Check the spectacular Northern Lights off your bucket list with this quick-hit trip to southern Iceland. In addition to nighttime expeditions in search of the Aurora Borealis, you'll tour some of the country's most dramatic natural wonders and unforgettable landscapes. Visit impressive waterfalls, vast glaciers, volcanic beaches, and more on this exciting winter adventure.

Highlights

  • Find the magnificent Northern Lights on a nighttime excursion
  • Visit the natural wonders of the Golden Circle
  • Explore the glaciers, waterfalls, and volcanic black sand beaches of the South Coast 

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrival and Northern Lights Tour Reykjavik
Day 2 The Golden Circle Day Tour Reykjavik
Day 3 South Shore Day Tour Reykjavik
Day 4 Departure  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrival and Northern Lights Tour

Northern Lights
The Aurora Borealis dances above a lagoon

Welcome to Iceland! Make your way from the airport into Reykjavik by shuttle and settle into your hotel. You'll have the rest of the afternoon and early evening free to explore the capital on your own. Explore the marina, wander around the Reykjavik Art Museum, or sample local delicacies like the Icelandic hot dog.

At night, you'll set out on your first Northern Lights tour. Drive away from the city lights and into the countryside to seek out the magical Aurora Borealis. The exact destination will depend on the weather forecast and cloud cover, but could be Þingvellir National Park at Lake Þingvallavatn, the lava fields of the Reykjanes Peninsula, or the Borgarfjörður area.

Make sure to wear warm clothes and sturdy shoes! This is also an excellent photo opportunity, so a camera with a tripod will come in handy if you have one.

Day 2: The Golden Circle Day Tour

Gullfoss waterfall in winter
Gullfoss waterfall in winter

Today you'll tackle the famous Golden Circle, which covers three of the most important historic and geological highlights of southwest Iceland. Beginning in Þingvellir, the country's first national park. Here you'll visit the sites of landmark moments in Icelandic history dating all the way back to Viking times. 

In addition to its spectacular natural beauty, the park is also home to unique geological activity. It's one of the only sites on Earth where you can observe the effects of two major tectonic plates drifting apart. Plus, it's one of the main filming locations for the popular television show, Game of Thrones.

Next, you'll continue on to the Geysir Geothermal Area, where you'll discover Strokkur, one of the most active geysers in the world. It shoots out hot water and steam every five to eight minutes, reaching a height of about 65 to 82 feet (20 to 25 m). Break for lunch before heading toward Gullfoss, Europe's second most powerful waterfall. Located on the mighty Hvítár glacial river, Gullfoss's dramatic drop is a sight not to be missed.

In the evening, you'll have another chance to spot the Northern Lights if they eluded you the night before.

Day 3: South Shore Day Tour

Skogafoss waterfall in winter
Skogafoss waterfall in winter

This morning you'll set out on a tour of the South Coast's diverse landscapes, where you'll see everything from farmland to active volcanoes to glaciers, waterfalls, and black sand beaches. The area is also renowned for its abundant bird life.

Your guide will drive you along the Ring Road, stopping first at the Seljalandsfoss and Skogafoss waterfalls. The source of these stunning falls is the Eyjafjallajokull glacier, located on top of a volcano. Next, head to the volcanic black sands of Reynisfjara beach, where you'll find unusual basalt rock formations. In the summer months, you're likely to see puffins roaming the cliffs in the area.

Then make your way to the scenic village of Vik for lunch. You'll also have a chance to explore the local wool factory in this remote seaside community. Continue on to the Sólheimajökull glacier, where you'll go for a short walk to get an up-close-and-personal view of this natural wonder. Sadly, this is one of the strongest examples of how fast glaciers are melting due to climate change.

Return to Reykjavik for your last night.

Day 4: Departure

Northern Lights on the South Shore
Northern Lights on the South Shore

Say your final farewells to breathtaking Iceland! After breakfast, you'll leave your hotel and be driven to the airport for your onward flight. 

Map

Map of Chasing the Northern Lights in South Iceland - 4 Days
Map of Chasing the Northern Lights in South Iceland - 4 Days