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Day Trips and Excursions from Reykjavik

Iceland is one of those destinations that seem out of this world, and its capital, Reykjavik, will not fail to surprise you.

Nicolas Reffray

Nicolas Reffray

12 min read

Day Trips and Excursions from Reykjavik

Reykjavik | ©Marc-Antoine

With some of the most incredible landscapes you can find on our planet, Reykjavik is a unique place where nature seems to remain untouched. If you are thinking of visiting the capital of Iceland you should keep in mind that this is not just any vacation destination, it is truly something else.

There are many things to see and do in Reykjavik, from the popular Golden Circle hikes, views of the amazing Northern Lights, whale watching, adventure tourism experiences, and more. Believe me you won't regret it, Reykjavik is one of those destinations that will win you over and stay with you forever.

1. Excursion to the Golden Circle and Thingvellir

Iceland's Golden Circle| ©wandereringJ
Iceland's Golden Circle| ©wandereringJ

Enjoy a visit to the incredible Thingvellir National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

You will be able to see waterfalls, imposing lakes and glaciers, as well as the exact point where the tectonic plates divide, generating a truly amazing landscape worth visiting.

Some of these excursions offer pick-up at the accommodation, although it is also possible that you may have to go to a meeting point. During the 7-hour excursion you will travel in a minibus with your specialized guide through different areas of the Golden Circle.

This 300-kilometer route has some of the most breathtaking views of Iceland, places full of charm and natural beauty.

With this type of tour you will be able to see the first and original geyser, called Geysir, after which the others were named. This is located in the area of Haukadalur, a place of great geothermal wealth, everything here will seem to be boiling. Visiting the great Geysir from Reykjavik is one of the most popular excursions for travelers.

You can also visit the Golden Waterfall (Gullfoss), one of the most charming places in the Icelandic capital.

Note that the tour does not usually include lunch, so you should bring something to eat, since much of the tour takes place in the middle of nature and there are not many options to buy something afterwards.

Information of interest:

  • Price: from 55 euros per person.
  • Duration: approximately 7 hours.
  • In favor: you will be able to see some of Reykjavik's must-see sights.
  • Against: the itinerary is closed and may not be recommended for small children, since it lasts all day.

Book your excursion to the Golden Circle and Thingvellir National Park

2. Northern lights tour at night

Aurora borealis from Reykjavik| ©Alexandro Lacadena
Aurora borealis from Reykjavik| ©Alexandro Lacadena

Among the most popular tours in Iceland are those in search of the awe-inspiring northern lights.

Iceland is one of the best places in the world where this phenomenon appears in the sky. Those who have had the opportunity to witness the Northern Lights agree that it is one of the great wonders of nature.

You will depart from your accommodation or from the agreed pick-up point, together with your guide on a night adventure aboard a minibus or van. Since this is an unpredictable natural phenomenon, the destination of the tour is decided the same day according to weather forecasts.

Although the tour guides know the best time to see the aurora borealis, it is important to know that it is impossible to guarantee that you will be able to see it, precisely because it is a natural phenomenon.

Many times, in the event that it cannot be seen, the guides will reconvene the group for the following night, always according to availability.

Do not hesitate, taking an excursion to see the Northern Lights in Reykjavik is one of the best things to do in Iceland.

Information of interest:

  • Price: from 43 euros per person.
  • Duration: from 3 to 5 hours.
  • Pros: you will be able to witness one of the most wonderful spectacles of nature.
  • Against: the aurora borealis is unpredictable, so there is a possibility that you may not be able to see it clearly. Sometimes, however, the guides offer to repeat the experience the following day.

Book your tour to see the Aurora Borealis in Reykjavik now

3. Excursion to the Golden Circle and the Secret Lagoon

Gullfoss| ©Nickspix
Gullfoss| ©Nickspix

This 8-hour excursion covers some of the most representative points of the Golden Circle, the Thingvellir National Park with its natural wonders, the Gullfoss waterfall, Strokkur and its famous Geysir, Haukadalsvegur and the Secret Lagoon, or Blue Lagoon.

