“My husband and I would like to plan a 4-night trip to Iceland with a focus on seeing the natural wonders and the Northern Lights. We have done some planning and it seems that 2 nights in Reykjavik and 2 nights somewhere in the southeast is the best plan, but we are open to suggestions. For such a short trip we need help selecting the best activities, as well as logistical planning so that we maximize our time and don't spend too much of it in the car. We are fairly active, early 50's, and have traveled extensively. We would enjoy hiking, ice climbing, perhaps caving, perhaps the snorkeling experience, but not snowmobiling. We would like a visit to the hot springs spa, but that wouldn't be the focus of our trip. We prefer private tours, and would like to stay in top-quality hotels and try the best of Iceland's cuisine.”
Midgard Adventure Team, a local specialist from Iceland, helped this traveler put together a customized itinerary based on 5 Action-packed days in South Iceland (+ extensions).
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Trip planning highlights
Summary of the trip planning conversation
Day 1. Arrival day. Private transfer from Airport to your accommodation in Reykjavik. Free time. Reykjavik sightseeing on your own.
Day 2. Guide will pick you up from your accommodation in Reykjavik in the morning and take you to beautiful attractions of Golden Circle. This day you will visit attractions of Golden Circle. Gullfoss, a beautiful golden waterfall, Geysir, the father of all Geysirs and Thingvellir, the national park filled with Iceland history where the tectonic plates meet. You will visit the following sights: Gullfoss Waterfall, Geyser and Strokkur, geothermal area and hot springs, Thingvellir National Park, Thingvallavatn Lake, Silfra Lake, Almannagja - Mid-Atlantic Ridge, where the North American and European continental plates are pulling apart from each other, the Althing area, Oxara river and Oxarafoss waterfall and Thingvallakirkja Church.
As this is private tour, our local guide can show a little bit of extra- some hidden spots and sights on the way. We will play around the weather and set up logistic according the best conditions on that day. But all sights that I mentioned above will be included. Drop off in your hotel in South Iceland. Duration of this tour is around 7 hours.
Day 3. Your guide will pick you up around 10 am and take you to the Valley of Nordic God Thor in super jeep. Þórsmörk is located between three glaciers and volcanoes, Eyjafjalljokull (the one that erupted in 2010), Tindfjallajökull and Myrdalsjökull. On our way we cross glacial rivers, stop by the most interesting places including Gijokull Glacier - ice tongue of Eyjafjallajokull Volcano and have short walks around. Inside of Þórsmörk are different hiking possibilities depending on your wishes. On our way to Þórsmörk we also stop by at the canyons like Stakkholtsgjá and even at Nauthúsagil a small beautiful canyon. Meal is not included into price, we usually stop at Volcano Huts restaurant in Husadalur Valley where you can buy simple lunch - soup and bread. The duration of this tour is approx. 6-7 hours.
Day 4. We continue our journey along the south coast through the rich farmlands to the majestic mountains. The Black beach is a must see sights when you visit Iceland, Skógarfoss waterfall is a powerful one and one of the trademarks for the South Coast, Vik is a small village and some say one of the most photogenic town in Iceland, Sólheimajokull is one of the ice tongue coming down from the famous Katla Volcano. During this tour there is the opportunity to stand behind a plummeting waterfall, walk along a beach of black and, gaze at a natural rock formation. Duration of this day is 7-8 hours.
We can combine this day with 2 hours ice walk on a glacier.
Accommodation at the same hotel.
Day 5. Private transfer to airport for your flight back home.
As you need to be at the airport around 1:15 PM, we can start day earlier and visit Blue Lagoon spa for 2 hours. Then we will need to start driving from your hotel not later 8:30 AM and book Blue Lagoon at 10:30-11:00
For 1 night in Reykjavik I would recommend to stay at hotel ALDA (4 stars hotel in down town)
Our trip to Iceland couldn't have been more perfect. To start with, it is a beautiful country and we were very fortunate to have had perfectly clear weather the entire 5 days we were there in February/March, after what we had been told was a very rainy winter. 18 inches of snow fell just before we arrived, and the Northern lights were out every night, making it a winter wonderland. That part was sheer luck, but on top of that, the trip was as smooth as we could have hoped. Our driver was waiting at the airport and took us right to our hotel which we had booked the previous night because of our very early morning arrival. The first day in Reykavik we planned on our own. The next 4 days were planned by the kimkim operator. We had private tours of the Golden Circle and the south coast, and a group tour to the Thorsmark wilderness area. On the final day we took a quick tour of the Reykjanes peninsula and then a stop at the Blue Lagoon before heading to the airport. We had 2 guides for those 4 days, and both were very friendly and knowledgeable and made everything run so smoothly that we didn't have to worry about a thing. We felt very lucky that our guide for the south coast tour had grown up in the area, and he took us to see places where his family had lived and told us the stories behind them. Although we did some of the usual tourist things, we loved also going to a few places where we didn't see another person. The hike up the mountain where his great-great grandfather had a farm was spectacular. We appreciated his flexibility in changing the plan on the last day when we were tired and wanted to get back to the hotel a little bit earlier than planned.
The only thing I would have changed about our trip was the trip to the Blue Lagoon, but that is in hindsight. We had heard a lot about it and felt like we had to go see what it was all about, but it was too crowded and too touristy for our tastes. The hot lagoon was a unique experience, but if I had to do it over again I would try one of the natural springs out in the countryside instead, and save a lot of money too!
As far as the planning process, I have tried several different online travel planning services, and I really like the way kimkim uses a back and forth conversation to plan the details. It's much quicker than other services that start with a formal proposal, which then has to be laboriously modified if you want changes. For our Iceland trip, the local operator started with a general plan, then narrowed down the details, and then presented a completed proposal. Most of my communication was with the local tour operator, but on 2 occasions when there was a breakdown in communication the Kimkim team stepped in and sorted it out quickly. I hope kimkim adds more locations to their offerings. I will use it again.
A couple of very small details that could have been improved - our trip to Thorsmark was 1-1/2 hours longer than described. It seemed as if our guide added on some things at the end to give us our money's worth, but we were tired and would have been happy to end on time. Part of the reason we were so tired was because on our hike the guide raced ahead of the group instead of going at our pace. We weren't all 20-somethings who hike glaciers in our spare time, and it isn't much fun hiking if you are worried about keeping up! A final small detail - water in the jeep would have been nice. But these were small things. Overall the trip was amazing.