Dramatic black painted cliffs dusted with green foliage, waterfalls pouring over craggy stones around every corner and vast fields with charming cottages and sheep dotting the hillsides…
Iceland is just kind of perfect…
There’s something about subarctic climates that bring out a sheer expansive beauty unlike any you will see in warmer climates. You should not only visit Iceland, you should get well acquainted as well.
If you’re wanting to maximize your time here, moving around less, is better.
Put your feet and bags down in Reykjavik, the capital of Iceland, and get ready for your epic jaunts beyond the city’s borders and into the vast and dramatic Icelandic landscape.
Go ahead, unpack those bags in your hotel and simply enjoy a variety of day trips from Reykjavik. Don’t worry. I’ll tell you exactly how to do it.
Day Trips From Reykjavik
I appreciate the fact not everyone likes to DIY their way around new countries. I happen to road trip Iceland, in September, after finding one of the cheapest campervans. But while Iceland is very easy to navigate on your own, it can be intimidating with the crazy weather and for those who don’t like driving abroad.
If you’re wanting to explore Iceland with the least amount of responsibility, taking day trips from Reykjavik is your best bet. Here are 17 Rekyavik day tours that are totally worth it!
1. Golden Circle Full Day Tour
This has got to be the most popular Reykjavik day tour. You’ll feel like an ice prince/princess as you take a leisurely tour to a crater lake, a waterfall, and a geyser.
Each one of these locations is stunning in its own right, and this tour will take you to all three. As if that wasn’t enough, you can witness the exact spot where the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates collide.
This Reykjavik day tour is a must do.
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2. Southern Iceland Tour From Reykjavik
Sit back with a small group of fellow tourists and watch as the rugged wilderness meets pristine waters. Listen to an animated tour guide ply you with fascinating history and culture.
We talk a lot about white sand beaches, but what about black sand beaches?
Take this Reykjavik day tour, and you’ll find out just what they’re about. At the end of this whirlwind of a day trip, you’ll stop at a local farm and experience how those who are native to Iceland really live.
[box]→ Book this day tour from Reykjavik: Premium Southern Iceland Tour [/box]
3. Northern Lights Bus Tour
The Northern Lights tour is so popular that it often sells out! In fact, this Reykjavik day tour is probably the main reason you are in Iceland to begin with. You’ll head out on a bus to wherever the local experts say the Aurora Borealis is most likely to appear.
But because nature can be a huge pain in the ass, you might miss the lights altogether. What’s nice about this tour is that if you do miss the lights, you can book another tour for free.
[box]→ Book this day tour from Reykjavik: Northern Lights Tour [/box]
4. Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon Full Day
Here’s another southern tour for your itinerary. This one is full of glaciers and boats. You should definitely choose the optional boat trip part of the tour that will take you up close and personal to the icebergs you’ve only previously seen on TV.
In addition, you’ll walk behind a waterfall, visit a black sand beach, and stop at the southernmost point of Iceland, the village Vik, for dinner. A Reykjavik day trip you won’t want to miss.
[box]→ Book this day tour from Reykjavik: Jokulsarlon Glacier Tour [/box]
5. Puffin Watching Boat Tour From Reykjavik
Put on all your clothes (for warmth) and board an old wooden boat! Then take an hour-long tour off the Old Harbor Bay from Reykjavik to bird watch.
Your captain will navigate these icy waters to get you out to two different islands, turn off his engine, and let you take it all in. Witness the North Atlantic puffin in its natural habitat.
[box]→ Book this day tour from Reykjavik: Puffin Watching Boat Tour [/box]
6. Snaefellsnes Peninsula Full Day Tour
This all day trip from Reykjavik is all about taking your time. You will spend the entirety of your day, from sun up to sun down traversing across this small region of Iceland.
The villages you visit will give you a taste of Icelandic life, the dormant volcano and gorges will be a shock to your sense, and the seal watching is just adorable.
[box]→ Book this day tour from Reykjavik: Snaefellsnes Tour [/box]
7. Whale Watching Tour
Take a few hours on the Andrea, the largest whale watching ship in Iceland, and head out into the Atlantic.
Be sure you take this Iceland tour from Reykjavik during the summer months, April to September, so you can actually catch sight of whales, dolphins, and porpoises breaking through the surface of the ocean alongside your ship.
There are no guarantees you’ll see any of these sea giants during off season.
[box]→ Book this day tour from Reykjavik: Whale Watching Tour [/box]
8. Secret Lagoon
Okay, so you take a day trip from Reykjavik, you leave your cozy hotel, and you get to sit in a geothermal lagoon surrounded by spouting hot springs. I really don’t think I need to say much more to sell you on this one, do I?
People pay hundreds of dollars in the US to have this experience simulated in a spa, and you can shell out some cash to have the actual up front and personal experience. Do it.
