10 Stunningly Beautiful Places To See In South Iceland

19 min

10 Stunningly Beautiful Places To See In South Iceland

South Iceland is a treasure trove of pure wonders. The South Coast makes for the proper street journey, since you are spoilt for selection as to what to see alongside the way in which. Your day can begin with a soak in a scorching river, and finish surrounded by floating icebergs. Iceland’s surroundings is ever-changing and is equally spectacular in any respect stops alongside the way in which.  From awe-inspiring waterfalls to lovely, dramatic black sand seashores, you’re in for a particular style of all the sweetness that Iceland’s nature has to supply.

Street tripping by way of South Iceland is nice for any time of yr. You should definitely check the road conditions, however not like extra distant components of Iceland, the roads alongside the South Coast have a tendency to remain open virtually all yr lengthy. With a couple of exceptions, the massive vacationer attracts in South Iceland are simply off the facet of the street, making them simply accessible. As a result of there’s a lot to see in South Iceland, we’ve put collectively an inventory of a few of the greatest stops that will help you plan your journey. The checklist accommodates a mixture of extraordinarily common vacationer locations and a few lesser-known gems. Get able to hop from one panorama to the following, eyes vast open and awestruck all of the whereas.

summer at Gullfoss waterfall in South Iceland


This 200-foot waterfall is correct off the Route 1 (Ring Street) on the South Coast of Iceland. There isn’t a mountaineering required to see this waterfall. It’s only a quick stroll from the parking zone, and may even be seen from farther away as you drive as much as it alongside the Ring Street. Although Iceland is graced with an limitless show of beautiful waterfalls, Seljalandsfoss’ distinctive high quality is that it’s attainable to stroll behind the waterfall.

A path leads from the parking zone as much as the entrance of the waterfall, after which loops across the sides and again so that you get a view of the waterfall from each angle. We recommend carrying raingear, as you’ll possible get a bit of moist, significantly on a windy day. With a waterfall as highly effective as Seljalandsfoss, the spray is far-reaching. It’s solely price strolling the loop although, and being that up shut and private makes you admire the sheer measurement and energy of the waterfall.

Seljalandsfoss is fed by the famed glacier-capped volcano Eyjafjallajokull, that erupted in 2010 disrupting air visitors throughout Europe. The waterfall is comparatively slender, however its energy is mighty as is clear significantly when standing behind it contained in the cove within the cliff. In the summertime, the cliff and floor surrounding Seljalandsfoss are a superb inexperienced, and every part is dotted with yellow wildflowers making a colorfully picturesque panorama.

Although the trail will get moist, significantly on the bottom of the waterfall, it’s a effectively marked path, and straightforward to navigate. Within the winter, when the snow turns to ice and the trail will get slippery, the trail is commonly partially closed off. That is on your personal security. Don’t attempt to circumvent the restricted space. Although closures might alter your expertise, it isn’t lessened. Seljalandsfoss is gorgeous even in winter. For a lot of the winter, every part is coated in white, and the spectacular waterfall turns into a part of a winter wonderland. At any time of yr, this South Iceland magnificence deserves a cease.

summer at Seljalandsfoss waterfall in South Iceland


Gljúfabúi is commonly ignored as it’s barely hidden, and is smaller than it’s towering neighbor, Seljalandsfoss. Nonetheless, we advise that anybody making a visit by way of South Iceland ought to take a while to discover this hidden gem as effectively. Gljúfrabúi is inside strolling distance of Seljalandsfoss. While you end your loop round Seljalandsfoss, head to the correct (when you’re dealing with the parking zone), and stroll till you hit the campgrounds. In your proper will probably be an indication for the waterfall, and also you’ll see a cavern with a river operating by way of it. To get to the waterfall, you’ll need to stroll by way of the river, so be ready with waterproof boots or a change of footwear.

Oftentimes, the river rocks will rise out of the water simply sufficient so that you can step from rock to rock and keep away from getting something greater than the soles of your boots moist. After a heavy rain although, the water stage rises, and it turns into a bit trickier to maneuver your approach into the cavern. As soon as contained in the cavern you’ll be greeted with a stupendous waterfall that appears as if it’s pouring by way of a skylight in nature’s ceiling. The solar lights up the cavern, illuminating the inexperienced mossy partitions and highlighting the streaming crystal clear water. There’s an enormous boulder in the course of the cavern, which is simple to climb and ideal for taking photos. While you’re completed, you’ll exit the cavern the identical approach you got here in. Simply watch out to attend your flip and ensure nobody is on the rocks making an attempt to enter the cavern on the identical time.

