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SOUTH COAST ICELAND
Waterfalls, black sand beaches, glaciers, volcanoes, glacier lagoons... what more could you ask for? The South Coast of Iceland is probably the most stunning area in Iceland and you can explore it in many different ways. Have you ever imagined yourself walking on a glacier, entering an ice cave under the volcano or going on a speed boat between the icebergs? Check all the awesome places you will find in South Coast Iceland and all the things you can do in the area. It doesn't matter if you come to Iceland for 4 days or two weeks, the South Coast Iceland is a must-see in your travels in Iceland.
- What is the South Coast of Iceland?
- The southern coast of Iceland encompasses the entire area from Hveragerdi (a town in the southwest of Iceland) to Skaftafell National Park with the Vatnajökull glacier and the Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon, in the southeast. The South Coast of Iceland is simply put pure nature with the best Iceland has to offer: glaciers, waterfalls, volcanoes, black sand beaches, glacier lagoons. Some of the most known nature attractions are located in this area, such us Skógafoss waterfall, Vatnajökull glacier, Reynisfjara beach, Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon and many more. It is therefore an excellent place for outdoor adventures and it is easily accessible from Reykjavík.
- How can I explore the South Coast of Iceland?
- You can rent a car and explore the South Coast of Iceland on your own (the most well-known places are located near the Ring Road, the main road of Iceland which circumnavigates the island) or you can join one of our tours. Of course, if you book an organized multi-day trip to Iceland you will visit the main attractions of the South Coast too! No matter the option you choose, you will absolutely enjoy it. If you traveling on your own by car or motorhome, you should also check our tours as you can book different activities such us trekking on the glacier or discovering an ice cave, which you can't do on your own.
- Which places can I see in the South Coast of Iceland?
- These are the amazing places you will find in the South Coast of Iceland:
- Seljalandsfoss and Gljúfrabúi waterfalls: Seljalandsfoss is one of the most beautiful waterfalls in Iceland and you will be able to go behind the curtain of water! When parking, you will have a perfect view of the waterfall from afar. Within a few minutes of walking you can begin to see its beauty and size (about 60 meters high). Also, just a 10-minute walk away there is the Gljúfrabúi waterfall, known as the "hidden waterfall", as you will have to pass through a narrow opening in the cliff and carefully walk along a small river to get there. It's worth it!
Skógafoss Waterfall: One of the most impressive waterfalls in Iceland with more than 60 meters. Feel free to climb the stairs on the right to enjoy the views from the top of the cliff. Parking is free and the waterfall is very easy to find as it is located on the main road (the Ring Road) in southern Iceland, just half an hour from Seljalandsfoss.
Lava Center: Interactive, high-tech exhibition depicting volcanic activity, earthquakes and the creation of Iceland over millions of years in an entertaining and engaging way. Admission to the museum includes a film with everything you could want to know about volcanic eruptions in Iceland. It is the best way to start your South Coast Tour and to understand the magnitude of the amazing things you are seeing in Iceland.
Sólheimajökull Glacier: The glacier located between Katla and Eyjafjallajökull volcanoes is part of the Mýrdalsjökull glacier. This glacier is easy accesible and ideal for activities such as snowmobile tours or hiking on the glacier.
Dyrhólaey Cliffs: The puffins favorite place, these friendly birds with red beaks usually nest here in the summer months. In addition, you will be able to see a powerful stone arch that protrudes from the sea.
Reynisfjara Beach: Famous black sand beach voted as one of the 10 most beautiful beaches in the world where incredible basalt columns stand out and will leave you in awe, in addition to the troll-shaped rock formations that protrude from the Atlantic Ocean. The waves here have an impressive force so you must take care to walk carefully on the sand and not go near the sea.
Vík: A charming town in the south where you can walk along its black beach, visit the church, eat and recharge your batteries. It is a popular place to spend the night during the visit to South Coast Iceland. From here you an also take the tour to the Ice Cave under the Volcano.
- Kirkjubaejarklaustur: Town of only about 160 inhabitants, the only place between Vík and Höfn where you can find a gas station, bank, supermarket and post office. In addition, it is the place from where some excursions leave to places located more inland and for which you needa vehicle with 4x4 if you want to go on your own, such as the Laki craters and the Fjadrargljufur canyon.
Skaftafell National Park: It is the second largest national park in Iceland and is located at the foot of the great Vatnajokull glacier. The biggest attraction in Skaftafell Park is the Svartifoss waterfall. Known as "the black waterfall", it is framed between hexagonal basalt columns. In addition, Skaftafell has the highest mountain in Iceland, Hvannadalshnúkur, which stands out for its contrasts and the richness of its landscapes. In addition, from Skaftafell the famous trekking excursions on the Vatnajökull glacier depart.
