Embarking on an Iceland South Coast itinerary is like stepping into a realm where Mother Nature's creativity runs wild. We at Reykjavík Cars have traversed every nook and cranny of this enchanting region.
Our experiences, as vast as the Icelandic horizons, have equipped us with unmatched expertise. Trust us to guide you on an awe-inspiring journey across Iceland's southern coast, a tapestry of roaring waterfalls, glistening glaciers, and black sand beaches.
Pack your spirit of adventure, and we'll provide the details for an unforgettable exploration.
An Overview of the South Coast of Iceland
The South Coast of Iceland is an idyllic paradise, a cornerstone for any Iceland South Coast itinerary. Dotted with nature's marvels, from cascading waterfalls to majestic glaciers, this region promises an awe-inspiring experience.
The untouched beauty of the south coast beckons travelers seeking a mix of adventure and tranquility. You can chase the Northern Lights, explore glaciers, trek through national parks, or soak in the ethereal landscape here.
A journey across the South Coast is a dive into a world where nature paints a stunning picture, inviting you to be a part of its captivating saga.
Planning Your Trip to the South Coast of Iceland
Planning a South Coast Iceland itinerary requires careful thought and systematic execution. Here are some key factors we recommend you to consider:
- Best Time of the Year: The South Coast of Iceland offers varied experiences throughout the year. Winter (around December to February) offers the opportunity to witness the mesmerizing Northern Lights, while summer (June to August) provides longer daylight hours for exploration.
- Duration of stay: If you're wondering how many days you should spend in Iceland, we recommend a minimum of 5 days to experience the region truly. This gives you enough time to visit all the top attractions, explore, and relax.
- Transportation: Renting a car is an ideal way to explore the South Coast of Iceland. It offers freedom and flexibility, allowing you to stop at various viewpoints and choose your own route. Check out our range of rental cars for a comfortable and convenient journey.
- Accommodation: The South Coast offers a variety of accommodation options, from cozy guesthouses to luxury hotels. You can choose the perfect stay for your trip depending on your budget and preference.
- Clothing: The weather in Iceland is unpredictable, so it's essential to pack appropriate clothing. Layers are a must, along with waterproof and windproof outerwear and sturdy hiking boots.
The Best Places to Stop Along the South Coast Drive
Next, let's delve into the highlights of your Iceland South Coast itinerary. Here, we list Iceland's best things to do, specifically focused on the unforgettable South Coast.
Seljalandsfoss and Skógafoss Waterfalls
Seljalandsfoss and Skógafoss Waterfalls are must-visit locations on your South Iceland itinerary. Situated along the South Coast, Seljalandsfoss is unique because you can walk behind the cascading water, offering an extraordinary viewpoint.
Just a short drive eastward, Skógafoss captivates with its powerful plunge of 60 meters (197 feet), creating a perpetual rainbow on sunny days. Nestled along the scenic Route 1, these natural wonders provide a visual feast and a glimpse into the raw, untamed beauty that Iceland's south coast generously unveils to every wanderer.
Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon
Reserve a day for the mesmerizing Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon as part of your southern Iceland itinerary. Situated in Vatnajökull National Park, this mesmerizing lagoon is a spectacle of icebergs, which calve from the largest glacier in Europe, Vatnajökull, and gently drift towards the Atlantic Ocean.
The contrasting play of the luminous blue ice against the stark black sand beach creates a surreal and photogenic landscape. A boat tour through Jokulsarlon provides an up-close encounter with the floating ice giants. At the same time, seals and seabirds add a lively charm to the serene icy panorama.
An integral stop on your Iceland southern coast itinerary is the mesmerizing Diamond Beach. Located near Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon, this unique beach derives its name from the glistening ice chunks scattered across its black volcanic sands, resembling diamonds.
The icebergs that break off from the nearby lagoon wash ashore, creating a stark contrast against the black sand, making Diamond Beach an ideal spot for photography enthusiasts. Witnessing the sun's rays reflecting off these icy 'diamonds,' particularly at sunrise or sunset, is an experience that epitomizes the enchanting allure of Iceland's South Coast.
Reynisdrangar Sea Stacks
A South Coast Iceland itinerary would be incomplete without visiting the magnificent Reynisdrangar Sea Stacks. Located near Vík í Mýrdal, these imposing basalt columns rise majestically from the turbulent Atlantic Ocean.
Local folklore adds an intriguing aura to the site, with tales describing the stacks as trolls petrified by dawn's early light. Against the backdrop of a black sand beach, the stacks offer a captivating spectacle that encapsulates the contrast and drama inherent to Iceland's landscapes.
