Many who come to visit Iceland opts to stay and use the capital as their base and then go on excursions from Reykjavík. These can either take on the form of short excursions from Reykjavík or day trips from Reykjavík.
In this article, we’ll explain what some of the best excursions from Reykjavík are and why you should include them in your trip itinerary.
Best Excursions from Reykjavík
Looking for a quick outing or want to make a day out of it? Below you will find some of the best excursions from Reykjavík to make your Iceland trip unforgettable:
Reykjavík Excursions via a Golden Circle Tour
A golden circle tour from Reykjavík can be done in a variety of ways. It can be done by booking one of the group day tours from Reykjavík or doing a self-drive tour.
When it comes to the group day tours from Reykjavík, these are usually led by a highly experienced and knowledgeable local guide. This will definitely trump you trying to Google information on every sight and attraction in the region.
The Golden Circle, which is a popular road trip route around the island that begins and ends in the capital city. The route holds a myriad of interesting stops along the way. Some of these include Thingvellir National Park, Gullfoss Waterfall, and the Geysir Geothermal Area. One can also partake in all sorts of activities along the route such as snowmobiling, horseback riding, glacier hiking, and much, much more.
It is this “much, much more” that often makes Reykjavík day trips by car tours in Iceland that depart from Reykjavík a practical option. It is basically getting the best of both worlds. You'll get a knowledgeable local guide along with the freedom to stay a little longer. And you can skip a specific stop or add an activity (things that simply cannot happen in a group setting).
It’s worth noting here that most self-drive tours in Iceland are more than one day long, so double-check before you make your purchase. Although, we have to say that our personal recommendation would be to spend at least a couple of days traveling the Golden Circle. It will make you truly take in and appreciate all the attractions along the way.
A few Golden Circle tours to consider include:
Reykjavík Excursions by Going Whale Watching
Whale watching in Iceland is an all-year favorite activity. But if you happen to visit the island during the months of April to September, it will be a crying shame not to go on one of the Reykjavík cruise excursions for whale watching.
This is because you will get treated to quite the show with plenty of local favorites but also migratory whale species in the Icelandic waters. On these excursions from Reykjavík, you might spot Humpback whales, Blue whales, Orcas, and others.
If a whale watching cruise is on your Iceland to-do list, then these are a few of the tours we’d recommend:
Half-day Whale Watching and Northern Lights Combo Tour (but please note that for obvious reasons this tour is seasonal. Do check availability!)
Reykjavík Cruise Excursions
Reykjavík cruise excursions are not just for whale watching. If you are lucky enough to visit the island between May and August, you will see the Iceland Puffins. They are otherwise referred to as the clowns of the sea, with their colorful beaks.
For those who do not know, almost 60% of the world’s Puffin population makes Iceland their breeding ground during these months, and it is quite a sight to see. There are plenty of excursions from Reykjavík that will take you to all the Puffin breeding “hot spots”. But, if you’re in the mood for an oceanic outing, one of the following Reykjavík cruise excursions come highly recommended:
Northern Lights Excursions from Reykjavík
The Aurora Borealis aka Northern Lights in Iceland is a natural wonder that many have on their Icelandic bucket list. But if this is the case, you’ll need to visit the island between September to April, when daylight hours have started to dwindle. There are ways to go Northern Lights hunting by yourself. However, it can be tough for visitors to scope out the right conditions and locale to spot this spectacular light display.
Since the locals have the knowledge and experience, we often recommend that visitors book a spot on a Northern Lights tour. That way, you are almost guaranteed to see the neon-colored lights dance across the Iceland sky. If the latter is more in your stride, these are some of the Northern Lights excursion tour groups to contact:
Reykjavík Excursions to a Volcano
On an island rife with its volcanic activity, it’s almost mandatory to visit at least one of these explo…we mean, exciting sights.
Iceland boasts roughly 130 volcanos, many of which are still active today. But don’t worry, despite statistics stating that at least one volcano is expected to erupt every four years on the island, it’s pretty much old hat to locals by now. There’s no need to be concerned regarding safety.
In fact, it’s nothing strange to get up close and personal to one of the recently erupted volcanos on a tour (talk about Instagrammable moments). There are plenty of options when it comes to volcano excursions from Reykjavík. From taking a hike to one
dormant crater to a tour to an active volcano!
If visiting a volcano is on your Iceland trip itinerary, consider a few of these:
Reykjavík Excursions on a Snowmobile
Just like with the Northern Lights, snowmobiling in Iceland is also limited to the winter months. Not just because you’ll struggle to find proper snow in the summer, but also because of safety concerns regarding glaciers, etc. (ice melts, after all).
Going snowmobiling in Iceland is one of the much-loved Reykjavík, Iceland shore excursions. It’s also an adventurous way of exploring the island and its attractions. If you are interested in Reykjavík excursions with snowmobiles, these are a few options you can consider:
Reykjavík Excursions down the South Coast
There are plenty of excursions down the North Atlantic Coastline that departs from Reykjavík. As with the Golden Circle tours, these trips have many attractions and activities in store for visitors all along the route. Among them are Diamond Beach, glacier hiking, Seljalandsfoss Waterfall, horseback riding on Icelandic horses, and the Village of Vik (which is the southernmost town in Iceland).
If any of these take your fancy, then take a look at one of these Reykjavík excursions down the South Coast:
Reykjavík Excursions to the Blue Lagoon
This is one we usually advise visitors to do shortly after arrival or their departure from the island. That's because the Blue Lagoon is situated between the capital and Keflavik Airport. You’ll just need to decide exactly what the goal of your visit is.
Taking a dip and soaking up the healing warm waters of the lagoon can take up just a couple of hours. But if you intend to take advantage of some of the spa treatments offered at the Blue Lagoon Retreat spa, then you might want to organize this activity as an entire day outing.
But whatever the circumstance, you will be able to find Reykjavík excursions to the Blue Lagoon to suit your schedule. Here are a few to keep in mind for your next trip:
Quick Blue Lagoon Shuttle Bus Transfer from Reykjavik (entry to the Blue Lagoon not included)
Blue Lagoon & Northern Lights (remember that the Northern Lights are seasonal)
To Tour or Not to Tour – That is the Question
As you can see from the myriad of tours that are offered from the capital of Reykjavik, you don’t always have to be behind the steering wheel. Taking in the sights and sounds of the island doesn't require constant driving. But you don’t have to commit to an Icelandic road trip when renting a car in Iceland, either.
It simply makes life a lot easier in terms of being a bit more independent and flexible with your time. It is also a little lighter on the budget! A jam-packed itinerary of guided tours at a couple of hundred $ a pop is certainly going to be felt eventually. Whichever option you prefer, there will never be a dull moment with all the excursions from Reykjavík.