With only 4 days to spare, we took it upon ourselves to hire a car for the well paved roads along the Golden Circle and saved the best of Southern Iceland and the Glacier Lagoons for our private tour with Iceland Go Tours. Due to the unpredictable weather in the South, we’re so glad we left it to the experts!
Keep reading to see our highlights from our time with Iceland Go Tours.
Sitting on the basalt columns (Gardar) on the Black Sand Beach
Inside the Hálsanefshellir cave at the bottom of Gardar – this cave was featured in the movie “Noah”
Reynisfjara Black Sand Beach
Unlike the beaches we’re used to, Reynisfjara is more of a “look and feel” rather than “swim and sunbake” kind of beach. The sand is made of a plethora of shiny black pebbles and the famous ‘Gardar’ – a staircase of symmetrical basalt columns that are naturally shaped from lava cooling into hexagonal formations. This is what makes Reynisfjara truly remarkable and it’s no wonder this beach has been crowned one of the most beautiful non-tropical beaches in the world.
Our guide, Bjorn, warned us of the strong rogue waves that have caused fatal accidents here so make sure you proceed with caution (but we’re confident Bjorn will keep you safe!).
Svinafellsjokull (also known as Pig Mountain)
The largest glacier in Iceland is the Vatnajökull, pictured above is the ‘Svinafellsjokull’ (also known as ‘Pig Mountain’) which is one of the many glacier tongues of ‘Vatnajökull’ in southern Iceland. This particular section of the glacier allows you to get up close and personal with the glacier lagoon which made it the perfect landscape for the “north of the wall” in Game of Thrones.
Witnessing these large marbled icebergs float along the lake was definitely one of the highlights of our trip. Some brave souls even scrambled their way onto the icy curves on their own but we wouldn’t recommend a glacier hike without a guide!
Fjallsarlon Iceberg Lagoon
‘Fjallsarlon Iceberg Lagoon’ is a lake at the south end of ‘Vatnajökull’ and what makes this lagoon special is not just the drifting glaciers (which we could not get enough of in Iceland!) but the view of the famous Öræfajökull volcano in the backdrop.
The Öræfajökull is an ice-covered volcano known to be the highest peak in Iceland and the most violent volcano which caused Iceland’s largest historical explosive eruption. Don’t worry, she’s inactive.. for now.
This roaring waterfall is result of the melting water from the ice capped Eyjafjallajokull volcano and due to its unique shape and beautiful meadow surroundings, its one of the popular wedding photography spots in this region – in fact, we saw a couple mid-photoshoot while we were there!
If you follow the side path, you’ll be able to walk behind the waterfall for that iconic Seljfalandsfoss photo (which we had to take using panoramic on the iPhone because it was just too wide to capture!) but this section is closed during winter due to the danger of falling ice.
Iceland Go Tours guide Bjorn showing us the majestic Skógafoss Waterfall
Measuring 60m x 25m, this waterfall is one of the largest falls in Iceland and if you’re lucky you’ll be able to witness a vibrant rainbow within the waterfall’s mist. Unfortunately we didn’t see one on this day but the falls were still outstanding even with the drizzle aftermath – make sure you wear some waterproof gear!
The river below the falls is apparently home to a large salmon population and you’ll often see fishermen here.
Diamond Beach, Iceland by Priyanka Ravi
This is one of the most visited spots in Iceland and a personal favourite spot for our guide. Unfortunately the day before we did our tour, the South of Iceland was hit with a big storm and the huge chunks of ice washed away from the lagoon. Pictured above is what the lagoon would have looked like on a normal day and we hope the chunks of ice are plentiful on your visit there but I guess you can never control the weather!
Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon by Terrance Tan
Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon
Known as the “Crown Jewel of Iceland” this large glacial lagoon has always been very high on our bucket list. Unfortunately again, due to the storm the day before, the wind had blown the glaciers far away from the shores of the lagoon by the time we got here. Our guide did manage to help us find large chunks of ice and glaciers along a small section of a lagoon nearby but it definitely would have been the cherry on top to see have the full Jokulsarlon experience while we were in Iceland. Perhaps next time!
Overall, our experience of Iceland wouldn’t have been the same without the help of Iceland Go Tours. The private tour allowed us to explore sites at our own pace (and avoid the crowds!), change our itinerary according to the weather forecast and the things we were most interested in and our guide even took us around on the night that we landed to help us chase the Northern Lights.
Thanks to his tips on how to find the lights, we ended our last night in Iceland with a memorable light show in the sky!