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The Best of Iceland

(12 days / 11 nights)

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See the best of what Iceland has to offer

Experience the very best of Iceland’s scenic Ring Road and Snæfellsnes Peninsula, with attractions including national parks, icebergs, volcanic eruption sites, lava fields, waterfalls, hot springs and much more. This small group tour gives you a chance to see the best attractions and experiences in Iceland, while staying at handpicked, quality hotels that will leave you well-rested for each leg of this amazing journey.

Please note that certain dates in 2018 have limited availability. If you are unable to book your preferred arrival date, please contact us for assistance.

Contact us for availability

Why book with Nordic Visitor

  • Groups limited to 16 travellers
  • Hassle-free travel experience
  • Quality & value for your money
  • Trusted local experts in Iceland
  • 100% guaranteed departures

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Tour Highlights

  • Enjoy the striking nature of Snæfellsnes and its charming fishing villages
  • Journey inside a lava cave that was formed by volcanic eruptions
  • Visit the wondrous Westman Islands, and enjoy a boat tour
  • Walk the quaint streets of Akureyri, the unofficial capital of north Iceland
  • Discover the volcanic Lake Mývatn and its beautiful surroundings
  • Roam the tranquil villages of the East Fjords
  • See Iceland from the inside during an included lava cave tour
  • Sail among the massive floating icebergs at the Glacier Lagoon
  • Photograph the jagged basalt columns & sweeping black sand beaches
  • Explore the famous Golden Circle route

 

Travel style

Guided Small Groups i

Interest

Classic i, Slow Paced i

Pace level

Level 2 (Classic) i

Activity level

Level 1 (Easy) i

Season

Jun - Aug

Max group size

16

Driving distance

2340/1453 km/mi

Itinerary

A day-by-day plan to guide your journey.

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  • Day 1: Arrival to Iceland and Reykjavik

    On arrival at Keflavik International Airport, you will be greeted by a driver who will bring you to your hotel in the city centre of Reykjavík. After settling in, the rest of the day is free for you to explore the vibrant capital city with its abundance of museums, restaurants and bars to suit all tastes. If you're interested in checking out Icelandic design or experiencing the city's thriving coffee culture, head to the main street, Laugavegur, and enjoy its various shops and cosy cafes. 

    At 18:00, you will meet your group and guide for a welcome drink and a short introduction about the tour itinerary and some useful information about the coming days.

    Spend the night in Reykjavik. 

     

    Attractions Optional Activity
  • Day 2: Golden Circle and Geothermal Farm Visit

    This morning you and your fellow travellers will be picked up by your guide. Then the first leg of our journey takes us around the Golden Circle, a popular route containing some of the best-known natural phenomena in Iceland.

    Starting at the UNESCO-listed Þingvellir National Park, we will see the site of the ancient assembly grounds as well as the visible rift where two tectonic plates are slowly separating. We will also visit the Gullfoss waterfall and the Geysir geothermal area, where the Strokkur geyser spouts hot water every few minutes. The last stop in this area will be at the Friðheimar farm, where we’ll get to taste geothermally-grown tomatoes from their greenhouse.

    Spend the night in the Hella Area.

    Enjoy a group dinner (either buffet or set menu) with your fellow travellers.

    Included Activity: Green House visit with food tasting

    Average Driving Distance: 220 km / 137 mi.
    Average Travel & Exploring Duration: 8 Hours

    Attractions Attractions Attractions Attractions
  • Day 3: Westman Islands, the “Pompeii of the North”

    We start the day with a drive along the south coast to the Landeyjahofn harbour, where we will take a 30-minute ferry ride to the Westman Islands (Vestmanneyjar). This archipelago is well known for its volcanic activity, such as the sudden 1973 volcanic eruption in the middle of the town of Heimaey and the incredible creation of its newest island, Surtsey, from 1963 to 1967.

    At Heimaey we will be greeted by a local guide and join a bus tour around the main island. We will visit the Storhöfði headlands—a popular puffin nesting spot, the volcanic crater and the new museum about the eruption. Then in the afternoon we will sail along the coastline to see unique ocean caves, various seabirds and, occasionally during the summer, groups of whales. Afterwards we will enjoy some instrumental music in the Klettshellir ocean cave, a natural echo chamber.

    Spend another night in the Hella area

    Enjoy a group dinner (either buffet or set menu) with your fellow travellers..

    Included Activity: Ferry to the Westman Islands, guided tour in Westman Islands and Entrance to the Eldheimar volcanic eruption exhibition.

    Average Driving Distance: 86km / 54 mi.
    Average Travel & Exploring Duration: 8-9 Hours

    Ferry to Westman Islands approx. 30 min. each way

    Attractions Attractions Attractions
  • Day 4: Volcanic Wonders of the South Coast

    This is another day of volcanic discovery! First, you will visit the Lava Centre, a newly opened interactive exhibition about Iceland’s volcanic activity, its frequent earthquakes and how Iceland evolved over millions of years.