It’s additionally attainable to view the waterfall from above, wanting down on the waterfall from the skylight opening. The pathway up the hill although is steep. Notably after it rains, the trail additionally turns into muddy and slippery, so when you go this fashion, use warning. Although the waterfall is after all nonetheless lovely when considered from above, the perfect view is from contained in the cavern the place you’re surrounded and virtually consumed by your pure environment.

person standing at base of Gljufrabui waterfall in South Iceland


Positioned in South Iceland a bit of additional down the coast, Skógafoss is only a 25 minute drive from Seljalandsfoss and Gljúfrabrúi. It’s also seen from the street and is definitely accessible from the parking zone. At 197 toes, Skógafoss is roughly the identical peak as Seljalandsfoss however its width is a formidable 82 toes. The Skógá River flows alongside a large pebbled path main proper as much as the waterfall.  The trail is flat and straightforward to stroll. The waterfall is forceful, and you’re going to get unrelentingly sprayed as you method it from its base. However the feeling of standing that near such a robust power of nature is unimaginable. You may even see a rainbow on a sunny day, including it’s end contact to an already beautiful waterfall.

After you’ve spent a while appreciating the enormity of the waterfall from its base, you’ll be able to climb the steps to view the waterfall from above. There are a bit of over 500 stairs to the highest of the waterfall. It’s positively a quad exercise, however the view is price it. From the viewing platform, you’ll be able to see the Skógá river which flows to the highest of the waterfall earlier than plummeting over the sting. It is a a lot much less photographed view of Skógafoss, but it surely’s nonetheless outstanding.

After spending a while viewing the waterfall from above, most individuals head again down the staircase to the parking zone. Nonetheless, there’s a mountaineering path that follows the Skógá River again into the valley, and it’s crammed with further waterfalls when you’re up for an extended, prolonged day hike. Assuming you’re returning to the parking zone, you’ll flip again to face the staircase and be greeted with a stupendous, sprawling view of South Iceland under. Iceland’s South Coast is a formidable work of nature, and the view from Skógafoss solely solidifies that feeling.

rainbow over Skogafoss waterfall in South Iceland


Proper subsequent door to Skógafoss, is the waterfall Kvernufoss. Kvernufoss is considered one of South Iceland’s much less frequented gems. Fewer vacationers know of its existence, but it surely’s actually not missing in magnificence. To get to Kvernufoss, you’ll take the identical exit off the Ring Street as you’ll to get to Skógafoss, however as a substitute of following the indicators to the left for Skógafoss, proceed straight down Skógar to the tip of the street and switch proper. You’ll park close to Lodge Edda and stroll the remainder of the way in which into the valley. In the summertime, it takes about 10-15 minutes to achieve the waterfall. The stroll is snug, requiring little or no in the way in which of elevation mountaineering or rocky terrain. From the resort you’ll climb a brief ladder over a fence and make your approach again into the valley the place the trail is clearly marked. You may even run into a couple of Icelandic horses grazing by the river.

The waterfall itself is analogous in seems to be to its south coast neighbor, Seljalandsfoss. Not like Seljalandsfoss, it isn’t attainable to stroll all the way in which behind Kvernufoss, and at 98 toes it’s also a lot smaller. The trail ends proper up alongside the waterfall and gives you with loads of wonderful viewing spots. The entire valley is gorgeous. It’s inexperienced and luxurious in summer season, and glowing white in winter. Better of all, it’s not overcrowded with vacationers at any time of yr. Although the trail is definitely navigated in the summertime months, within the winter, it’s usually coated in ice and could be harmful. Carry crampons to stabilize your toes on the slippery floor and train warning. It is likely to be greatest to view the waterfall from farther away.

summer at Kvernufoss waterfall in South Iceland


Proper on the sting of the highlands in South Iceland sits Háifoss, a formidable 400 foot waterfall. It is among the highest waterfalls in Iceland. Háifoss thunders down proper subsequent to its accomplice waterfall, Granni (which interprets to neighbor). Although Granni’s circulation is barely much less highly effective, the 2 waterfalls facet by facet are a sight to behold. Haáifoss by itself eclipses most different waterfalls you’ll see in your lifetime. The 2 waterfalls are situated in a gorge created by the Fossá river. It’s attainable to hike right down to the falls when you’re spending a major quantity of your day on the waterfall and it’s surrounding valley, however the view from the highest is unimaginable, and simply accessible from the parking zone. From the parking zone you’ll be able to stroll alongside the sting of the gorge taking within the waterfalls from a number of viewing factors.

