Last Updated: 10/23/23 | October 23rd, 2023
Iceland is an utterly unique country, with glaciers varying in color from white to blue to gray, waterfalls the size of skyscrapers plummeting down sheer rock cliffs, and bumpy lava fields covered in moss in every shade of green you can imagine. And you’ll hear fantastical tales from history and folklore from people who still believe that elves might exist.
It’s one of my favorite countries in the world, one I fell in love with the first time I visited. I’ve been back multiple times since then during various seasons.
But Iceland isn’t always easy to get around, especially in the off-season, when many bus routes shut down because of weather.
One of the ways to get around that problem is by joining an organized tour. You’ll get to experience places that can be inaccessible without a four-wheel drive, and you’ll have an expert local guide to help make the most of your visit.
I’ve put together a list of my favorite tour companies in Iceland, from short city walking tours to multiday adventure hikes. While joining a tour isn’t cheap (you’ll definitely pay more than if you were to explore the country independently), you’ll also be able to enjoy your trip without any of the planning while simultaneously benefitting from having a local guide on hand to deepen your experience in this incredible place.
Here’s my list of the best tour companies in Iceland:
1. CityWalk Reykjavik
A free walking tour is always a great way to introduce yourself to a new city, and the guides from CityWalk can give you a good overview of Reykjavik on this two-hour stroll. They run daily tours at 10:30am and 1:30pm, where they show you not only the city’s main attractions, but teach you about Icelandic history as well as share some lesser known and fun facts about Iceland’s capital.
The Reykjavik walking tours have been running since 2014, and the local guides incorporate an element of humor into their tours to make you laugh while you’re exploring. They’ll show you some more overlooked parts of town and also give you some tips for saving money in this expensive country.
Even though it’s technically a free tour, be sure to tip your guide what you think the tour was worth at the end (that’s how they earn a living).
Intrepid is my favorite multi-day tour company. I’ve been on tours with them a number of times in a number of places and always enjoy myself. They keep their groups small and work with local guides, and they don’t rush you from sight to sight.
Intrepid offers a number of options in Iceland, including the classic Ring Road trip (which Intrepid calls their Iceland Discovery Tour), where you circumnavigate the island and get to visit some of the best-known sights, from the glacier lagoon at Jökulsárlón on the south coast to the volcanic lake at Mývatn in the north. They even offer tours that also include Greenland too.
What’s also great is that they offer four different tiers of tour “styles” so that you can choose the level and price that suits your needs. “Basix” is the cheapest option and includes the most basic level accommodation with not many extra inclusions, while “Premium” tours are the most expensive and luxurious, as you’ll stay in 4-star accommodations and have more activities and meals included. “Original” and “Comfort” tour styles are somewhere in between the two.
Intrepid’s Iceland tours start at $1,600 for their 5-day Iceland Express Tour and go up to $7,100 for the nine-day Premium Iceland Tour.
3. Arctic Adventures
The award-winning Arctic Adventures is one of the biggest tour companies in Iceland, offering a huge range of one-day and multi-day tours. They also offer self-driving tours, where they provide you with a rental car, pre-booked accommodation, a detailed itinerary, and the option to join some guided day tours along the way. It’s a great option if you want to remove some of the stress and hassle of planning your own trip, but prefer to travel independently.
Its one-day tour options include all the main Icelandic sightseeing activities, like ice caves, snorkeling, glacier tours, and the popular Golden Circle route to Thingvellir National Park, the Geysir hot springs, and Gullfoss Waterfall. They have multi-day trips as well, including trekking tours where you’ll hike across Iceland’s stunning scenery accompanied by an experienced adventure guide.
Arctic Adventures’ full-day trips range in price from around $140 to $280. Their multi-day trips start at $432 USD for a two-day adventure, to an eight-day tour of the Ring Road for $2,434 USD.
4. Icelandic Mountains Guides
For 25 years, Icelandic Mountain Guides has focused on true adventure travel for very small groups, offering one-day and multi-day tours as well as courses on wilderness first aid and mountaineering if you’re interested in gaining some technical outdoor skills.
Its multi-day tours include more unique routes, like a five-day backpacking trek from Núpsstaðaskógur to Skaftafell, or a ten-day expedition across the Highlands starting from the northern town of Akureyri. They even offer ski touring packages. Prices for multi-day tours range from $542 USD for a two-day tour on the southern coast to $4,032 USD for a nine-day glacier expedition.
It also runs one-day tours to ice caves and glacier walk experiences, among others, leaving from Reykjavík, along with similar one-day adventures on the Sólheimajökull glacier on the south coast if you’re in the area and can meet them there. Day tour prices range from $77 USD for an all-day guided lava hike to $256 USD for a snowmobiling adventure on the south coast.
Icelandic Mountain Guides has a genuine conservation focus and holds a twice-yearly event where guides spend time planting trees. All of its day tours are carbon neutral, with a mission to make its multi-day tours carbon neutral in the future.
