Your gateway to glaciers, geysers and geothermal hot spots

Want a big adventure in a short amount of time? Travel to Iceland and explore the ancient land of Vikings and volcanoes on this five-day Lonely Planet Experience. Traverse the Golden Circle and marvel at the explosive power of the Geysir Geothermal Area and Gulfoss waterfall. Walk the black sand beaches of the Jokulsarlon lagoon and decide whether take an optional walk on the mighty Myrdalsjokull glacier. This fast-paced adventure focuses on the natural, untamed beauty of Iceland – taking you straight to the heart of the action with a local leader by your side.


Start
Reykjavik, Iceland
Finish
Reykjavik, Iceland
Destination
Iceland
Style
Basix
Theme
Lonely Planet Experience
Code
BMRI
Physical rating
Ages
Min 15
Group size
Min 1, Max 16

A powerful partnership

Lonely Planet and Intrepid Travel share the same philosophy: we help curious people explore the world.

Why you'll love this trip

  • This five-day tour is perfect for those who are after an express jaunt around to Iceland’s hotspots. See the wonders including the Golden Circle, southern Vik, and Jokulsarlon’s glacial lagoon.

  • Explore Reynisfjara, the famous beach where black sand meets towering basalt columns and rocky cliffs where seabirds rest.

  • Spend time exploring Jokulsarlon glacier lagoon, perhaps walking along nearby Diamond Beach where chunks of icebergs wash up on the black sand, or opting for a lagoon cruising experience.

  • Stand at the bottom of Skogafoss – a waterfall with a 60-metre cascade – then hike along a winding wooden staircase to the fall’s crest for views of the coastline.

  • Spend the night in a local guesthouse that is leading the way in sustainable Icelandic tourism, with the chance to give back to the environment by planting trees to combat deforestation and soil erosion.

Is this trip right for you?

  • The destinations visited on this trip can be cold throughout the year, especially between November and April. Please bring appropriate clothing for adverse weather conditions. There may be the rare occasion where your leader has to alter the itinerary and activities due to the weather. In this case an alternative will be offered.

  • Due to the remote locations we visit, there are a few long drives on this trip. This is a great opportunity to enjoy the scenery and spend some time getting to know the other members of your group. On this trip we are travelling in our own private minibus with complimentary wi-fi.

  • As accommodation on this trip is twin or multishare, single travellers will share a room with other travellers of the same gender. Twin-share, quad-share and multishare bunk accommodation may be used depending on the season and the make-up of the group. A single supplement is not available on this trip. Please also be aware that many guesthouses in Iceland offer shared bathrooms rather than ensuite facilities. Rooms in Iceland can be small, and at times you may be accommodated a short walk away from the main building.

Itinerary

Hallo! Welcome to Iceland. The world's northernmost capital of Reykjavik lies just below the Arctic Circle. The city sees around four hours of sunlight a day in winter and 22 hours or more in summer. Surrounded by volcanic peaks and crystalline ocean, and boasting a vibrant arts and nightlife scene, Reykjavik's contrasts are utterly beguiling. Why not arrive early and head to the National Museum, which depicts the history of Iceland from the ninth century (when the first Vikings from mainland Scandinavia arrived and settled) to the present day, or join locals who gossip and chatter in the Laugardalslaug Geothermal Pool.
Accommodation
  • Guesthouse (1 night)
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Special Information
Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6 pm today – see reception for more details. If you can't arrange a flight that will arrive in time, you may wish to arrive a day early. We'll be happy to book additional accommodation for you (subject to availability). If you're going to be late, please inform the hotel reception. We'll be collecting your insurance details and next of kin information at this meeting, so please have these on hand.

