400, the stops to be made are several, it is evident that the time you have available for each attraction is limited.
  • Good to know: during the outward journey, on board the bus sit on the left side, it is the good one; wear boots and a waterproof jacket, they will be useful for walking on the beach, reaching the glacier and hiking the slippery path that leads inside Seljalandsfoss; keep in mind that on this stretch of coast the wind usually never fails.
  • Recommended: to all those who love nature and without having to commit to driving or spending large sums want to see some of the most famous sights of all of Iceland in a single day. This is a tour where in a few hours you take hundreds of photos.
The South Coast Tour, Reynisfjara Black Sand Beach, South Iceland

The South Coast Tour, Reynisfjara Black Sand Beach, South Iceland

Photo Credit: Arctic Adventures

  • The South Coast of Iceland in small groups by minibus: a tour of the South Coast similar if not identical to the previous one, but operated in small groups for a maximum of 19 people on board a Mercedes Benz Sprinter minibus; the local provider is the much acclaimed Your Day Tours, this is the link to book GetYourGuide | Iceland South Coast Full-Day Minibus Tour; the price includes a snack with traditional food, Icelandic music and free Wi-Fi on board the minibus, the lunch break is usually done on Reynisfjara beach.
  • The South Coast with the famous DC 3 wreck: it is one of the most striking images of Iceland, a well-preserved wreck of a US Navy DC3 that crashed on a remote beach in the middle of nowhere on November 21, 1973. The beach is the black sand beach of Solheimafjara and today the wreck is located 500 meters from the shore, it is one of the most popular attractions of the South Coast. In addition to the DC 3 wreck, the tour includes visits to Seljalandsfoss and Skógafoss waterfalls, the Sólheimajökull glacial tongue and Reynisfjara beach, here the link to book GetYourGuide | South Coast Tour & DC-3 Plane Wreck. Keep two things in mind. The first: to reach the wreck you have to walk 3.8 km to go (calculate about an hour) and the same to return, the landscape is monotonous and the place is beaten by the wind 365 days a year, when it rains (quite common along the southern coast, especially in Summer) the walk is likely to become very unpleasant. The second: depending on the number of participants, it is usual that this tour is combined with another tour of the same local operator, Arctic Adventures, namely the trek to the Sólheimajökull glacier, for those who go to the DC 3 wreck there may be some downtime. In all, the excursion lasts an abundant 12 hours. Please take note that this tour does not always operate.
  • The South Coast with the wreck of the DC 3 by ATV (Quad): the tour is organized by Reykjavík Sightseeing in collaboration with Arcanum Glacier Tours and includes a visit to the famous wreck of the DC 3 on Solheimafjara beach, in addition to the Seljalandsfoss and Skógafoss waterfalls and Reynisfjara beach. The peculiarity of the tour is that the fuselage of the DC 3 is reached by personally driving a Quad (ATV) and not on foot, saving you 2 hours of walking exposed to the wind. This is the link GetYourGuide | From Reykjavik: South Coast and Black Beach ATV Ride, ATV part takes 1 hour, 2 participants per quad, valid driver’s license required, expensive tour.
  • Video: the attractions of the South Coast of Iceland usually visited during the excursion in these images by BusTravel Iceland; Skógafoss appears at minute 0’33”, Reynisfjara black beach at minute 1’00”, the language glacial of Sólheimajökull at 1’23” and Seljalandsfoss waterfall at 1’55”:

Jökulsárlón: Full Day Tour to the Glacier Lagoon with Cruise among the Icebergs from Reykjavík

For some it is the most exciting attraction in the whole of Iceland. For almost all it is one of the places not to be missed during a trip to the island. And the spectacular Jökulsárlón glacial lagoon hardly disappoints, at least if you are lucky enough to find a decent day at least. Then if you get there on a sunny day, then it’s a real place to scream. What appears in front of your eyes is an incredible panorama: an enormous glacial tongue coming from Vatnajökull, the largest glacier in Europe. Huge blocks of ice constantly break off the glacier, and hundreds of icebergs float on the lagoon. The image immediately brings you to destinations even further north, to Svalbard or Greenland. 

The Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon is located along the southeastern coast of Iceland and can be visited on this very long day trip from Reykjavík. The highlight of the tour is the visit to the lagoon, with the possibility of taking a cruise to see the icebergs up close. And visiting the nearby, just a few steps away, Diamond Beach, a black sand beach where you can walk exactly among the little icebergs that the ocean waves push onto the beach. 

During the journey to Jökulsárlón, additional stops are made on the outward and return journey at some of the South coast’s most beautiful attractions. Including Seljalandsfoss waterfall, Fjallsárlón lagoon and Vík í Mýrdal village where it is generally scheduled one hour stop for dinner. In summer, it is sometimes even possible to make a quick stop in Skógafoss.

Jökulsárlón Guided Day-Trip, Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon Boat Tour, South Iceland

Jökulsárlón Guided Day-Trip, Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon Boat Tour, South Iceland

Photo Credit: BusTravel Iceland

  • Pick-up and drop-off: you can decide to be found at the scheduled meeting point, or for a small fee, include pick-up and drop-off in front of the hotel / one of the bus stops in the center of Reykjavík.
  • Duration of the tour: this is by far the excursion that lasts the longest of all other tours proposed here, calculate 15 or 16 hours and you are not wrong, the return to Reykjavík takes place close to midnight.
  • Guide: both on board the bus and during the boat cruise in the lagoon the guides speak English.
  • Features: shared group tour with large coach.
  • Price: includes transport, visits along the southern coast and the Jökulsárlón lagoon including the Diamond Beach; if you choose the formula with the cruise already included the price also includes a 30/40 minutes boat tour in the lagoon.
  • Pros: in addition to the Jökulsárlón glacial lagoon, this specific tour includes the visit of two other gems; the first is the lesser known Fjallsárlón Glacier Lagoon, a splendid lagoon with icebergs characterized by greater proximity to the glacier front than Jökulsárlón, this is where lunch break usually takes place; the second is the very little known Stjórnarfoss Waterfall located in a mysterious-looking valley, which will delight photographers; if you are lucky while sailing in the Jökulsárlón lagoon, you may happen to see up close some seals resting on a block of ice, and this is a great sight.
  • Cons: the Jökulsárlón lagoon is beautiful, but this is an excursion where you spend 12 hours, abundant and effective, on board the bus; you must be aware of this before booking.
Jökulsárlón Guided Day-Trip, Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon, South Iceland

Jökulsárlón Guided Day-Trip, Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon, South Iceland