    Next, you will stop by the fairy tale-like Seljalandsfoss waterfall, where you can walk behind the misty cascade on a footpath. After spending some time at the majestic waterfall, you will go to the nearby

    Skógafoss waterfall and the Skógar folk museum, which displays interesting objects from Iceland’s old farming and fishing days. The last stop today is at the black sand volcanic beach near the village of Vík í Mýrdal. Here, you will be able to see the spectacular rock arch and bird nesting cliffs of Dyrhólaey and the Reynisdrangar basalt columns rising out of the ocean.

    Enjoy a group dinner (either buffet or set menu) with your fellow travellers.

    Spend the night in the Kirkjubæjarklaustur area.

    Note: The cliffs at Dyrhólaey are closed from mid-May until late June due to puffin nesting season.

    Included Activity: Entrance to the Lava Center and Skógar Folk Museum

    Average Driving Distance: 182 km / 113 mi.
    Average Travel & Exploring Duration: 7-8 Hours

     

    Attractions Attractions Attractions Attractions Attractions Attractions
  • Day 5: Skaftafell and Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon

    Today’s drive takes us to some of Iceland’s most photogenic attractions, including a visit to the beautiful Skaftafell area of Vatnajökull National Park, named for Iceland’s largest glacier. Here you have the option of hiking to the beautiful Svartifoss waterfall, which drops over a wide cliff of basalt columns that resemble organ pipes.

    After lunch, the journey continues to the Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon, where we will sail among the floating icebergs on a guided boat tour. In the late afternoon you will have free time to walk around the small seaside village of Höfn and enjoy dinner at your leisure.

    Spend the night in the Höfn í Hornarfjörður area.

    Included Activity: Amphibian boat tour on the Glacier Lagoon

    Average Driving Distance: 205km / 127 mi.
    Average Travel & Exploring Duration: 8-9 Hours

    Attractions Attractions Attractions
  • Day 6: Fishing Villages & Rugged Fjords in East Iceland

    Today we will driving along majestic East Iceland, with scenery that includes tranquil fishing villages, narrow fjords, rugged tundra and sweeping landscapes. Along the way we will stop in two small villages: Stöðvarfjörður, where we will visit Petra’s Mineral Collection, a small museum with a geological focus; and Fáskrúðsfjörður, known for its French heritage.

    Later in the evening, after a stop at our accommodation in Egilsstaðir, we will travel to Seyðisfjörður for a leisurely walk around town and dinner. Seyðisfjörður is one of the most enchanting villages in Iceland with its well-preserved wooden houses and steep mountains in the fjord.

    Spend the night in Egilsstaðir.

    Included Activity: Entrance to Petra´s Stone Collection

    Average Driving Distance: 328 km / 203 mi.
    Average Travel & Exploring Duration: 7-8 Hours

    Attractions Attractions Attractions Attractions Attractions
  • Day 7:  Moon-like North Iceland & Geothermal Baths

    Today our destination is North Iceland, where you will be amazed by the raw power of Icelandic nature. The first place to illustrate this is the roaring Dettifoss, Europe’s most powerful waterfall. Standing next to the thundering water here is an experience you won’t soon forget! Next we will explore the renowned lunar landscapes of the Lake Mývatn area with visits to the Námaskarð pass and the Skútustaðagígar pseudo craters.

    After our sightseeing you will have the option of relaxing in the warm geothermal pools and saunas at the Mývatn Nature Baths, with a view to mountains and lava fields. From there, we will head to the town of Akureyri, our next overnight destination.

    Spend the night in Akureyri.

    Average Driving Distance: 374 km / 232 mi.
    Average Travel & Exploring Duration: 8-9 Hours

    Attractions Attractions Attractions Attractions Optional Activity
  • Day 8: Capital of North Iceland & Whale Watching

    In the morning you will have the option to join a whale watching tour from Akureyri or enjoy free time to explore the town on your own. As the largest town outside Greater Reykjavik, Akureyri offers a variety of cosy cafés, small shops and interesting places for a walk such as the historical town centre. One suggestion here is to walk along the streets of Hafnarstræti and Aðalstræti to view the old houses and visit the Nonni Museum.

    In the afternoon your guide will take you on a short sightseeing tour around Eyjafjörður, the beautiful fjord where Akureyri is located. In the evening you are free to choose your own dinner from among the good quality restaurants in the Akureyri city centre.

    Spend another night in Akureyri.

