Iceland Encounter

Pure nature, private journeys

Iceland Encounter

Iceland Encounter focuses on bespoke trips of high quality. We are the only Virtuoso On-Site headquartered in Reykjavik and were nominated for Virtuoso’s Best On-Site Award in 2015 and 2016. Iceland Encounter was founded by husband-and-wife team Kristín Björnsdóttir and Erling Aspelund. After working for over 20 years in the US computer software industry – both in New York and Seattle – they returned to their native Iceland in 2007 to start their travel company. We look forward to welcoming you to Iceland!

Insider Tip

In Iceland, the sun doesn’t set from May 21st to July 21st. Ask us about possible activities under the midnight sun: hiking, diving, golfing, fishing, snorkeling, and more.

Virtuoso Preferred Supplier Since 01 Apr 2012


Virtuoso Benefits

Virtuoso guests receive:

  • A complimentary welcome package tailored to each individual group and including items such as a tote bag, water bottles, local treats, a book about Iceland, games for families, light scarves, and more. We also include breakfast for all bookings.

All benefits are subject to alteration, availability, and blackout dates; may be withdrawn or changed without notice; and may not be combinable with other offers. All products may not be available in all markets. Contact the supplier directly for details.

Reviews and Recommendations for Iceland Encounter


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All reviews are from confirmed guests sharing exclusive insights

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Visit Iceland with Iceland Encounter!

By: Lisa

Reviewed on: 29 Jan 2013

Our Iceland Encounter vacation was the experience of a lifetime. Our Rekyjavik hotel choice was perfect - lovely accomodations in City Center within walking distance of great food and shopping. Our guide/driver for three days in the country was knowledgeable and funny. Within the first hour he made us feel comfortable and safe in his care. He knew how to make the most of our limited daylight. Staying in the country for two nights was an outstanding recommendation because it gave us the opportunity to see the Northern Lights (upon request, the hotel wakes guests up if/when they become visible) and be closer to the places we wanted to visit. Our guide had a great relationship with other guides and establishment owners/operators and it made us feel like family. It was a very personal experience. We could not have done this on our own.
Travel Advisor:  Beth Washington

Fantastic Trip

By: Lisa & Catherine

Reviewed on: 20 Nov 2013

This was a fantastic experience. It is has been one year since our trip and we are still talking about how much fun we had and how much we want to go back. Everything was planned perfectly to maximize our time there. Snowmobiling and hiking on a glacier. Waterfalls. Geysers. Volcanos. Museums. Touring a geothermal plant. Blue Lagoon. Travleing with our guide, Valdimar, was amazing. He took such good care of us. I fell in love with Iceland.
Travel Advisor:  Beth Washington

Excellent guide, good hotel

By: Mike H

Reviewed on: 14 Jul 2016

Iceland Encounter made our journey to Icelamd most enjoyable and worthwhile. Our guide Teddy was most wenjoyable, knowledgeable, and provided a great local flavour to the journey. Our hotel was centrally located and comfortable. Our transfers were comfortable, friendly, and reliable. I would recommend them for anyone wanting a customized visit to Iceland.

Great experience!

By: Karen

Reviewed on: 05 Sep 2016

Our family had the most awesome trip to Iceland! We loved everything we did, and our guide, Snorri, was outstanding! He made the trip especially interesting and fun. He is very knowledgeable with diverse interests so it was such a treat to be with him all week. We miss him! We loved Iceland and want to return.
Travel Advisor:  Sam McClure

Fantastic Trip

By: Quesy

Reviewed on: 12 Mar 2017

Iceland Encounter planned an amazing trip for us. Our guide was efficient, had a delightful personality and was very knowledgeable about Iceland. We saw everything that we wanted to see and then some. We wouldn't have changed a thing!
Travel Advisor:  Rochelle Lieberman

3 days of touring in Iceland

By: No nickname

Reviewed on: 12 Jul 2017

Excellent! Did exactly what they said they would do. Totally satisfied.
Travel Advisor:  Birgit Navarre

Iceland 2017

By: Capilouto

Reviewed on: 29 Jul 2017

A wonderful experience and service. Excellent guides.
Travel Advisor:  Beth Flowers

Iceland Encounter

By: KJ

Reviewed on: 21 Aug 2017

Very good and addressed all needs and concerns. Always willing to help and be there.
Travel Advisor:  Nancy Macleod

Iceland Encounter

By: Carla

Reviewed on: 28 Aug 2017

I had the same wonderful guide that I had last year. It was like old home week and we had a great time. I think they do a good job.
Travel Advisor:  Barbi Lazarow


By: J&J

Reviewed on: 15 Jan 2018

The people at Iceland Encounter were very good to us. They guided us through several weather delays and airline changes, rearranging rides, hotels, restaurants, Blue Lagoon reservations and more with good grace. They provided our guide, Kristjan. He was knowledgeable, gracious, caring and proud of his country. We learned more and saw more than we ever would have on our own or in a large group.
Travel Advisor:  Deborah Bush