Photo Credit: BusTravel Iceland

  • For the boat cruise in the lagoon: the boat cruise in the lagoon to see the icebergs and the glacier front up close is generally always available from mid-May to mid-September, then there are years in which navigation can be anticipated to the end of April or postponed until November, it depends on the ice conditions in the lagoon.
  • Lunch and dinner: both are not included; if you really want to make the most of the stops, my advice is to include packed snacks for both lunch and dinner, without wasting time in restaurants: in Fjallsárlón you can walk on the path that runs along the lagoon, in Vík you will have time to take a tour of the village with the photogenic church and reach the black sand beach with a view of the stacks. You will enjoy the restaurant the following days…
  • Good to know: you cover almost 800 (eight hundred) km in one day, practically almost all on state roads, there are no highways in Iceland; if there are unexpected hitches during the journey it may happen that you have to skip one of the visits along the way; absolutely do not book this excursion from November to mid-February because the entire return journey with relative stops takes place in the dark, you will not see anything; even in the height of Summer, if the wind is too intense, the boat tour in the lagoon could be canceled; on the outward journey sit on the left side of the bus if possible, it is the best side to admire the most beautiful views.
  • Recommended: if and only if, during your trip to Iceland you do not make the circumnavigation of the island with your rental car or by booking one of the multi-day bus tours, but at the same time you consider unmissable to go and see the famous icebergs of Jökulsárlón. Keep in mind that the excursion gives its best from May to September.
  • A different option with boat ride already included: a similar excursion organized by Reykjavík Excursions and bookable with GetYourGuide | From Reykjavik: Jökulsárlón Glacial Lagoon and Diamond Beach; the tour generally operates 3 or 4 times a week from May / June to October, includes a visit to Diamond Beach, stops at Seljalandsfoss and Skógafoss waterfalls, usually a stop is made in Vík. The excursion already includes a boat ride in the lagoon to get closer to the icebergs.
  • The small group option: a small group tour with a minimum of 2 and a maximum of 18 participants organized by Arctic Adventures and bookable with GetYourGuide | South Coast & Jokulsarlon Sightseeing Tour; in addition to the Jökulsárlón lagoon, it includes a visit to the Seljalandsfoss waterfall and stops in Vík and the black sand beach of Reynisfjara with its basalt cliffs. In summer, it also includes a visit to the Skógafoss waterfall and a small detour inside the Skaftafell National Park. The glacial lagoon boat ride is not included but can be booked as an extra.
  • Video: the incredible aerial images of Jökulsárlón Lagoon taken with a drone by Guide to Iceland:

Snaefellsnes Peninsula: Full Day Tour from Reykjavík to Admire the Iconic Mount Kirkjufell

No crowds of visitors. No mega attractions drawing thousands of tourists. The Snaefellsnes Peninsula northwest of Reykjavík is the realm of wind, silence and contemplation. The landscapes are magnificent, green meadows as far as the eye can see, with grazing sheep and horses, cliffs overlooking the sea, small villages, isolated farms and mountains covered with snow all year round. Dominating the whole is the great icy dome of the Snaefellsjokull volcano, it is here that Jules Verne set the famous book Journey to the Center of the Earth. If before leaving someone has any doubts, there is not a single traveler who returns unhappy from the Snaefellsnes Peninsula. Indeed, many are even enthusiastic. 

Leaving Reykjavík, the excursion immediately gets to the heart with a visit to the Ytri Tunga Seal Colony, with a farm and a beach where a large group of golden seals reside in the summer, making it easy to approach and photograph them. In quick succession you see the famous Black Church of Búðakirkja, one of the most famous images of the Snaefellsjokull peninsula, and the quaint fishing village of Arnarstapi with its photogenic rock arch. The next stops are the cliffs of Londrangar, composed of basalt columns overlooking the sea where puffins and arctic terns nest, and the black beach of Djupalonssandur, walking through a lava field you reach this wild black sand beach beaten by the waves of the Atlantic Ocean.

But it is after passing the village of Olafsvik that the real highlight of the Snaefellsnes Peninsula presents itself in front of your eyes. It is the very famous Kirkjufell, the most iconic and photographed mountain in all of Iceland, located a few steps from the village of Grundarfjordur. Some of you will recognize it as the Arrowhead Mountain of Game of Thrones.