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9. Landmannalaugar 4 Hour Hike and Hot Spring
So… we talked about volcanos, and we talked about hot springs, but this Reykjavik day tour has both! Of all of the day tours from Reykjavik, this one is clearly the winner for adrenaline junkies.
Get your heart racing as you hike through the southern Highland of Fjallabak, and after witnessing sights you won’t see anywhere else, sights that even pictures cannot accurately capture, you get to rest in a hot spring to relax your tired muscles.
Um, yes please and thank you.
[box]→ Book this day tour from Reykjavik: Landmannalaugar Tour [/box]
10. Skaftafell National Park Hike
Hiking’s in your blood, huh?
Well strap on your crampons and hike across the ice on this Reykjavik day tour.
For three hours you’ll check out the deep crevices along the surface of the ice. You’ll also get a photo op worthy view of one of Europe’s largest glaciers at Vatnajokull.
Your guide will explain all about the region, what keeps it all together, and what keeps you safe in this arctic ice land.
[box]→ Book this day tour from Reykjavik: Skaftafell National Park Hike Tour [/box]
11. Langjokull Glacier Ice Cave Tour From Reykjavik
Once it’s complete, you’ll be sorry this day tour from Reykjavik only lasted 11 hours. Board a technologically advanced tour bus, and you’ll be driven out to the Langjokull glacier, the second largest in Iceland.
Top engineers in Iceland have figured out a way to bore into this glacier and produce a crystal cavern that allows us to gawk at this mountain of ice from inside crystalline blue walls.
Once you’ve had your fill of this otherworldly glacier ice cave, you’ll complete your Reykjavik day tour with a visit to a waterfall that falls through a wall of lava. Yes. Seriously.
[box]→ Book this day tour from Reykjavik: Langjokull Glacier Ice Cave Tour [/box]
12. Silfra Fissure
So remember we talked about the wonderful Reykjavik day trip where you get to view the spot where the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates collide? Well if witnessing it is wonderful, what is swimming through it?
Magical? Yes. Yes it’s magical.
And this tour will let you do just that: don a snorkel and swim into the fissure between these two tectonic plates. Talk about a bucket list experience.
[box]→ Book this day tour from Reykjavik: Silfra Fissure Tour [/box]
13. Icelandic Horse Riding Tour
There are just some places that cannot be explored in a car or even on a bike. For these special places, we have horses.
You will be picked up from your hotel and driven just 10 minutes outside of Reykjavik to the Ishestar stables where you’ll find beautiful, friendly horses known as tolt, who will take you out to trot through lava fields surrounded by green hills.
This Reykjavik day trip is not only otherworldly; it feels as if you’ve gone back in time as well.
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14. Caving Tour From Reykjavik
So now that you’ve traveled through lava fields, it’s time to travel under lava fields.
“What?” You ask. Yep, you can drop down into the cracks and crevasses of the Leidarendi Cave, situated just below the lava fields.
What may at first seem dark and spooky is actually one of the most visually stimulating experiences you can have, not just on a Reykjavik day tour, but in this lifetime.
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15. Thrihnukagigur From Reykjavik
You’ve been in lava fields, you’ve witnessed a giant volcano by now, and you’re feeling pretty fearless. That means it’s time to send you dropping into a volcano.
The Thrihnukagigur volcano is dormant, which means it is highly unlikely to erupt.
You can spend up to an hour in the volcano, but don’t worry, if it gets too hot, you can always ask to leave early.
But honestly, when else in your life will you be able to say you were inside of a volcano? At the end of the day, you’ll be served a great dinner.
[box]→ Book this day tour from Reykjavik: Thrihnukagigur Tour [/box]
16. Game of Thrones Tour
If you’re a fan of the show, this is a Reykjavik day tour you absolutely must take. You’ll be picked up from your hotel and taken out to wander the same land the white walkers march across, you’ll get to stand “north of the wall,” and you’ll even “meet some of the characters” from the show!
I’m not personally in the know with GOT, but friends have clued me in, so I knew if I didn’t include this day trip from Reykjavik, I’d be doing fans a huge disservice.
[box]→ Book this day tour from Reykjavik: Game of Thrones Tour [/box]
17. Blue Lagoon Full Day
As a professional nomad who prefers to avoid the major crowds and obvious tourist attractions, I have to say, the Blue Lagoon is pretty damn worth it.
It is stunningly gorgeous with its branching out streams and it’s opalescent opaque waters. This Reykjavik day tour will not only take you to the Blue Lagoon, but you’ll also get a tour of the Golden Circle while you’re out. So this is a great combo choice to make the most of your time.
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Nina Ragusa is an adventurer, messy bun master, breakfast fan, and full-time travel blogger. She’s been abroad and epically failing at the American Dream since 2011. Her sassy yet informative blog, Where in the World is Nina? is all about how to work abroad to live a more adventurous life. If you want to travel longer you have to work to wander.