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Stay in the heart of Iceland's Golden Circle on this short break, and have the opportunity to see the best of what this incredible country has to offer.
Explore Tour Leader
4 nights comfortable hotel
Trip maximum 16 Explore Average 11
Itineraries on some departure dates may differ, please select the itinerary that you wish to explore.
Today the adventure begins with a transfer from Keflavik Airport (KEF) to our hotel on the public FlyBus shuttle bus service. On arrival at Keflavik Airport please proceed to the FlyBus desk which is located in the arrivals hall. A FlyBus representative will give you a voucher and direct you to the buses which leave every 35-40 minutes. The drive to the hotel will take approximately 45 minutes, via the main bus terminal where you may be asked to board a smaller bus for the final part of the journey to your hotel. On the drive from the airport to the hotel you'll get your first glimpse of the blackened and rocky volcanic scenery found on this part of the island.
There are no activities planned today so you are free to arrive at a time that suits you. After checking-in to the hotel, you may have time to explore a little of the world's most northerly capital. Bustling with cosmopolitan energy and surrounded by pure, unpolluted nature, Reykjavik is a city of striking contrasts. On this holiday you'll be accompanied by a local Leader from days 2 to 4, so this evening you are free to settle in and enjoy this charming city.
Travelling to Iceland in the winter months offers the best chance to see the incredible natural phenomena of the Aurora Borealis, also known as the Northern Lights. Short daylight hours mean additional hours of darkness to watch the skies in the hope of spotting the ethereal green lights dancing across the sky. The 'lights' are actually electrically charged particles, high up in the atmosphere which make the thinner air fluoresce. White and green are the most common colours to spot, but purples and reds are seen when the lights are forming at higher altitudes.
On this trip we'll keep a close watch on the night skies in the hope of seeing the aurora. If you wish to capture the lights on camera you will need a tripod, or something to balance your camera on as a long exposure is needed. It is worth the effort though as the images captured by a camera are often far brighter than our eyes can see.
Hotel Storm (or similar)
This morning we will meet our Leader and spend the morning exploring Reykjavik. The city is a wonderful mix of traditional houses clad in corrugated iron and modern architecture. There are plenty of green spaces here but the highlight is walking along the waterfront. Fishing has long been Iceland's main industry and watching the ships coming in and out of the harbour shows us the lifeblood of this small island nation.
A must-see for any visit to Reykjavik is Hallgrimskirkja, the Lutheran church that can be seen throughout the city. The dramatic design resembles the basalt columns we'll see later on at Vik I Myrdal beach.
After exploring the city, we will visit Thingvellir National Park, a rare site of both historical and geological importance. Meaning 'Parliament Plains', this was the location of Iceland's first National Assembly for 800 years from 930AD and as such, is hugely significant in the country's cultural heritage. The impressive landscape sits on a unique spot where the Mid-Atlantic Ridge can be seen on dry land before disappearing to the ocean floor. This provides the quirky opportunity to place one foot on the North American tectonic plate and one foot on the Eurasian plate.
We will then drive to our hotel, far away from any light pollution which will maximise the chance of a good sighting of the aurora.
Hotel Gullfoss (or similar)
Today we have a packed day exploring the best of southern Iceland.
This morning we drive through the Eyjafjallajokull region, where in 2010 a volcanic eruption caused the now infamous ash cloud, disrupting worldwide air travel for several days. The volcano is now quiet again and your local Leader will be able to talk about the impact the eruption had on the local community.
We'll spend time at Vik I Myrdal, a rocky beach with its incredible basalt cliffs which are said to have inspired the church we visited yesterday. The beach is often incredibly windy and there are great photo opportunities of the waves crashing against the cliffs.
After some lunch we'll see one of Iceland's tallest waterfalls, Skogafoss. Standing at 62 metres tall it's an impressive sight, and if we are lucky with the light we should spot rainbows in the spray. We'll also stop at the Lava Museum to learn about the geology that formed the country's dramatic landscapes.