5. Iceland Horizon
Iceland Horizon offers a huge variety of single-day tours leaving from Reykjavík, Akureyri, and Lake Mývatn. Tour offerings include everything from the classic Golden Circle route to more adventurous snowmobiling and snowshoeing tours.
They’re a good choice for travelers who want to see the main sights and do fun activities but who don’t have access to their own vehicle. They run their small-group tours (always under 19 people) from a mini-bus (which has Wi-Fi), making it a comfortable way to see the sights without having to bother with renting your own car.
Expect to pay around $140 USD per person for a day trip. They also offer tailor-made tours, where you’ll work together with one of their local guides to create an itinerary just for you (pricing greatly varies based on what you want for your personalized tour).
6. Ride with Locals
Ride with Locals is a motorcycle tour company that takes you to the middle of nowhere on trails you wouldn’t access any other way, meaning you’ll see volcanoes, craters, and mountains that very few visitors to Iceland do, making your Iceland experience particularly unique. Its trips last between three days and a week and generally head inland, rather than hugging the coast like most tours.
The motorcycles are KTM 690R and Husqvarna 701 dual sport bikes, and all guides are really experienced with riding through Iceland’s highlands. Some trips use sleeping bags in mountain huts for accommodations (and include all the meals), while others include hotel stays with breakfast.
Costs range between about $4,000 USD for a three-day trip to $7,400 USD for an advanced seven-day expedition. This includes motorbike hire, fuel, accommodation, and some meals. Tours range in difficulty level (noted on the website), but keep in mind that these are only for experienced motorcyclists.
7. Midgard Adventures
Based in Southern Iceland, Midgard Adventures is a family-owned company that offers all sorts of fun and adventurous tours. Off-roading with jeeps, fat bike tours, hiking, snowmobiling, and glacier walks are all on offer here with tours led by family friends and local guides. They have both single-day tours as well as multi-day tours that stretch from 2-7 days (including seasonally-exclusive tours such as mountain biking the highlands in the summer).
Midgard also has its own hotel in Hvolsöllur that you can base yourself from, complete with restaurant, bar, rooftop hot tub, and a sauna (Hvolsöllur is around 90 minutes southeast of Reykjavik).
Prices start around $265 USD for a day tour. While not cheap, Midgard tours are high-quality and tons of fun. You won’t find the same cookie-cutter experiences here.
BONUS: Get Your Guide
If you can’t find the perfect Iceland tour for your trip above, you’ll undoubtedly be able to find it on GetYourGuide. This tour marketplace allows local tour operators to list their offerings, meaning that there’s a huge variety of tours to choose from here, from food tours in Reykjavik to whale watching tours in Húsavík, to multi-day adventures around the country.
Look for the “GetYourGuide Certified” logo for tours that have been vetted by GetYourGuide themselves, though you can also read reviews from previous tour participants to make sure that you sign up for a quality tour. You can even book admission tickets for attractions (like to the countless hot springs that you’ll undoubtedly be visiting) too.
Known as both the Land of Elves and the Land of Fire and Ice, Iceland is a destination like no other. There’s a lot packed into this island, and joining a tour is a great way to maximize your time and experience here.
From challenging multi-day hikes through some of the most scenic landscapes you’ll ever see, to gently exploring a glacier lagoon by boat or visiting puffin colonies, to wandering the streets of the quirky capital of Reykjavik, there’s an Icelandic tour company for you!
Get the In-Depth Budget Guide to Iceland!
Want to plan the perfect trip to Iceland? Check out my comprehensive guide to Iceland written for budget travelers like you! It cuts out the fluff found in other guides and gets straight to the practical information you need. You’ll find suggested itineraries, tips, budgets, ways to save money, on and off the beaten path things to see and do, and my favorite non-touristy restaurants, markets, bars, transportation tips, and much more! Click here to learn more and get your copy today.
Book Your Trip to Iceland: Logistical Tips and Tricks
Book Your Flight
Use Skyscanner to find a cheap flight. It’s my favorite search engine because it searches websites and airlines around the globe so you always know no stone is left unturned.
Book Your Accommodation
You can book your hostel with Hostelworld as they have the biggest inventory and best deals. If you want to stay somewhere other than a hostel, use Booking.com as they consistently return the cheapest rates for guesthouses and cheap hotels.
Don’t Forget Travel Insurance
Travel insurance will protect you against illness, injury, theft, and cancellations. It’s comprehensive protection in case anything goes wrong. I never go on a trip without it as I’ve had to use it many times in the past. My favorite companies that offer the best service and value are:
- Safety Wing (best for everyone)
- Insure My Trip (for those over 70)
- Medjet (for additional evacuation coverage)
Looking for the Best Companies to Save Money With?
Check out my resource page for the best companies to use when you travel. I list all the ones I use to save money when I’m on the road. They will save you money when you travel too.
Want More Information on Iceland?
Be sure to visit our robust destination guide to Iceland for even more planning tips!