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Iceland South Coast Itinerary

|May 17, 2023
Konstancija is a writer who enjoys long walks and hikes in nature, "hunts" for second-hand goods, and is a frequent guest in public libraries where she loves to read and roam around stacks of books.

There are many things to see in Iceland, and it might become overwhelming to want to see everything in a short time. How many days in Iceland is enough? What should you do? What's worth including in your Iceland trip itinerary? These and similar questions might arise as you're preparing your vacation. Let's say you only have two days to see most of Iceland. Where should you start? If you find yourself in a similar situation, don't worry and follow this Iceland South Coast itinerary.

Day 1 – South Coast & Northern Lights

Reykjavik as a starting point

The Sun Voyager sculpture by Jón Gunnar Árnason located in Reykjavik

While some travelers are keen first to explore Reykjavik, the capital is also known as a starting point where you get to see and feel the real Iceland. Many tours, including South Coast, Waterfalls, and Glacier Hike tour, and the 3-day South Coast and Golden Circle tour, begin in the capital. Once you're on the road, your trip starts with fascinating views from your window.

Seljalandsfoss Waterfall

Seljalandsfoss waterfall close to Ring Road in Iceland

Your south Iceland itinerary will start from the magnificent waterfall called Seljalandsfoss. With a drop of 60 meters, this attraction is also special because you can also walk behind it and see the landscape through the "veil" of water. It's especially beautiful during the sunrise, so it's just the right time for you to take some impressive shots here. The waterfall is also close to Ring Road, Iceland's main road, and so is often visited and admired by travelers.

Skogafoss Waterfall

Skógafoss waterfall in the South Coast of Iceland

Skógafoss is one of the must-visit places when traveling on the South Coast of Iceland. The waterfall is situated on the Skóga River, and it comes down from two glaciers – Eyjafjallajökull and Mýrdalsjökull. The stunning waterfall is 60 meters high and 25 meters wide. The whole scenery here is quite spectacular as the mist from the water often creates rainbows that make you feel as if you're in a fairytale. And in fact, there's a legend about the waterfall and the Viking who hid a treasure under the falls, and one man even tried to pull it out but was left only with a ring from a box.


Basalt columns at the famous Reynisfjara Black Sand Beach

In continuation with things to do in South Iceland, Reynisfjara, the famous black-sand beach, is next on your agenda with its breathtaking shore and beautiful sights around it. Here you'll see the great basalt columns and Reynisdrangar peaks. As fascinating as this beach is, it's also dangerous. Because of its sneaky waves that can unexpectedly sweep you off your feet, keep in mind that you shouldn't go too close to the shore and remember that swimming here is impossible.

Vík í Mýrdal

Church at Vik village in Southern Iceland

The southernmost village in Iceland, Vík, is known as one of the must-visit places on the Southern Iceland itinerary. What makes this place so great is that it's close to all the great attractions in the country and a convenient spot for visitors. The village is ready to accommodate you whether you're here for a quick rest or wish to spend a night or two. Among the interesting things about Vik is the fact that it's a perfect place to watch puffins. Vik is also recognized for its striking black sand beaches. And did you know that the population of Vík í Mýrdal is only just a little bit over 300 inhabitants?

Northern Lights

Northern Lights above Reynisfjara Black Sand Beach and Reynisdrangar peaks

A proper Iceland's south coast itinerary should also include the chase of the Northern Lights. Seeing Aurora Borealis is on many travelers' bucket lists. The tricky thing about these beautiful lights is that it takes some luck and preparation actually to see them. This is why it's best to go to the countryside, perhaps somewhere near Vatnajökull glacier, for a clearer sky and breathtaking surroundings to be sure to get the best view.

Day 2 – Icelandic Glaciers and Caves

Vatnajökull glacier

Vatnajökull glacier - the largest glacier in Europe

The main jewel of Vatnajökull National Park is the largest glacier in Europe of the same name, with a surface of 8,100 km². But let's not forget that the glacier is shrinking rather quickly because of climate change. Despite this, the glacier is so big that it has several ice tongues with their own name (Svínafellsjökull, Dyngjujökull, Skeidararjokull, to name a few). Vatnajökull has a lot to offer to its visitors. Here you can find the highest peak of Vatnajökull glacier, Hvannadalshnjukur, with a height of 2,110 meters. South coast Iceland and Vatnajökull are where Grímsvötn, an active volcanic system, is situated. This is why this place is known to be a literal spot of fire and ice. If you want to experience the South Coast and get to know these national parks like a local, then our 2-day guided South Coast tour is perfect for you. With pick-ups in the capital, it couldn't be easier to explore this incredible part of the country.

