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Geothermal Tour, Reykjanes peninsula

Our standard setup for this trip is usually 5 to 7 hours. We can bespoke this tour which may take from 3 hours and up to 6 hours based on your available time, and preferences.

Keflavik International airport is situated on the southwest part of the Reykjanes peninsula. Still, most of visitors drive straight to the city without experiencing the beautiful magic scenery of the youngest part of Iceland. This is very interesting place seen from a geological point.  The landscape is rough and a bit alien looking.  Not much grass, but mostly lava field covered with moss.  In fact, everywhere you look, no matter in what direction, lava fields stretch to the horizon.  What we will find here are lot of high temperature geothermal activity, fissures, lava cracks, tectonic faults, volcanic craters, bubbling geysers, geothermal mud pools, lava fields, caves, etc

The Peninsula is perhaps one of the most underrated places in Iceland.  Since November 2015, this area at Reykjanes Peninsula is known as UNESCO Global Geopark 829 km2. The most famous attraction in this area is the Blue Lagoon. But in the year 2021 the volcanic eruption on the peninsula took over that role (not far away from the Blue Lagoon)

A visit to the “High temperature” Geothermal areas, you will find the famous hot spring “Gunnuhver”. Not far away we have a beautiful old lighthouse built in the year 1907. Only few hundred meters toward the coast we have Valahnúkur mountain which was formed in a volcanic eruption. Interesting geological formation having both Pillow lava, Breccia and Tuff.

High geothermal areas have several characters.  Fumaroles are common on the peninsula, and they sometimes erupt with blue grey clay splatters. The main features are diversity on colors. The clay gives a brown and white color, the Sulphur has a beautiful yellow texture, and the copper amalgamation are blue green.

The high temperature geothermal energy resources is harvested in the peninsula both by producing electricity around 175 MW and for district heating of all houses on the peninsula.  Interesting development which started in the eighties utilizing the renewable and environment friendly energy.

Our standard setup for this trip is 5 hours. We can bespoke this tour which may take from 3 hours and up to 6 hours based on your available time, and preferences. If you want to include and experience the Blue lagoon in the tour then we need the whole day.

The Peninsula is perhaps one of the most underrated places in Iceland.  Since November 2015, this area at Reykjanes Peninsula is known as UNESCO Global Geopark 829 km2

The most famous attraction on the peninsula is the Blue Lagoon. If you want to learn more about the lagoon then click HERE.

Other very popular attractions today is the volcanic eruptions which started on the 19th of March when a fissure opened following frequent earthquakes the weeks before. The last eruption took place in the peninsula some 800 years ago.  Initially scientists predicted that the eruption would erupt for days and perhaps few weeks, but it was active until September or approx. 6 months. Scientists are not yet prepared to declare that the eruption is over or finished. A short hiking tours to see the new lava is still very popular among tourists. 

When taking this tour then you experiencing the beautiful magic scenery of the youngest part of Iceland. This is very interesting place seen from a geological point.  The landscape is rough and a bit alien looking.  Not much grass, but mostly lava field covered with moss.  In fact, everywhere you look, no matter in what direction, lava fields stretch to the horizon.  What we will find here are lot of high geothermal activity, Fissures, lava cracks, tectonic faults, volcanic craters, bubbling geysers, geothermal mud pools, lava fields, caves

There is a unique opportunity to see where the Atlantic Ridge rises above sea level displaying various forms of volcanic activity which has shaped this peninsula.  You will be able to see the boundaries between Europe and America, where the ocean plates drift away from each other.  You literally can walk over a bridge, between the tectonic plates dividing Europe from North America. 

By the sea, there are many places with amazing rock formation astonishing cliffs, most of them dark grey. Additionally, you may see some colonies of sea birds, black sand, and beaches.

A visit to the “High temperature” Geothermal areas, the famous hot spring “Gunnuhver”, Lighthouse if very popular. High geothermal areas have several characters.  The main features are diversity on colors. The clay gives a brown and white color, the fool’s gold seems dark grey, the Sulphur has a beautiful yellow texture, and the copper amalgamation are blue green. Fumaroles are common on the peninsula, and they sometimes erupt with blue grey clay splatters.