Snæfellsnes Peninsula Guided Tour, Iconic Mount Kirkjufellafoss, West Iceland

Snæfellsnes Peninsula Guided Tour, Iconic Mount Kirkjufellafoss, West Iceland

Photo Credit: Sathish J

  • Pick-up and drop-off: included directly from the hotel or from the nearest bus stop, the same on return.
  • Duration of the tour: between 11 and 12 hours.
  • Guide: English speaking driver / guide.
  • Features: tour for up to 19 participants operated by minibus, the local operator is Nice Travel specialized in small group tours.
  • Price: includes transportation and all visits in the Snaefellsnes Peninsula; lunch is not included, there is a stop where you can have lunch in a restaurant or have your picnic lunch purchased the day before in Reykjavík.
  • Pros: the pick-up already included without supplements; greater interaction with the guide due to the presence of a smaller number of participants compared to coach tours; the great variety of landscapes you see throughout the day.
  • Cons: to be honest, no one; just keep in mind that this is a tour lacking those amazing attractions that alone “make” the trip, it is a good guide to make the difference, but if the guide is good or not you discover it only when the tour has already started.
  • Good to know: the minimum age to participate is 5 years; unless the roads are closed by the authorities, the tour operates in all weather conditions.
  • Recommended: if you want to get a more complete idea of Iceland.
Snæfellsnes Peninsula Guided Tour, Black Church with Snæfellsjökull in Background, Búðakirkja, West Iceland

Snæfellsnes Peninsula Guided Tour, Black Church with Snæfellsjökull in Background, Búðakirkja, West Iceland

Photo Credit: Bernd Thaller

  • The Snaefellsnes Peninsula in small groups with lunch included in a farm: this is a particular tour organized by EastWest, the particularity is not what you see, as for the fact that it includes a home-made lunch in a farm, a real and working farm with tens of horses; to investigate look at Viator | Snaefellsnes in a Small Group Tour with Home-cooked Meal included from Reykjavík. Tour is particularly recommended if you are traveling as a family with children. Super reviews.
Whale Watching Tour, Reykjavík, Iceland

Whale Watching Tour, Reykjavík, Iceland

Photo Credit: Sea Trips Reykjavík

Whale Watching: Tour to Meet the Whales in the Bay of Reykjavík

It is not only in the north of Iceland that excursions to admire whales are organized. Whale watching tours also depart from Reykjavík, exactly from the heart of the old port, easily reachable on foot from any hotel in the city center. And among the various whale watching excursions organized by the capital’s specialized companies, this one managed by Special Tours Iceland is perhaps the best. The price is reasonable and you travel with a comfortable boat with a bar where you can get a hot drink or a cake while sailing.

Whale watching tours generally operate all year round but the absolute best months to have a better chance of spotting humpback whales, minke whales, dolphins and if you are very lucky killer whales too, are the three summer months of June, July and August. The sighting of whales is clearly not guaranteed, in case there is NO refund but only a free voucher for another departure, this is the common policy of all operators who organize whale watching tours in Iceland.

  • Pick-up and drop-off: with a supplement you can add the pick-up at the hotel or at one of the bus stops, but my advice is to go in person to the Special Tours Ticket Office located at Geirsgata 11, directly on the pier in the heart of Reykjavík’s Old Harbor, in this way you you can have a look at the fascinating area of the old port.
  • Duration of the tour: between 3 and 3 and a half hours.
  • The crew: English is spoken on board.
  • Features: navigation aboard the Andrea boat, 34 meters long and 195 tons, capable of hosting just under 200 people, free Wi-Fi, outdoor deck, large seating areas, toilets, internal bar and large windows.
  • Price: includes boat tour, floating thermal suits in both adult and child sizes, discount for the Whales of Iceland Exhibition.
  • Pros: the price is not excessive and the boat is comfortable, with large heated interior spaces where you can take refuge during the crossing that from the old port of Reykjavík takes you to the stretch of sea often frequented by whales, in order not to get cold when not needed.
  • Cons: if you do not see the whales you will feel like you have wasted half a day in addition to the money; and the free voucher that is delivered to you may not necessarily be used by you on another date.
  • Good to know: wear warm clothing, a down jacket, a waterproof jacket and gloves; On board, sea sickness tablets are delivered but it goes without saying that if you suffer from seasickness, you better stay away from this tour.
  • Recommended: if your trip to Iceland does not take you to the Akureyri fjord or even better to Húsavík, the Icelandic capital of whale watching, with greater chances of sighting than in Reykjavík.
Whale Watching RIB Tour, Reykjavík, Iceland

