Iceland: from urban cool to volcanic hotspots

A 10-day itinerary from Reykjavik to Sudurland

Thundering waterfalls. Volcanic craters. Boiling hot geysers shooting into pure, crisp air. Iceland could be described as not just as out-of-this-world, but where Earth began. And with three luxury hotels in Iceland all strung together in one sparkling itinerary, exploring mysterious landscapes is as easy as enjoying the creative vibe of Reykjavik. 

AT A GLANCE

• 10-day independent itinerary taking you around Iceland’s Golden Circle, based on flying in and out of Reykjavik

• Stay at SLH boutique city retreats before heading south to your own palatial log cabin in Sudurland

• Highlights include a private tour of the geysers, waterfalls, Thingvellir Park, Westman Islands and the Blue lagoon

START IN STYLE: REYKJAVIK & AROUND

Reykjavik is a city where the effortlessly hip sits alongside Iceland’s proud, mythical past. Start your day exploring the Old Harbour area. Filled with fishing boats, edgy contemporary art galleries, quirky shops and eateries – follow your nose to the hot cinnamon buns made in the Sandholt bakery. Examine historical artefacts in the National Museum of Iceland. Then spend the evening at the dazzlingly futuristic Harpa concert hall which puts on 360-degree films and traditional operas. During the summer, dance the night away to eclectic, home-grown bands under the eerie midnight sun.

Leaving Reykjavik, there are some great hikes across the Reykjadalur valley on the beautiful Ölfus trail. Or start your Golden Circle tour through pristine natural landscapes and geological wonders.

DECISIONS, DECISIONS...

A 45-minute drive from Keflavík International Airport drops you off at either Sandhotel –an enclave of luxury townhouses inspired by Iceland’s literary and artistic heroes. Or, for mesmerising panoramic views over colourful rooftops and distant snow-capped mountains, there’s the trend-setting Tower Suites Reykjavik. Can’t make your mind up? Choose one and save the other for the final night of your Icelandic adventure, for a last helping of luxury before your flight home. Suggested stay 4 nights.

THE ADVENTURE CONTINUES: THINGVELLIR PARK & WESTMAN ISLANDS

Ever wanted to stand on two continents at the same time? Thingvellir (Þingvellir) Park straddles the two tectonic plates of Eurasia and America (if you’re really brave, you can even scuba dive in the gap between them at Silfra dive site). Witness the huge Strokkur geyser, exploding every 12 minutes with its sizzling display of power.

Your next stop could be the volcanic crater Kerið and lava shores of Reynisfara near Vik. Here, glistening black sand beaches and numerous rivers crashing over glacier-formed cliffs will keep your camera busy. Watch rainbows dance in the spray of Gullfoss. And walk the path behind the 40-metre-long drop of Seljalandsfoss waterfall.



There’s also a short ferry trip to the Westman Islands – a volcanically active archipelago. Made famous by the Eldfell eruption in 1973, only Heimaey Island is inhabited. You’re likely to encounter many whale species here, not forgetting the world’s largest breeding colony of puffins – Iceland’s national bird and smoked delicacy.

A HOTEL WITH A VOLCANO VIEW

Relax in geothermal hot tubs gazing up at the stars. The luxurious hunting lodge feel of Hotel Rangá makes it ideal for expeditions into Sudurland. Activities range from snowmobiling and horse riding, to caving and fishing. And if that’s got you hungry for adventure, the hotel features a gourmet restaurant. Suggested stay 5 nights.

LAST BUT NOT LEAST: THE BLUE LAGOON

Since Viking times, outdoor bathing has long been an Icelandic tradition. So, on your last day in Reykjavik, take a dip in the mineral-rich waters of the Blue Lagoon. Framed by black lava fields covered with green moss, it’s stunning to look at. And the soothing temperature of 39°C/102°F remains constant throughout the year. Conveniently located near the airport and your luxury hotel, you’ll need to pre-book – something our Travel Advisors will be happy to look into for you. Suggested stay 1 night.


Watch the technicolour Aurora Borealis: If you’re planning a winter escape, let an expert guide drive you from your Reykjavik hotel to prime Northern Lights spots. Check the Aurora forecast beforehand, and remember to wrap up warm on the night.

TRAVEL TIPS

Hiring a car is a wonderful way to discover Iceland’s beautiful wilderness and villages. But it’s important to respect how vulnerable the land is to erosion. So, remember to stick to designated paths and never drive off-road – which is strictly forbidden. Ask our Voice Reservation Team for details about trips and transport provided by individual hotels. 

BOOK YOUR BOUTIQUE HOTELS

To book the hotels on this independent itinerary, get in touch with our Voice Reservation Team on 0800 0482 314 (UK) & 1-877-234-7033 (US). You can find a full list of our dedicated toll-free numbers here. We’re ready and waiting to plan luxury adventures 24 hours a day, seven days a week. So whenever inspiration strikes, just get in touch.