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Scenic South & Northern Lights

(5 days / 4 nights)

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Discover what makes autumn in Iceland so special

Make the most of your time in Iceland with this guided small group tour along the scenic south coast. Enjoy the warm Fall hues before winter sets in at attractions like the glorious glacier lagoon, sparkling Diamond Beach, and the classic Golden Circle. You will also have a chance to see the majestic northern lights. Enjoy the knowledge and personal interaction with a local guide while visiting renowned natural attractions, and hidden gems, in the tranquility of the autumn season.

View a similar itinerary for October through March
View a similar private tour where you travel in your own group

Contact us for availability

— Why book this tour

  • More included options and no hidden fees
  • Free private transfer from airport on arrival
  • Handpicked hotels by local travel experts
  • Groups limited to 16 travellers
  • Experienced local guides
  • 100% guaranteed departures

— Book With Confidence

  • Optional cancellation insurance
  • Affordable deposits from 10%

Terms and conditions apply

Tour Highlights

  • Visit the massive floating icebergs at the Glacier Lagoon
  • Feel the power of the thundering waterfall Gullfoss
  • Marvel at eruptions at the Geysir geothermal region
  • Walk the Diamond Beach, seeing the scattered, glistening ice
  • Watch the northern lights dance and flicker in the sky
  • Photograph the jagged basalt columns & sweeping black sand beaches
  • Stay at one of the 10 best-rated hotels in Iceland, Magma Hotel
  • Enjoy the cascading waterfalls of Seljalandsfoss & Skógafoss
  • Taste Icelandic cuisine with local, fresh ingredients and some traditional surprises

Travel style

Guided Small Groups i

Interest

Classic i, Northern Lights i

Pace level

Level 2/3 (Classic) i

Activity level

Level 2/4 (Moderate) i

Season

Sep - Oct

Max group size

16

Driving distance

1029/639 km/mi

Itinerary

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

Download PDF
  • Day 1: Arrival & Sightseeing in Reykjavík

    On arrival at Keflavik International Airport, you will be greeted by a driver who will transfer 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.

    Spend the night at the Center Hotels Laugavegur or similar.

    For those arriving early today you have the option to upgrade your journey from the airport with a visit to the Blue Lagoon geothermal spa before heading to the city. It´s the perfect way to start your Iceland adventure!

    Included:
    • Private meet & greet airport transfer on arrival 

    Average Driving Distance: 49 km / 30 mi.
    Average Travel & Exploring Duration: 50 Minutes

    Attractions Accommodation details Optional Extras
  • Day 2: Waterfalls, Glaciers & Black Sand Beaches

    Enjoy an early breakfast at the hotel before being picked up by your guide. The first leg of our journey is travelling along the south coast toward Kirkjubæjarklaustur. We will visit sights including the Seljalandsfoss waterfall—the only of its kind in Iceland where you can walk behind the roaring cascade on a footpath, followed by the magnificent 60-metre free-falling Skógafoss waterfall.

    From there, the journey takes you past the Eyjafjöll mountain range, including Eyjafjallajökull, a volcano completely covered by an ice cap, towards the volcanic black sand beaches near the village of Vík í Mýrdal. 

    Next, you will travel to your carefully selected charming boutique hotel, situated far away from the city lights to give you the best chance of seeing the northern lights, during the autumn season. 

    Spend the night at the Magma Hotel

    Included:
    • Breakfast: Continental Breakfast Buffet at the Hotel
    • Dinner at Magma Hotel

    Average Driving Distance: 294 km / 183 mi.
    Average Travel & Exploring Duration: 9 - 10 Hours

    *Please note that the northern lights are a natural phenomenon. If weather conditions and visability are not favourable, the guide will inform you about the matter.  

    Attractions Attractions Attractions Accommodation details
  • Day 3: The Skaftafell, the Glacier Lagoon & Northern lights

    Start the day bright and early as you have a full day of exciting highlights ahead of you. Today, you and fellow travellers will join a glacier walking tour to Vatnajökull Glacier, the largest glacier in Europe! It´s truly a once in a lifetime experience exploring an ice cave, and it is suitable for travellers that can comfortably walk on uneven surfaces*.

    Also on the agenda, is heading to the spectacular Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon, famous for its floating icebergs in shades of milky white and bright blue. Next to the glacier lagoon we will stop at the Diamond Beach where you will see big chunks of ice that have washed up on shore after being polished in the surf of the glacier lagoon. 

    After our exploration we will be heading back to our accommodation for the night. Local dinner will be served and afterwards you can end the evening by putting on some warm clothes for going out to gaze at the sky waiting for the northern lights to appear. 

    Spend the night at the Magma Hotel. 

