After exploring the Golden Circle, we rejoined Route 1 and headed east along Iceland's breathtaking south coast. The next few days treated us to non-stop spectacular views and near perfect weather conditions. From towering waterfalls to black sand beaches, South Iceland has it all. While some people visit many of the region's highlights in a long day tour from Reykjavik, you'll need far more time to enjoy everything it has to offer.
Read the rest of my Iceland series:
- 48 Hours In Reykjavik
- Hitting The Road
- On The Road: The Golden Circle
- On The Road: Vatnajökull (Coming Soon)
- On The Road: East Fjords (Coming Soon)
- On The Road: North Iceland (Coming Soon)
- On The Road: Snæfellsnes (Coming Soon)
Click on the top left icon in the Google Map below to explore each region in Iceland:
Seljalandsfoss was arguably our favorite waterfall in Iceland. It may not be as big and powerful as others, but it offers visitors an amazing opportunity to get up close and personal. A narrow footpath leads you under the cliff and behind the waterfall. Make sure to bring a heavy raincoat as you're bound to get soaked.
Just a few hundred meters or so from Seljalandsfoss is Gljúfrabúi. This hidden waterfall is tucked inside a small canyon, but can be accessed by walking along the shallow stream. Be prepared to snap a few dramatic (and shameless) photos standing at the foot of the falls.
We spent our first night in South Iceland camped out right in from of Seljalandfoss. As the crowds thinned out, we got the waterfall entirely to ourselves during the sunset. Even more spectacular, once the sun fully set, we were treated to unobstructed views of the northern lights. They are even more beautiful in person than in photos. The lights create a hypnotic effect as they ripple through the sky. Huge thanks to Jen for dragging my ass out of bed at midnight to see the lights. An even bigger thanks goes to the helpful Frenchman who showed us how to use our own cameras :)
By this point in our trip, you would think we'd be over seeing so many waterfalls. Somehow, we never got sick of them. Each is unique and majestic in its own way. Compared to Seljalandsfoss, Skógafoss strikes a far more imposing figure. You can climb to the top of the falls via a steep footpath for a unique angle from above. After visiting the falls, head out towards the parking lot entrance for some food cart fish and chips.
Solheimasandur Plane Wreck
Who knew that an abandoned plane wreck would make for such a picturesque destination? After parking right off Route 1, be prepared for a long 4 km walk along the black sand beach to get to the wreckage site. It's a bit of an arduous and monotonous hike, but it makes for a memorable experience nonetheless.
Dyrhólaey and Reynisfjara
One of South Iceland's most impressive and distinguishing features is its black sand beaches. The best places to experience them are along the shores of Reynisfjara and the volcanic peninsula of Dyrhólaey. You can climb a top the area's massive arches and geometric basalt stacks. Just be weary of surprisingly strong and unpredictable waves along the shore.
Scenes From The Road
As I've said in pretty much every other Iceland-related blog post, the best parts of our trip were the in-betweens. In addition to the aforementioned "must sees", you should also go for a dip in the hidden Seljavallalaug and take a break in the seaside town of Vik.