This is a winter tour only! On this tour, we visit the stunning attractions of the west and south of Iceland, driving all the way to the spectacular Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon. Pick up and drop off in Reykjavik is included as well as accommodation for three nights. Join us as we explore a natural ice cave in Vatnajokull National Park.
Day 1 - West Iceland Jewels
We pick you up between 09:00 and 09:30 and drive towards the Borgarfjörður Fjord, passing scenic countryside and mountains. The magnificent Deildartunguhver hot spring, pouring out 180 l/sec 100°C hot water, is the first attraction. That water is used for bathing, to fill geothermal swimming pools and to heat up houses and buildings around the area. A short drive will bring you to the historical site of Reykholt. You will see, Snorralaug, the hot spring pool where Snorri Sturluson is reputed to have bathed.
Snorri was a great historian and saga writer, born in the 12th century, who lived at Reykholt. Two stunning waterfalls are next, Barnafoss waterfall has a tragic but interesting legend linked to its naming, Barnafoss means ‘Children´s Falls’ in English. Your guide will, no doubt, tell you the tale of the two children who fell to their deaths from a nearby bridge. Hraunfossar waterfall is very different and totally unique, thousands of small streams pour out of the lava, creating the sensational sweeping crescent-shaped falls. The glacial water is very pure and cold! It has flowed underground through the Hallmundarhraun lava field, from Langjökull, the second largest glacier in Iceland. We head through picturesque scenery towards the Snæfellsnes peninsula. We have time to see the incredible wall of basalt columns at Gerðuberg, before driving to our hotel in the Snæfellsnes area. We relax and enjoy dinner, your guide will share the northern lights forecast with you. Hopefully, the forecast is favorable and a northern lights watch is on. Will your aurora luck be good tonight? As always, we have to wait and see!
Day 2 - Snæfellsnes Wonders
We enjoy breakfast then get on our way, traveling through magnificent mountain scenery, along picturesque coastlines and through fishing villages and quaint towns. We give you enough time to enjoy a walk around at Arnarstapi, a charming fishing village where the wild coastal scenery is very special. We offer the option of a lava cave tour to explore (extra cost) the stunning world within the Vatnshellir Cave in Snæfellsnes National Park. All caving equipment is provided, your qualified caving guide will tell you all about the lava tube cave, its unusual features and colors, and how it was formed around 8000 years ago. Jules Verne, in his novel, Journey to the Centre of the Earth, said the entrance to a subterranean world could be found in Snæfellsnes, the glacier which dominates this peninsula. Exploring a lava cave will take you a little closer to the core of the earth!
The caving tour can be booked when you arrange this tour. We usually have lunch at Hellnar, a really picturesque village in spectacular scenery. Our next attraction is the black beach at Djúpalónssandur, framed by crazily-shaped cliffs and composed of coal-black but very smooth pebbles. Join us for a short hike to explore the beach, watching the silver-tipped ocean waves glistening as they roll back and forth over the glossy pebbles is like a meditation. This is also a place of drama, as well as astonishing beauty, the remains from the wrecked British fishing boat, Epine, bear witness to the dangers of this coast. The ‘lifting stones’, used by the fisherman in trials of strength in past times, are ready and waiting. Would you like to challenge your strength? What a photo opportunity! A final visit is made to Mount Kirkjufell, one of the most photographed and painted mountains in Iceland, appearing on so many postcards. We head back towards the Reykjavík, your hotel will be in this area. Let´s hope the aurora forecast will be encouraging, and you can indulge in a little northern lights watching!
Day 3 - South Coast Sights and Waterfalls
We whisk you away from Reykjavík through fertile farmlands, towns and villages along the south coast tour to famous waterfalls, then head east towards Vatnajökull, the largest glacier in Europe. We have an ocean of delights to tantalize you over the next couple of days! In winter we witness the sun rising above the horizon as we head to Seljalandsfoss waterfall. On sunny days single and sometimes double rainbows are seen around the 60 m high cascade. An unusual feature of these falls is the pathway which leads behind the tumbling flow, an experience which is exciting and different. We do, though, recommend you put on your rainwear before taking this walk, otherwise the plentiful spray would make you fairly wet! Skógafoss waterfall on the Skógará (river) is our next attraction.
The waterfall drops 60 m from the old sea cliffs, these cliffs of the ancient coastline extend for hundreds of kilometers. The landscapes here are dominated by famous volcano mountain glaciers, Eyjafjallajökull sits high above Seljalandsfoss and Mýrdalsjökull, home to the notorious Katla is in this area too. We travel onwards to the black beach at Reynisfjara, the best known beach in Iceland. We recommend you take a little time to explore the imposing basalt columns, and an incredible cave, composed of mighty basalt columns. You should keep well back from the tide-line when you go exploring, erratic and dangerous ‘sneaker’ waves, which roar much higher up the beach, occur with no warning at all. You will see the Reynisdrangar basalt peaks rising above the ocean, these lurking peaks feature in some interesting Icelandic troll folklore tales! Your hotel accommodation will be in the Skaftafell/Vatnajökull National Park area. If the forecast is good, in the peace of the countryside, you will be in a great place to look out for the glowing jewel-bright ripples of the northern lights. Will your aurora luck be good tonight?
Day 4 - Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon, Ice Caving
We visit a shimmering crystal ice cave and the iceberg filled Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon and the Diamond Beach… two totally entrancing experiences, and the delights of Skaftafell! You will know you are getting close to Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon when you see a procession of icebergs, of all shapes and sizes, mystically gliding on their way across the lagoon to the Atlantic. The scenes here really will leave you totally spellbound and staring in wordless wonder at the majesty of your surroundings. The retreat of Breiðamerkurjökull, an outlet glacier of Vatnajökull glacier created these astonishing landscapes, the lagoon did not exist at all until around 1934. Many icebergs head straight for the salty ocean waves, a few are washed ashore, where they sit like stunning giant diamonds on the black sands of the Diamond Beach. Not surprisingly, footage of a few Hollywood movies has been shot here, including James Bond, so if you have a deja vu moment you will know the reason why! Next up is an exciting tour into a crystal ice cave, a magical ice cavern crafted entirely by the hand of nature.
New ice caves are formed each autumn, every year our guides get really excited, as they go hunting for new ice caves. Each one is different but all are spectacular with incredible blue ice, professional photographers and nature filmmakers just love ice caves! Your glacier guide will issue the required equipment, provide a safety briefing then you are on your way. You will learn all about the amazing ice features, which can change quite a lot, even over a few weeks, and the glacial forces which shape these caves. Our guides love questions, so don´t be shy about asking! On the way back to Reykjavík we make a stop at the Skaftafell Nature Reserve. This green area in Vatnjökull National Park is embraced by mountain peaks and glaciers. Continuing around the south coast, we return to Reykjavík at around 21:00 – 23:00 in the evening. You are dropped off where we picked you up.
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