    Included:

    • Glacier Walk from Skaftafell (3-3,5 hours)
    • Breakfast: Continental Breakfast Buffet at the Hotel
    • Dinner at Magma Hotel

    Average Driving Distance: 259 km / 161 mi.
    Average Travel & Exploring Duration: 9 - 10 Hours

    *The glacier walking tour is a natural experience and dependant on weather conditions. Please find more details about the ice caves in the tour information section below

    Attractions Attractions Attractions Accommodation details
  • Day 4: The Classic Golden Circle

    Today the group will explore the world famous Golden Circle, a popular route for viewing some of the best-known natural sites in Iceland.  Your first stop is the picture perfect two-tiered Gullfoss waterfall, where you can see the water thrash and tumble before falling metres below. Next, you will be driven to the Geysir area and explore the bubbling mud pots and spouting Strokkur geyser, which erupts steam and boiling water metres into the air every few minutes. Our guide will be sharing stories of this beautiful sight and why it is a favourite among locals and travellers!

    We end the day with a visit to Þingvellir National Park before heading back to Reykjavik. Þingvellir was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site for being historically significant to the founding of Icelandic democracy and a place of immense natural beauty. The park is also home to the north Atlantic ridge, where visitors can dive the fissure, between continental plates.

    Spend the night at the Center Hotels Laugavegur or similar. 

    Included:
    • Breakfast: Continental Breakfast Buffet at the Hotel

    Average Driving Distance: 378km / 234 mi.
    Average Travel & Exploring Duration: 8 - 10 Hours

    Attractions Attractions Attractions Accommodation details
  • Day 5: Departure from Iceland

    When it’s time for your Iceland adventure to end, you will be picked up from the hotel for your airport transfer 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.

    Included:
    • Breakfast: Continental Breakfast Buffet at the Hotel
    • Shuttle Transfer to Keflavík International Airport on Departure

    Average Driving Distance: 49 km / 30 mi.
    Average Travel & Exploring Duration: 50 Minutes

    Attractions Optional Extras

Map

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

Essential information

Everything you need to know about this tour before you book

We recommend that you read carefully through the following information before booking this small guided group tour in Iceland. We’ve answered the most frequently asked questions here so you know what to expect. You’ll also find more practical advice and attraction recommendations in our online Iceland Travel Guide.

On a guided group tour, a local guide will lead you and fellow travellers on an adventure in Iceland. You’ll follow a set itinerary, going on walks, excursions and dining together as a group.

Your guide will act as a driver and you’ll benefit from their in-depth knowledge of Iceland along the way. We carefully select local guides with years of experience that come highly recommended. They’ll share with you their love of their country, stories and historical knowledge as well as recommendations.

Our guides always have a trick up their sleeves to surprise you and make your experience in Iceland extra special.

You’ll travel by minibus, which is equipped with Wi-Fi. The groups are capped at 16 people so you can enjoy a more personal experience. 

The driver-guide will also be there for you if you need anything during the tour. Plus, you’ll have access to our 24/7 helpline during your trip should you need to contact us. 

All your services will be pre-booked by your personal travel consultant at Nordic Visitor. This includes your airport transfers, accommodation in Iceland, minibus and activities, as specified in the itinerary.

Due to the nature of this tour and activities included, it’s not recommended for families with young children. That said, it is suitable for well-travelled, active children of 12 years or older. If in doubt, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us.

To make sure you and your fellow travellers have a comfortable journey, we need to limit the size and amount of luggage in the bus. 

Each guest can bring one suitcase or large bag that can be stored in the back of the minibus and one smaller item (e.g., a 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 in the van’s overhead racks. 

If you have any questions about luggage your Nordic Visitor travel consultant will be able to assist you.

You’ll stay in accommodation that’s been hand-picked by our local Iceland travel experts on your guided group tour. We’ve partnered with local businesses and selected hotels and guesthouses based on excellent ratings, comfort and our personal experience. 

On this winter tour package, you’ll stay in rural hotels. This way you’ll be away from city lights, increasing your chances of spotting the northern lights. 

You can view the detailed list of hotels for this trip under the accommodation tab.

During the booking steps, you can choose a single or double room. Please note that in Iceland room types are based on European standard sizes, which means they are smaller than in North America. 

For example, a double bed often consists of 2 single beds pushed together. Twin rooms are 2 separate single beds. Triple rooms are not available for this tour. If your group has 3 or more people, please contact us for booking assistance.

This itinerary includes a few walks in nature. This means you must be prepared and able to walk between 3–5 kilometres (1.8–3 miles) daily. You also need to be able to carry your own luggage when boarding the minibus and at each hotel.

The glacier walk begins at the base of Skaftafell glacier and is best suited if you have a good level of fitness.

You’ll start with receiving a safety briefing and a lesson on how to walk while wearing crampons. Then your hike through stunning terrain will begin. You’ll truly experience the unique glacier environment of Iceland and marvel at crevasses, sink holes and ice ridges. 

