(3 days/2 nights) Tour Code: WG316
£720 per person (maximum 20 people, minimum age 10)
This tour takes in many of Iceland’s most spectacular natural wonders and includes an ice-caving expedition, glacier hike and time for hunting the magical Northern Lights. The Jökulsárlón Glacial Lagoon, on the edge of the Vatnajökull National Park (Europe’s largest), is one of the most spectacular sights in Iceland and was a setting for two James Bond films – A View To A Kill and Die Another Day. It can be reached in a long day-trip from , but visiting it as part of a two or three-day excursion allows you to spend more time exploring the scenery of the south coast en route.
After a pick-up (09:00 – 09:30) from your accommodation in the capital, the tour begins by following the famous route, stopping first at Thingvellir National Park, where two of the earth’s tectonic plates meet and are slowly drifting apart. The Park has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site, as the location of the first parliament, founded in 930AD. You then move on to the Geysir geothermal area where Strokkur (“The Churn”) erupts every few minutes and then to Gullfoss, one of the most beautiful of Iceland’s numerous waterfalls. Driving along Iceland’s dramatic south coast, your first stop is at Seljalandsfoss, which plunges 60m over a cliff into a shallow pool. If you don’t mind getting wet, you can take the trail that goes behind the waterfall. Then it’s on to the village of Vik, with its black sand beach and remarkable basalt columns and sea stacks, before you arrive at your countryside hotel (simple rooms with ensuite facilities) nearby. If conditions allow, you can head out to hunt for the Northern Lights.
On Day 2 you will encounter a giant lava field, formed from the largest lava flow from a single eruption in recorded history. This afternoon, you will explore an ice cave (safety helmet provided but be sure to wear water-resistant hiking boots) with an expert guide, who will decide which of several possible caves to visit depending on weather and other conditions. After a ride in a Super Jeep to your destination, you will remain in the cave for at least 45 minutes, marvelling at the intense blue colour of the ice, before continuing on to the spectacular Jökulsárlón glacial lagoon with its floating icebergs, and then to your accommodation for the night.
On Day 3, after a return visit to the lagoon, where you might be lucky enough to see seals, you will put on crampons and join your guide for a glacier hike (1-2 hours) in the Skaftafell Nature Reserve, enjoying spectacular views as you walk. Please note: You do not need a particularly high level of fitness for this activity but hiking boots are essential, as crampons cannot be fitted to trainers or light walking shoes. After the hike, you will head back to . You have the choice of being taken directly to your accommodation (arriving between 20:00 and 21:00) or setting out to search for the Northern Lights. This expedition is free-of-charge and includes a stop at a restaurant where you can buy dinner or light refreshments. Afterwards, the drop off at your accommodation is likely to be between 00:00 and 01:00.
Please note: Iceland’s ever-changing weather conditions mean that a degree of flexibility has been built into this tour and your guide will decide on each trip exactly how the itinerary will operate. The price includes breakfast but no other meals.
Departures: November – March (daily)