ICELAND, NOVEMBER 7, 2017 –. When visiting Iceland, there are two choices when it comes to seeing the country. Either rent a car and stop to see the sights at your leisure, or take a tour.
If you are the type that is comfortable driving in a foreign country, doesn’t mind roughing it as far as accommodations, and generally, wants to go off the beaten path, then by all means, go for it.
However, some want to venture out for the day and return to their hotel, in time to head out to dinner.
Still, many despise the idea of a huge tour bus that lets you off for a couple minutes to snap a photo before moving on to the next stop. Here are three tours that don’t treat you like cattle, allowing time to enjoy the stops.
Besides, the Blue Lagoon and the Northern Lights, the Golden Circle is probably one of the most popular tours.
The name has nothing to do with Iceland and more about the circular route of the tour, which covers three popular stops: Thingvellir National Park, the Gullfoss waterfall, and the geothermal geysers, Geysir and Strokkur.
What’s terrific about this tour company is that it includes some other stops not included in others like the volcanic crater Kerið, plus an otherworldly secret location that resembles the planet Mars.
Your driver won’t rush you as it is a small group tour and drivers have a wealth of knowledge about the places you are visiting and the folklore surrounding them.
You’ll be guided around in a plush, Mercedes minibus, with the average tour size being eight to ten people.
Cost: Approximately $119 USD, Length: 8 hours. Tours are Mondays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays year round. Note that lunch is not included and is quite pricey at the tourist stops.
Much like the tour above, the minibus on this tour is designed for small groups, around ten to twelve people per trip. Though less popular then the Golden Circle, many choose this tour for magnificent landscape options that really give the visitor a glimpse of Icelandic terrain. On this tour, you’ll get to see glaciers, mountains, and waterfalls.
- The church-shaped mountain Kirkjufell, directly across the street from the little waterfall, Kirkjufellsfoss.
- Snaefellsjokull volcano glacier made famous by Jules Verne in his novel “Journey to the Center of the Earth”.
- Gerðuberg basalt columns. Made famous by the movie “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty”
This tour is a long all day commitment, best suited for children 10 and over. One downside is there are two stops during the day for meals, one for lunch and one for a snack at a cafe, which could have been shorter and allowed for a bit more time at some of the other picturesque stops to take in the scenery.
Cost: Approximately $189 USD, Length: 11 hours. Tours are twice weekly year round.
While this tour doesn’t leave Reykjavik, what’s cool about it is you’ll learn about the history of the city and it’s buildings and architecture throughout the capital city while getting your bearings for the city’s points of interest.
For example, did you know that Iceland only got its independence in 1944? Plus, you’ll get to fill your belly with local foods.
Be warned, if you’ve been on food tours in the United States before, you’ve probably left so stuffed, you felt like you were about to slip into a food coma. This won’t happen on this tour.
You’ll have enough for a filling lunch but will have to eat a light dinner.
You won’t have things like fermented shark or whale as those are some of the delicacies there, but you will taste foods you’ve likely not tried before such as a famous Icelandic hot dog, Rye ice cream, and adventurous charcuterie.
Cost: Approximately $139 USD, Length: 4 hours. Tours are available twice daily at 11:30 am and 12:30 pm, year round, with some exceptions around holidays.