You HAVE to Visit Iceland

By: Don & Eileen

Reviewed on: 11 Apr 2018

They set up a 12 day guided tour that was incredible and beyond gorgeous. Our guide, Kristjan Petur Vilhelmsson, was one of the best we’ve had any where and gave us so many great experiences that few tourists get to have. He was tireless in making sure we got to explore everything we wanted to see - and then some. At the end of the trip, we considered him a friend and remain in frequent contact. We will go back and we want Kristjan to show us the way.
Travel Advisor:  Judith Schwartz

Iceland Encounter

By: Me

Reviewed on: 03 Jun 2018

They set up a really nice trip for me to Iceland. This is my 3rd trip and they didn't disappoint. I asked for a new guide and he was fabulous. Would highly recommend their services.
Travel Advisor:  Michael King

Awesome GUIDES

By: MC

Reviewed on: 23 Aug 2018

WE loved our Iceland Encounter guides- they were unbelievable. Made the trip. WE loved the activities as well, but the guides were awesome.
Travel Advisor:  Sam McClure


By: Diane

Reviewed on: 26 Aug 2018

The experience was great. Our guide "Thor" was by far the best guide our family has experienced. He made our trip!



Reviewed on: 14 Oct 2018

Iceland Encounter was great and I highly recommend them. They were a front runner for us because they continually monitor the skies for Northern Lights visibility and guess what? We hit the jackpot and saw them! Thank you Iceland Encounter and a shout out to our guide, Sori! He was fun, told great stories, sang songs and was a pleasure!
Travel Advisor:  Shelley Rapp

Iceland is amazing

By: CherylC

Reviewed on: 28 Jan 2019

Iceland Encounter was a spectacular trip. It exceeded all of our expectations. From the time we arrived, we were amazed with the country, the people, the accommodations and the natural beauty. We only wished we had seen the Northern Lights. Ahhh...... a reason to go back! We have traveled to several other cool places, but this trip surpassed everything so far! A must see.

Touring Iceland

By: Sugarfoot

Reviewed on: 18 Jun 2019

Wonderful touring....FANTASTIC guide.....perfect in every way!!
Travel Advisor:  Martha Gaughen

Excellent guide

By: Steve

Reviewed on: 07 Jul 2019

We had a great day with an excellent guide and solid agenda

Iceland encounter

By: Frequent flyer

Reviewed on: 20 Jul 2019

We had a wonderful guide, Snorii. Very caring and showed us more than we expected to see. Went all out for us. The hotels were very good. Overall a great 3 days.
Travel Advisor:  Corinne Levine


By: d

Reviewed on: 03 Feb 2020

It was excellent! We had a private tour guide, Stefan, and he was fabulous!
Travel Advisor:  Ginny Mabry

Iceland Encounter trip review

By: Sue Hansen

Reviewed on: 06 Aug 2021

Incredible experience. Stefán our tour guide was extremely informative and knowledgeable about Icelandic history and customs. Plus he planned day after day of exciting adventures including beautiful hikes and taking us to historical landmarks. It was a perfect experience!
Travel Advisor:  Leah Kirgis


By: Cindy

Reviewed on: 25 May 2022

When we arrived in Iceland everyone and everything was so well done. The guide and drivers were helpful kind and fun. The trip was amazing
Travel Advisor:  Fred Robbins
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puffin trip

By: Puffin lover

Reviewed on: 22 Jul 2022

Iceland Encounter arranged a fabulous trip for me and even gave me a genuine Icelandic sweater which I had been thinking of getting. They anticipated my every need!
Travel Advisor:  Michael King
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Experience Iceland with a local

By: Allison

Reviewed on: 08 Aug 2022

Sure we visited the must see Iceland tourist sites but having a private tour guide makes you feel like a local. Kristjan was the perfect companion and host for us.
Travel Advisor:  Charlotte French

Great Itinerary, Guide, and Support!

By: Travel Wise

Reviewed on: 22 Aug 2022

Iceland Encounter set up an ambitious physical and mental itinerary for my wife and me - at our request. We wanted to really see Iceland, and we did thanks to them! The itinerary was complete yet flexible (for when the volcano erupted near Keflavik, our guide modified the itinerary so we could hike up the 1000 vertical feet on the volcano next to it so we could get a good view. Our guide was the best we've had over our many trips, we saw Iceland as we had wanted to, meeting people from various walks of life, and seeing accommodations and food from all parts of the country. We felt safe, comfortably challenged, and very happy with our - and Michael's - choices! My wife and I highly recommend Iceland Encounter!
Travel Advisor:  Michael King


By: Rachel

Reviewed on: 06 Sep 2022

Our trip exceeded our expectation. Every day was a new adventure and our guide was exceptional -- we have a young family and our guide was very patient and accommodating with us and them. Our guide went above and beyond to make every day the best and most memorable adventure to the point where my kids were up for every adventure -- no matter how challenging. Every morning my children would wake up and eagerly ask him "what's today's adventure". We cannot wait to go back and are beyond grateful for the insight he provided the adventures and experience -- he provided memories we'll have forever.
Travel Advisor:  Mark Rubinstein

