6 Days Exploring Southern Iceland
In April, I was lucky to join a friend of mine on a trip to Iceland. It was a 6 day trip covering the south. During that time, it’s still not possible to go all around the country because not all roads are accessible.
We started of in Reykjavik, where we picked up our rental car (besides renting a car or doing a group travel tour by bus, there is hardly any other option to explore the island). We headed off to Grindavik, where we saw and smelled our first hot source: Gunnuhver. It was really smelly but I have never seen something like this before so it was pretty impressive.
Next was the Blue Lagoon, which we heard it was necessary to make a reservation if you wanted to enter because of the high occupation. We decided not to do this hot water source but a different one. But to hush our curiosity, we passed by to take a look at the blue water which you can see before the entrance of the Lagoon.
The next day, we drove to Pingviller National Park. On our way, we stopped because we caught a glimpse of the volcanic black beach which was frozen. Arriving at the NP, we only visited a small part because we planned on going snorkeling in the ice cold (0°C!!) glacier water. We froze our hands off but it was so worth it. It is filled with such clear water and to see where the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates were separated was pretty stunning.
After heating up with a cup of hot cocoa, we thought it was time for a well deserved hot spring before finishing our day.
I still remember how cold the wind was when we saw the Gullfoss Waterfall. I think it was the shortest visit ever but staying any longer just wasn’t possible or we would’ve been frozen statues. The Gullfoss waterfall is huge – really – and requires just a small walk from the parking to the viewpoint.
At the Geyser, all tourists were waiting in silence and you could feel the tension building up as we were all waiting for it to erupt. After 3 times, I got it on camera!
Next up were Skogafoss and Seljalandfoss waterfalls. The difference between the two is that Skogafoss is bigger than Seljalandfoss. To visit Seljalandfoss, I highly recommend a rain coat and pants.
On our way to each stop, we sometimes stopped spontaneously because a rainbow popped up, for example. Sometimes, we stopped simply because we saw a beautiful landscape we wanted to capture on camera.
In our research of Iceland, we knew about a plane wreckage, but didn’t know exactly where it was located. On our our way to Vik, we saw a lot of parked cars near the road. We guessed it was for the plane wreckage so we parked as well and started walking. We walked the black sand for an hour – no joke – before the DC plane wreckage showed up. There’s not much to tell about it, just that it’s a crashed plane – everyone survived – and they never came to collect the remains of the plane.
In Vik, we visited Dyrholaey, formerly an island of volcanic origin. The view from Dyrholaey is interesting; at the north you see the big glacier Myrdalsjokull. To the east, the black alva columns of the Reynisdrangar come out of the sea and to the west, you can see the whole coastline in direction of Selfoss. The gigantic black arch of lava standing in front of the peninsula, gave the island its name: the hill island with the door-hole.
Also stunning was the frozen glacier lake of Jokulsarlon; it’s the biggest and most famous of Iceland!
You could say we saved the best for last, although we saw it in a different perspective than we wanted to. The canyon of Fjaorargljufur is up to 100m deep and about 2 km long. The Fjaora river flows through. If we stopped there a day sooner, this could’ve been a total different view. On our last day, we woke up in snow and the landscape was completely white. So no green canyon for us – but white. Also very impressive but hard to see as much depth. It was acceptable though because this gave us a valid reason to go back and see it again, no?