Seljalandsfoss waterfall is almost as tall as Skogafoss but, weather permitting, we'll have the chance to walk behind the curtain of water! The pathway shows off the falls from the front, circling around the back and emerging on the other side. Because of the constant spray the path is always slippy and can be closed in winter when the path freezes over.
We'll make our way back to our hotel for the evening to relax and look out for the Northern Lights.
Today we explore the famous Golden Circle, which includes some of Iceland's most iconic sights.
Our hotel is the ideal base from which to visit the magnificent Gullfoss waterfalls which is known locally as the 'Golden Waterfall', due to the way it cascades into a deep gorge with tremendous force. They may be biased but locals regard it as one of the most beautiful falls in the world!
Close by is Haukadalur, home of the Great Geysir. With the claim-to-fame of being the first spouting spring known to Europeans, Geysir has given all such springs their name. However, it is the Strokkur, meaning 'The Butter Churn', which is the main attraction, due to its impressive 30 metre eruptions every few minutes. There will be an optional visit to the Secret Lagoon.
We return to Reykjavik this afternoon. The food scene in Reykjavik is impressive and this evening is free for a final dinner in one of the capital's many restaurants.
Our trip ends after breakfast this morning. The transfer back to Keflavik airport (KEF) will be on the public FlyBus shuttle bus service and your leader will provide you with the details of your pick up time and with your voucher for this service.
Please note: The itinerary for this tour is subject to amendment due to weather or road conditions. Winter is a beautiful time to visit Iceland, but the weather can be unpredictable and snow can have a big impact on travel times. Consequently, it may be necessary to alter the order of the itinerary or to change inclusions whilst on tour.
Iceland has a cool and temperate climate and, despite its location just south of the Arctic Circle, its northerly latitude is counteracted by the warm waters of the North Atlantic Drift which encircles the island. Temperatures in winter can fluctuate between about 10°C and -10°C and precipitation in the form of rain, sleet or snow is to be expected at any time. Days will be short, with daylight often only guaranteed between about 11 am and 4 pm in December. The best time for seeing the Aurora Borealis is October to March. Summer is generally cool with average temperatures for June and July around 12 - 15 degree centigrade in Reykjavik, although is known to be warmer in other parts of the country. In June and July you can enjoy continuous daylight and see the Midnight Sun, whilst late spring and early autumn offer long twilights.
2 Pin Round
National Church of Iceland
Secret Lagoon - Approx. 3300 ISK per person entrance fee, 900 ISK towel rental and 1000 ISK for transport there and back. Relax in this natural hot springs, with the water temperature around 38 degrees all year round and a small geyser that erupts every few minutes which you can watch as you soak in the water.
In Iceland weather conditions can change rapidly - sunshine, drizzle, rain and snow may all occur in the same day. You'll need to take warm clothing for outdoor activities so pack layers. A good quality heavy duty wind and waterproof jacket and trousers are essential and in winter add thermal layers to your packing list. We recommend taking walking boots with a sturdy tread or trainers. Soft indoor shoes are recommended as it is normal in Iceland to have special house shoes.
Throughout this trip we use a range of well-located comfortable properties, all of which provide breakfast
Can you drink the water?
It is generally possible to drink the local tap water, therefore to reduce the need for single-use plastic bottles we recommend you bring a refillable water bottle with you. Your leader will advise you on refill points each day.
We strongly recommend that you check your government's travel advisory for up-to-date information and advice about your destination: safety and security, entry requirements, health, local laws and customs. For UK citizens, check the latest Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office advice.
Please refer to our COVID-19 entry requirements page for any country-specific conditions of entry. Whilst we strive to update this on a regular basis we recommend you also check the FCDO website for the latest advice on entry requirements in this fast-evolving situation. Information can change at any time.
Please note that some countries require proof of parental consent when travelling overseas with under 18s. Please check requirements with the relevant embassy or consular office well in advance of travel if this applies to your party.