Whale Watching RIB Tour, Reykjavík, Iceland

Photo Credit: Special Tours Iceland

  • Other options: to have more choices and to be able to compare prices, I would like to point out two other excursions, it is worth checking if there are any promotions. First is the hugely popular whale watching cruise organized by Elding Whale Watching and bookable with Viator | Classic Whale Watching from Reykjavik | The Original. The second is the tour aboard rigid inflatable boats that you can book with GetYourGuide | From Reykjavik: Whale Watching Tour by RIB Boat; this second tour lasts 2 hours and is carried out aboard fast 12-meter rigid inflatable boats capable of traveling at 32 knots and being able to get very close to whales and dolphins, in the summer months the tour makes a small detour to navigate near Akurey Island to see the puffins. Children accepted from the age of 10, complete equipment is provided consisting of floating thermal suits, life jackets and gloves; perfect as long as you are not afraid of waves, wind and spray.
  • If you want to see whales but you have little time: it is the express version of the main excursion presented here by Special Tours Iceland, the time dedicated to whale research and observation is the same as the classic tour, but to reach the observation point a faster boat is used, in this case the Lilja or Rósin boats. The tour lasts between 2 and 2 and a half hours, it operates only and exclusively in the summer period and can be booked with GetYourGuide | From Reykjavik: Whale Watching Trip by Speedboat
  • Whales Watching aboard a luxury yachts: an exclusive tour aboard the Amelia Rose, to date the most beautiful, welcoming and hospitable of all the boats that set sail from the old port of Reykjavík for whale watching and northern lights tours in Faxaflói Bay, here the link to investigate GetYourGuide | Reykjavík: Whale Watching from a Luxury Yacht. Local supplier is Sea Trips Reykjavík, usually the tour operates all year round, the costs are not even excessive and the experience is certainly more intimate than larger boats, recommended.
  • Video: Andrea boat and the experience of sailing in search of whales in Reykjavík bay in these images by Special Tours:

Northern Lights: Night Tour to See the Aurora Borealis from Reykjavík

It is the most talked-about excursion in all of Iceland. Those who see the northern lights often remain enthusiastic, of the aurora borealis first, of course. But of the excursion too. However, this is not the case when you pay a considerable amount of money, you spend 3 or 4 hours in the cold, without seeing absolutely anything, returning sadly and chilly to your hotel very late in the evening. Maybe because the clouds haven’t opened. 

There are two advantages of joining an evening tour from Reykjavík to see the aurora borealis, or northern lights as the aurora is known in the Northern countries. The first is to be able to see it from a more decentralized location outside the city, away from the light pollution of the capital. The second is that even if the forecast for Reykjavík is overcast, just move north, south or east for 50 kilometers to find more favorable conditions, with partially open skies and few clouds.

And it is here that comes into play the experience and skill of the guides. Before the departure of the tour they study the forecast, and then literally hunt for the aurora looking for a large portion of the sky cleared of clouds. In addition during the tour the guides generally help in adjusting the camera or smartphone settings, always without the flash. 

Keep in mind that the guides are very determined, and if they think there is even a small chance to make customers admire the northern lights, they do not hesitate to extend the tour, returning to Reykjavík even after midnight. Also keep in mind that to observe the northern lights it is necessary that the sky is completely dark (at least an hour and a half after sunset) and at least partially clear.

Often the aurora first shows itself timidly, and this phase can last even for an hour or two, but you must be always ready, because sometimes the best is yet to come. And what happens is the true aurora comes suddenly, and usually lasts only a few minutes, perhaps repeated again after half an hour. And if you don’t get ready with your gaze towards the sky, you miss the real show: not only more or less intense colored halos, but that of a real thin strip of light thousands of kilometers long that winds, pulsating and rolling on itself in the sky…

Northern Lights Tour, Aurora Borealis above Þingvellir National Park, near Reykjavík, Iceland

