Best Iceland Day Tours – Most Popular and Recommended

snaefellesnes day tour best Iceland

It seems like everywhere I turn these days, I overhear someone say they are going to Iceland. I’ve done the research on Iceland Best Tours that you don’t want to miss out.

Before I visited Iceland last year I did a ton of research, carefully choosing how we’d spend our time and if we would do tours. For sightseeing in Iceland you have two choices: rent a car and stop to see the sights at your leisure, or take a tour. Ultimately we decided against renting a car and opting for a taking Iceland’s group tours. Reasons were that parking can be hard to come by if you are in Reykjavik (where our AirBnB was), gas is expensive and we weren’t sure which roads in Iceland might be shut down (our travel being in October).

northern lights best group tour

If I ever go back to Iceland, I would rent a car, but scouring the internet for the best tours in Iceland ensured a fantastic experience. The tour companies in Iceland really do an exceptional job at tour descriptions one their websites and knowing everything involved up front. And I loved that we could venture out for the day and return to our AirBnB, in time to head out to dinner. While I would never want a huge tour bus that lets you off for a couple minutes to snap a photo before moving on to the next stop, I was thrilled to find many small tour operators in Iceland, offering terrific day tours.

The Blue Lagoon Iceland Day Tours

blue lagon iceland best tour

Get to Iceland’s Blue Lagoon early to avoid the crowds

Because many people will wonder about the Blue Lagoon, I’ll tell you, you don’t need to book through a tour company for this. You can go straight to the Blue Lagoon site and book you entrance yourself. And I do recommend booking tickets as it is an extremely popular spot in Iceland and does sell out a couple days in advance. Since you won’t get any special discounts from any tour company, all you will need is transportation to and from Iceland’ Blue Lagoon. Though I read many suggestions to stop by on your way to or from the airport since it is on the way to Reykjavik. Our group chose not to do this when we visited the Blue Lagoon because we knew we would be exhausted and wouldn’t enjoy it.

1. Discover Iceland’s Spicy Golden Circle Tour

Besides, the Blue Lagoon and the Northern Lights, the Golden Circle Tour is probably one of the most popular tours in Iceland. The name is somewhat misleading since it 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.

gulfoss waterfall iceland tour

Gulfoss waterfall on Discover Iceland’s Spicy Golden Circle tour

I said that I made it a point to only book the best small tour companies in Iceland right? Well, the average size of this group tour in Iceland is only 8  – 10 people. And our chariot was a Mercedes minibus! What I loved about this tour company is that it includes some other stops not included in other Iceland Golden Circle day tours like the volcanic crater Kerið, plus an otherworldly secret location that resembles the planet Mars.

best iceland day tour volcano

This is a bonus stop on the Spicy Golden Circle tour in Iceland

We were lucky in that our group tour was only the 5 of us and one extra. So we really had preference for how much time was spent at each of Iceland’s Golden Circle spots on this terrific Iceland day tour.

best day trip day tour Iceland

One of the “secret” stops on the Spicy Golden Circle tour in Iceland

Cost of this fantastic Iceland day tour with Discover Iceland: Approximately $145 USD, Length: 8 hours. Tours are offered year round. Note that lunch is not included and is quite pricey at the tourist stops.

2. Gateway to Iceland Snaefellsnes Peninsula Tour

Much like the tour above, the minibus on the Snaefellsnes Peninsula Tour is designed for small groups, around ten to twelve people per trip.  On this tour, you’ll get to see glaciers, mountains, and waterfalls. Our goal was to see the Icelandic terrain that gives a glimpse of the different landscapes and with the Snaefellsnes Peninsula tour, we felt like we really saw the best of Iceland.

best iceland day tour day trip

Highlights include:

  • 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”
snaefellsnes best iceland day tour

See landscape and terrain unlike anything in the us with the Gateway to Iceland day tour to Snaefellsnes

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.

Because this Iceland tour only is offered twice weekly, I’d recommend booking it more in advance of your trip to guarantee you get the day you would like.

Cost of the incredible Iceland day tour with Gateway to Iceland: Approximately $189 USD, Length: 11 hours. Tours are twice weekly year round.

Are you flying WOW Air to Iceland? Read this, first.

16 Things to know before you visit Iceland

downtown Reykjavik iceland tour

Make sure your AirBnB or hotel is close to restaurants in Reykjavik as there’s no Uber in Iceland

3. Wake Up Reykjavik Iceland Food Tour

While Wake Up Reykjavik  doesn’t leave Reykjavik, you will learn a lot of about the city’s history. Plus, I’d recommend this tour for your fist full day in Iceland (after you’ve gotten a good night’s rest) because you will walk all over the city and get your bearings for the city’s points of interest.

do this best food tour in iceland

We had a lovely tour guide for our half day Iceland food tour in Reykjavik

For example, did you know that Iceland only got its independence in 1944?

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. It’s probably why the Icelandic people are so fit! Don’t get me wrong, you will eat enough to satisfy your for lunch, but you’ll need to eat a hearty dinner that evening too.

best iceland day tour food

Kopar was one of our favorite restaurants in Iceland

While you don’t have to be an adventurous eater to enjoy the foods on the best Iceland food tour, being somewhat of a foodie helps. While they won’t take you try fermented shark or whale, trying an Icelandic hot dog is a must! Other unique Icelandic foods we tried on this tour were Rye ice cream, and adventurous charcuterie.

Cost of this lovely Iceland food tour: 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.

Best Tour Companies Day Trips Iceland

Iceland day tours


About the author

Malika Bowling

Malika is the author of several books including Culinary Atlanta: Guide to the Best Restaurants, Markets, Breweries and More! and the founder of Roamilicious. She is also a Digital Marketing and Social Media Consultant. Follow us @Roamilicious on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest for the content not shared on the blog. And don't forget to subscribe to our newsletter (subscribe box below) and never miss a contest, giveaway or the latest must visit restaurant!