Vatnajökull Glacier: The largest glacier in Europe is located in the southeast of Iceland and occupies about 8,000 km2, 8% of the total area of Iceland. The glacier is located on a chain of volcanoes that are close to 2000 meters high, such as Grímsvötn or Bárðarbunga. To go on a glacier hike you need to book a guided excursion. The Vatnajökull Glacier is also famous for its glacial lagoons and for the ice caves that are formed every year and that can be visited between November and March.
Fjallsarlon Glacier Lagoon: The Fjallsárlón Glacier Lagoon is located at the southern end of the Vatnajökull Glacier. Thanks to its smaller size, it is less crowded than the Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon but no less spectacular. It occupies about 4 square kilometers, the highlight being the powerful glacier at its back, where we can see the Öræfajökull volcano; and, of course, the icebergs that drift above it. Its beauty has nothing to envy of the Jökulsárlón lagoon, being the favorite place of many people who opt for greater tranquility without giving up spectacular views.
Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon: The Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon is located at the southern end of the Vatnajökull Glacier, between Skaftafell National Park and the city of Höfn. The beauty of the lagoon is unmatched since it is possible to observe the floating icebergs that are detached from the Vatnajökull glacier, forming a unique landscape. In 1975 the lagoon grew to 18 km2 and today it has a maximum depth of about 160 meters, which makes it one of the deepest lakes in Iceland. Its surface is at sea level, therefore, at high tide, the sea water enters the lagoon. For many it is the number 1 attraction in Iceland.
Diamond Beach: Connected to the Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon is the “Diamond Beach”. It is a volcanic black sand beach whose name comes precisely from the icebergs of the Jökulsárlón lagoon. As these large blocks of ice over 1,000 years old make their way through the great lagoon, the first to reach the sand and enjoy their last moments before entering the Atlantic Ocean, come ashore on the black, lava sand and shine and glimmer in the sand, creating a dazzling image.
Höfn: Closest fishing village to the Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon and the Vatnajökull glacier. It has hotels, campsites, restaurants, shops, swimming pools, golf courses, trekking trails and several museums, such as the maritime museum, two visitor centers of the national park and the center of the great writer Þórbergur Þórðarson.
- What activities can I do in the South Coast?
The most famous activities in the South Coast are those related to the glacier: trekking on the glacier, entering an ice cave, snowmobile on the glacier, boat in the glacier lagoon or exploring the glacier with Super Jeep. You can also travel black sand beach of Sólheimasandur at full speed on an ATV in search of the abandoned plane, visit some interesting museums such us Lava Center or Skógafoss folk museum or explore the highlands of Iceland. Check out all our tours and the meeting points and choose your favorite ones! Do you have any trouble arranging your trip and activities? Contact us!
What kind of tours can I join to see South Coast Iceland?
There are two different types of tours that we offer in our web. On the one hand, there are the activities we offer for those who travel by car on their own and want to experiment an incredible adventure such us trekking on the glacier. The meeting point for these activities are directly at the respective location. On the other hand, we offer different tours for those who are staying in Reykjavík and want to explore the South Coast and return back. You have the option to book a one-day tour, two-days tour or multi-day trip to explore the South Coast. Check out what is included in every tour that we offer and different excursions so everyone can find the one that bests suits them.
How many days do I need to explore the South Coast?
The more, the better! First, you have to think about the activities you want to do in the South Coast and the attractions you want to see. If you are travelling on your own around the South Coast of Iceland, we recommend to spend at least 2 or 3 days in the whole area so you can explore the area until Vík in one day and the whole Skaftafell area with Vatnajökull and Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon the other day. If you are planning to join one of our tours, we recommend the South Coast of Iceland in 2 days as it covers the main attractions and you will reach Jökulsárlón glacier Lagoon and even visit an ice cave. But if your time in Iceland is limited, take at least a one-day South Coast classic tour and you will be amazed by the impressive waterfalls and the incredible landscape.
Where should I stay in the South Coast of Iceland?
If you are travelling on your own around the South Coast you have different options where to stay. First of all, you can check Hveragerdi as the starting point of your trip, then you can stay in Vík, a nice village with a black sand beach. You can also find accommodation at Kirkjubaejarklaustur, between Vík and Skaftafell National Park, or directly at Höfn, the closest fishing village to the Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon.
When should I visit the South Coast of Iceland?
You can visit the South Coast of Iceland the whole year. Our tours from Reykjavík are running almost everyday! If you come in winter and you are lucky, you will have the chance to see the Northern Lights at night, also you will be able to book a tour to the Ice Cave at Vatnajökull. If you come in summer, you will enjoy all the daylight hours and you will see the puffins, our favorite birds. Any time is good to come to the South Coast as well as to Iceland.
Important note: All activities in the Icelandic nature are carried out under the own responsibility of the clients. ISLANDICA s.r.o. is not responsible for any accidents that may occur during the activities or due to the actions of the participants. The people who participate in these outings are accepting these conditions when booking a tour. ID 829