Northern Lights Tour, Aurora Borealis above Þingvellir National Park, near Reykjavík, Iceland

Photo Credit: Northern Light Bus | BusTravel Iceland

  • When to book a northern light tour: on several sites and blogs it is recommended to book northern lights tours well in advance. Well, I disagree. This is an excursion that must be booked only the day before or even the day you intend to do it, and only after you have checked in person on the Aurora Forecasts page of the official website of the Icelandic Meteorological Office that the weather conditions in the area surrounding Reykjavík are favorable. Look at the WHITE on the map (which corresponds to forecasts of clear skies) and the scale from 1 to 9 of the expected intensity, from 3 up is fine, if there is a 4 or even a 5 do not hesitate. Once booked, you must look at your email, up to a few hours before the departure time, to check if the tour actually operates or is canceled due to bad weather or overcast skies.
  • Pick-up and drop-off: you can choose whether to be at the starting point of the excursion, at the time of the update of this article the bus stop number 12 (please check in the email that is sent to you if this info is still valid), or with a small supplement include the pick up and drop off at the hotel or at the nearest bus stop.
  • Duration of the tour: from 3 to 5 hours, the excursion usually leaves between 20 and 21:30 and returns around or after midnight.
  • Guide: English speaking driver and guide.
  • Features: shared group tour with the classic large coach.
  • Price: includes transport, guide assistance, snacks and hot chocolate, free admission on the same day as the excursion to the Aurora Reykjavík Museum.
  • Pros: the low price (for Iceland this is a really low price), at least if the aurora doesn’t show you haven’t spent so much.
  • Cons: the many participants, sometimes even more than 50, certainly do not contribute to an intimate atmosphere; in fact, small group tours often have more freedom of movement and greater reactivity, being able to reach more peaceful locations; also during the small group tours you receive more attention from the guide on how to set up your camera or smartphone to photograph the northern lights, but obviously these other tours are more expensive.
Very Strong Grade 7 Northern Lights near Reykjavík, Iceland

Very Strong Grade 7 Northern Lights near Reykjavik, Iceland

Photo Credit: Iceland Premium Tours

  • What happens if the tour is canceled: northern lights excursions can be canceled up to one hour before departure; if the company cancels the tour you will have a full refund or the option to rebook the tour on another date, if any, which is useful to you.
  • What happens if the tour starts but you can’t see the aurora: in this case the refund is NEVER provided, you can only rebook without having to pay again for the same tour at a later date. It is evident that not everyone has a second useful date, ii means you have paid without having seen anything.
  • How to dress: Icelandic winter nights are freezing, the wind lowers the perceived temperature further, and you stay for hours outdoor without moving your gaze towards the sky; so wear the boots, the warmest socks you have, the tights under your pants, all the sweaters you brought in your suitcase, from the first to the last, the down jacket under the windproof jacket, the scarf, an earmuff, the cap and of course gloves. And you’ll probably be cold anyway. I’m not kidding, you’ll thank me.
  • The best months to see the Northern Lights: although it is possible to observe the aurora, perhaps very faint, even in the second part of August or early April (but without a WOW effect), from my experience the most favorable months are from mid September to mid-March, with the absolute best period from October to February.
  • Good to know: never combine the northern lights tour with tours that bring you to other specific attractions, such as excursions that combine the Blue Lagoon with the northern lights, or the Golden Circle and the northern lights in a single solution. This is for the simple, very simple reason that it is not possible to know in advance which place will be the best for observing the aurora. And perhaps the best location to see the aurora is somewhere else than the Blue Lagoon or the Golden Circle. If the roads around the capital are particularly covered with snow, all operators, large and small, are concentrated in the same pitches and in the same places.
  • Recommended: if you don’t rent a car during your trip to Iceland and want to increase your chances of observing the northern lights, learning more about it, and receiving practical information on how to best photograph it.
  • The Northern Lights with a small group tour: if you are looking for a more intimate tour operated with smaller vehicles, there are two excursions that I recommend. The first is Viator | Northern Lights Small-Group Minibus Tour from Reykjavik, the tour is operated by minibus with a minimum of 2 and a maximum of 19 participants, the local operator is l Go to Joy Iceland, one of the most serious agencies in organizing northern lights tours; usually, if the conditions are not favorable for sighting they cancel the excursion. The second excursion is GetYourGuide | Small-Group Premium Northern Lights Tour from Reykjavik, this is the small group version of the main tour presented above and includes free entrance to the Aurora Reykjavík Museum, tripods, refreshments with hot chocolate and icelandic snacks; in case the tour starts but the aurora decides not to show itself, you are entitled to participate in one of the subsequent departures of the normal tour, the non-Premium one, for as many times as possible until you can see the northern lights. Children allowed from 8 years of age and up to 15 participants.
  • The Northern Lights with a Private Jeep Tour: In Iceland, private services have stellar costs, and this excursion is no exception, but if you want to see the northern lights with an exclusive private jeep tour then this excursion organized by Iceland Premium Tours is one of the best you can book, here is the link to investigate GetYourGuide | From Reykjavik: Private Northern Lights Tour. The cost does not change from 1 to 4 people, so the tour is recommended for a family or a group of friends. The cost includes pick-up and drop-off directly at the hotel and hot tea or coffee during the excursion. Unlike other tours, this specific excursion operates only if the conditions for sighting the northern lights are at least a minimum favorable, otherwise the excursion will be canceled and you will get a full refund. This tour does not always operate.
Northern Lights Luxury Yacht Cruise, Amelia Rose, Reykjavík, Iceland