Please note that the glacier walk is weather dependent. Sometimes the excursion has to be cancelled with short notice due to weather conditions or other safety concerns. 

By booking with Nordic Visitor, you’ll have peace of mind knowing that there’s always someone there for you throughout your trip.

For support and advice during the day, you can ask your guide or call our office. And if anything unexpected happens outside working hours, you can reach us on our 24/7 helpline. 

The Reykjavík-based travel expert on call will handle any unforeseen situations for you, such as unusual weather or events.

If you’re arriving from Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia or New Zealand, you won’t need a visa to visit Iceland. 

Visiting from another country? You can find the complete list of countries whose nationals require a visa to enter Iceland on the website of Iceland’s Directorate of Immigration. If you do require a visa, they maintain a list of local embassies that can assist you with the process. 

Your passport must also be valid for at least 3 months from your departure from Iceland. It’s good to check your passport expiry date early in case you need to renew it. 

Read more about visas, airports and airlines in the getting to Iceland section of our travel guide.

Only you can pick the best time to visit Iceland for your trip. It’ll depend on how much time you have to explore, what you want to see in Iceland and any events you might like to attend.

In summer, June to August, you’ll have milder temperatures and longer daylight hours, compared to the winter. This is ideal for outdoor excursions and sightseeing. 

If you’d like to experience the top attractions with fewer visitors around then you could book your summer trip in May or September. These shoulder season months have more tour and attraction availability.

The winter months are also popular, but generally quieter, apart from the Christmas holiday season. This is the ideal time to try to spot the northern lights.

Find out what annual Icelandic events and festivals are on in our travel guide. Or read more about the best time to visit Iceland on our blog.

Because of its northerly location close to the Arctic Circle, Iceland has limited daylight in winter. 

Around Christmastime, from early December until late January, you can expect an average of 4–5 hours of daylight. These extended hours of darkness give you a higher chance of seeing the northern lights.

Find out what the daylight hours will be during the month of your visit in this guide to time and daylight in Iceland.

Yes! Wintertime is the right season to visit Iceland if you want to experience the northern lights (or aurora borealis). You can see the northern lights between September and March, with peak visibility from December through February.

For the best chances of glimpsing them, this tour includes stays in rural hotels. You’ll be able to pop out for a wander and glance up at the sky, or simply look out from your bedroom window.

It’s worth remembering that the northern lights are a natural phenomenon, so sightings cannot be guaranteed. Even if you go on a specific northern lights excursion, you might not see them, as this depends on the conditions or cloud cover.

Read our Iceland northern lights guide to learn more.

The winter climate in Iceland is generally mild compared to other Northern European countries. That said, the temperature can drop below freezing at times. And the Atlantic winds can make it feel colder than it is. 

You can expect average temperatures between 4°C (39°F) and -1°C (30°F). Throughout winter (October to April), the weather conditions are very changeable, so you could experience rain, snow, sun and cold winds. 

For more information on the local climate, read this guide to Iceland weather conditions

Please note that sightseeing is dependent on weather and road conditions. Your itinerary might need to be altered if these conditions are not favourable during your visit.

Iceland’s winters are chilly although not as cold as you may expect. As you’ll probably spend a lot of time outdoors, we recommend bringing plenty of layers to stay warm and dry.

Here is a recommended winter packing list for your trip to Iceland:

  • Durable insulated jacket, which should be waterproof
  • Robust walking boots with a good grip
  • Mid-layers such as a fleece or woollen jumper
  • A few pairs of warm hiking socks
  • Hat, gloves and scarf
  • Swimwear for visiting geothermal pools or spas
  • Electronic equipment such as smartphone, external powerpack, and travel adapters
  • Reusable water bottle
  • Sunglasses and sunscreen for exploring in the snow or glacier excursions
  • And don’t forget your camera!
     

Your guide will provide you with blankets and crampons. You can borrow them anytime you need during your tour.

As you won’t be able to access your suitcase while sitting on the bus, we recommend packing a backpack for your daily essentials.

For more information, check the packing list suggestyion on our online Travel Guide.

With Nordic Visitor, breakfast is always included at your accommodations in Iceland. You’ll also have some dinners included throughout the guided portion of this tour, as stated in your itinerary. 

These will either be a set dinner menu or a buffet with a variety of fresh, local ingredients. You’ll be able to choose from meat, fish or vegetarian options by notifying your travel consultant in advance of any dietary restrictions.

Please note that drinks are not included with your dinners.

As for the other meals, your guide will stop along the way for you to pick up snacks, drinks and lunch.

The amount of spending money you’ll need will depend on the standard of restaurants you decide to go to. 

That said, we recommend budgeting between 2,000–3,000 ISK for lunch per person, each day. Dinners at casual restaurants might cost between 3,000–6,000 ISK. Meanwhile at upscale restaurants, you can expect to pay 7,000 ISK or more. This does not include the cost of alcoholic beverages.

