13 Excursions from Reykjavik Truly Unmissable

Who I am
Alejandra Rangel
@alejandrarangel
SOURCES CONSULTED:

wikipedia.org, lonelyplanet.com

Author and references

Visiting Iceland was one of my dreams for a long time. when I planned my trip to Iceland in winter however, I made the mistake of spending little time in Reykjavik.

There are many things to see and do in Reykjavik same, but best of all, it's an easy starting point from which to see other parts of Iceland. Using the city as a base, you can venture to a different place every day and discover some of the most beautiful things in all of Iceland.



Actually when you visit Iceland and don't have a ton of time, the idea of base in Reykjavik and take day trips it's a great idea: many excursions from Reykjavik they take you to discover most of the amazing landscapes that have made Iceland so famous.

Most excursions from Reykjavik can be done on your own by renting a car o by booking an organized bus tour, which is not as bad as it might seem.

Tours ensure you see all that is possible, with zero planning on your part! But not only. Many areas require a lot of driving to reach. With a tour you can avoid focusing on the road, you can just sit back, relax and enjoy the ride.

By joining some group day trips from Reykjavik, you can easily see much of the country without worrying about petrol, snow or icy roads.

  • 1 - Laguna Blu
  • 2 ‚Äď Golden Circle
  • 3 ‚Äď Whale watching
  • 4 - South Coast
  • 5 ‚Äď Laguna glaciale Jokulsarlon
  • 6 - Snaefellsnes Peninsula
  • 7 - Northern Lights Tour
  • 8 - Langjokull Glacier
  • 9 ‚Äď Landmannalaugar
  • 10 - Thrihnukagigur Volcano
  • 11 - Tunnel di lava di Raufarh√≥lshellir
  • 12 - Horseback riding
  • 13 - Reykjanes Peninsula (with excursion to an active volcano!)

1 - Laguna Blu

Many visitors to Iceland are eager to go to the famous one blue Lagoon, One of the Iceland's most famous spas.



Located close enough to Keflavik's main airport, the Blue Lagoon is a must-see for travelers arriving or departing from Iceland, but it's also easily accessible from Reykjavik within a day.

Although the spa is actually artificial, it is still an enchanting place thanks to the steam that rises from its milky blue water and from the volcanic rocks that surround it.

You can immerse yourself in steaming mineral waters while indulging in a silica mud mask. Here you can relax all your worries, enjoy a drink at the swim-up bars (smoothies are excellent!) And have fun spreading mud on your face.

The Blue Lagoon is the perfect place to pamper yourself after days of sightseeing.

ATTENTION: Advance online booking is required. You can do it from HERE

How to get to the Blue Lagoon

La Blue Lagoon is definitely one of the best excursions from Reykjavik, because you can easily visit it while traveling to or from the airport of Keflavik.

Getting to the Blue Lagoon from Reykjavik is very easy both by car and by public transport or organized packages.

If you don't have a car you can easily book it either DIY, by purchasing the transport and the ticket separately, or with a tour that includes both.

The Blue Lagoon is located just 20 minutes from Keflavík Airport and 50 minutes from Reykjavík.

To arrive by car: from both of these destinations, simply take the Reykjanesbraut (highway 41) for Grindav√≠kurvegur (highway 43) e follow the signs for Blue Lagoon.


BUY TICKET LAGUNA BLU

To arrive by bus: there are buses and transfers that take you to the Blue Lagoon.


  • CLICKING Here you will find the return transfer from Reykjav√≠k by bus.

Arrive with a tour: There are also here many tours that lead to the Blue Lagoon or that combine the Blue Lagoon with other attractions:

  • Golden Circle and Blue Lagoon tour: tour from Reykjavik - In my opinion the best budget tour. Includes the Golden Circle and the Blue Lagoon.
  • THE BEST -> ‚ėě Circolo d'Oro, crater Keri√į e Laguna Blu: tour da Reykjav√≠k - See the incredible Golden Circle and Blue Lagoon in one beautiful day. Visit the √ěingvellir, Geysir and Gullfoss National Park. Relax in the waters of the Blue Lagoon with the included entrance ticket
  • tour Excursion to the Blue Lagoon + Northern Lights - Good in the winter months. You can relax in a warm thermal pool and contemplate the Northern Lights in a truly unique setting.