In winter, Háifoss is normally inaccessible except you’re driving there in buses or jeeps designed for winter climate and icy gravel roads. Don’t try the drive except you’re in an acceptable automobile. Even in summer season, the gravel roads are rocky and stuffed with potholes, and require gradual driving and persistence. Due to it’s distance from the extra common Golden Circle stops alongside the South Coast, and the rockiness of the street, the gorge is rarely crowded, and there’s at all times loads of time and room to take photos and take within the waterfalls in all their glory. If you happen to can courageous the drive to get there, the view on the finish of the street is unforgettable, and also you gained’t remorse making the drive, nonetheless bumpy.

view from edge of gorge of Haifoss and Granni waterfalls in South Iceland

The Golden Circle

The Golden Circle is considered one of Iceland’s most well-known and closely trafficked vacationer routes, and for good motive. This South Iceland street journey hits Three main stops; the Þingvellir Nationwide Park, Gullfoss (the golden) Waterfall, and the Strokkur geyser. Different stops equivalent to Kerið crater and the Secret Lagoon could be added to your Golden Circle itinerary as effectively. Although every vacation spot tends to be closely full of vacationers, they’re effectively well worth the go to. Not like a lot of the different South Iceland suggestions, these main stops are usually not situated alongside the coast. Nonetheless, they’re nonetheless simply accessible as a part of an extended South Iceland street journey, or visited by themselves as a day journey.  These stops make for an important introduction to all that Iceland’s nature has to supply.

Although it’s not essential to deal with the route in any significantly order, it usually makes essentially the most sense to start your journey at Þingvellir Nationwide Park. This UNESCO World Heritage Web site is the place Iceland’s first parliament was fashioned again in 930 AD. It was conveniently accessible from all corners of the nation by horse or foot. That is the place the chieftains met to create and alter the nation’s legal guidelines. Conferences continued to be held there till 1798. The parliament would later be moved to Reykjavik in 1844. Þingvellir Nationwide Park can be the location of an enormous rift valley, which marks the assembly of the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates. Between the spectacular rift valley, unbelievably clear waters, and Öxarárfoss waterfall, Þingvellir Nationwide Park rightfully earns it´s spot among the many greatest that South Iceland has to supply.

Þingvellir Nationwide Park will probably be adopted by Geyser, the geothermal scorching spot. Whereas the precise Geyser is now not energetic, it´s neighbor, Strokkur nonetheless erupts at 5-7 minute intervals. Crowds of vacationers collect round Strokkur in anticipation of its burst of water and steam capturing up into the air. Whereas the principle attraction is the geyser, the encompassing panorama is stuffed with pots of boiling water. As you may count on, the water can be dangerously scorching to the contact, so steer clear and benefit from the pure phenomenon at a secure distance.

This South Iceland street journey is accomplished with a visit to Gullfoss Waterfall. In the summertime months it’s common to see a rainbow arching over the waterfall, incomes it the title Golden Waterfall. Although Iceland spoils you with an abnormally giant variety of spectacular waterfalls, Gullfoss is rightfully among the many high. It’s a formidable sight at any time of yr. The waterfall has each higher and decrease viewing platforms, and we advise spending a while at each.

Strokkur Geyser erupting in South Iceland

Reykjadalur Sizzling Springs

If you happen to’ve ever needed to wash in a scorching river proper in the course of nature, you need to make Reykjadalur Hot Springs part of your itinerary. Positioned in South Iceland, simply 45 minutes from Reykjavik, Reykjadalur Sizzling Springs is the proper day journey from the capital, or cease on an extended spherical journey down Iceland’s South Coast. The hike to the new springs is roughly 45 minutes-1 hour, and is simple to reasonably troublesome.

The hike begins with a comparatively steep uphill climb earlier than leveling out. The trail is effectively maintained and clearly marked. Your hike will take you thru a valley crammed with steam, previous a cascading waterfall and lots of grazing sheep. As you method the new springs you’ll be greeted with the distinct scent of rotten eggs, which is attributed to the sulfur within the boiling water surrounding the new springs. The boiling water is mesmerizing, however don’t contact it. The true prize is ready for you, simply mere steps away.

While you attain the a part of the river that’s secure for bathing, you’ll be able to change on a wooden platform with partitions. Privateness is missing, however nobody cares. Everyone seems to be there to loosen up and have a very good time. Discover your excellent spot within the river and revel in bathing whereas the sheep suntan 10 yards away. One of the best spots within the river are proper up towards the rock piles dividing the river into sections. There you’ll discover the deepest pockets of water.

