Headed to Iceland for your next holiday? It’s time to check out which of the best Iceland tours are truly worth your time and money. Considering there are several and it can get pretty confusing when it comes to Iceland winter tours especially, it’s best to do your research before you decide. Anyway, you have nothing to worry about, because that’s what we are here to help you with!
You’ve probably heard that the cost of living in Iceland is one of the highest in the world and that means that when you’re hunting for the best tours in Iceland, they’re not going to come cheap. This is all the more true in winter when quite a few roads are closed down and downright dangerous to drive on – this eliminates the benefits of a self-drive option for most people. Besides, who wants to keep their eyes on the road when there are spectacular views around? So, it would be wise to let private or group tour operators take care of the logistics and hassles.
Once you’ve made up your mind to leave all the hassles to tour operators, the question remains which one – a private tour or a group tour? Personally, I think it makes sense to take group tours as the savings add up to a large amount, especially when it comes to an expensive country like Iceland. I mean why take just one private tour when I could get 3 different group tours with nearly the same amount!
Group or Private tour in Iceland – the Decision is difficult
Speaking from my experience – after opting for so many tours – here are the best ones which even you can consider during your trip to Iceland.
Hunting the Northern Lights, also called Aurora Borealis, is usually on top of the list for most travelers when it comes to Iceland winter tours. The Northern Lights can be sighted from September to April when the nights are longer. You need clear sky to see the sky magically turning green from blue.
However, a good sighting requires multiple tours and good luck! Good photography skills and a bit research for shooting Northern Lights would come in handy. Consider a trip of around 10 days to better your chances of a sighting. If you’re on a short 2-to-3-day trip, you’ll probably need to book a trip every day and then cross your fingers for luck! We did not see it the first time we went on Northern Lights hunting trip, but rescheduled it after two days (only after checking the forecast). As luck would have it, we successfully saw the lights on our second hunting.
Given the weather conditions in Iceland are unpredictable, especially during the winter time, it is best to have a window of 7-10 days to ensure you go back home only after witnessing the magical phenomenon.
It is possible to do multiple day trips from Reykjavik to Southern Coast of Iceland, which is likely to cost you less. But then driving through the same route each day to reach South Coast first would be a waste of time.
My suggestion: Book at least two days tour to the Southern Coast especially if you are not driving the Ring Road route.
This two day best South Coast Iceland tour showcases the breathtaking sights that Iceland has to offer. Explore Vik – the quaint Icelandic village just south of the Katla volcano; feel like a true explorer as you witness the sheer spectacle that is the Jökulsárlón glacier, and visit the Reynisfjara Black Sand Beach that reminds you of lunar landscape from your dreams.
This region also boasts of two spectacular waterfalls – Seljalandsfoss and Skogafoss. You simply cannot miss visiting these waterfalls during your South Coast tour in Iceland.
Most likely, if you are visiting the Southern Coast during winter, you are sure to see the Northern Lights as well. We got extremely lucky and ended up seeing the phenomenon once again during our stay at Hotel Brunnhóll in South East Iceland.
The beauty that is the ‘Diamond Beach’
The quintessential tour to the Black Sand Beach in South Coast
Signing up for Ice Cave Tour is like taking a trip into another world – so incredibly different. Well, all of Iceland is like that but then entering a natural ice cave and seeing the beauty inside can literally give you the feels. You’ll embark on a journey that is far away from the usual touristy trail and enter a magical world with breathtaking surroundings.
To reach the cave, you’d first need to walk on Mýrdalsjökull glacier which by itself is something of a novelty and when you hear that it’s the largest glacier in Europe, you’ll have something to boast about when you get back home! Again, this one definitely qualifies as one of the best tours in Iceland.
Also, if you are a true Game of Thrones fan, you wouldn’t want to miss visiting this cave as a lot of shooting of Season 3 was done here. Would you want to miss this?
A parallel world indeed – Katla Ice Cave
We went inside there to see the natural Katla Ice Cave
The Icelandic horse is one of the oldest breeds of horses and is super cute being almost pony-sized but with a mane that can beat any rock star! Hop on and canter off to enjoy the natural landscapes as you ride atop these beautiful creatures for a high that is unmatched! This is one of the day trips from Reykjavik that you must check out.
