When planning a trip to Iceland, the list of things to do can be overwhelming. We may be a small island in the North Atlantic, but we are bursting at the seams with natural attractions and outdoor excursions. If you’re not sure where to begin, taking one of many day tours in Iceland could be a good place to start. Iceland day tours can be one of the best ways to see the island.
It’s very easy to take a day tour from Reykjavik, and it’s also the most practical. This is the city where all of our international travelers arrive, so many people spend their first night in the capital. If you’re short on time, it’s entirely possible to do some Reykjavik day trips and then venture further afield for a few days.
Day Tours To the Golden Circle
Of the best Iceland day tours from Reykjavik, doing a Golden Circle tour is probably one of the most popular. The main stops on this route are Thingvellir (þingvellir) National Park, Gullfoss waterfall, and the geysers of Haukadalur geothermal valley. It’s quite easy to find a tour operator running small group day tours to the main circuit highlights and additional stops like the Secret Lagoon.
Reykdalur Valley Hot Spring
Another option for Iceland day tours from Reykjavik is the Reykjadalur hot spring, also known as Iceland’s hot river. This one-day excursion is perfect for taking a short hike and then rewarding yourself with a dip in an Icelandic geothermal spring. It’s perfect at any time of year and is especially nice during the colder months.
Katla: The Iceland Ice Cave Day Tour
The most exciting possibility for your day tours in Iceland is no doubt a visit to a volcano. Taking a Super Jeep to visit the ice cave under Myrdalsjokull glacier and Katla volcano. While many tourists choose to visit volcanic craters like Askja or Eldborg, the Iceland ice cave day tour of Myrdalsjokull is more impressive.
Iceland Waterfalls Along The South Coast
Iceland is a land of waterfalls. With over 10,000 cascades, the number of waterfalls in Iceland to visit is seemingly endless. Two of our most beautiful, Seljalandsfoss waterfall and Skógafoss, lie along Iceland’s South Coast, just off the Ring Road. Waterfalls are within a 2-hour Drive of Reykjavik, making them the perfect distance for an easy day trip.
A bonus stop on this excursion is the abandoned DC plane crash site on Solheimasandur beach.
The Reynisfjara Black Sand Beach at Vik
You can also do a South of Iceland full day tour. I would suggest the waterfall circuit followed by Reynisfjara black sand beach close to the fishing village of Vik. The jet black hexagonal basalt columns and dark volcanic sand are quite impressive. The nearby rock formations and Reynisdrangar basalt sea stacks add to the otherworldly feel and mysterious atmosphere along the coastline.
Beware sneaker waves along the shore, as they can be quite dangerous and catch you unaware.
Vatnajokull Glacier Tour and Ice Cave Trekking
Exploring the massive Vatnajokull (Vatnajökull) with a glacier tour is a great way to get back to nature. This ice cave Iceland day tour usually consists of two parts. First you’ll trek across the glacier and then you’ll explore the blue glacier caves hidden beneath the surface. Among Iceland activities, day tours to this icy mammoth are always a memorable favorite among travelers.
An Iceland Jokulsarlon Day Tour
One of the country’s most striking natural wonders, Jokulsarlon (Jökulsárlón) glacier lagoon is an iceberg-filled glacial lake. It makes for the perfect day out, especially if you combine it with a trip to the Diamond Beach located right across the highway. You’ll see chunks of ice the size of SUVs scattered along the shoreline.
It’s on the opposite side of Iceland South Coast from Reykjavik, so it’s a bit far for a day trip. You would spend four or five hours driving each way just to arrive, assuming the weather is good. It’s better to break this trip up and not return to Reykjavik. Base yourself either in Vik or Vatnajokull National Park if you’re planning on doing a day tour to the glacier lagoon.
A Day Trip to Snafellsnes Peninsula
While many of Iceland’s best day tours lie to the South, there’s definitely an unmissable one just two hours north of Reykjavik. Snaefellsnes (Snæfellsnes) peninsula is known as Iceland in miniature thanks to its plethora of typically Icelandic attractions. From breathtaking waterfalls to stunning glaciers to quaint seaside villages, Snaefellsnes has it all. Of the Iceland one day tours available, visiting this peninsula will probably give you the most bang for your proverbial buck. Where else can you find volcanic craters, basalt cliffs, hidden hot pots, lava caves, and more?
Whale Watching Excursions
Closer to Reykjavik, a really fun daytime outing is to do a whale watching excursion. From April to October, these gentle maritime beasts return to Iceland waters to delight the boatloads of tourists that floats alongside them. Iceland has over 20 species of whales and dolphins, and this is a fun family friendly activity for children and adults alike.
The Blue Lagoon
This isn’t so much an Iceland day tour as a day of relaxation. The Blue Lagoon is perfect for those interested in Iceland’s geothermal bathing culture. You get the best of both worlds. A nice restorative dip in geothermal heated water without leaving the creature comforts of a spa behind.
The healing properties of silica, sulphur, and other minerals in the water are said to treat everything from asthma to eczema. As the steam rises off the milky turquoise blue water, you’ll feel your stress beginning to melt away. For an added treat, why not get a massage and have a gourmet lunch at the restaurant onsite.
A DIY Northern Lights Excursion
Our very last suggestion for an Iceland day tour doesn’t take place during the day at all. Nevertheless, if you have the chance to do an excursion to see the Northern Lights, I highly recommend you do so. Northern Lights season runs from mid-September to approximately mid-March, so you would need to come to Iceland during the shoulder season or off-season.
The most ideal conditions are on clear nights with high aurora activity. And of course, you want to get as far away from civilization as possible. The auroras simply will not be as brilliant if there’s interference from light pollution.
Day Tours in Iceland
The wide variety of Iceland activities means you’ll never run out of exciting things to see and do. Iceland is an outdoor lover’s paradise, and is a place blessed with abundant natural beauty. Once you land, you’ll be mesmerized by our varied, unforgettable scenery. Take a day tour in Iceland to experience all our lovely country has to offer.