Once your booking has been confirmed we guarantee the price will not increase, whatever the circumstances. However, please note that if you voluntarily make any changes to your booking including changing your trip or departure date, any additional costs or charges incurred will not be covered. Before booking please ensure you have read our important tour pricing information.Booking Conditions
Iceland: Visas are not required by UK, Australian, New Zealand, US and Canadian citizens. Other nationalities should consult their local embassy or consular office.
If you do require assistance in obtaining a visa then you may be able to apply through Explore's recommended visa service in the UK, Travcour. See www.travcour.com to download the relevant visa application for your trip, if applicable (UK citizens only), along with details of how to apply for your visa through Travcour. The Team at Travcour will be happy to answer specific questions relating to visa applications, please call them directly on 0208 5431846.
It is your responsibility to ensure that you are in possession of a full passport, with the correct validity for your chosen destination.
Before booking your Explore trip, please ensure that you read both our Essential Information and Booking Conditions.
Customers who have chosen to book on the ‘Land Only’ arrangements of our tour, please ensure that you have checked your tour specific ‘Joining Instructions’ prior to booking your own travel arrangements. Your joining instructions can be found below in the dates and prices information.
You may also be eligible for the Free Explore Transfer.
Customers booked on the ‘Land Only’ arrangements will receive a Free Transfer, provided you arrive and depart on the tour only itinerary start and end dates. The complimentary transfers will be arranged from the Explore designated airport or train station to your trips joining point, and then back from the ending point to the designated airport or train station. Generally the airport or station that Explore have selected will be the one that is closest to the town or city where the trip starts, or the one nearest to the joining point. It will be either an airport or train station but not both.
The exception to this rule is customers who are booked on a tour where the joining and ending point is at the designated airport or train station.
Free transfers are not available for Polar customers.
If you are not eligible for the Free Transfer then you will need to make your own way through to the joining and ending point. On a majority of our tours Explore will be able to provide a private transfer at an additional cost. Please ask for a quote at the time of booking.
For more information regarding the Explore Free Transfer click here
It is a condition of booking with Explore that you have adequate valid travel insurance. It is your responsibility to arrange appropriate travel insurance and ensure you have read and understood the full terms and conditions of your travel insurance policy to ensure that you are covered for all activities you intend to undertake whilst on the tour, including all optional activities. Your Insurance Policy must fully cover you for medical expenses and emergency repatriation to your home country. Please ensure your policy includes medical emergency helicopter evacuation in the event of illness or injury and covers the entire duration of your holiday. If you are trekking at altitude please ensure that there is no upper altitude limit which may limit or exclude cover for your trip. The cost of many of our Polar Voyages will exceed the capped amount covered by standard insurance premiums and you will be required to pay an additional premium to cover the full value of your trip. Please ensure that you are covered for the full amount of your holiday cost, as insufficient cover could invalidate a claim under the policy. Medical and repatriation insurance cover is not mandatory for UK residents who are travelling on trips within the United Kingdom.
Read more information about what travel insurance is required.
Explore offers a wide range of flexible flying options to make joining and leaving our trips easy. Read more about them here.
You are able to book this tour on a 'land only' basis or as a ‘flight inclusive’ package. Your flight inclusive package will be fully protected by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) ATOL protection scheme.
We have a good selection of flights not only from London but from many regional airports around the UK allowing us to compare fares between scheduled carriers as well as low cost and charter airlines. Our dedicated flights team will match the best flight options to your arrival and departure airport.
On our website we display a UK flight inclusive package guide price which is generally based on a London departure. To avoid paying supplements or to secure your preferred flight option, we recommend booking as early as possible, especially for peak travel dates.
Nothing compulsory; tetanus recommended. Please check the latest requirements with your travel clinic or doctor prior to departure. The above is not an exhaustive list. Further information regarding vaccinations and travel health advice can be found by following the NHS and NaTHNaC links at Explore Travel Health and from your local healthcare provider. Visa and vaccination requirements are subject to change and should be confirmed by you before travelling.