2 ‚Äď Golden Circle

One of the most popular day trips from Reykjavik and the Golden circle, which follows a route north-east of the city and visits three of Iceland's most famous attractions, the Thingvellir National Park Gullfoss waterfall and geyser.

Il Thingvellir National Park (Icelandic: √ěingvellir national park), is a National Park (the first in Iceland) and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is interesting for a number of reasons. First, it was the site of the first Icelandic parliament and meetings were held here as early as 938.


Thingvellir is also interesting for its tectonic and volcanic activity, and here you can clearly see the action of continental drift between the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates, which resulted in massive cracks and cracks in the ground.


You can even snorkel in the incredibly clear waters of the fissure of Silfra and see the shores of two continents from a unique perspective.

This is one of the most popular activities in Thingvellir, so it's definitely worth booking in advance.

Don't worry - a dry suit is provided to keep you warm in the freezing waters!

There is also a beautiful waterfall in Thingvellir, √Ėxar√°rfoss, which is worth the short ten minute walk to visit.

After Thingvellir, the next stop on the Golden Circle tour is Geysir. This geothermal area is home to bubbling geysers and steaming landscapes, and is in fact the home of the original 'Geysir', hence the English word for geyser.

Finally, your adventure in the Golden Circle will take you to Gullfoss, one of the most spectacular waterfalls in Iceland, an incredible sight that you will hardly forget.

How to visit the Golden Circle

The easiest way to visit the three places at once is to do the famous tour of the Golden Circle. Otherwise, your only other option is to rent a car, since there are no regular buses covering the route.

To visit all three of these sites it takes 5 to 7 hours. From Reykjavík, drive to Thingvellir National Park, Geysir and then Gullfoss. You will spend 4 hours in the car, covering 240 km there and back, without detours.

The only cost to visit these three places is parking at Thingvellir National Park.

All Golden Circle tours depart from Reykjavik.

There are a number of variations of this popular tour, including:

  • Golden Circle, classic day tour from Reykjavik
  • Tour del Golden Circle che include Kerid Crater (best and most sold)
  • Golden Circle Express tour which is a faster tour

There are also a number of tours that include the Blue Lagoon with the Golden Circle, like this one here.

For more information on the Golden Circle, query my complete guide to visiting the Golden Circle, which includes a map, suggested itinerary, and more.

3 ‚Äď Whale watching

One of the things I absolutely wanted to do (and have done!) In Iceland it was seeing puffins and / or whales, two of the most popular wildlife viewing experiences.

Iceland is one of the best countries in the world for whale watching, if not the BEST ever. In winter I was lucky enough to see an entire family of orche marine (I have not seen the Puffins, in winter it is not possible)!

Whale watching is without a doubt one of the best day tours from Reykjavik: you will have the opportunity, depending on the period, to see more than 20 different types of whales, dolphins and killer whales.

The most common sightings are of minke and humpback whales, while blue whales and killer whales are rarer sightings, which you can see at specific times of the year.

There is usually an educational aspect to the tour as well, with an expert guide available to answer your questions.

Whale watching excursions from Reykjavik

This is an excursion that can only be done by purchasing a package.

Tours depart from the city's old port and they last approximately 3 hours. From here all tours lead to the baia di Faxafl√≥i which is not only home to whales, but you can also spot puffins, white-beaked dolphins and many other animals.

Reykjavík tours are very popular so book early.

  • From Reykjav√≠k: Whale Watching from a Luxury Yacht: the best seller! The tour lasts 3 hours and the boat, a luxury yacht, delivers well 3 observation decks.
  • Da Reykjavik: Express Whale Watching Tour in gommone: an adrenaline-pumping tour on a rigid inflatable boat, you will also be able to closely observe the coast with the nesting puffins.
  • Classic whale watching tour: if you don't see them, you can join the same tour for free in the next days.

For more information on whale watching, query my complete guide to whale watching in Iceland, which includes a lot of information on the best time, the best areas and all the tours.

4 - South Coast

La southern coast of Iceland home to some of Iceland's most iconic sights.

This is where you will find the sixty meter high waterfall that you can walk behind (Seljalandsfoss), the spectacular waterfall Skogafoss and the beautiful black sand beaches and basalt columns a Reynisfjara, near the picturesque town of Bay.