The high temperature geothermal energy resources is harvested in the peninsula both by producing electricity around 175 MW and for district heating of all houses on the peninsula.  Interesting development which started in the eighties utilizing the renewable and environment friendly energy.

Tour location shown on a map

This tour is only possible during summer time.

The highlands of Iceland are unique area which you should not miss when visiting Iceland.  Landmannalaugar is one of the most popular places to visit in Iceland.  You will see beautiful lava areas covered with moss, colorful mountains and geothermal areas allowing you to bath in the natural pool. Short hiking tours (1-2 hours) an option or a visit to a former volcanic craters. On the way back you will visit the waterfall Haifoss and an old Viking cottage.

The name Landmannalaugar translated directly to English means “Peoples pool”.  The areas with its colorful mountains and lava fields are extremely beautiful and unique.  It is very popular hiking areas.  We will take an easy hiking circle around the area, or walk up a mountain, whichever you prefer. Geologically this area is interesting and rare mostly formed in an eruption in 1477.  You will see rhyolite mountains, and other type of stones. Shades like red, pink, green, blue and golden yellow makes this place ethereal beautiful.

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This tour is only possible during summer time

Kerlingafjöll is a famous geothermal site in the center of the Icelandic highlands.  It used to be a popular skiing resort during summertime, but due to rising temperature and the retreat of the glaciers that is hardly possible today.  But if you are interested in geology and especially geothermal surface manifestations with lot of boiling hot springs and colorful rhyolite mountains you will certainly experience that up close and witness the stunning beauty of this place. The place is also characterized by lot of steam coming up from the hot fumaroles.  The mountains around still have glaciers on their top and together with colorful rhyolite, dark and bright tuff stones make this place unique and very photogenic. This is a very popular tourist destination, but it is not easy to drive the gravel roads in the highlands (called Kjalvegur) and up to the mountains unless the driver has experience and a 4X4 jeep, but that is exactly what we are offering our guests.

When we are 700 meters above sea level, we may expect all kind of weather, so be well prepared.

A drive to Hveravellir which is an hour and a half drive from Kerlingafjöll is also a geothermal hot spot, but it is totally different experience.  It is a popular oasis in the highlands where you can take a bath in a natural hot spring pool followed by a cup of hot chocolate and slice of a cake. Please be aware that in the nature there is no facility to change cloths.  What makes this hot spring so special?  Many say its beautiful surroundings being placed in the middle of the highlands in between two of the biggest glaciers in Iceland, Hofsjökull and Langjökull.  The place has interesting history which you will learn about during the tour.

We will pass both Gullfoss and Geysir the famous golden circle attractions on the way to Kerlingafjöll.  Therefore it is ideal if requested to make a short photo stop on the way to the highlands.

Please note that roads in the highlands are only accessible during summertime from July until early September

Snæfellsnes National Park is a peninsula in Western Iceland. The peninsula is a detour from the ring-road, worth visiting.   You will witness breathtaking attractions. Snæfellsjökull the glacier which is the main attraction and one of a three volcanic systems on the peninsula. It is now an active independent volcanic system away from the main Atlantic rift system. The glacier itself is a cone shaped volcano which erupted last time 1700 years ago. Snæfellsjökull and its surroundings was the first national park established in Iceland and known as the Jewel of the West.

Attractions are also the iconic black church to the towering Kirkjufell mountain which was made popular by Game of Thrones. Others are are dramatic sea cliffs/rocks with spectacular bird life , fishing villages, colorful beaches and Volcanic lava landscapes with moss.

In one day, you will experience diverse Icelandic scenery. Volcanic Craters, Arnarstapi sea cliffs, bird live and costal rocks, Black sand of Djúpalónssandur, the majestic peak of Kirkjufell which is shaped like an arrowhead, the seal colony and birds live, the black church, lava fields of Berserkjahraun etc.

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We sometimes name this tour the silver circle.  We will stop in five places, first in Borgarnes (1) Viking Settlement Center which gives you a remarkable perception of the Viking saga which happened in Iceland some 1100 years ago.  We will then explore geothermal resources in the upper Borgarfjordur area in W-Iceland, the home of the most powerful hot springs in Europe.  There we have the largest low-temperature region in Iceland, which consists of five major low-temperature geothermal systems with a total natural discharge of about 450 l/s of boiling water.  First area of interest is Varmaland/Laugaland (2) which is a good example of a small village that was developed around a geothermal site.  First, they constructed a swimming pool in 1942 at the same time, a greenhouse farm was established utilizing the hot springs from heating. Gradually, a small village was developed named Varmaland, a story which is interesting to learn about.  One may say that Varmaland is a good example for geothermal development in rural areas.

