Iceland – South coast

There’s a lot to see in the south, so this post covers 3 days worth of exploring.

Today we’ve headed to the south of the island to visit a few waterfalls, an old plane wreck and the famous black sand beach.

Our first stop, Seljalandsfoss waterfall, was about 1h30min drive from our camp-site.

We woke up to a beautiful day, not a cloud in the sky.

This waterfall was stunning, and it was cool to be able to walk behind it. Got a bit wet!

We then drove another 20min to reach Skogafoss waterfall. By that point, the weather turned and it started raining. This added even more beauty to this huge waterfall, which had a viewing platform above.

After a quick lunch at the waterfall camp-site, we headed to the Solheimasandur plane wreck.

You have to walk about 3.5km each way to reach it, with basically nothing to look at except volcanic sand and rocks. Not a very exciting walk, but quite interesting to see the 40yr old wreckage of a plane up close.

After the hike back we jumped in the camper and drove further east to Reynisfjara Beach, our last stop for the day.

The reason for this stop was the sand and rocks; they were all a pretty incredible dark volcanic black. With the back drop of the white gloomy sky, the photos look like they were shot in monochrome.

A really interesting stop, made even better with the company of puffins! Quite a rare sight on the south of the island, they’re usually found in the north.

After a good night’s sleep, just around the corner from the black beach in Vik, we continued to head east. We set the GPS for Skaftafellsjokull glacier.

We had intentions of heading straight there as we knew we had a bit of walking to do, but had to stop a couple of times en route.

We first stopped as we were curious about the stacks of rocks on the side of the road (it’s an old tradition for luck), and the second was because of moss. Didn’t think we’d ever stop the car for moss, but this landscape seemed out of this world, nothing like we’d seen before.

Not long afterwards, we were at our destination. From the parking here we did two small hikes – the first was a short 2.5km to the edge of the glacier itself. This was pretty awesome, neither of us had seen a glacier before. It was a pretty breathtaking landscape.

After some lunch we took on the second walk up to Svartifoss. This time around, 4km and a pretty steep incline most of the way there. This was another waterfall, surrounded by hundreds of hexagonal columns formed by cooling lava. Very different to the others we’d seen and worth the walk.

The final stop of the day saw us heading to Diamond Beach, but we made a quick unplanned stop at Gjallsarlon Glacier. We’re so glad we did!

This got us even closer to huge icebergs at the mouth of the glacier, and it was quite a sight. It was raining heavily by now, and we were getting pretty wet, but loved every minute of it.

It left us speechless, this is the kind of thing you don’t see everyday and it made this day very special.

Diamond Beach also has icebergs bobbing about its coast, varying from football to car size (and smaller on the beach). The fine sand was a deep black, and was littered with bits of ice (hence the name).

This beach stretches as far as the eye can see; we walked until our hands were numb, watched a few seals dart around in the waves, and then turned in for the night.

The final day of the south saw us heading back west towards Reykjavik, making a few stops along the way.

The first was a cafe, very civilised after living out of a van for 5 days! This was just around the corner of our first stop, Kirkjubaejarklaustur.

Here we had a little walk, with some nice scenery including (another) little water fall and a meandering river.

After lunch we hit our next stop, Drangurinn. Just off the main road, we hopped out in the rain to take a couple of photos of a small old hut that seemed engulfed by the stone it was built against. A very odd little building, it’s UNESCO listed and is a glimpse back in time.

After a quick hot chocolate pitstop in a Cafe in the small village of Asolfsskali, we headed to our campsite on the edge of Reykjavik.

We’ll spend the final two nights here so we can look around the capital.

#TheDexplorers

TIPS

  • The glaciers/icebergs were the real highlights of our Icelandic trip. The sites are just breathtaking! Well worth driving down there, plus it would have been worth driving even further if we had more time. Shame we couldn’t visit the ice caves as we visited in summer but we’d love to do that if coming back in winter.

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