Vatnajökull National Park

Vatnajökull glacier and ice lagoon in South Iceland

The park is famous for its size and the natural wonders that you can find within it. The area of the national park is 12000 km², making it one of the largest parks in Europe. Formed in 2008, the park consists of Vatnajökull glacier and neighboring areas that include the parks that were once in Skaftafell and Jökulsárgljúfur. Vatnajökull National Park covers approximately 14 % of all of Iceland's surface. A park is a must-visit place because of its diverse landscape. Here you can explore glaciers and volcanoes, try hiking trails, and check out rivers, lakes, and waterfalls such as Svartifoss. Our guided tours include an ice caving and glacier hiking adventure on Vatnajökull Glacier that is simply unforgettable.

Jökulsárlón Ice Lagoon

Jökulsárlón ice lagoon full of icebergs in Iceland

"Glacial river lagoon", or Jökulsárlón ice lagoon, draws many visitors who have a wonderful opportunity to watch big chunks of icebergs floating in the water from a boat and make some unforgettable memories as well as snap some striking images of the place. Not only does this place look like it's from a postcard, but it is also full of some interesting facts. Jökulsárlón is the deepest lake in Iceland, with a maximum depth of 248 meters. The chunks of ice that you see floating here are around 1000 years old. For those who enjoy marine life, the lagoon is a perfect place for whale and seal watching.

Crystal Ice Cave (Winter Season)

Crystal Ice Cave hidden in the Vatnajökull glacier

One of the great gems hidden in the Vatnajökull glacier is the Crystal Ice Cave. The reason why it's called crystal is because of its mesmerizing insights. This naturally formed highlight is famous for its "icy" ceiling that looks beautiful once the light enters the cave. Once you're here, you get to wander through the cave, wearing special protective gear that protects you and strengthens the feeling of adventure. During the walk, you're surrounded by all shades of blue and white and the ice formations that only mother nature can design.

Katla Ice Cave (Summer Season)

Blue Katla Ice Cave available all-year long in Iceland

Many are curious whether you can see an ice cave during the warm season. The good news is that you can see Katla Ice Cave, which can be visited all year round. But the best time to go there still remains the months from October until March. The cave was named after the Katla volcano, which is still active today. What makes the ice cave so distinct is that while you can admire the "cleanliness" of the Crystal Ice Cave, here you'll find the cave to be of black ice. The reason for this is the fact that the cave lies below the volcano. So the black color that you see encrusted in the ice is actually the ash from Katla.

Skaftafell Nature Reserve

One of the important spots to check out while traveling the south coast of Iceland is the Skaftafell Nature Reserve. The reserve has been open since 1967, and in 2008, it became a part of the well-known Vatnajökull National Park. If you're a true nature lover, then you'll admire this place as it has around 250 types of plants and approximately 30 species of birds. Skaftafell is also popular for its diverse and distinctive landscape. There is plenty to do here as the reserve awaits you here with its waterfalls, lagoons, glaciers, and even black sand deserts. 

Now that you know so much about the south coast of Iceland, you're ready for your adventurous trip to Iceland. If you're looking for more information while creating your travel plan, check out this 3-day South Coast of Iceland itinerary to add more places to your trip. And in case you're more interested in being accompanied by experienced guides who are ready to tell you all the fascinating tales about Iceland and take care of your well-being, check out these Iceland South Coast tours.


Where to Stay on This South Coast Trip

  • Hotel Geirland –  Situated in South Iceland's hills, Hotel Geirland is a strategically located base for your journey. After exploring nearby waterfalls and black sand beaches, its comfortable rooms offer a well-deserved rest. Its proximity to key attractions makes it a convenient and peaceful spot to recharge for the next day on the South Coast.

  • Hotel Hof – As you venture into the Vatnajökull National Park, Hotel Hof provides a serene base near Europe's largest glacier. The hotel's proximity to the park's natural wonders, including ice caves and glacier lagoons, makes it an ideal choice.

Happy and safe travels to Iceland's South Coast, adventurers!


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