Visiting Iceland soon and planning to take guided tours, but are not sure which Iceland tours are best and worth your time the most? In this article, you’ll find our hand-picked selection of the best tours in Iceland. Whether you are making a short stopover in Reykjavik or are traveling around the whole country, this list should help you plan your trip. Find out!
If you are visiting Iceland for the first time, it might be difficult to decide where to go first. Therefore I made this selection of the very best and most popular day tours in Iceland: best day trips from Reykjavik, most popular wildlife excursions, and also tours in the North of Iceland… It will give you a good idea of what Iceland’s must-see places are and what to expect. Most of these tours and guided trips are available the whole year round; some – are seasonal.
Good to know: Most tours in this selection can be done as a day trip from Reykjavik, but some tours depart from other locations. In this article, we focus on the best Iceland tours for all seasons. If you are interested in winter tours (Northern Lights in Iceland, ice caves, snowmobile tours, etc), check our guide to the best winter tours and day trips from Reykjavik.
If you rather explore Iceland on a self-drive trip (recommended, definitely in summer), check our Iceland itinerary suggestions. But even if you are exploring Iceland by car, you may still want to look into booking a whale-watching excursion, visit the Blue Lagoon, etc.
Most tours I selected here are bookable through GetYourGuide – our #1 choice when it comes to booking guided tours and excursions for our trips. The reason is simple – they have an excellent reputation, great customer service, competitive prices, and FREE 24 hr cancelation.
For each tour, I also give some practical details to help you plan your trip. Find out!
Did you know that… The most popular ‘tour’ booked in Iceland is the airport transfer to the city. With taxis charging ten times the price of the bus, I strongly recommend you book a bus transfer as well. Check here for more information about the best way to get to Reykjavik from Keflavik airport.
TIP: The newest best tour in Iceland in 2021 is hiking to an active Fagradalsfjall volcano! The eruption started in March and is still going strong at the moment of the latest update in June. You can hike there on your own too, but it’s probably safer and easier and safer to go with a tour. They pick you up in Reykjavik and guide you on a hike to the volcano. The hike is about 45-60 minutes one way, but they usually walk around in the area a bit more, so count 2-3 hours of total hiking time. This is a must-do if visiting Iceland at this moment!
Best Tours in Iceland – OVERVIEW
- Golden Circle
- Blue Lagoon & other geothermal baths
- South Coast
- Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon
- Snæfellsnes Peninsula
- Whale watching
- Puffin tours
- Silfra snorkeling tours
- Icelandic horse riding
- Glacier hiking
- Lake Mývatn and Dettifoss Waterfall
- Icelandic Highlands (summer only)
- More great tours and day trips in Iceland: lava caves, snowmobiling, GOT…
TIP: We list the most popular tours in Iceland first, so if you are short on time, start with the top of this list and you’ll be sure to cover all the must-sees.
These are the best Iceland tours:
1. Golden Circle
Golden Circle is the no. 1 must-see place in Iceland. Whether you are visiting for a day or for two weeks, no trip to Iceland would be complete without visiting the Golden Circle.
Golden Circle is an area that comprises three famous landmarks – the Geysir area, Gullfoss waterfall, and Thingvellir National Park. Due to its proximity to Reykjavik, this is by far the most popular tour in Iceland.
You can visit Golden Circle by car, or you can opt for one of the many available guided tours from Reykjavik. Below are some of the very best options:
- Golden Circle Full-Day Grand Tour with Kerid Crater from Reykjavik – the most popular Golden Circle tour
- Full Day Premium Golden Circle Tour by Minibus – best small-group tour
- Golden Circle Afternoon Tour – see the main highlights in half a day
Departs from Reykjavik
2. Blue Lagoon and other geothermal baths
The Blue Lagoon is an outdoor geothermal spa close to Reykjavik and Keflavik airport. It is one of the most visited attractions in Iceland and you really have to book tickets in advance. Blue Lagoon is located 30min drive from Reykjavik city center, so unless you have a car it’s best to book a bus transfer from Reykjavik.
TIP: Recently, a new geothermal pool was opened in Iceland, just next to the city. It’s called Sky Lagoon and looks absolutely amazing! You can easily visit from the city by booking this tour that includes bus transfer and entrance tickets. Check it out – the views are incredible!
There’s also another less touristy (and cheaper) geothermal pool near Reykjavik – Secret Lagoon. Another great option is Laugarvatn Fontana geothermal baths.
You can also visit these geothermal baths with a guided tour, usually in combination with the Golden Circle:
- Golden Circle and Blue Lagoon Small Group Tour
- Secret Lagoon Early Access & Golden Circle
- Golden Circle and Fontana Wellness Tour
Departs from Reykjavik
3. South Coast Tours
Iceland’s South Coast is another highlight that you must see. It is easily doable as a day trip from Reykjavik and is, therefore, a very popular trip. In fact, south coast tours are the most popular tours in Iceland.