This type of excursion is for small groups on board a minibus. Your guide will tell you all about the history of Iceland and the places you visit, as well as about the Viking past of the region along with its most chilling details.

What differentiates this tour from others that also visit the Golden Circle, is precisely the entrance to the Secret Lagoon or Blue Lagoon. It is a natural pool of thermal waters, an incredible place to take a warm bath in the middle of nature. This place is one of the oldest in Iceland and one of the best to leave any kind of stress aside.

You will see the snow-capped mountains meters from where you are and the steam from the waters of the lagoon rising to the sky. An incredible and surreal experience, since the blue color of its waters contrasts with the white that surrounds it. This tour to see the Blue Lagoon in Reykjavik is truly a must.

The tour does not usually include lunch, so you will need to bring some snacks to eat on the way.

Information of interest:

  • Price: from 127 euros per person.
  • Duration: approximately 8 hours.
  • Pros: an impressive experience with which you can get to know the blue lagoon, one of the jewels of Iceland.
  • Against: the itinerary is closed.

Book your excursion to the Blue Lagoon in Reykjavik now

4. Day trip along the south coast by minibus

Reykjavik Coast| ©GYU
Reykjavik Coast| ©GYU

In the tours to the South Coast from Reykjavik you can enjoy some of the most charming natural places in Iceland. After leaving the capital, the tour will allow you to see, with your guide, wonders such as Skógafoss waterfalls, the Eyjafjallajökull volcano or the black sand beaches of Reynisfjara, all aboard a comfortable minibus.

Iceland is full of majestic corners. You can stop to take incredible pictures of landscapes that do not seem of this planet, such as the Sólheimajökul glacier or the Seljalandsfoss waterfall, where you can walk... if you dare.

They also usually include a visit to the picturesque village of Vik Vik, where you can take some pictures of the Trolls on the beach, a huge basalt formations very popular with tourists.

The tour includes a stop for lunch at a restaurant located on Reynisfjara beach. Lunch is not usually included, although travelers are usually treated to some typical Icelandic snacks.

Information of interest:

  • Price: from 98 euros per person.
  • Duration: approximately 10 hours.
  • Pros: an excellent tour of some of the best places in Iceland.
  • Cons: due to the duration, it may not be recommended for small children.

Book your tour of the South Coast of Iceland from Reykjavík now

5. Whale watching tour in Reykjavik's old harbor

Whale and sun| ©Friðþjófur M.
Whale and sun| ©Friðþjófur M.

If you are thinking of visiting Reykjavik with children, this is one of the excursions that I recommend, as it lasts only 3 hours. This duration is perfect so that the little ones do not get tired and can see the spectacle of the whales a few meters from the boat.

The whale watching tour in the port of Reykjavik is one of the most popular excursions of all, since, although there are many places where you can see whales, here the cetaceans come close to almost touch the boat. An unparalleled experience to feel immersed in nature.

In addition to different varieties of whales, dolphins and some birds can be seen in this kind of excursions.

Information of interest:

  • Price: from 76 euros per person.
  • Duration: 3 hours.
  • Pros: This is a unique experience where you can live the adventure of having these creatures a few meters away.
  • Against: it may happen that the whales do not let themselves be seen. In those cases, don't worry, the crew usually offers a second tour the following day completely free of charge.

Book your whale watching tour in Reykjavik now!

6. Lake Jökulsárlón Excursion

In Jökulsárlón| ©Domenico Convertini
In Jökulsárlón| ©Domenico Convertini

Another type of tour that also goes to the south coast of Iceland has as its main destination Lake Jökulsárlon.

During the tour you can see the most imposing views of the country's largest active volcano, Oraefajokull. You will marvel at the incredible views of Skaftafell in Vatnajokull National Park.

This is one of the most complete and extensive tours, since it lasts approximately 14 hours. You will be able to visit the black sand Diamond Beach, with its large chunks of ice melting in the sun, from which the beach gets its name.

You can also enjoy the most majestic glacier in Iceland, the Vatnajokull and Jökulsárlón lagoon.