The third stop represents another geothermal site named Deildartunga where we will see the biggest hot spring in Europe and at the core of the hot spring, we will experience and relax at the Krauma (3) baths and have an option of having a lunch break and enjoy the cuisine offered at the restaurant while enjoying the spectacular view of the powerful hot spring. The geothermal pipeline from Deildartunga to Akranes is the longest in the world, 64 km in total and has been used since 1980-1981.

From there we will continue to Iceland's main historic site, the cultural center of Reykholt (4). This was the home of the famous Snorri Sturluson, (1206 to 1241) who was a politician and historian. There we can see the oldest geothermal pool which dates back to the 10th century. From Reykholt we will see the beautiful Hraunfossar (5) which is a series of waterfalls. The name basically means Lava Waterfalls.  The scenery is spectacular and beautiful where you will see how the water pours out of “Hallmundarhraun” lava wall and cascades down to the river appearing in an enormous length of 900 meters.

The glacier lagoon is one of the most popular tourist destinations, and no wonder. The glacier and its surrounding are a spectacular scenery which is always changing due to huge Icebergs broken off the glacier which gradually moves around inside the lagoon on its way to the ocean.  Part of the scenery is the black beach with its melting icebergs all over which has been given the name “diamond beach” due to its melting icebergs which have been broken down into smaller pieces.

The lagoon flows through a short waterway into the Atlantic Ocean, leaving chunks of ice on the back beach.  Huge blocks of icebergs float around in the lagoon which has broken off from the glacier.  Ice chunks on the black beach look like diamonds, which give the beach its name, so take a walk on the diamond beach along the Glacier Lagoon.  

Very often the lagoon host hundreds of seals.  Exciting boat or Zodiac trips can be offered if requested.

This place is also famous for its settings in two James Bond films, one being “Die Another Day”, the other A View to Kill.  The location has also been used in other films such as Tomb Raider and Beowulf.

During the drive on the southern coast of Iceland towards the Glacier lagoon, we will make a short stop at either the Skógafoss waterfall or at the black sand beach and Reynisdrangar, close to Vik í Mýrdal.

Due to the 380 km drive from Reykjavik Capital, then this trip is the longest day tour (13 to 14 hours), but it certainly is worth the drive.

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Adventure which involves a ferry trip and combines history, sightseeing and puffin watching, and when back to the mainland, a visit to famous Seljalandsfoss waterfall is a must. Just to mention two interesting facts. Firstly, the islands are considered to be the largest Atlantic Puffin colony in the world. Secondly, a volcanic eruption began without warning on the edge of the village on the main island on January 1973. An option to hike up to the new crater.

The Westman Islands (Vestmannaeyjar) are in the south coast of Iceland and consists of around16 islands. Only one of them called Heimaey is inhabited and has a population of around 4300 people. Around those islands there are a number of rocks and skerries making the seabird life very rich and bountiful. .

We will take a ferry from the south coast to the islands, a trip which takes only 20 minutes. If we are lucky, we will see whales and seals on the way. We can drive into the crater or have the option of taking a short hiking tour up to the mountain and enjoy the view of the crater and the village. Our guide will tell you his personal experience of being on the island during the clean-up the year after the eruption in (1974). Another eruption happened in 1963 in the ocean which created a new island, Surtsey. We will explore and drive around the whole island and visit other interesting sightseeing spots while reviewing the history of the island. One option is a visit to Belgua Whales & Puffin Sanctuary. Other interesting spots are Stórhöfði to see the puffins up close, Herjólfsdalur farmhouse ruins, the elephant rock etc.

In this fishery village we recommend spending some time at a seafood restaurant to taste fresh seafood before leaving the island to the mainland.