You will visit the famous waterfalls Seljalandsfoss and Skógafoss, Reynisfjara black sand beach and the nearby Vik village, Sólheimajökull glacier, and more.
Here are the best-rated south coast tours:
- South of Iceland Full-Day Tour from Reykjavik – the most popular South Coast tour.
- South Coast Classic: Full-Day Tour from Reykjavik. This popular tour is the best option for families: kids under 12 travel free and 12-15-year-olds pay half the price.
- Iceland’s South Coast Day Tour by Minibus. This tour is a bit more expensive, but traveling with a small group has many benefits.
Departs from Reykjavik
LEARN MORE: Best Things to Do on the South Coast of Iceland
4. Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon
Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon and the adjacent Diamond Beach is my favorite place in Iceland. However, it’s located quite far from Reykjavik. So it requires a full day trip with many hours of driving if you decide to visit it with a day tour.
I wouldn’t advise doing this trip in just one day unless you are really short on time. But if you only have a day to spare and want to see this stunning glacial lagoon, then yes, it is possible to visit Jokulsarlon as a day trip from Reykjavik.
In summer, the days are long and this trip will be very different than in winter, giving you more chances to admire the beautiful South Coast along the way. If you are visiting in winter, consider a 2-day tour instead. That way, you get to see the South Coast and possibly also visit an ice cave.
Despite the long drive, a day trip to Jokulsarlon is one of the most popular tours in Iceland and the customer reviews are great. Below are the best Jokulsarlon tours from Reykjavik:
- Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon Full-Day Tour from Reykjavik – the most popular bus tour.
- South Coast & Jökulsárlón Glacial Lagoon – small group tour.
Departs from Reykjavik
5. Snæfellsnes Peninsula
Another long day trip from Reykjavik, a visit to the Snæfellsnes Peninsula is an unforgettable experience. If you are looking for the best, must-do tours that you can do in Iceland in any season, this is one of those places that are absolutely worth your time.
Here are the best tours of Snaefellsnes Peninsula from Reykjavik:
- Snæfellsnes Peninsula Full-Day Tour from Reykjavik – the most popular option.
- Snaefellsnes Peninsula Premium Small Group Tour – the best small group tour.
Departs from Reykjavik
READ ALSO: Best Things to Do in Snaefellsnes Peninsula
Now that we covered all the must-see places that you really should try to see in Iceland, below are more amazing tours that will make your trip even more special. Take a look!
6. Whale watching tours
There are several places where you can go whale watching in Iceland. The most popular are Reykjavik and Husavik (North of Iceland), but there are some other great options as well.
Reykjavik whale watching tours are available the whole year, but please note that the best time to see whales in Iceland is from April through September. The best place to see whales in Iceland is up North, with Husavik often called as the whale-watching capital of Iceland.
Here are the best whale watching tours in Iceland:
- Whale Watching Tour from Reykjavik. There are several options in Reykjavik, but this tour is the most popular and has the best ratings. It’s also one of the most affordable options that I found. This tour runs in all seasons.
- Traditional Whale Watching Tour from Husavik – the best tour in Husavik. Summer only.
- Original Big Whale Safari & Puffin Island Tour by RIB speedboat – a good option from Husavik for those who tend to get seasick on a regular boat and want to get closer to the whales.
Mid-March through November
Departs from Husavik (1h15 drive from Akureyri)
7. Puffin tours
No summer trip to Iceland would be complete without seeing the puffins. There are some land-based trips, but if you are looking to do tours, the best use of your time is to combine puffin tours with whale watching. Here are the best options:
- Puffin Watching Boat Tour – the most popular option.
- Combo: Puffin Cruise & Whale-Watching Tour – they also explicitly look for whales.
- Small-Group Puffin Watching RIB Cruise – ideal for those who are short on time.
May till Mid August
Departs from Reykjavik
April/May till August/October
Departs from Husavik (1h15 driving from Akureyri)
8. Silfra snorkeling tours
Silfra is one of the top diving sites in the world, but even if you don’t dive, you can explore the bright blue and crystal clear waters with incredible visibility of up to 100 meters.
- Silfra Fissure Snorkeling – the most popular tour that includes pick-up in Reykjavik
- Silfra Fissure Snorkeling Tour with Underwater Photos – the most popular tour that starts in Thingvellir National Park
Departs from Thingvellir NP or Reykjavik (optional at extra cost).
Best combination tours that include Silfra Snorkelling:
Departs from Reykjavik
9. Icelandic horseback riding tours
Icelandic horses are rather small, but it would be a big insult to call them ponies. Riding an Icelandic horse is a typically Icelandic thing to do, especially if you do it in a beautiful location in the lava fields.
Most tours are meant for tourists with little or no experience in horse riding. It’s a family-friendly experience that anyone can join.
- Icelandic Horse Riding Tour in Lava Fields (3-4 hrs) – the most popular horseback riding tour near Reykjavik. Transfer optional.