    Average Driving Distance: 0 - 125 km / 0 - 78 mi. depending on your chosen activities
    Average Travel & Exploring Duration: 8 Hours

    Attractions Attractions
  • Day 9: Peninsula of the Trolls & Valley of the Horses

    Today we continue towards Skagafjörður, a tranquil rural area known not only for its natural beauty but also for its abundance of purebred Icelandic horses. On our way there, our drive takes us through the beautiful, mountainous area of Tröllaskagi (“peninsula of the trolls”). We will also stop in the old fishing village of Siglufjörður to visit the Herring Era Museum and pass through the town of Hofsós, one of the oldest trading ports in North Iceland.

    Enjoy a group dinner (either buffet or set menu) with your fellow travellers.

    Spend the night in the Skagafjörður area.

    Included Activity: Entrance to The Herring Era Museum

    Average Driving Distance: 173 km / 107 mi.
    Average Travel & Exploring Duration: 7-8 Hours

    Attractions Attractions Attractions
  • Day 10: Hidden Gems of the Northwest & Snæfellsnes

    Today’s drive takes us through Northwest Iceland to Snæfellsnes Peninsula, with a few stops at some lesser-known attractions. On the way we will visit Eiriksstadir, homestead of the famous Vikings Erik the Red and his son Leif “The Lucky” Eiríksson. Here you can explore inside the replica turf-house and meet guides in Viking Age costume who demonstrate the way of life from over 1,000 years ago.

    We will also make stops in the charming village Stykkishólmur and at the Bjarnahöfn Shark Museum, where you can taste traditional fermented shark if you are feeling brave. Finally, we will stop to admire the church-shaped mountain of Kirkjufell in Grundarfjörður before ending our day at the location of our overnight accommodation.

    Enjoy a group dinner (either buffet or set menu) with your fellow travellers.

    Spend the night on Snæfellsnes Peninsula.

    Included Activity: Entrance to Eiríksstaðir Museum and Bjarnarhöfn Shark Museum

    Average Driving Distance: 379 km / 235 mi.
    Average Travel & Exploring Duration: 8-9 Hours

    Attractions Attractions Attractions
  • Day 11: The Magic of Snæfellsjökull National Park

    For the last day of our guided tour, we will spend the day exploring the rest of the Snæfellsnes Peninsula before heading back to Reykjavík. The biggest highlight is Snæfellsnesjökll National Park, named for the mystical Snæfellsjökull glacier volcano located here, is renowned for its beautiful coastline and its lava fields. Some of the sights we will take in here include Arnarstapi, Dritvík Cove and the Vatnshellir lava cave. Vatnshellir cave, which is 35 metres below the surface, is a highlight of the day. The 8000-year-old cave provides a unique opportunity to view amazing colours and lava formations created by ancient eruptions.

    On return to Reykjavik, you will be dropped off at your hotel and you can enjoy dinner at one of the city‘s many restaurants, and spend the rest of the evening at your leisure.

    Spend the night in Reykjavik.

    Included Activity: Guided tour of Vatnshellir Lava Cave

    Average Driving Distance: 262 km / 162  miles
    Average Travel & Exploring Duration: 8 Hours

    Attractions Attractions Attractions Attractions
  • Day 12: Departure from Reykjavik

    When it’s time for your Iceland adventure to end, you will be picked up from your hotel by a shuttle bus about three hours before your flight. If you’re flying in the afternoon, you have the option to visit the Blue Lagoon geothermal spa to relax in the warm mineral waters before continuing to the airport (optional: not included).

    If you are interested in extending your stay, we can book extra nights and activities in the Reykjavík area or even combine this tour with a visit to one of our other Nordic destinations.

     

    Optional Activity

Map

Here’s a map of your travel route, to help put things in perspective.

Reviews

We don’t like to brag, so we’ll let our happy customers do it for us.

very pleased with everything!

I was very pleased with everything!

Experience was excellent

Our tour guide, "Steen" was excellent. He was knowledgeable, entertaining and managed our group very well. The van was very comfortable and the handling of our luggage was excellent. The hotels we stayed in were all very comfortable. Bjorg was very helpful in answering our questions, before we made our reservations online, which we were a bit nervous to do without talking with her. Our experience was excellent. The tour pace was good. While Iceland is terribly interesting, the tour took us to places that confirmed that.

Very pleasant and complete tour

I feel we had the best tour guide there could have been. Steinthor was a native Icelandic man with extensive knowledge of the history and tales of the land and shared it freely with us. He made us all feel safe and comfortable. We were able to ask any questions we wanted knowing he would answer to the best of his ability. The food in the hotels was always top quality and quantity. The whole tour was a very pleasant and complete experience. I went home feeling like I experienced the country of Iceland as much as one could in nine days.

Thanks ever so much

Dear Ms Eiriksdottir 
 
First and foremost, allow me to congratulate you and your team on the fantastic itinerary and well put together welcome pack. I've travelled quite extensively and often tend to do bookings directly with the attractions and hotels as experiences with travel agents/tour operators has proved mediocre or sometimes downright disappointing. However, the Nordic Visitor is a lovely exception. Right from the itinerary to the welcome back and the thoroughly professional and considerate driver pick up (Harold I believe was the gentleman's name), it has been a pleasure to start my solo trip to what seems to be an amazing country.
 