Vík í Mýrdal
As the southernmost village of Iceland, Vík í Mýrdal captivates with its petite charm and dramatic coastal landscapes. Surrounded by verdant hills and boasting some of the most stunning black sand beaches in Iceland, this village provides a serene escape from the hectic pace of urban living.
It is well-renowned for its iconic red-roofed church perched on a hilltop, which provides a mesmerizing view of the surrounding terrain. The village's proximity to Reynisdrangar Sea Stacks further enhances its allure, making it an unmissable addition to your Iceland South Coast itinerary.
Skaftafell National Park
Skaftafell National Park is a crucial highlight that should undoubtedly be included in your South Iceland itinerary. Enveloped within the expansive Vatnajökull National Park, Skaftafell is a sanctuary of varied landscapes, seamlessly melding glaciers, black sand plains, and birch woodlands into a harmonious spectacle.
Situated to the southeast of Vík í Mýrdal, it offers effortless accessibility, inviting explorers to delve into its wonders. From the iconic Svartifoss Waterfall, elegantly framed by dark basalt columns, to the sprawling glacier tongues and abundant hiking trails, Skaftafell is a paradise for all types of travelers.
Your Iceland South Coast itinerary wouldn't be complete without a visit to Vatnajökull. Vatnajökull Glacier emerges as Europe's largest glacier, a sprawling icy wonderland that dominates Southeast Iceland.
Encompassing diverse landscapes beneath its icy mantle, from volcanic eruptions to serene ice caves, Vatnajökull is a realm where fire and ice coexist in a delicate balance. Its majestic ice caps, accessible via Skaftafell, offer not only thrilling adventures like ice caving and glacier hiking but also a window into the dynamic, ever-shifting nature of Iceland's stunning terrains.
Solheimajökull Glacier Hike
A thrilling chapter in your southern Iceland itinerary, the Solheimajökull Glacier Hike invites adventurers to traverse a dynamic landscape of crevasses, ridges, and ice formations.
Located between the Katla and Eyjafjallajökull volcanoes, this accessible glacier offers guided hikes, allowing explorers to safely navigate its icy expanses while absorbing panoramic views of the surrounding landscapes.
The juxtaposition of ash from volcanic eruptions with the translucent ice creates a visually stunning tapestry, making Solheimajökull a must-visit spectacle in the land of fire and ice.
Raufarhólshellir Lava Cave
The Raufarhólshellir Lava Cave is a fascinating addition to your Iceland Southern Coast itinerary. This natural spectacle, the 4th longest lava tunnel in Iceland, is located just a 40-minute drive from Reykjavík.
The cave's interior features spectacular rock formations and vivid color variations, showcasing the raw and untamed beauty of Iceland's volcanic activity. Exploring Raufarhólshellir promises an adventure deep into the subterranean landscapes of this Nordic island.
The Plane Wreck at Sólheimasandur
Adding an eerie yet intriguing touch to your Iceland South Coast itinerary is the Plane Wreck at Sólheimasandur. Located amidst a sprawling black sand beach, this abandoned US Navy DC-3 plane, which crash-landed in 1973, adds a unique, post-apocalyptic feel to the scenic terrains.
Easily accessible from the Ring Road, a visit to this hauntingly beautiful site punctuates the breathtaking beauty of Iceland's South Coast with a stark reminder of our transient passage through time.
The Black Sand Beach at Reynisfjara
A must-visit on your southern Iceland itinerary, the Black Sand Beach at Reynisfjara near Vík í Mýrdal is a spectacle of stark, natural beauty. The dramatic black sands, born from volcanic activity, are framed by towering basalt columns and the powerful Atlantic waves.
With the Reynisdrangar sea stacks looming in the distance and often enveloped by mist, the beach offers a mystical, otherworldly experience. It's a place where the raw power and enchanting beauty of Iceland converge, creating a timeless, mesmerizing landscape.
Tips for Driving in Iceland
Navigating Iceland's majestic landscapes can be an adventure in itself. Here are some essential tips for driving in Iceland during your Iceland South Coast itinerary:
- Embrace the Unpredictability: The weather in Iceland has more mood swings than a toddler. Always check the forecast before hitting the road and be prepared for swift changes.
- Beware of the Sheep: These furry friends have a knack for sudden road crossings. Stay vigilant!
- F-roads does not stand for 'Fashion Roads:' The F-roads are for 4x4s only - a fashionable Fiat 500 won't cut it.
- Gas Up: Fill up your tank whenever you can. Petrol stations can be few and far between, and running out of fuel amidst stunning scenery is ironically inconvenient.
How to Plan a South Coast Iceland Itinerary
Planning your South Coast Iceland itinerary can be an exciting venture. Here are some insightful tips based on our own experiences exploring this stunning region:
- Be Flexible: Weather and road conditions can be unpredictable. Road closures in Iceland can happen suddenly due to extreme weather. Have a flexible itinerary and be prepared for unexpected changes.
