A Day from Reykjavík: the South Coast
The south coast is one of the most popular places for a sightseeing day tour from Reykjavík. The area has a high concentration of diverse natural phenomena – striking mountains, glaciers, waterfalls – with long stretches of black sand beaches and deserts and verdant farming communities in between.
The road south from Reykjavík, crosses Mt. Hellishedi, where you can stop at the Hellisheldi power plant and geothermal energy exhibition and tour the plant. From there, you travel down into the valley around Hveragerdi, a town built on a geothermal hot spot. There are columns of steam rising from the ground, a clear sign of the geothermal heat underground, and there’s even a restaurant which cooks food with the steam from the ground.
Moving on, you’ll drive past amazing mountains and valleys along the coastline until you get to the magical Seljalandsfoss waterfall. The waterfall comes down in the mouth of a cave so that you can walk the whole way around it. Close by is the Iceland Erupts exhibition, a memorial to the 2010 eruptions of EyjafjallajÇokull which halted all air transport in Europe for a while.
This is followed by Skogafoss, an even larger, more powerful waterfall, right by the tiny community of Skogar, which has a fascinating local museum and a couple of hotels. This is also where the mountain trail of Fimmörduhals starts off, a popular but long hiking trail leading up to the PorsÇorl preservation area. Be careful to check the conditions and get advice before the hike.
Further along is the town of Vik, where you can walk along the Reynisfjara black-sand beach with a view over the strange rock formations of the coast (Important: Stay far away from the water, the rip tide is Extremely dangerous and there have been fatal accidents there).
Katla and Eyjafjallajökull volcanoes and Myrdalsjökull glacier watch over the south coast of Iceland and you could easily throw in a guided tour of the glacier of a hike to spice up your journey. If you decide to do that, just be careful and take precautions, ask advice, always let someone know where you’re going, keep your phone charged, bring warm clothes and make sure you have good shoes.
You shouldn’t leave Iceland without experiencing the wonders of its glaciers. Glacier hiking is the best way to get up close and personal with Iceland’s elements. Visiting the glaciers under the guidance of a professional glacier guide is a safe way to explore the rugged ice crevasses, sink holes, jagged ridges, ice walls and amazing ice formations.
The Glacial Lagoon on the South Coast
The otherworldly Jökulsarlon glacial lagoon, surrounded by black sand, is a sight well worth the trip. The ice-cold water is filled with icebergs, that have broken off the vast Vatnajökull glacier, the largest glacier in Europe. The blue and black chunks of ice look great from afar, but even better up close, so consider taking a boat tour of the lagoon.