As you’ll be travelling as part of a guided group tour, your itinerary for this portion of your trip is set. But you can still customise other parts of your package.

For instance, you could add extra nights in Reykjavík before or after the guided portion of your trip. This will give you more time to explore the Icelandic capital city at your own pace. You can add these additional days while booking your package online. 

You might also like to add optional excursions and day trips to your itinerary. On each tour page, you’ll see recommended optional activities such as whale watching, spas and food tours. 

Please get in touch with us if you have something specific in mind or have any questions about customising your guided group tour.

It’s best to book as soon as you can to secure your preferred travel dates. Once you have picked your tour, check the guaranteed departure calendar to see the availability. Then, select the date you want and complete your booking.

Nordic Visitor offers 10–20% deposits to reserve your tour. The remaining balance is due 30 days before you travel.

Many tours are also open for the following year if you like to plan well in advance. And if you have any questions or need advice, you can always contact us.

After booking your tour package online, you will be contacted within 2 business days by your own dedicated travel consultant. They will be your point of contact for all your travel needs before, during and even after your trip. 

At that time, they’ll confirm the availability of your tour. Then the booking process starts, which may take a few weeks. Once this is done, your travel consultant will provide you with all the details of your trip. You will also receive more information about what to expect during your trip.

You can get in touch with our Iceland travel experts ahead of your trip if you have any questions. The live chat option is useful for getting a quick reply as someone answers live every day during office opening hours.

Once you’ve booked, we’ll provide you with a travel guide packed full of local tips and top attractions for your visit. You can also check out our online Iceland Travel Guide where we’ve compiled useful information about topics, including:

After you have booked your tour, it will only take a few days to confirm its availability. But it may take a few weeks to create your itinerary and book everything. Once your trip details are finalised, we’ll email you copies of your travel documents.

When you arrive in Iceland, you’ll receive a welcome bag with hard copies of your itinerary, attraction and tour vouchers, the Nordic Visitor Iceland Travel Guide and more.

So when do you check in? And what can you expect upon landing in Keflavík?

After picking up your luggage, you will be greeted by a driver holding a sign with your name in the arrivals hall. The driver will hand over your welcome package with hard copies of your travel documents. You’ll then be driven to your hotel in Reykjavík.

Check-in times vary between hotels and guesthouses, but it normally starts between 2 PM and 4 PM. 

You are welcome to request an early check-in for an additional fee. Although this isn’t always available, you’ll be able to store your luggage at the hotel so you can start exploring before check-in. Please contact your travel consultant well in advance of your arrival if you’d like an early check-in.

When you depart may depend on the time of your return flight. Check out early if you’re heading to the airport for a morning flight. On the other hand, if you’re flying home later in the day, you might like to enjoy a leisurely day or visit one more attraction.

You will need to check out from your room, but will be able to store your luggage at the hotel reception. Simply return later to collect your bags before catching your transfer to the airport.

All bookings are billed in Icelandic Króna (ISK), the official currency of Iceland. 

Prices displayed in other currencies are indicative only and based on the daily exchange rate as issued by the Central Bank of Iceland. This means conversions from ISK to other currencies will fluctuate from day to day.

Reviews

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

Great adventure!

It was a great adventure and the Magma cabins were fantastic. 

Experience of a lifetime!

Thank you for providing an experience of a lifetime!!! The Magma Hotel was amazing! The glacial hike, glacial lagoon, Diamond Beach, and Thingvellir were my top favs. 

Accommodation

Relax in spacious, characterful hotels that are highly rated by visitors and handpicked by local travel experts.

Look forward to staying in accommodation with plenty of charm. All the hotels on your tour are ideally located and feature high-quality amenities and restaurants. Rest assured that you’ll stay in the best possible properties, which have all received excellent reviews from previous customers.

Center Hotels Laugavegur is a modern hotel located in the heart of 101 Reykjavík, on the city´s main shopping street. Each guestroom features minimalist Scandinavian design wi...

Magma Hotel is a small, intimate hotel with spacious and comfortable rooms, excellent amenities and a modern Nordic design aesthetic. The property has views of lava fields, a black sand ri...

Magma Hotel is a small, intimate hotel with spacious and comfortable rooms, excellent amenities and a modern Nordic design aesthetic. The property has views of lava fields, a black sand ri...

Center Hotels Laugavegur is a modern hotel located in the heart of 101 Reykjavík, on the city´s main shopping street. Each guestroom features minimalist Scandinavian design wi...

The hotels mentioned are our first priority for this tour. Please note that although we have included specific accommodations in the tour, these are subject to change in rare cases. We reserve the right to substitute a named property in the same locality for one of a similar standard. We will send you the final list of hotels before you arrive for your tour.

Optional extras

Customise your adventure with these Optional Extras.

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