In summer season, the water on this part of the river resembles that of a Jacuzzi and is ideal for bathing. Because the climate will get colder, you could must hike a bit of additional upriver to discover a spot heat sufficient to take pleasure in for prolonged durations of time. Arrive within the early morning or late night (when you’ll be able to benefit from the midnight solar) to keep away from the most important crowds. There’s nothing fairly like bathing in a river surrounded by beautiful nature, and also you’ll little question be glad you made this cease to kick off or finish your South Iceland street journey.

people bathing in Reykjadalur Hot Springs in South Iceland

Reynisfjara Black Sand Seaside

One of many extra well-known stops alongside Iceland’s South Coast is Reynisfjara Seaside, identified for its signature black sand and towering basalt columns. This seashore is amongst Iceland’s most spectacular black sand seashores, and was even featured within the TV present Recreation of Thrones. There are such a lot of unimaginable spots alongside the seashore to take pleasure in. Nonetheless you need to be conscious that the seashore is growing a fame for its giant sleeper waves. So take your photos, however remember and don’t let your want for the “excellent” photograph have an effect on your judgment.

The seashore and its surrounding waters boast a formidable assortment of rock formations, together with the cliff of basalt columns that appears to rise out of the sand. It is a prime {photograph} location, and also you’ll see many vacationers climbing the uneven columns to pose for an image. When dealing with the roaring Atlantic Ocean, to the left are the Reynisdrangar rock formations. These pointy basalt pillars rise straight out of the ocean, like artificial sculptures within the water. To the correct is the Dyrholaey rock formation, an arched bridge-like formation with a big gap within the backside.

basalt columns at Reynisfjara Black Sand Beach in South Iceland

Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon

Although the Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon is a 5 hour drive from Reykjavik, it’s effectively well worth the journey. This South Iceland cease is so vastly in a different way from anything you’ll have seen alongside the remainder of the coast. Positioned within the east a part of South Iceland, Jörkulsárlon is a shocking lagoon crammed with floating icebergs. The lagoon is ever-changing as the encompassing glacier continues to soften, and new ice blocks fall. Throughout the summer season, you’ll be able to take a ship tour by way of the lagoon and get an up shut view of the icebergs. All yr lengthy you’ll be able to view the lagoon from the shore, strolling alongside its edge to see the icebergs from various angles. The big glacier looms giant within the background.

Throughout the road is a black sand seashore known as Diamond Seaside. It units itself other than different black sand seashores like South Iceland’s Reynisfjara Seaside, as a result of your entire seashore is roofed in clear, glowing ice. Items of the icebergs floating within the glacier lagoon break off and wash ashore, scattering themselves across the seashore. The distinction of the black sand towards the clear ice is putting, and makes for some highly effective pictures. The seashore turns into much more fairytale-esque at sundown when the sky is painted yellow. Because the day involves an in depth you’ll be thrilled you continued your drive up the coast to this South Iceland magnificence. 

floating icebergs at Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon in South Iceland

Sólheimasandur Aircraft Wreck

This common South Iceland vacationer vacation spot is the results of a DC-Three US navy aircraft operating out of gasoline and crashing on Sólheimasandur seashore in 1973. Thankfully everybody survived, however the physique of the aircraft was deserted. The parking zone to entry the aircraft wreck is simply a 10-minute down the South Coast Ring Street from Skógafoss Waterfall. The white wreckage of the aircraft is in sharp distinction with the black sand of the seashore, and collectively they make for hauntingly lovely pictures.

As you proceed by way of South Iceland alongside the Ring Street, you’ll come throughout a big parking zone designed for guests to the Sólheimasandur Aircraft Wreck. Although at one time you could possibly drive proper as much as the aircraft wreck, you now need to stroll 2 miles from the parking zone. The trail is flat and comparatively simple, however will take you roughly 45 minutes-1 hour every approach. There’s little or no to see apart from an enormous expanse of rocks and black sand, and on a windy day the stroll could be significantly irritating, as you need to struggle the wind resistance as effectively.

The aircraft doesn’t become visible till the very finish of your stroll. Get your digital camera prepared, and be ready to {photograph} the wreckage. There’s loads of vacationers and slim home windows for getting photos with out different individuals in them. So deliver a buddy and atone for life as you hike to this distinctive, lovely wreckage stranded in the course of the seashore on Iceland’s South Coast. If you happen to’re keen to energy by way of the stroll, it’s well worth the journey.

Solheimasandur plane crash on black sand beach in South Iceland

It’s exhausting to go incorrect with a street journey to South Iceland. These 10 options make up solely a handful of all that this area of the nation has to supply. Driving by way of Iceland’s nature is a singular expertise in and of itself, and taking time at every these spectacular stops is icing on the cake! We hope these get you enthusiastic about planning your South Iceland street journey. Please tell us within the feedback in case you have any ideas or questions.

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