On our second day in Iceland, Colin and I set out for a drive along the southern coast. The south coast of Iceland is well-known for powerful waterfalls, glaciers and a black sand beach. It’s a long drive from Keflavik, where we were staying, but well worth it. For most of the drive, we were the only ones on the road and it felt like we had the entire south coast of Iceland to ourselves.
Our first stop along the south coast of Iceland was Seljalandsfoss. “Foss” means waterfall in Icelandic, so anytime you see something called “X-foss,” you know you’re headed for a waterfall.
Seljalandsfoss might be one of the coolest waterfalls ever. Not only is it super powerful and really pretty, but you can actually walk behind it! When I first visited Iceland back in 2014, I did the walk behind the falls. For this trip, I sent Colin solo because I wasn’t quite dressed for it. As cool as it is, you do come back pretty wet!
Next up? Another waterfall! I told you the south coast of Iceland was lousy with them. We stopped at Skogafoss, which is another beautiful and powerful waterfall. You can’t go behind this one, but you can walk up pretty close to it. And that’s when you really get to feel its power. As you get closer, the mist off the bottom turns into a full on shower. From our selfie below, you can see that it was just pouring on us!
If you’re headed to Skogafoss, let me also recommend a quick stop at Mia’s Country Van Fish n Chips. It’s a bright red food truck van on the turn-off road towards Skogafoss – you can’t miss it. And the fish n chips are delicious! We really liked the fresh fish and batter, though the sweetened Icelandic tartar sauce was not our fave. They also offer cool lava salt to put on your fries. One of the pluses of doing your own drive along the south coast of Iceland, as opposed to jumping on a tour bus, is making pit stops like this.
Solheimajokull (say that five times fast!) was one of our more unique stops in Iceland. And it was particularly interesting for me because I remember visiting this glacier in January 2014. Since then, it has receded rapidly. If you’re doubting the effects of global warming, look no farther than this glacier. Still, it was very cool to walk along the path and check out the dense ice in the distance. We didn’t go for it, but there were groups who were heading out to climb the glacier with ice picks and special snowshoes.
Our last stop on our tour of the south coast of Iceland was Reynisfara, or the black sand beach. This beach, just outside of Vik, is most well-known for its black sand. And while the sand was cool, I have to say that I was much more impressed by the cave and the crashing waves. This is not the kind of beach where you go swimming. In fact, there are multiple signs telling you what a bad idea that would be.
It was awesome just to stand on the black sand, watch the waves crash along the shore and check out the cool rock formations in the water. The columns on the side of the cave were very cool too – I’m not sure what they’re called but they reminded me of Giant’s Causeway in Northern Ireland. If you’re hitting the south coast of Iceland, this is definitely a must-see!
We were also planning to visit the site of a plane wreck but couldn’t find it based on what Google Maps was telling us. We drove past the same spot a few times that looked like it might have been it – a small parking lot with people walking towards the water – but we weren’t sure. And by that point, we were pretty cold and tired.
So we pushed on to Vik to fill up on gas, buy some souvenirs and grab a few snacks for the drive, and then trekked back to Keflavik for the night. The next day, we spent the morning exploring Reykjavik, which has one of the cutest downtown strips I’ve ever seen, and then headed to the airport for our flight home. It was only a short few days in Iceland but it was an amazing stopover. We can’t wait to come back and drive the entire Ring Road one day!
Have you been to the south coast of Iceland?
What did you love or what would you want to check out first if you haven’t been?
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