A playground for the adventurous, Iceland is home to some of the most breathtaking landscapes in the world. The staggering country has seen a significant tourism boom in the past few years- and for good reason. Winding roads, quaint cities, and an abundance of reykjavik day trips make Iceland one the top destinations for travel worldwide.
After visiting Iceland over 4 times for work, below are a list of Iceland day tours I’ve tried and recommend. Each one of these tours is perfect for families, couples, friends, and solo travelers. I always opt to stay with Center Hotels: a boutique hotel chain with properties spread across Reykjavik.
Reykjavik Food Tour
Tour Company: Wake up Reykjavik
Cost: 15 900 ISK or $113
The Wake Up Reykjavik food tour was one of my highlights. As a solo traveler, it’s often difficult to meet people on a trip; therefore, this was the ideal first-day activity. This excursion meets in Reykjavik at the Harpa Concert Hall main entrance, downtown. They all leave at multiple times throughout the day/evening, so this gives you some flexibility with your planning.
For around $100, I spent 3 hours visiting around 4-5 spots. From Hákarl (fermented shark) to Kjötsúpa (lamb soup), we had the opportunity to sample all the local favorites. This is an ideal trip if you’re traveling solo, to meet new people.
Golden Circle & Secret Lagoon
Tour Company: Your Day Tours
Cost: 14 990 ISK or $107
During this Iceland day tour, we enjoyed multiple stops along the infamous Golden Circle. The tour picks up from hotels and designated bus stops throughout Reykjavik, which makes it a convenient option.
(For tips on where to stay, read my recommendations)
Þingvellir National Park
UNESCO site and home to stone walls and gorgeous landscapes. This is the closest you will ever be to two continents at the same time. The Eurasian and American tectonic plates separate about 2cm every year. (There is a cafe here and restrooms).
Nicknamed the “Mini Niagara Falls,” this is probably one of the more impressive waterfalls I had the chance of visiting in Iceland. The walk to the waterfall is quite steep and slippery, so I suggest visiting the cafe before you make the trek down- I got a delicious apple pie and cappuccino, and there’s also a huge gift store for on the way back.
The Great Geysir
There are 2 ways to get to the geyser locations. The simple way; Follow the arrow across the street, straight to the geysers. The hiking way; Walk straight by the playground and climb the Lupine-covered hills to the top.
If you don’t pay ahead of time, and change your mind, the tour guides are very flexible. This was one of the highlights of the trip. It wasn’t overloaded with tourists and you can grab a beer or glass of wine to float around with. (Entrance is about $23.)
Golden Circle & Friðheimar Tomato Farm Tour
Day tours in Iceland are an excellent way to off the beaten path locations like this one. A quick drive from Reykjavik to the Golden Circle makes this one of the most popular Iceland day tour routes. Picture imploding geysers, astounding waterfalls, and immaculate views. Many tour companies offer packages which include the Golden Circle and one or two other locations.
As an alternative to the above trip, you can opt to visit the Circle and infamous Fridheimer Tomato Farm as a day tour from Reykjavik.
We spent the morning exploring the other-worldly area that is the Golden Circle. Strolling past bubbling geysers and testing our bravery standing above the towering waterfall. The next stop on this tour will be the farm. Known for its focus on sustainability and and responsible tourism, Fridheimer is a a must visit year round. Wade by the hundreds of tomato vines, and sample the famous tomato-flavored beer or fresh tomato soup.
As an added treat, our tour guide stopped at Laugarvatn Fontana. A geothermal spa sat along the coast, experience geothermal energy first-hand as you watch the baking of the rye bread. We dug out a pot and enjoyed the warmth with a side of Icelandic butter and other accoutrements.
South Coast & ATV Adventure
Tour Company: Reykjavik Excursions
Cost: 31 420 ISK or $223
Experience the power of the black sand beach as you cruise along its powerful shores. Our trip leaders took us through some of the toughest terrain and flat lands: wading through mountain lakes and up and down steep hills. Once we got the hang of our ride, we ventured over to Sólheimasandur beach.
Admiring the immense power of the waves as they crashed around us, here, we explored the mystery of the DC-3 plane wreck. The streams and inferior mountain ranges, took me by surprise at each turn. On the way home, our driver stopped at two of the most famous waterfalls; Seljalandsfoss and Skógafoss. (All gear is provided by the tour company, so just wear layers).
South Coast & Glacier Hike
Tour Company: Troll Expeditions
Cost: 22 900 ISK or $169
As far as Iceland day tours go, this one is well worth the money for what you get. You hit 4 major stops along the way (including a bucket list glacier hike), making this one of the best Reykjavik day trips.
Stunning area. The van parks at the bottom, where there are restrooms, a stunning stream, and mountain views. If you have waterproof gear, you can go close to the fall. (Be careful, if it’s windy, you really do get wet!) If you climb the 370 steps to the top, you’ll be glad you did! You’ll be stunned at the amazing views from the top.
With time in between, take a short drive to Vik village. Home of the red-roofed church, cute cafe’s, and a black sand beach. Be sure to grab a sandwich and eat by the water! Making the trek up from where the bus stops to the church is tricky. Hidden by wildflower, the signs leading to the church are difficult to see. With only an hour, use your time wisely.
The views here are distracting and the waves unpredictable. (Wear waterproof shoes and socks). There are some stunning rock forms to see, black sand, and PUFFINS! Spotting puffin nests above the rocks is pretty easy and a must-see. (When I was looking, I backed into the freezing cold water– my waterproof hiking socks were a life-save here).