You can read more about the Eldfell 1973 eruption here

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Final destination is Skaftafell National Park is a Nature Reserve since 1967. We will be travelling along the southern coast of Iceland.  On the way from Reykjavík, and before reaching the destination, then we will stop and experience some of Iceland most beautiful natural scenery on the south coast. Waterfalls, Seljalandsfoss, Skógafoss, the Black sand beach at the seafront village Vík.  In Skaftafell we will feel the power of the glaciers.  Glacier in Iceland are among the greatest natural wonder in the world. Total of 11% of the land area are covered by ice caps.  The biggest glaciers are Vatnajökull, Langjökull, Höfsjökull and Mýrdalsjökull. Glacier forms only in places where fresh snow never fully melts, up on mountains or in the highland. It gradually compresses into ice under its own weight.  A process which takes centuries. Sliding glacier are like a frozen river which slowly moves forward towards the edges, down hills.

Skaftafell is a kind of a pearl or a natural wonder in between the biggest sliding glacier in Iceland.  In Skaftafell we will take a short and easy hiking tour. Two options, one to a waterfall and the other one toward the glacier Skaftafellsjökull.  

Svartifoss: One of two option is a 45-minute hiking tour to Svartifoss, (each way) which is one of the most famous waterfall in Iceland.  The waterfall is perhaps not the biggest in Iceland, but its surroundings are spectacular. Located in front of basalt columns, makes this place special.

Skaftafellsjökull:  the other option is a short hiking tour in Austurbrekkur to see the spectacular glacier close up.

Very close to Skaftafell we will find another sliding glacier with the name Svinafellsjökull. Having in mind its breathtaking beauty, it is no wonder it was chosen as an ideal location for film settings, such as in Batman begins, and the TV series of Games of thrones (Season 7). Others, less famous movies filmed there are Kung Fu Yoga with Jackie Chan and “Interstellar” as the Ice Planet.

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Water falls Seljarlandsfoss and Skógarfoss. Dyrhólaey (puffins) the Black sand beach, and Vík í Mýrdal. Optional attractions are glacier walking in Sólheimajökull

Travel along the southern coast of Iceland is very popular. Take a time to enjoy the beauty of this region and experience the wonders of creation. We can arrange the tour according to your wishes and desire to see and experience.

When driving from Reykjavik the first attraction are the two waterfalls Seljalandsfoss and Skógafoss. When stopping at Skogafoss we have an option to visit the museum in Skogar (cultural heritage collection and turf houses).  It is a big waterfall having a drop of 60 meters and a width of 25 meters. It is a beautiful scenery where you can walk all the way up to the waterfall and feel the spray on your face.  Due to the spray the waterfalls produce, then you usually see a rainbow in a sunny day.  You can walk up a staircase which leads you to an observation deck on the top of the waterfall.  It will give you a spectacular view of the waterfall and the surrounding landscape.

Seljalandsfoss which we usually stop on the way back to Reykjavik, is only 200 meters away from the parking lot. The visitors are when in a safe condition able to walk behind the waterfall and have a spectacular view from behind. The cascade is 60 meters high and has its origins in the famous glacier and volcano Eyjafjallajökull. The water is clean, and we recommend visitors to fill their bottle with water from the river before continuing the tour.

A drive up to the island of Dyrhólaey we will see the birds live (for example, puffins) and a spectacular view of the black sand beach. Dyrhólaey used to be an island before but is now accessible by jeeps.  From the top of the mountain, you will see an old light house, and spectacular view in all directions. The black sand to the west and east and the mountains to the north and the Atlantic Ocean to the south.

The final destination is the small village of Vík (the filming set/location of KATLA the Netflix series) where you will have a wonderful view of Reynisdrangar. We usually choose this location for lunch due to the selection of good restaurants there.

The option to walk on glacier (Sólheimajökull) is very popular, which takes about 3 hours. The glacier is a sliding glacier and is part of Mýrdalsjökull. A lagoon has been formed in front of the glacier which certainly add to the charm of the location. If you choose the option to take a hike on the glacier, then unfortunately it will limit our ability to visit all the other sceneries mentioned here, on the south coast. But remember this is once in a lifetime experience, especially if you are lucky with the weather. The tour difficulty changes from easy to moderate as you need to be able to climb the various formations having ice climbing shoes on your boots. All necessary glacier walk equipment will be provided.

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Inspired by IcelandFerðamálastofa
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