Northern Lights Luxury Yacht Cruise, Amelia Rose, Reykjavík, Iceland

Photo Credit: Sea Trips Reykjavík

Northern Lights Cruise from Reykjavík: the Aurora Borealis from Aboard a Luxury Yacht

Evening boat trips to Faxaflói Bay departing from Reykjavík’s Old Port are an alternative to classic northern lights bus tours. And if you are looking for the best of the best of all the northern lights cruises offered by the Reykjavík companies, this cruise organized by Sea Trips Reykjavík is probably the most valid one. 

You will sail aboard the superyacht Amelia Rose, a 32-meter luxury cabin cruiser, 3 different decks for up to 75 passengers, designer interiors, leather sofas and armchairs, wooden deck, bar and internal lounges where you can sit. And above all the top deck, with a 360 degree panoramic view of what is happening around you.

Wear warm clothes and shoes, the wind on the outdoor decks is always very cold. And keep in mind that even more than land tours, boat excursions are constrained by favorable weather, in case of strong wind they can be canceled, even at short notice. In that case you will have a full refund. Northern lights sighting cruises are generally operational from September 1st to April 15th, the best months from October to the end of February.

  • Pick-up and drop-off: if you wish you can add pick-up and drop-off at the hotel (and not at the bus-stops) for a supplement at time of booking. Alternatively go directly to the Ægisgarður pier in the heart of Reykjavík’s Old Harbor on your own. If you have a rental car, parking is free, once you arrive, contact the office and they will give you directions on where to park.
  • Duration of the tour: from when you set sail, the navigation lasts between 2 and 3 hours.
  • The crew: the captain and crew speak English.
  • Features: exclusive boat tour for a limited number of participants. Usually the excursion takes place aboard the magnificent Amelia Rose offshore motorboat. If there are fewer than 12 participants, the smallest Axel Rose is used. Free Wi-Fi on board.
  • Price: includes the boat tour and the use of blankets to warm up if you decide to stay outdoors on the deck.
  • Pros: waiting for the aurora to show itself staying warm inside the yacht, being able to order a drink or something to eat, and being able to use the comfortable bathrooms on the boat if necessary. A thousand times better than waiting for the aurora in the cold in a parking lot outside a bus…
  • Cons: the boat does not allow you to travel great distances, the territory to go hunting for the aurora is obviously much more limited than that of land excursions. And that decreases your chances of seeing the northern lights.
  • Good to know: an important thing you have to keep in mind is that, if the weather conditions allow navigation, often the companies decide to set sail anyway, even if the chances of seeing the northern lights are very little. This is the main reason for which I invite you to book any type of northern lights tour only the day before or even the day of the excursion. And after having personally made sure that the northern lights have at least some chance to manifest themselves. In the event that the boat leaves the dock but the sighting goes wrong, there is NO refund, you will be issued a voucher to be able to repeat the tour starting the next day.
  • Recommended: if you are looking for the best, there is no other tour that allows you to witness the aurora borealis (if it appears in the sky, of course) in a more comfortable way.