Thanks ever so much
 

Accommodation

Sleep soundly, in the accommodation type of your choice, and wake up ready to enjoy another day of exploration.

Quality

Lodgings for this tour include comfortable, well-appointed hotels or guesthouses that have been hand-picked by our local travel ex..

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Tour Information

IMPORTANT & USEFUL INFORMATION ABOUT THIS TOUR
We recommend that all of our travellers read through the following information about what the tour includes, what to pack for your holiday and useful information about the activities included on the tour.  Please note that this tour is not recommended for families with young children.

OUR NORDIC VISITOR GUIDES
Our team of local expert guides at Nordic Visitor are highly recommended by our travellers and staff with years of experience. What they offer is local knowledge, love for their country, their stories, favourite places and sites where travelers, on their own, would not hear about or visit. They always have some trick up their sleeves and hidden gems to surprise our clients and therefore we recommend that you join our guided small group tours to get a personal experience for your Icelandic adventure. There will be one guide per tour, who will drive and lead the tour.

Please be advised that this tour is not recommended for families with young children.

ACCOMMODATION
Our team of local travel experts at Nordic Visitor have put together a list of wonderful hotels for your stay in Iceland. The hotels that we use are based on our top favourites in Reykjavik and in the countryside, with an emphasis on excellent ratings and comfort.

To view the detailed list of hotels available for this tour, please click “VIEW” in the accommodation overview section for “Comfort”.

Note: Triple rooms are not available for this tour, only single and double rooms. Please contact us for booking assistance if your group contains three or more people.

FOOD & DRINK 
A daily breakfast buffet is included at the hotels during your stay. You will also enjoy five included dinners during your journey around the country. They will include either a set dinner menu or a dinner buffet with a good variety of local fresh ingredients.  You can choose meat, fish or vegetarian dishes by notifying your travel consultant in advance of any dietary restrictions.

Other meals are not included, but the guide will make sure to stop along the way for you to pick up snacks, drinks and lunch. Drinks are also not included during the trip. You will find a great selection of restaurants in Reykjavik during your stay for the first and last night in the city.

The average cost of meals depends on the type of restaurant, but for lunch we’d say that the average cost is from 2500 ISK to 3500 ISK. The average cost of dinner can range from 3000 ISK up to 6500 ISK for the main entree. Three course dinners at restaurants are priced around 7000 ISK to 11000 ISK.

IMPORTANT INFORMATION ABOUT INCLUDED ACTIVITIES 

Lava Cave tour in Vatnshellir
We offer 45-minute guided tours to Vatnshellir cave, one of the most easily accessible caves in Iceland. However, you need to be reasonably fit to participate. For example, if you can walk up a 2-3 story building without stopping and if you don't have trouble walking on uneven surfaces, this tour is appropriate for you.

Glacier Lagoon Boat tour
We include an amphibian boat tour where you will sail among the huge icebergs in the picturesque scenery of Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon. On the boat you get to taste the 1000 year old ice and if you are lucky you might even see some seals. The excursion takes about 40 minutes and includes an English speaking guide who explains to you the geology and facts of the lagoon. Everyone on board receives a life vest which they must wear during the cruise.

WHAT TO PACK

  • A small backpack to store your items on the bus
  • Warm socks
  • Waterproof jacket and pants
  • Sturdy hiking boots
  • Camera
  • Lip balm and moisturiser
  • Sunglasses and sunscreen
  • Swimsuit & towel are recommended
  • Water bottle to enjoy the clean Icelandic water
  • For more information on what to pack, please visit our Online Travel Guide.

LUGGAGE
To ensure comfortable seating for everyone on our tour, we need to limit the size and amount of luggage on the van. Each guest is allowed one suitcase or large bag that can be stored in the back of the van and one smaller item (e.g., a small backpack or daypack) to keep inside the van for daily essentials like camera, wallet, medications and so forth. Unfortunately carry-on suitcases (cabin bags) are too large to store inside the van in the overhead racks. If you have any questions about luggage your Nordic Visitor travel consultant will be able to assist you.

SAFETY, DAYLIGHT HOURS & WEATHER CONDITIONS
Please note that the programme is dependent upon weather and road conditions, and may be altered if conditions are not favourable. In the case of major changes to the programme, you will be notified and we will do our best to make sure that your experience will not be affected.

For information on weather conditions and daylight hours we recommend visiting our extensive Online Travel Guide.

Note: Nordic Visitor’s Forever Yours Deposit policy does not apply to Guided Small Group Tours cancelled less than 4 weeks before departure date

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