Continuing past Vik you will find the unusual waterfall of Svartifoss, the glacier Svínafellsjökull and glacial lagoon of Jökulsárlón.

How to visit the South Coast

It is certainly possible to make the most of the highlights of southern Iceland as a day trip from Reykjavik, but get ready for a long day.

Round trip, you will travel almost 400 km, spending about 5 hours in the car. Most of these places are located between Hvolsvöllur e Vík. They are all located along Route 1, la Ring Road.

The best thing is to organize at least 2 days if you have enough time.

  • From Reykjavik: South Iceland Day Trip (Best Selling)
  • South coast and waterfalls of IcelandDiscover the south coast of Iceland and be amazed by the volcanic landscape and waterfalls of the area. An unmissable tour.
  • 2 day tour of the glaciers of southern Iceland (In ENGLISH!)
  • From Reykjavik: South Coast Day Trip (for small groups)

5 ‚Äď Laguna glaciale Jokulsarlon

La lagoon in Jokulsarlon it is by far one of the best places to visit in Iceland, and it is possible to take a day trip from Reykjavik!

The lagoon is well known for the icebergs that slowly float towards the sea. They come from the surrounding Brei√įamerkurj√∂kull glacier and can be more or less depending on the time of year you visit.

I really can't express how beautiful and peaceful the view of the Jokulsarlon glacial lagoon is. It's a once in a lifetime experience, especially since it changes every day and even every hour!

If you travel in the summer you will have plenty of light to reach the lagoon, where you will probably spend at least an hour admiring the icebergs and taking an endless stream of photographs.

In Winter, already in October, the journey will be much slower and the daylight will not last long, so I recommend you stop at least one night.

How to get to Jokulsarlon

reach Jokulsarlon you need to go through the Reykjavik ring road. While Google Maps may tell you it takes 5 hours, you should consider the time to see the many attractions along the way.

Leave early in the morning so you can at least stop at seljalandsfoss e Skogafoss.

Vik it's a good halfway point to stop for a bite to eat or refuel, as there are fewer and fewer towns and gas stations thereafter.

Organized tours are long, around 14 hours, but at least you can sit on the bus and relax! Waterfall stops are usually included, as well as a stop in Vik.

Among best excursions from Reykjavik to Jokulsarlon find:

  • From Reykjavik: day trip to J√∂kuls√°rl√≥n glacier lagoon (the best seller)
  • Excursion to the J√∂kuls√°rl√≥n glacier lagoon

6 - Snaefellsnes Peninsula

Although well known among photographers and a little less by other types of travelers, I would definitely put a visit to the Snaefellsnes peninsula at the top of your wish list in Iceland.

Located about a two-hour drive northwest of the capital, this is a very easy destination to visit as a day trip from Reykjavik.

Here you will find the incredible Kirkjufell, which forms the backdrop to the waterfall Kirkjufellsfoss. This mountain (perhaps with the aurora dancing around it) is an unmissable photographic opportunity.

There's more to Kirkjufell's Snaefellsnes Peninsula though. Other highlights include the incredible glacier Snæfellsjökull, which can actually be visited on foot if conditions permit.

There is the wooden church of Shops XNUMXth century. There are the basalt columns Ger√įuberg - columns 14 meters high. There is also the opportunity to spot seals on Ytri-Tunga beach.

And there is so much more, including a landscape that inspired the Journey to the Center of the Earth by Jules Verne, incredible waterfalls, fantastic beaches, the Bjarnarhöfn Shark Museum where you can try fermented shark meat - the list goes on!

How to get to the Snaefellsnes Peninsula

You can easily drive here on your own with a rental car and take a ride, but surely you have to dedicate more than a day to it, consider at least two: it counts that it takes about 2 hours by car just to get there.

Once on the peninsula, it takes approx 3 hours to walk the entire ring, with no time for stops. Expect this day trip to last 12 hours or more, and again you'll need to be selective about what you visit.

To really see the peninsula's best attractions in just one day, it's best to visit it on a tour organized from Reykjavik: instead of driving, you can relax and watch the view from the window between stops.

For example, check out these 2 tours:

  • From Reykjav√≠k: Sn√¶fellsnes Peninsula Full-Day Tour
  • Snaefellsnes 2 day tour

7 - Northern Lights Tour

If you are visiting Iceland outside the summer months, aexcursion to see the Northern Lights I think it's definitely on your to-do list.