  • Other options: there are several Reykjavík companies that organize boat tours to admire the northern lights, two of which I found most interesting; the first bookable with Viator | Northern Lights Cruise from Reykjavik is operated by Special Tours Iceland. Even more valid is the second excursion run by the company Elding Adventure at Sea and which you can book with Viator | Northern Lights Cruise from Downtown Reykjavik, this is perhaps the most successful tour among all those offered on traditional boats; the price includes a short multimedia show before starting the cruise and above all the use of thermal suits on board to protect you from the intense cold.
  • Video: the evocative images of the northern lights in Faxaflói Bay just off the coast of Reykjavík in this short video by Elding Adventure at Sea:

How Tour Pick-ups and Drop-offs Work for Hotels in Reykjavík City Center

After having analysed in detail the most beautiful excursions you can do in Reykjavík, there is one important thing you need to know. That is, how the hotel pick-ups by the capital’s tourist agencies work. What is written here is valid for all excursions by bus and minibus and for all local companies, as well as for airport shuttle buses. The only exception are strictly private tours.

  • For all hotels located in the very center of Reykjavík, local tour companies are NOT allowed to pick-up and drop-off customers directly in front of the hotel.
  • The pick-up is done instead in special bus stops, marked with a number. There are several bus-stops, which means that to reach one from your hotel you won’t have to walk more than 6 or 7 minutes. See the location of all bus stops on the official Reykjavík City Bus Stops website. The same bus stops are used by the companies that manage the airport shuttle buses.
  • When you book one of the excursions described above you generally have the choice of reaching the excursion’s default starting point on your own or – sometimes free of charge, others with a supplement – include pick-up and drop-off at one of the bus stops, obviously the one most close to your hotel.
  • Please note that a pick-up time will be indicated in the confirmation email that you will receive once the excursion is booked. This time is to be understood as a window of time and not as an exact time, you must be ready half an hour before the indicated time.
Northern Light Cruise from Reykjavík, Iceland

Northern Light Cruise from Reykjavík, Iceland

Photo Credit: Elding Adventure at Sea

Important!

  • Before booking read the full description of the tour you like in the official page of Viator and GetYourGuide carefully, please check what is included and what is not, meeting points, times of departure and cancellation policies. 
  • After booking, if you have any queries or doubts, immediately contact Viator or GetYourGuide Customer Service in order to receive assistance.
  • And the day before the tour, please reconfirm the pick-up time with the local supplier. You receive phone and email from the local supplier of the tour immediately after your booking. Maybe your hotel can help. 
  • Read the reviews. If the majority of the reviews are positive that’s a good thing. And always check all the info you read here in the official page of each tour, things change and the official site provides the latest updates.

Last Update: May 8th 2022

Creative CommonsFront cover photo credit: Kirkjufellafoss, Snaefellsnes Peninsula, West Iceland, courtesy BusTravel Iceland. Photos taken from official Tour Company Websites are Copyright © All Rights Reserved. All other photos come from Flickr: Creative Commons Licensed Photos. Terms of license are valid at the time of publishing this post.