This guided tour will also allow you to learn all about the history of the country. Many of these tours can pick you up at your accommodation and then you will depart in a heated, air-conditioned minibus with wifi, along the beautiful roads of Iceland. Lunch service is not usually included, so you should plan to bring something to eat.

Information of interest:

  • Price: from 136 euros per person.
  • Duration: an average of 14 hours.
  • In favor: it is one of the most complete excursions that can be done.
  • Against: it can be a bit long.

7. Horseback riding tour around Reykjavík

Reykjavik Horseback Riding Tour| ©JJThomps
Reykjavik Horseback Riding Tour| ©JJThomps

If you have an adventurous spirit you can't miss a horseback riding tour in Reykjavik, one of the most exciting experiences you can live.

In the 2 hours that this tour lasts you will be able to ride through some of the most wonderful landscapes of Iceland, you will see lakes and mountains, snowy landscapes, all mounted on a typical Icelandic horse, which have a calm and relaxed spirit.

Definitely one of the experiences that you should live on your trip to Iceland. The experience of riding in these incomparable landscapes will leave an indelible mark on you.

Information of interest:

  • Price: from 95 euros per person.
  • Duration: 2 hours (4 if you want the transfer from the capital).
  • For: it is an adventure that brings you closer to nature than any other.
  • Against: not recommended for children under 8 years old.

Book your horseback riding tour in Reykjavik now!

8. Excursion to the Snaefellsnes Peninsula

Snaefellsnes Peninsula| ©momo
Snaefellsnes Peninsula| ©momo

Enjoy an 11-hour excursion to the west of Iceland, touring the majestic and hypnotic lava fields aboard a comfortable minibus. You will feel like you are on another planet with the volcanic rock and its curious shapes.

The lava fields of Berserkjahraun are 4000 years old and are among the most famous landscapes in Iceland.

You can take amazing pictures in Arnarstapi, a small fishing village full of charm. You will see cliffs, amazing rock formations and the black sand beaches of Djúpalónssandur, all of which are full of stories about Vikings and sailors.

You can also see the beautiful Kirkjufellsfoss waterfall, a place of great beauty where you can not help but feel that you are in the middle of the purest nature. Here it seems that man has not yet arrived.

Information of interest:

  • Price: from 110 euros per person.
  • Duration: 11 hours approximately.
  • In favor: this is an excursion where you can enjoy the lava fields like no other.
  • Against: it can be a little long to do with children.

9. Excursion to the Golden Circle and snowmobile on the Langjökull glacier

Snowmobiling on the Langjökull Glacier| ©Haukur Herbertsson
Snowmobiling on the Langjökull Glacier| ©Haukur Herbertsson

A great experience to enjoy the snowy landscapes of Iceland to the fullest. From Reykjavik you will be taken in a comfortable coach through some of the most representative places of the region.

This is one of the best recommended excursions to do in winter in Reykjavik. You will visit the imposing Langjökull glacier, the Thingvellir National Park, declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, the Gullfoss waterfall and the geothermal area where the famous Geysir, the first and most important geyser in the world, is located.

But the main attraction of this excursion is that you can spend a whole hour aboard a snowmobile touring the Langjökull glacier at full speed. A unique adventure to live alone, with friends or family.

Information of interest:

  • Price: from 210 Euros per person
  • Duration: about 10 hours
  • Pros: you will be able to enjoy the snowy landscapes on a snowmobile.
  • Against: the snowmobile ride may leave you wanting more.

Book your snowmobile tour in Reykjavik now!

10. Twin Peaks ATV tour

All terrain quad biking through Twin Peaks| ©AndresJ
All terrain quad biking through Twin Peaks| ©AndresJ

Do you want to climb two of Iceland's most important mountains on a 4-wheel ATV? On this exciting guided tour you can experience all the adrenaline of feeling part of these incredible lunar landscapes on earth.

At full speed you will be able to travel through emblematic places of the country, such as Lake Hafravatn, all the charm of the Reykjanes peninsula and the beautiful Blue Mountains from above. As you go along, your guide will tell you all about each of the places you visit.

