At the point where two continental plates brush up against each other lies incredible Iceland, the land of fire and ice. Experience the natural highlights of this staggeringly beautiful country, strolling along striking black sand beaches and hiking to enchanting, rainbow-dappled waterfalls. Watch the Earth in action at some of the island’s volcanoes, gain insights into the life and culture of the Icelandic people, and explore the otherworldly landscapes that have inspired fantasy writers for centuries, from Jules Verne to J.R.R. Tolkein and George R. R. Martin.

Trip highlights

Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon Visit, Visit the Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon with views of the ice cap. The lake is the lowest point in the country and filled with icebergs drifting towards the sea, often with seals lounging on top.

Skaftafell National Park Glacier Hike, Hike some of the many maintained trails in Skaftafell National Park, famous throughout the country for its excellent weather and sunny summer days. This preservation area in the southeast is now incorporated into the larger Vatnajökull National Park.

Itinerary - 9 Days

Day 1 Reykjavík

Arrive at any time.

Day 2 Reykjavík/Skaftafell

Discover the beauty of Iceland’s southern coast as we drive towards Skaftafell.Take in views of the infamous Eyjafjallajökull volcano, whose 2010 eruption sent massive clouds of ash into the atmosphere of the North Atlantic. See the stunning Seljalandsfoss waterfall, and follow a hidden path through a canyon to the secluded falls of Gljúfrabúi. Stop in Hveragerði, nicknamed the “hot spring village,” where you will have the opportunity to taste bread baked in a hot spring. Then visit the Lava Center in Hvolsvöllur for a look at how volcanoes and earthquakes have shaped the island.

Day 3 Skaftafell

Continue exploring the southern shore, driving through sandy plains and moss-covered lava fields and stopping along the way at historical and geological sites. Visit Diamond Beach, scattered with icebergs that wash up on the black sands, and see iridescent ice formations in the Jökulsárlón glacial lagoon. Hike in Vatnajökull National Park to Svartifoss waterfall, framed by basaltic lava columns, and pause at a historic farmstead in Öræfi, home to one of Iceland’s best preserved turf churches.

Day 4 Skaftafell/Vik

Embark on a guided walk atop a glacier in Skaftafell National Park, which was incorporated into Vatnajökull National Park in 2008. Strap on a pair of crampons and get close-up views of intriguing ice formations, deep sinkholes, and rugged crevasses. Later, stroll along the black sands of Reynisfjara beach, capturing images of the towering Reynisdrangar sea stacks.

Day 5 Vik/Golden Circle/Selfoss

This morning, learn about Icelandic cultural heritage at the Skógar Folk Museum and visit the awe-inspiring Skógafoss waterfall, opting to climb 400-odd steps to the viewing platform for spectacular vistas. Then set out on a tour of the celebrated Golden Circle. Visit the mighty Gullfoss waterfall and stand in awe before the steaming Geysir, from which the English word “geyser” derives.

Day 6 Selfoss/Snæfellsnes

Begin the day with a walk in Thingvellir National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site, where we’ll see the meeting point of the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates. Continue to a traditional Icelandic farm—located in the narrow fjord of Hvalfjörður—to learn about rural Icelandic life and enjoy a farm-to-table lunch. We’ll then make our way to the stunning Snæfellsnes Peninsula in western Iceland.

Day 7 Snæfellsnes

Spend the day exploring the peninsula, including Snæfellsjökull National Park and its mystical glacier-topped volcano, which Jules Verne wrote about in his novel Journey to the Center of the Earth. See Búðir church, a tiny black church perched in the middle of a lava field; the Lóndrangar sea stacks; the black pebble beach at Djúpalónssandur; and the iconic peak of Kirkjufell, featured in Game of Thrones.

Day 8 Snæfellsnes/Reykjavík

Venture to Borgarfjörður, a picturesque fjord that has provided the setting for many of Iceland’s sagas. See the Hraunfossar and Barnafoss waterfalls; and step into Reykholt, the homestead of the 12th-century writer Snorri Sturluson. We’ll also visit Deildartunguhver, Europe's most powerful hot spring, whose water heats most buildings in western Iceland. Continue to Reykjavík for our final evening.

Day 9 Reykjavík

Depart at any time.

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