- Research Ahead: Understand the attractions you want to visit on your South Coast Iceland itinerary. Prior knowledge can enrich your experience and ensure you don't miss any must-see sights.
- Allocate Time Wisely: Some sites, like the Vatnajökull Glacier, require more time than others. Budget your Time accordingly to enjoy each experience fully.
- Book tours and activities in advance: Popular activities, like ice caving or glacier hiking, can be booked up quickly. Book in advance to secure your spot and avoid disappointment.
Sample of a 5-Day Iceland South Coast Itinerary
Below, you will find a sample Iceland South Coast itinerary for a five-day journey. This itinerary has been carefully crafted to incorporate the region's most mesmerizing sights and experiences, offering an optimal blend of exploration and relaxation.
Day 1: Reykjavík to Vík
- Seljalandsfoss Waterfall: Start the morning of your Iceland south coast itinerary with a trip to this majestic waterfall. Allocate around 1 hour to enjoy the views and take stunning photographs (7:00 AM - 8:00 AM).
- Skógafoss Waterfall: Next, head to another beautiful waterfall. Spend around 1 hour here (9:00 AM - 10:00 AM).
- Reynisdrangar Sea Stacks and The Black Sand Beach at Reynisfjara: Allocate around 2 hours to explore these captivating sights (1:30 PM - 3:30 PM).
- Vík í Mýrdal: Spend your afternoon in Vík and enjoy a 30-minute horseback beach ride (4:00 PM - 5:00 PM).
- Tip: Wear warm and waterproof clothes for the ride.
- Accommodation: Stay overnight in Vík.
Day 2: Vík to Skaftafell
- Skaftafell National Park: Start the day with a scenic 3-hour glacier walk in this national park (9:30 AM - 12:30 PM).
- Vatnajökull Glacier: In the afternoon of your Southern Iceland itinerary, take some time to admire the largest glacier in Europe (1:30 PM - 3:00 PM).
- Tip: Book a glacier hike in advance to avoid disappointment.
- Spend the Night: Stay overnight in the Skaftafell area.
Day 3: Skaftafell to Jökulsárlón
- Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon: Take a 1h30 Glacier Lagoon Kayaking tour and spend the rest of the morning admiring the stunning lagoon (10:00 AM - 11:30 AM).
- Diamond Beach: Spend the afternoon of your south Iceland itinerary at Diamond Beach, allowing at least 2 hours in this magical location (1:00 PM - 3:00 PM).
- Tip: Look out for seals and icebergs along the shore.
- Accommodation: Stay overnight near Jökulsárlón.
Day 4: Jökulsárlón to Solheimajökull
- The Plane Wreck at Sólheimasandur: Start the day of your Iceland South Coast itinerary by visiting this hauntingly beautiful site, allocating about 1 hour for exploration and photography (9:00 AM - 10:00 AM).
- Solheimajökull Glacier: Spend the afternoon exploring this glacier, either by taking a 3-hour glacier hike or simply admiring it from afar (2:00 PM - 5:00 PM).
- Tip: Wear suitable hiking gear and book a tour in advance for the best experience.
- Accommodation: Stay overnight near Solheimajökull.
Day 5: Solheimajökull to Reykjavík
- Raufarhólshellir Lava Cave: Spend your final morning in Iceland with a 3-hour lava tunnel tour here (9:00 AM - 12:00 PM).
- Return to Reykjavík in the afternoon and say goodbye to the magnificent South Coast of Iceland.
- Tip: Book your Blue Lagoon visit on your way back to Reykjavík for the ultimate relaxing end to your trip.
- Accommodation: Stay overnight in Reykjavík.
Things to Consider When Planning Your South Coast Itinerary
As you map out your Iceland South Coast itinerary, there are some additional aspects to consider to ensure your journey is as smooth and memorable as possible. Here are our top tips:
- Seasonal Changes: Iceland's weather can be unpredictable. Consider the time of years when planning your itinerary.
- Travel Insurance: Secure comprehensive travel insurance for unexpected situations.
- Car Rental: If self-driving, ensure you're comfortable with the conditions and equipped for the journey. Taking out additional rental insurance is highly recommended.
Completing Your Iceland South Coast Itinerary
And there you have it - your epic five-day Iceland South Coast itinerary adventure, tailor-made to leave you breathless and your camera overloaded. Our past explorers have raved about this itinerary, saying it was like stepping into a real-life postcard (just with more wind and fewer elves).
Remember, the key to mastering this itinerary is to rent a trusty car in Reykjavík- because nothing screams 'Icelandic road trip' better than cruising the open road while taking in all the stunning sights this country has to offer.