Taking a guided tour to see the Northern Lights will give you a better chance of seeing it, as local guides have a better understanding of local weather conditions and the best places to see it without light pollution.

Observing the Northern Lights is one of the most popular activities in Iceland, and as such there are one wide range of Northern Lights tours departing from Reykjavik.

Of course, all of these tours are offered based on weather conditions as well they can be canceled if conditions are not good.

Usually everyone also has the guarantee that if during the tour you can't see the aurora, you can make a second attempt another day completely free.

So, with that in mind, I highly recommend you to book your tour as soon as possible.

Some tours that I suggest you evaluate are:

  • Reykjav√≠k Breastfeeding Tour (economic): 3-hour bus tour from Reykjavik. If you don't see the aurora you can repeat the tour in the following days for free.
  • Northern Lights Bus Tour from Reykjavik (Best Selling): 4-hour evening bus tour that includes free admission to the Aurora Museum.
  • Reykjav√≠k: Northern Lights tour by luxury yacht: Experience the beauty of the Northern Lights aboard a luxury yacht. See this natural wonder from 3 viewing decks or relax in the cozy bar and lounge area.

For more information on the aurora, query my complete guide to the Northern Lights in Iceland, which includes tons of information on the best time, the better areas where to see it e all tours.

8 - Langjokull Glacier

Il Langjokull glacier ("The long glacier" in English) is the second largest glacier in Iceland. It is located in the Highlands, a mostly uninhabited plateau within Iceland.

The vivid blue color of the glacier is truly unforgettable.

Iceland is home to countless glaciers, but Langjökull is the second largest on the island and near its highest peaks is an artificial tunnel, a real sight for any traveler who passes through these parts.

Designed and built by geophysicist Ari Trausti Gu√įmundsson, the tunnel was created to allow visitors to explore the glacier not only from the outside, but also inside.

Guests walk through Langjökull's thick ice sheet, experiencing the vivid blue coloring inside and gaining an insight into the glacier's beauty, formation, and processes.

Tours are often combined with adventure activities such as snowmobiling.

How to reach us

Since you cannot go alone on the glacier, you will have to take part in an organized tour.

The tour is an excellent way to experience the glacier.

Plus, if you do it as a day trip from Reykjavik, the tour also gives you the opportunity to visit other highlights of this less-visited area, including the amazing waterfall of Hraunfossar 1600 meters high, as it gushes through a lava wall.

BOOK the tour here From Reykjavik: Langj√∂kull Ice Cave Tour 

9 ‚Äď Landmannalaugar

Not all of Iceland is easily accessible all year round due to ice and snow, so places like Landmannalaugar, o West fjords are mostly visited during the summer, although in winter they are two great places to see the Northern Lights.

This region in the southern highlands of Iceland is known for the unusual colors that characterize its mountains, volcanic deserts and natural hot springs that are scattered here and there.

Typically, those who go to Landmannalaugar usually do so for trekking, as there are many trails here that wind their way through this bare and beautiful landscape.

After admiring the mottled colors of the mountains and traversing the fascinating Laugahraun lava fields, you can relax with a soak in one of the naturally heated pools.

How to get to Landmannalaugar

You will need a 4 √ó 4 vehicle  to get to Landmannalaugar

If you go with your own car, this day trip from Reykjavík can be done only from mid-June to early September, when the roads are open.

One way, it takes 3 hours and 15 minutes to get to Landmannalaugar from Reykjavík.

That's a lot of time, but it's totally worth it if you want to see some incredible scenery and hike some of the most thrilling trails in all of Iceland.

Alternatively you can take a tour. Some of these tours they are available all year round because they are generally done in super jeeps (and in winter you can see the Northern Lights!)

Book here the 4-hour excursion to the Landmannalaugar from Reykjavik

10 - Thrihnukagigur Volcano

Thrihnukagigur (Icelandic √ěr√≠hn√ļkag√≠gur ... don't ask me how to pronounce it!) is an extinct volcano in western Iceland a short distance from Reykjavik, famous for its huge magma chamber. It is the only magma chamber in the world that can be entered and has a depth of 213 meters.