A love-filled day spent caressing the cutest Icelandic horses
When selecting from the best Iceland tours and wondering if they are worth the amount that you’re coughing up, the Silfra snorkeling tour would more than meet your expectations!
It challenging to a small degree, but the water is crystal clear and the views are mind-blowing. Who would want to miss out on the once in a lifetime experience of snorkeling between two continents!
The Golden Circle tour gives you excellent views of the waterfalls and geysers that Iceland is famous for. Consider this as one of your day trips from Reykjavik that you’d better not miss.
Seeing the must-see sights in a monster truck or super jeep has a thrill of its own, while still being extremely comfortable. Plus, it gives you the flexibility of spending as much time or as little time at a place as you wish. We really wanted to ride a monster truck as we were supremely fascinated by the plush designing and massive tyres. Hence, it was a wise decision to combine our visit to Golden Circle and snowmobiling experience.
Monster truck tour with Arctic Adventures
Snowmobiling on the second largest glacier in Iceland was so much fun
One of my personal favourites, Snaefellsnes Peninsula Tour is especially recommended for Game of Thrones fans. This can be done as a one day tour from Reykjavik particularly if you want to focus on the best Iceland tours.
Explore and experience the Western Iceland and learn why this land is called the land of fire and ice. Marvel at the black pearl sand beaches at the edge of the peninsula. And visit some of the most secluded villages in the world including Arnarstapi and Hellnar.
Dramatic landscapes of Western Iceland
Djúpalónssandur or the Black Lava Pearl Beach in Western Iceland
The gorgeous Kirkjufellsfoss Waterfall in Snæfellsnes Peninsula
There is no dearth of adventure in Iceland as all the best Iceland tours are packed with it. However, Sólheimajökull glacier hiking tour gives you an unexplained adrenaline rush as you negotiate the icy climb with the help of experts.
The tip of the day when it comes to this tour is to definitely dress in layers and carry a raincoat. We ruined our expensive camera on this tour only due to carelessness and lack of preparation.
Sólheimajökull hiking must be done with an experienced guide
Pictures of you in a surreal landscape with the famous DC plane wreck in the background are certain to set your Instagram ablaze! Hold that thought and combine it with an adrenalin pumping ATV ride on volcanic sandy beaches and you’ll agree that this one is a winner!
There are a lot of different ATV/buggy tours from Reykjavik that you can opt for, depending on your requirement.
You can do this tour separately if you do not wish to combine it with the South Coast tour.
If you just want to enjoy an action-filled adventure then panorama 1-Hour ATV/quad adventure in Reykjanes Geopark is the best option for you.
ATV tour to the plane wreck site is definitely going to be the highlight
Wish to get the most of the fascinating Iceland scenery in a quick 1-hour duration? Sign-up for a helicopter tour in Iceland. You will fly over Iceland’s most spectacular areas, soaring over hot springs, volcanic craters, and geothermal power plants.
For short trips from 1 to 3 days, you’d need to prioritize your list of ‘must do’s’. That’s why we’ve put together a list that you can give a miss.
Reykjavik city tour – you’ll probably be staying at Reykjavik and that’s enough to give you a feel of the city. Save time and skip the city tour.
Northern lights tour – though this one is a biggie, there’s no guarantee that you’ll get to see them in such a short stay – save time and trouble skip this one for a longer trip later.
Blue Lagoon tour – It’s expensive and there are thermal pools with similar benefits all around Iceland for free!
Be a good tourist and get the best from your group tours. Remember the best Iceland tours or at least a majority of them begin from and end at Reykjavik. But, you’ll need to confirm before booking your pick up and drop off points. Not all tour companies pick you up from your hotel, instead they may specify a common point that’s easy to reach with local transport.
Remember it’s a common courtesy and common sense to reach a little before the specified meeting time whether it is at the lobby of your hotel or at some other common meeting point.
Reaching 10 to 15 minutes earlier than specified not only ensures that you do not delay the departure of your tour, it also ensures you manage a good seat for great views as your tour bus takes you around. And it’s always good to stay in the good books of fellow passengers by not being the cause of delays.
Hope this guide will help you make the best of your Iceland tours. Let us know in the comment section if you took any tour based on our recommendation.
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