Europe,  Travel

Driving the South Coast of Iceland

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.

Seljalandsfoss

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!

Your perfect road trip itinerary for the south coast of Iceland! #iceland #travel #roadtrip
Spoiler alert: this became our 2018 Christmas card!

Your perfect road trip itinerary for the south coast of Iceland! #iceland #travel #roadtrip
From behind the waterfall!

Skogafoss

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 Glacier

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.

Your perfect road trip itinerary for the south coast of Iceland! #iceland #travel #roadtrip

Reynisfara

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!

Your perfect road trip itinerary for the south coast of Iceland! #iceland #travel #roadtrip

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 do a proper road trip in Iceland of 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? 

PS: All I want for Christmas is YOU (to leave me a comment below and subscribe to my blog!).

 

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Your perfect road trip itinerary for the south coast of Iceland! #iceland #travel #roadtrip

Your perfect road trip itinerary for the south coast of Iceland! #iceland #travel #roadtrip

Your perfect road trip itinerary for the south coast of Iceland! #iceland #travel #roadtrip

33 Comments

  • LC

    It is so cool that you get to travel the world. I’m not a fan of cold weather so I’ve never wanted to visit Iceland. But I do love waterfalls, so you have introduced me to an aspect of the country I wasn’t aware of. Thanks for sharing.

    • Riana

      It’s not as cold as you might think! Much milder than some winters I’ve experienced at home and totally fine in the summer. I hope you make it there one day!

  • Jackie S.

    I have such wanderlust for Iceland as this place is on my bucket list. Chasing waterfalls is one of my favorite things to do and I’m thrilled to see that Iceland has many waterfalls to visit. The cascading falls from behind the Seljalandsfoss​ waterfall is stunning. What a view. ​Look forward to a road trip through Iceland soon.

  • Federica Provolenti

    It looks a very interesting part of the island. In which period of the year have you been there and which one would you recommend?

    • Riana

      I’ve been to Iceland in October and January. I’d probably recommend fall if you want to see some snow but not too cold and still enough daylight. I haven’t been in summer but have heard it’s pretty then too with lots of sunlight hours.

  • kangaroo1964

    Wonderful read Boo, always appreciate the beautiful pics you capture and the ones with the two of you are so darn cute! I’m in awe by the foss and your description of the road trip you guys did…nature at it’s best. One day I have to get there!!!

  • Heather Wicksted

    Looks like the place to go if you want to see lots of waterfalls! It also looks a little bit chilly, but not so super full of people. What time of the year were you there? I have heard that Iceland is deathly expensive, did you find the cost of the rental car and the fish and chips to be overpriced? Thanks for sharing!

    https://www.reason2roam.com

    • Riana

      Yes, definitely the place to go and not as cold as you might think. This trip was in October and I’ve been in January as well. Yes, it is expensive. Not the place to do shopping or go out to eat a ton. But renting a car and fish n chips were okay – more expensive than elsewhere but not awful.

  • Elizabeth

    I went to Iceland last summer and absolutely loved the South Coast…..well I loved the whole country! My favorite part of the south coast was probably doing a glacier hike on Solheimajokull glacier, even though it was a little scary, lol! I did everything with tour groups on the South Coast (which ended up being really good), but I would like to return again one day and drive the ring road independently. Then I could make some extra stops like the fish and chips place like you suggested.

    • Riana

      Yes, the glacier was awesome! Very cool to see it – and to see how much it had changed since I was out there in 2014. I would also love to do a full Ring Road roadtrip. It’s on the bucket list!

  • Namita Kulkarni

    Ahhh love these pics and all things Iceland! This country has been on my list for the longest time now and your words make me want to go right this minute. Especially to stand behind that waterfall and have that view through it. The black sand beach and the Skogafoss waterfall too look unmissable! Thanks for sharing 🙂

  • Kathleen C

    Oh man, this sounds so fantastic! Your photos are amazing! Iceland is on my bucket list, a rather new addition, and this will be one of the things I do for sure. I’d love to walk behind a waterfall, even if I get wet. I’m guessing rain ponchos would be a plus. Love this!

  • Jean

    I’ve never been to Iceland and I really want to go. Your photos of all the floss’s (is that the plural of floss?) are amazing. One day I’ll make it there and see all the amazing waterfalls for myself

    • Riana

      Haha I like “fosses” as the plural. Not sure if that’s correct in Icelandic but I’ll take it! I hope you make it there one day soon!

  • David

    I visited Iceland last year and the way it worked out I only had time to see Reykjavik. I really wanted to visit the rest of Iceland and Skogafoss in particular. Your pictures look absolutely amazing! I’ll have to add Seljalandsfoss and Skogafoss to my must visit list

  • Nicole Hunter

    What beautiful photos and scenery that you got to see. I love the idea of walking behind the waterfall. I would totally do that. It looks like you packed a lot into your day but it looks well worth the drive!

  • Vikki Dugger

    Awesome post! I visited Iceland last April. It was a little chilly but I loved every minute! I did the entire Ring Road. Akureyi was my favorite city/ town we stopped in. It’s up north. Definitely give it a stop if you do the Ring Road! It was so cute with a huge church (gotta count the steps up to the front door) and a large garden and so many stores. Also, I wanted to let you know the cool rocks that look like they sprouted up from the black sand is called basalt columns. There’s actually some place where you can go climbing on them. A little sketchy on the safety part (it would’ve sucked to have fallen between any of them) but it was fun. The plane wreck is meh and y’all probably totally passed by it. However, you have to walk several miles (I think 3.5) from where you park to get to it. It just looked like a gutted plane. But apparently Bieber filmed a music video there so it’s a popular spot to check out. There was also another wreck you could check out at another beach. It was a shipping wreck though. That one was a little more interesting because there were parts all over the beach that had been washed up and I was impressed that tourists have left stuff alone. Glacier hiking is super fun. While I was out on the glacier, we heard a calving (yep, that’s what they call it when a chunk of ice breaks off). The only other thing I would mention is that there is a small waterfall not mentioned on any of the typical tourist stuff that has a “magical” rock behind it. You go behind the waterfall, make a wish, kiss the rock. I think only locals know about it. So it was kind of a neat experience that not many people get to do. I cannot wait to go back… when I have the $$$$!

    • Riana

      Thank you for all of these great tips! I can’t wait to go back and drive the Ring Road one day – will definitely visit Akureyi. And good to know we didn’t miss much with the plane. Will have to go back to find the shipwreck and the magical rock! Thanks!

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