This experience, as well as the Reykjavik snowmobile tour, invites you to immerse yourself in adventure and feel like an explorer, all in some of the most wonderful places you can imagine.

Useful information:

  • Price: from 123 euros per person.
  • Duration: 3 hours and 30 minutes.
  • For: an experience full of emotion and adrenaline.
  • Against: not recommended for small children.

How to book a tour in Reykjavik?

Booking Online| ©Peter Olexa
Booking Online| ©Peter Olexa

Booking a tour is very easy, the best and most recommended is always to do it online.

This way you can choose from the many options available and read the comments of other travelers who have already made these tours, so you can be sure that you are hiring a tour with a serious and excellent quality company. On the other hand, if you book a tour on the street you may have a bad experience.

Whether you are interested in the best gastronomic tours in Reykjavik or more adrenaline options, such as the incredible helicopter tours, you will see that on the internet you can find everything you need to have an unforgettable trip.

Duration of the tours in Reykjavík

Solheimajokull| ©murtica27
Solheimajokull| ©murtica27

Each excursion has a different duration according to what is proposed to visit, generally ranging from 2 or 3 hours to 14 hours. Ideal for each traveler to choose the option he/she likes the most.

What will I see on this type of tour?

Blue Lagoon| ©Jim Nix
Blue Lagoon| ©Jim Nix

Depending on the tour you choose, you can see some of the most incredible sights in Iceland, from the Blue Lagoon, Geysir and the geothermal area, to the glaciers, to the snow-capped peaks. There are truly many options that this amazing country has to offer.

Tips for a tour in Reykjavík

Trekking boots| ©Baihaki Hine
Trekking boots| ©Baihaki Hine

Remember that Iceland has low temperatures throughout the year, so it is always advisable to bring a coat when hiking, especially if you are going to visit outdoor places where low temperatures are felt much more.

I also recommend that you take some waterproof footwear, the terrain is usually uneven and often with snow or ice, so keeping your feet dry and warm is of great importance.

How much does a tour around Reykjavík cost?

Money in Euros| ©Pixabay
Money in Euros| ©Pixabay

Prices depend on the number of hours and the type of excursion you decide to hire, but in general they range from 76 to 136 Euros. As you will see there are options for all budgets.

Why is it advisable to take a tour from Reykjavík?

Reykjavik Port| ©Jim Kelly
Reykjavik Port| ©Jim Kelly

It is highly recommended to make an excursion from Reykjavik because there are many attractions on the island, so making an excursion will allow you to know in detail some of the natural beauties of this beautiful country.

What are the advantages of taking a guided tour vs. visiting Reykjavik on my own?

Snorkeling in Silfra| ©Francisco Antunes
Snorkeling in Silfra| ©Francisco Antunes

By taking a guided tour you are guaranteed to see some of the most important places in Iceland. There are also specific regions that cannot be visited on your own or, at least, it would cost you a lot more money and a lot of time.

In addition, the guides will inform you about the history and past of the country, its culture and some curiosities. It is always better to take a guided tour.

Frequently asked questions

  • Where else can I go from Reykjavik?

    There are plenty of day trips from Reykjavik that take you to many lesser known places. Some of them take you horseback riding, ice climbing or even to specific glaciers. For this reason, you should be sure to read the description of the experience carefully, as the day trips are quite varied.

  • What day trip should I take from Reykjavik?

    The most popular tour is the Glacier Hiking and Ice Climbing Adventure, with over one hundred reviews with an average rating of 5 stars. On it, you'll take a thrilling tour of the Solheimajokull Glacier, an adrenaline-filled introduction to ice climbing, and have the opportunity to see the impressive Skogafoss waterfall.

  • Is it safe to travel outside Reykjavik?

    Although Iceland is one of the safest countries in terms of crime rate and medical care, nature is a different story. Iceland's waves can be very unpredictable and there are very strong currents, so be careful when visiting the beaches. This also happens in some glacial lagoons, which sometimes have unstable icebergs. Finally, it is important to be prepared for its chaotic weather.