Very Pleased

By: TravelerDuo

Reviewed on: 23 Sep 2022

We really appreciated that Iceland Encounter provided a draft itinerary and wanted our feedback - and then they modified it to meet our desires! Every aspect of our trip was smooth and seamless over a 5-day period. Our guide Snorri was exceptional. He was personable, extremely knowledgable and a joy to spend time with throughout. He was very accommodating and focused on ensuring we enjoyed the experience, enabling us to modify the itinerary slightly (during the trip) without hesitation. His Land Rover enabled us to travel in comfort and to see places we couldn't have seen otherwise (off roading). We definitely want Snorri as our guide again when we go back!
Travel Advisor:  Jay Yokley

Exciting trip

By: Judy Dierker

Reviewed on: 02 Mar 2023

Excellent. Our first day city tour guide was outstanding. Our driving tour was great! We saw everything we wanted to see plus many extra exciting stops. The ice cave was a memorable hike. We also hiked through the snow to a beautiful waterfall. Our guide was outstanding! He was very considerate of all our wishes & provided exceptional commentary the whole trip.
Travel Advisor:  Kim Holland

Loved our Trip to Iceland

By: Henry

Reviewed on: 24 Apr 2023

Iceland Encounter did a fabulous job of making our trip to Iceland remarkable. The accommodations were all wonderful and all the activities were superb. We loved our guides (Mo & Jonas) and the excursions were all top-notch. Mo did a wonderful job of introducing us to Reykjavik. We loved the city tour! We can't say enough good things about Jonas, he was one of the best guides that we have ever had. He went above and beyond to make our trip sensational! He was extremely knowledgeable and made each day not only fun but very interesting. He went out of his way to really get to know us and did whatever possible to make our trip the absolute best. He was not satisfied until we were completely happy. I would love to have Jonas again on a future trip. The only thing that could have been better would have been to include Jonas on the excursions. He was not included on the Glacier Hike or the ATVs. It would have been nice to have had him along (his expertise was always appreciated)
Travel Advisor:  Meredith Riley

Use this group!

By: Karin

Reviewed on: 01 Sep 2023

I have only positive remarks about the Iceland Encounter. You can see many of my favorable comments in my review of our travel agent. Our vehicle was large and comfortable, and our tour guide, Mr. Heimir, was entertaining and informative. He had fanciful and factual information about everything we saw. If you are fortunate enough to have him as a guide, consider yourself extremely lucky!
Travel Advisor:  Alicia Pacini

Awesome tour operator

By: HH

Reviewed on: 19 Sep 2023

We had an amazing time in Iceland thanks to Iceland Encounter! Our guide Christian knew pretty much every area we went to like a local, all the great restaurants, sites and people. We really feel like we saw the best of the best in Iceland.
Travel Advisor:  David Barclay

Exceptional Trip Planning and Execution

By: Diane

Reviewed on: 04 Sep 2023

My trip, arranged by Iceland Encounter, is on the top of my list--if not at THE TOP--of 55 years of extensive travel all over the world. THAT is how pleased I am, how much I value and appreciate the time I had in Iceland. The plans paid attention to the physical limitations I have developed in recent (aging) years, and allowed for our guide to get to know us and what would be of the greatest interest to us (myself and my companion). Our guide went above and beyond to make this the incredibly memorable visit it was--an introduction to this amazing country that we will never forget. Additionally, the agency arranged for a local foodie to show us around one evening--and that, too, was a special fun, enlightening time. In every possible way, from sites to hotels to restaurants, Iceland Encounter excelled--and I am enormously grateful for memories that continue to have me marvel with wonder.
Travel Advisor:  Eleanor Hardy

Great job

By: Traveler

Reviewed on: 07 Oct 2023

Iceland Encounters was very good to work with. They know their Country, were able to adjust the plan according to our needs and abilities. They were reliable in all pickups and drop offs. Plus our guide, Magnus was great and he has the best truck in the world to forge rivers, climb rocks, drive through sand, and it was comfortable to ride in to boot.
Travel Advisor:  Kristin Staley

Perfect vacation!

By: Alan L.

Reviewed on: 15 Oct 2023

Our Iceland Encounter guide arranged an amazing tour of Iceland. It was jam-packed with adventure, culture, knowledge, fun, and good conversation. We would have liked more time to explore the backcountry. We describe this trip as magical and are still smiling!
Travel Advisor:  Jane Braun

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    Our Commitment

    Iceland Encounter is a certified member of VAKINN - the official quality and environmental system for Icelandic tourism. To qualify, companies must adhere to rigorous criteria for quality of services, safety, environmental sustainability, and social responsibility.

    Iceland Encounter contributes to the Iceland Carbon Fund (ICF) to achieve carbon neutrality. We offset domestic travel for all of our guests, as well as international travel for our staff.

    Iceland Encounter only employs local, certified guides.