- Red Lava Horseback Riding – includes a pick-up from Reykjavik.
Departs from Reykjavik or from Hafnarfjordur (20 min drive from Reykjavik)
10. Glacier hiking & Ice caves
Glacier hiking is another great year-round excursion that you shouldn’t miss in Iceland.
These are the best glacier walking tours from Reykjavik:
- Glacier Hiking & South Coast
- Glacier Hiking and Ice Climbing Tour
- Small-Group South Coast Tour & Glacier Hike
These popular glacier hiking tours start directly at the glacier and are therefore a bit cheaper:
Departs from Reykjavik, Sólheimajökull Café (25 min drive from Vik) or Skaftafell NP.
LEARN MORE: Complete guide to glacier hiking in Iceland
In addition to glacier hiking, you can also visit ice caves. While most ice cave tours only run in winter (+- November to March), there is one tour that is also available in summer. Please keep in mind that ice caves are a natural phenomenon and so the conditions change all the time and you never really know in advance what exactly you get to see.
Here are the best ice cave tours in Iceland:
- Katla Ice Cave – the only ice cave that can be visited the whole year round AND you can visit it from Reykjavik as well!
- Skaftafell: Ice Cave Tour & Glacier Hike
- Vatnajokull Glacier: Ice Caving and Glacier Hiking
Departs from Skaftafell NP or from Vik, except the Katla ice cave which is also possible from Reykjavik.
11. Lake Mývatn and Dettifoss Waterfall
One of the most beautiful and must-see places in the North of Iceland is the area around Lake Myvatn. You can visit it by car, or you can join a guided tour from Akureyri. There are also tours that combine Lake Myvatn with Dettifoss waterfall.
- Day Trip to Lake Mývatn and Dettifoss
- Day Trip to Lake Mývatn And The Nature Baths
- Myvatn Shore Excursion – perfect for those visiting Akureyri by cruise ship
- Myvatn Nature Baths
Departs from Akureyri (North Iceland)
LEARN MORE: Best Things to Do in Myvatn
12. Icelandic Highlands
If you visit Iceland in summer, don’t miss the chance to see the highlands of Iceland! It’s a whole other world and completely different than anything else you’ll see in Iceland.
You do need a super-jeep to properly explore the highlands, so it’s ideal if you can visit with a guided tour. The most popular trips in the highlands include Thorsmork and Landmannalaugar.
Here are the best Icelandic highlands tours from Reykjavik:
Recently, I made a 4-day trip Icelandic highlands trip with a private driver and it’s by far the most special trip EVER.
If you don’t have the time or the budget for a longer trip, check this one-day trip from Reykjavik that covers some of the most amazing places in the highlands: The Secret Circle. It’s organized by the same private guide that I traveled with and I can wholeheartedly recommend it to everyone looking for a very unique tour in Iceland!
Departs from Reykjavik
13. Even more amazing day trips and tours in Iceland
There are so many more great tours and day trips that you can do in Iceland. Here are a few of the most popular options:
- Game of Thrones filming locations tour. P.S. If you are a fan, make sure to also check our selection of the best Game of Thrones tours in other European filming locations.
- Lava Caving Small Group Tour.
- Langjokull Glacier & Lava Cave Combo. This is one of the best options if you want to visit a glacier ice cave in any season.
- Glacier Snowmobiling on Langjokull Glacier. This tour starts at Gullfoss waterfall on the Golden Circle.
- Small-Group Golden Circle & Snowmobiling Tour. Similar tour to the above, but it departs from Reykjavik and also includes the Golden Circle.
All seasons, unless indicated otherwise
Departs from Reykjavik, unless indicated otherwise
So this is my hand-picked selection of the very best tours in Iceland. There are of course many more options, also tours that combine several places, or multi-day tours… You can find the complete selection of the best tours in Iceland on the GetYourGuide website. It’s our one-stop-shop for booking all our tours when we travel.
TIP: If you are looking for something more off the beaten path, a really special place that you can visit in a day, consider the Westman Islands. It can be done as a day trip from Reykjavik, with a tour, or from the South Coast.
READ ALSO: Best Half-Day Tours from Reykjavik
More tips for your trip to Iceland:
- What to see: Best Places to See in Iceland
- Airport transfers: How to Get to Reykjavik from Keflavik Airport
- Budget: How Expensive is Iceland
- Accommodation: Where to Stay in Iceland & Where to Stay in Reykjavik
- Packing: What to Wear in Iceland in Winter and What to Pack for Iceland in Summer
- Itinerary suggestions: Iceland Itinerary for 1 to 14 Days & The Best Iceland Itinerary for 7 Days & 4 Days Iceland Itinerary & Complete Ring Road Trip
For more information and destination guides for Iceland, please check our Iceland travel guide. We’ve been to Iceland multiple times and have lots of articles and practical tips for your trip. Take a look!
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Photo credits: personal collection, Shutterstock.com, Depositphotos.com, and also Pixabay.com.