Arrive at any time. There is a lot to do in and around Reykjavik - should you wish to take advantage of the many optional activities, such as the Blue Lagoon thermal pools, we recommend booking a pre or post night.
Hotel accommodation in Iceland is very limited and rooms/facilities can be fairly simple with few amenities. Hotels are chosen for their location and access to the wonderous landscapes and natural wonders of Iceland. Hotels are often remote, all the better to enjoy the beautiful natural setting.
Discover the beauty of Iceland's south shore, catching views of the infamous Eyjafjallajoekull volcano. Its eruptions in 2010 produced massive clouds of ash that disrupted air travel throughout Europe for several days. See the stunning Seljalandsfoss waterfall, and follow a hidden path through a canyon to the secluded falls of Gljufrabui. Stop in Hveragerdi, a hot spring village, where you will have the opportunity to taste bread baked in a hot spring. Then visit the Lava Center for an overview of how Iceland's volcanoes and earthquakes shaped this island.
Continue exploring the south shore, passing sandy plains and moss-covered lava fields and stopping along the way at historical and geological sites. Visit Crystal Beach, scattered with icebergs that wash up on the black sands, and see iridescent ice formations in the Joekulsarlon glacial lagoon. Hike in Vatnajoekull National Park to Svartifoss waterfall, framed by basaltic lava columns. Stop at the historic farmstead Hof in OEraefi, home to one of Iceland's best-preserved turf churches.
Embark on a guided walk atop a glacier in Skaftafell National Park. Strap on a pair of crampons and get up-close views of intriguing ice formations, deep sinkholes, and rugged crevasses. Later, stroll along the black sands of Reynisfjara Beach. Depending on the season and nesting habits of birdlife, we may also visit Dyrholaey Cape. As well, it is possible to see puffins at Reynisfjara beach, Dyrholaey Cape or near Vik in the summer months (15 May - 15 August).
This morning, learn about Icelandic cultural heritage at the Skogar Folk Museum and visit the picturesque Skogafoss waterfall. Opt to climb 400 steps to the top of the falls for spectacular views. Then set out on a tour of the celebrated Golden Circle. Visit the mighty Gullfoss waterfall, and then see Geysir, the hot spring for which all other geysers are named.
Begin the day with a walk in Thingvellir National Park, the last stop on our Golden Circle tour, where we'll see the meeting point of the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates. Continue to a traditional Icelandic farm ?? located in the narrow fjord of Hvalfjoerdur ?? where we'll learn about rural Icelandic life and enjoy a traditional farm-to-table lunch. Continue to the stunning Snaefellsnes Peninsula in western Iceland. Thingvellir National Park is the meeting place of the two tectonic plates on which America and Europe rest. This rift is clearly visible in the huge fissures that scar the landscape surrounding the lake and lava fields.
Spend the day exploring the peninsula, including Snaefellsjoekull National Park and its mystical glacier-topped volcano, which Jules Verne wrote about in his novel Journey to the Center of the Earth. See Budir Church, the Londrangar sea stacks, Djupalonssandur pebble beach, and the iconic peak of Kirkjufell. We'll also visit the Eldfjallasafn Volcano Museum, founded and run by world-renowned volcanologist and National Geographic grantee Dr. Haraldur Sigurdsson.
Continue to Borgarfjoerdur, where many Icelandic sagas have taken place. See the Hraunfossar and Barnafoss waterfalls; and step into Reykholt, the homestead of the 12th-century writer Snorri Sturluson. We'll also visit Deildartunguhver, Europe's most powerful hot spring whose water heats most buildings in western Iceland. Continue to Reykjavik for our final evening.