South Shore, Jökulsárlón & IceCaves
Around 8 – 10 hours each day
Seljalandsfoss – This is one of the most famous and scenic waterfalls in the country. The best part of this 60-metre high waterfall is that you can go behind it as there is a cave. Be sure to pack a raincoat because you will probably get wet when accessing it. If you are lucky and visit this area on a sunny day, you will see a beautiful rainbow.
Skógafoss – Skógafoss is one of the biggest waterfalls in the country. Located near the village of Skógar, this waterfall is 25 metres wide and its top offers splendid views of the aread. A legend says that there is a treasure hidden in a cave behind the waterfall. If you happen to arrive on a sunny day, a rainbow can be seen. There are many hiking and trekking trails in the area – it makes for a perfect day spend in scenic nature. This natural beauty has been recently used as a set for a few films – for example Thor: The Dark World and The Secret Life of Walter Mitty.
Sólheimajökull – One of the best ways to experience a glacier up close and personal in Iceland is probably to explore the Sólheimajökull glacier that sticks out of the Mýrdalsjökull glacier. Incidentally, the Mýrdalsjökull ice cap covers the mean and mighty Katla caldera, a fierce volcano that will one day erupt with fearful consequences. Just think massive floods and horrendous amount of pumice and ash.
Dyrhólaey – Located not far from the village of Vík, this small peninsula with cliffs is a protected area. It is home to many seabirds, including puffins, gulls and fulmars. The views from the cliff are exceptional, but don’t get too close to the edge! Wondering about the name? Literally translated into English, it means “door-hole” and indeed, when there are no waves, boats can sail through the hole.
Reynisfjara – A unique beach with black sand. This place is a must if you want to take truly unusual photographs, alongside the lava columns rising out of the sea. According to the folklore legend, these are two trolls who attempted to drag a ship to land but were turned to stone – come and see for yourself! The beach is also an ideal place for birdwatching with lots of puffins and fulmars.
Vík – The village of Vík is the southernmost village in Iceland, located on the main ring road around the island, around 180 km by road southeast of Reykjavík. Despite its small size it is the largest settlement for some 70 km around and is an important staging post, thus it is indicated on road signs from a long distance away. It is an important service center for the inhabitants of and visitors to the coastal strip between Skógar and the west edge of the Mýrdalssandur glacial outwash plain.
Fjaðrárgljúfur – Fjaðrárgljúfur is a magnificent and massive canyon, about 100 meters deep and about two kilometres long. The canyon has sheer walls, and is somewhat serpentine and narrow. The bedrock in Fjaðrárgljúfur is mostly palagonite from cold periods of the Ice Age and is thought to be about two million years old. Deep in the canyon there are waterfalls so one needs to walk the same way back. Most people choose to walk along a walking path up on the canyon’s edge while simultaneously enjoying the view above the canyon.
Svínafellsjökull – A popular glacier tongue of Vatnajökull, which is one of the largest glaciers of Iceland. You can experience the natural contrasts of the region : vast stretches of black sand and craters which suddenly give a way to bright walls of white ice, with blue highlights – huge and majestic. The spectacular surroundings are marked by rugged and dramatic rock formations thoroughly shaped by the glacier. These wonders reflect the perpetual struggle between fire and ice.
Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon – Jökulsárlón (meaning Glacier Lagoon) is probably one of the world’s greatest natural jewels and a popular tourist location in Iceland. Located 370 km from Reykjavík, it is a must-see while here and definitely worth the trip. One of the best ways to explore this lagoon is going on a boat trip that will take you as close to the icebergs and the glacier as possible. If lucky, you can even spot some seals.
Diamond – Black Sand Beach – From Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon there are regularly chunks of ice floating into the open sea and get, according to the high or low tide, washed onto this beautiful beach. Like diamonds in the sun they sparkle on the black beach and transform the Breiðamerkursandur into a glowing field of ice. Often the whole beach is covered into close mist which brings up a really mysterious atmosphere.
Blue Ice Caves – In this ice cave tour, you will experience natural unique ice caves in the wonders of Vatnajökull glacier, Europe’s largest ice cap. The tour is intended for those who want to visit an ice cave, get great photo opportunities and an unforgettable experience. The tour, guided by a local guide from Hali, will take you through the region’s history from settlement until today.