Thrihnukagigur has been inactive for 4.000 years now, and its magma chamber has since dried up, allowing travelers to venture inside safely.

Il tour lasts about 3 hours during which you will descend 120 meters into the magma chamber  with an elevator to observe how nature has shaped the environment around you. But that's not all: the tour is an excellent opportunity to learn how volcanic eruptions take place!

However, getting to the volcano is not easy, it requires a hike of about 45 minutes and back over uneven terrain in a lava field.

And it's also a bit expensive ...

But it's worth it: it will probably be the only chance in your life to walk inside a volcano.

Book HERE the excursion from Reykjavik: 1 day in the heart of the Thrihnukagigur volcano

11 - Tunnel di lava di Raufarhólshellir

Iceland has a long history of volcanic activity and as a result regularly sees its landscapes changed.

Il lava tunnel in Raufarhólshellir it is only half an hour drive from Reykjavik and is a great half day excursion.Here you will visit the fourth longest lava cave in Iceland, over a kilometer long!

Due to the minerals in the rocks, the cave boasts a wide range of different colors which together create a fascinating effect.

The excursion starts in the morning and lasts about 3 hours. This tour is easy and suitable for most people thanks to a boardwalk that visitors can walk to see the tunnel's attractions.

How to reach us

Just 30 minutes by car, Raufarhólshellir it is easily accessible from Reykjavik.

However, you can only visit the interior with a guided tour, so either you buy it independently if you arrive with your car (visit only), or with a bus tour departing from Reykjavik.

Book here Raufarhólshellir lava tunnel: bus tour from Reykjavík

12 - Horseback riding

Reykjavik has tons of day trip options, but if like me you love horses, sights (and there are plenty of them in Iceland), you love sports and being outdoors then trust me: book an excursion on horseback!

Ok maybe I'm a bit biased: I love horses, I have two of my own, they are called Taipei and Vin Vin and for me they are extraordinary creatures. I have been riding horses since I was about 4 years old.

Icelandic horses are beautiful creatures, famous for their very particular trot (called tölt and peculiar only of this breed) and even a short little equestrian adventure while in Iceland is worth every penny you will spend.

Depending on your skills and the time available, there are a wide range of tour and trekking options.

If you've never ridden before, Icelandic horses are a great way to have your first horse riding experience. They are animals incredibly docile and little ones, very sweet and intelligent and they will be kind to you, but if you are a more experienced knight you will also find bread for your teeth: when they want and if you instigate them they can really be peperini.

Whether you're a novice or an expert, a horseback ride will show you snow-capped mountains, volcanic lava fields, and immense wildflower meadows - it's a truly unique and memorable experience for any type of traveler.

The options in Iceland for a horseback ride are practically endless (but be careful, in winter it will be difficult to find): whether you start from Reykjavik, from the South of Iceland, from the Golden Circle, in short, wherever you will find a different and exciting possibility.

A beautiful excursion is this ->  Iceland: Horseback Excursion Among Lava Fields (HIGHLY RECOMMENDED)

13 - Reykjanes Peninsula

In the past the Reykjanes Peninsula it was "snubbed" by most travelers, but today it is fast becoming a popular area to see near Reykjavik. Worth a visit.

Located near the Keflavik airport, here you will find spectacular coastal landscapes, active volcanoes and geothermal areas, lighthouses and local villages.

I want to tell you about this place to inspire you to look outside the box and hope that Keflavik Airport and the Blue Lagoon are no longer the only places people visit on the Reykjanes Peninsula.

Basically there are 3 very good reasons to take a tour here:

  • The number one reason is that the destination is easily accessible
  • Secondly, it is possible to make a circular itinerary, which is much better than going back and forth on the same road because it allows you to see so much more
  • And the third is there peninsula has so much to offer between visits and trekking on active volcanoes and incandescent lava flows.

In practice, the Reykjanes Brush encloses a “little Iceland!

There are many half-day tours from Reykjavik that depart in the morning and last 5 or 6 hours. At present, practically every tour in Reykjanes includes a visit or trek to the active volcano.

  • See -> Tour from Reykjavik: Active Volcano Hike
  • See -> Tour from Reykjavik: Guided hike to the active volcano on the Reykjanes Peninsula
  • See -> Reykjav√≠k: Excursion on the erupting volcano and tour of Reykjanes
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