10 Jan EXPLORING ICELAND SOUTH COAST. TOP 7 SPOTS.
From Reykjavik, we drove East along the Route 1 ring road that follows the Iceland South Coast. It was to be a long journey covering 800 miles, but our tour guide Regna made it exciting with stories of changelings and trolls, and the outstanding views made the journey more than worth it.
There is no doubt that in Iceland don’t exist a shortage of waterfalls, so almost everywhere you go you find them in all shapes and sizes, each one with its own particular characterises and legends. Many of them are found along the South Coast, following the Ring Road.
You can barely spot Seljalandsfoss from the road, but a stop there is totally worth it. The waterfall itself drops about 60 meters. But the fascinating aspect, that makes it being unique, is that you can walk behind it!
In winter, the floor gets too slippery that you can hurt yourself, so be careful. Oh, after saying that, here’s a photo of me doing crazy stuff behind the waterfall, and it’s in winter and the floor is slippery… Crazy girl! It cost me 20 minutes to reach the point and one or two close calls, oops! It would have been a great idea using crampons 😃✌️
A little bit further of Seljalandsfoss, we find this big and impressive waterfall. It has an astounding width of 25 meters and a drop of 60 meters. And due to the amount of spray, the waterfall often produces a rainbow on sunny days, which make it even be more beautiful.
The thing I loved the most about it was climbing the 370 steps to the top of the waterfall that not only offer a different perspective of it but also rewards every climber with an awe-inspiring view out over the Iceland South Coast coastline.
REYNISFJARA BLACK SAND BEACH
Known as the most impressive black sand beach of Iceland, the shore of Reynisfjara doesn’t let anyone indifferent. Here is located an amazing cliff of regular basalt columns resembling a rocky step pyramid and in the summer months is the perfect area for bird watching, the cute puffins, fulmars and guillemots are the stars of the show!
Turn on the right before arriving at Reynisfjara Beach and you’ll be at Dyrhólaey, the southernmost part of Iceland, a 120-meter high promontory that offers a jaw-dropping view and features spectacular rock formations.
VATNAJÖKULL GLACIER AND ICE CAVES
Vatnajökull Glacier is the largest glacier in Europe and covers an 8% of the island of Iceland, and also is the largest protected area in Europe. Due to the global warming, this massive piece of ice is losing an average of 100 meters of ice on each side every year. Anyways, it’s still of a different and amazing beautiful kind of thing.
Ice caves are formed every winter when temperatures drop off and water froze, and can be found in the lowest parts of outlet glaciers, usually where glacial rivers have stopped flowing through a tunnel in the glacier. I was lucky enough to be inside an ice cave for about an hour and a half admiring the mesmerising blues and the wave effect on the roof. An experience that will last forever on my mind and something I recommend to everyone!
THE WESTMAN ISLANDS
Adding the Westman Islands to a 2-day itinerary along Iceland South Coast during winter time may sound precipitated, but I don’t regret any of the 3 hours spent there. The ferry to the islands only take 30 minutes to arrive, but once there, it feels like you are in a world away. The Westman Islands are small and the only inhabited island, Haimaey, is only 7 square miles in size. About 4,000 people call this rock home.
I only hope to come back and dedicate an entire day to these fascinating islands and its welcoming people.
JÖKULSÁRLÓN GLACIER LAGOON
This was by far my favourite spot of my trip through Iceland South Coast. I spent an entirely hour watching how house-sized chunks of ice broke off from the Vatnajokull glacier, change so drastically its shapes, tumbling, cracking and melting as they made their way to the Atlantic Ocean, where they completely melt and became a part of the sea. After being marvelled by the place and with hundreds of photos from all the possible angles, was time to play with some little ice chunks and also, time to a very quick swim in the lagoon! IT WAS FREEZING!! 😝
THE DRIVE ITSELF
It may sounds I am running out of ideas, but for me, the best thing of doing a road trip along the Iceland south coast was the driving scene. It encapsulates this otherworldly beauty, from stunning cliffs to dazzling waterfalls, to soaring verdant meadows covered with snow and dotted with Icelandic horses, to lava fields and black sand beaches, and even to the volcanic deserts with lacking of life but not beautifulness.
The drive through these incredibly and varying gorgeous landscapes is the real delight in exploring Iceland South Coast, the stops and experiences mere blips on the map in comparison.