You can check in at the joining point hotel anytime after 2 pm. While early check-in is not guaranteed, feel free to store your luggage there if you arrive with some time to spare.
Head out of town early this morning to follow the Golden Circle driving route towards Thingvellir National Park. Thingvellir was the location of Iceland's first parliament, founded in AD930, and is also the site of the Silfra Fissure, where tectonic plates are pulling apart and exposing some pretty wild rock shelves. Continue on to the Geysir Geothermal Area and check out the Strokkur Geyser – it swells with blue water before erupting and shooting a spout some 20–30 metres in the air. Finally, witness the sheer power of the Gullfoss (Golden) Waterfall on the Hvita River. After your Golden Circle tour, head to tonight's accommodation in the Hvolsvollur region. This guesthouse is a leader in local responsible tourism and sustainability. The owners started a tree planting project on their land to contribute to lowering atmospheric carbon dioxide and counteract soil erosion. Tonight, you’ll have the option to join the effort and head out into the hills surrounding the property to plant trees yourself.
Accommodation
  • Guesthouse (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Golden Circle - Thingvellir National Park
  • Golden Circle - Strokkur Geysir
  • Golden Circle - Gullfoss Waterfall
Optional Activities
  • Hvolsvollur Valley - Responsible Travel Tree Planting Activity - ISK2500
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Special Information
Total driving distance approximately 250 kilometres / 3–4 hours
Begin the day with a visit to the breathtaking Skogafoss – a giant waterfall, 25-metres wide and dropping 60 metres. Get up close and feel its power, then climb a long and windy set of stairs to a stunning viewpoint. Next up is one of Europe's biggest ice caps – Myrdalsjokull – which covers the active volcano Katla. Choose whether to join an optional hike over the glacier tongue – no experience is necessary. It’s sobering to think that the glacier is retreating due to rising world temperatures and may soon be gone. If you don't want to take the glacier walk, perhaps explore the area around the glacier tongue. Alternatively, Skogafoss waterfall has a number of walking trails, or you can visit the Skogar folk museum. Afterwards, continue along Iceland's South Shore, spotting bird colonies on the promontory of Dyrholaey, Iceland's southernmost point. You’ll also see the amazing stepping-stone rock formations of Reynisdrangar and its black sand beach, Reynisfjara. Continue to your overnight stop in the countryside near Reynivellir.
Accommodation
  • Guesthouse (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Skogafoss - Waterfall Visit
  • South Coast - Dyrholaey & Reynisfjara Rocks
Optional Activities
  • Skogar Folk Museum - ISK2000
  • Myrdalsjokull Glacier Walk - ISK9500
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Special Information
Total driving distance approximately 300 kilometres / 4–5 hours
This morning, visit one of Iceland's undisputed highlights: the Jokulsarlon glacier lagoon. Consider jumping on an optional cruise among the icebergs, or just take a walk along the shore down to Diamond Beach, where icebergs from the lagoon wash up on its black sands. Later today, head to Vik for lunch. With the sea on one side and high cliffs on the other, this dramatically positioned small village is Iceland's most southerly mainland settlement. In the afternoon, complete your southerly loop by heading back to Reykjavik. Here, join your local leader for a short guided walk of the capital to visit the old harbour, city centre and Hallgrimskirkja church. The evening is free for you to enjoy all the capital has to offer, so why not get a group of your travel crew together for dinner.
Accommodation
  • Guesthouse (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Reykjavik - Walking Tour
  • Jokulsarlon - Glacier Lagoon
Optional Activities
  • Jokulsarlon - Boat Ride on Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon - ISK5800
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Special Information
Total driving distance approximately 450 kilometres / 6–7 hours
With no activities planned for today, it’s time to say 'sjaumst' to your group leader and fellow travellers. That doesn’t mean your adventure has to come to an end! If you’d like to spend more time in Reykjavik and surrounds, we’ll be happy to book additional accommodation (subject to availability). What happens next is up to you – maybe a snorkelling adventure in the Silfra Fissure or a soak in the famous Blue Lagoon. You’ve got the power to choose your own adventure, so be sure to check your Lonely Planet app for inspiration.
Optional Activities
  • Reykjavik - Saga Museum - ISK2200
  • Reykjavik - Maritime Museum - ISK1700
  • Reykjavik - Whales of Iceland Museum - ISK2900
  • Reykjavik - Volcano House - ISK1790
  • Reykjavik - Settlement Exhibition - ISK1700
  • Reykjavik - Harpa Concert Hall - Free
  • Reykjavik - Perlan Museum - ISK3900
  • Keflavik - Blue Lagoon - ISK11000
  • Reykjavik - Whale Watching (Seasonal) - ISK9000
  • Nauthólsvík - Thermal Beach - Free
  • Laugarvatn - Fontana Geothermal Baths - ISK3800
  • Fludir - Secret Lagoon - ISK3000
  • Reykjavik - Lava Tunnel Tour - ISK11400
  • Reykjavik - Silfra Fissure Snorkelling Day Trip - ISK21900
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Special Information
The Blue Lagoon has limited availability, and during peak times tickets sell out far in advance. We recommend you book your time slot online in advance if you would like to be sure of a certain time/date for your visit. Visit bluelagoon.com for more information and to book.
This trip is a Lonely Planet Experience
Our Lonely Planet Experiences include plenty of free time so you can do the things that suit your budget and interests. Between your Intrepid Travel leader’s local knowledge and Lonely Planet’s trusted travel tips and recommendations, your trip will be more epic than ever.

Meals

2 breakfasts

Transport

Private minibus with free Wi-Fi

Accommodation

Guesthouses & Farm Stays (4 nights)

Included activities

  • Golden Circle - Thingvellir National Park
  • Golden Circle - Strokkur Geysir
  • Golden Circle - Gullfoss Waterfall
  • Skogafoss - Waterfall Visit
  • South Coast - Dyrholaey & Reynisfjara Rocks
  • Reykjavik - Walking Tour
  • Jokulsarlon - Glacier Lagoon

Lonely Planet extras

  • Free access to the Lonely Planet mobile app for one year
  • 25% discount on all items in the Lonely Planet Shop

Dates & availability

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Important notes

COSTS AND PRICES
Iceland can be an expensive destination, especially in terms of eating out. In remote areas the only option for dinner will be at the guesthouse we are staying at. Stock up on food at a supermarket prior to arrival if you would like to opt out eating at onsite restaurant. Please make sure you read the trip notes carefully in order to know what is and what isn't included in the trip price. Your leader will be able to advise on how to save money.

SINGLE SUPPLEMENT
A single supplement is not available on this trip.

Essential trip information

Want an in-depth insight into this trip? Essential Trip Information provides a detailed itinerary, visa info, how to get to your hotel, what's included - pretty much everything you need to know about this adventure and more.

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