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Southern Iceland – The complete guide!

Iceland Itinerary

Iceland was by far the most spontaneous and exciting adventure I have ever been on. The nordic island attracts thousands of visitors every year. The most popular places to visit are generally in southern Iceland.

We booked the flights, hired a car, and set out on the adventure of a lifetime!

We traveled across Southern Iceland for a total of 4 days and 970km (602 miles).

Below I have outlined the whole itinerary for the trip and what we got up to. Throughout this post, you will find links to all the accommodation and tour companies we used as well as some other useful information to help you if you visit Iceland.

We traveled in late March and therefore it was still cold and the road conditions were at times very dangerous if you would like more information about driving in Iceland then check out my complete guide to driving in Iceland here!

You can find the full trip step by step on google maps here.


Day 1 – Seljalandfoss, Gljufrabui & Vatnajokull National Park.

After arriving at Keflavik Airport we picked up our hire car and hit the road (Not Scared…) Our First stop was at Seljalandfoss and Gljufrabui waterfalls on the southwest side of Iceland.

These waterfalls are situated about 1 hour and 40 minutes south of Reykjavik. Seljalandfoss is the main waterfall visited by tourists here as it is visible from the road and car park, many visitors don’t know about Gjlufrabui due to it being hidden inside a small cavern (prepare to get wet)!

Despite this Gjlufrabui is by far the most impressive of the two and was definitely worth the soggy socks!

It’s FREE to visit these amazing waterfalls but there is a small parking fee of about £5 (the machine accepts cash or card) for the whole day. There are also toilet facilities and a small cafe and shop where we enjoyed a freshly made Icelandic hotdog with all the trimmings!!

We now had a 3 and a half hour journey to the furthest point of southern Iceland just below Vatnajokull, to our first nights accommodation, the weather decided to take a turn for the worst and we spent the rest of the evening driving through strong winds and heavy snow… but eventually arrived and got straight into bed after an exhausting day.

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The main road of Iceland covered in snow.

That evening we stayed in Skyhusid guest house. We were greeted by our host and made to feel very welcome. This hotel offered affordability and comfort and the room we stayed in offered some breathtaking views!

We grabbed some quick food, took and shower and settled down for the night.

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View from the room at Skyhusid Guest House.

Day 2 – Crystal Ice Caves, Vatnajokull Glacier, Diamond Beach, Vik

On our second day, we had a very short drive to Vatnajokull Glacier Lagoon, this was the meeting point for our tour to the Glacier and the ice caves. The ice caves are formed every year and melt again as the winter comes and passes. We were lucky enough to be in Iceland just a few weeks before they became unsafe to enter!

The caves were amazing and although this was one of the most expensive parts of our trip I would recommend it to anyone, you will not be disappointed! We booked the tour through Troll Expeditions who were absolutely fantastic from start to finish. They took great care of us and made sure that everyone was safe and answered everybody’s questions. I would highly recommend them to anybody wishing to explore southern Iceland.

After the tour, we were taken back to the meeting point where we had the opportunity to admire the lagoon and witness the glacier melting as the winter was coming to an end.

We then visited Diamond Beach just over the road from the Lagoon (Free to visit), the ice which melts from the glacier breaks away in beautiful clear chunks and is washed into the sea and then washes onto the black sand shores here. The ice settles on the sand and sits here for weeks. It is free to visit and has a large free carpark!

That evening we made the drive to Vik which is a small town in the south of Iceland, we took in some of the scenery and grabbed some supplies (mainly food as we were hungry from a long day).

We made a quick stop at Vik church to take in some of the breathtaking coastal views before heading to our accommodation for the evening just north of the town.

That evening we stayed in Mid Hvoll Cottages, these beautiful log cabins were our favorite accommodation for the whole trip, they were cozy, reasonably priced and the staff were super helpful and made sure we were comfortable. The rooms were warm, spacious and had all the self-catering equipment you could ask for! There was also a small path which led down to the beach but due to time we didn’t get the chance to do this!

(We even made a new friend when we arrived)!


Day 3 – DC3 Plane Wreckage, Skogafoss & Seljavllalaug Pool.

On our third day we traveled northwards again, we made 3 stops, the first of which was at the DC3 Plane wreckage (also known as the Sólheimasandur plane wreck) which is around a 20 Minute drive from Vik. The wreckage has remained on the beach here since 1973 when it crashed (all 7 crew survived).

After an hour-long hike from the car park (which is free to the public), we finally reached the wreckage. We were greeted by the eerie yet beautiful lump of metal on the baron black sand beach. This place was somewhere I’d really wanted to visit for a long time, so I was ecstatic to finally get here!

(If you don’t fancy the walk there is a bus service that runs from the car park to the wreckage and back, this was at a cost of about £9.00 per person each way so we gave it a miss)!

After exploring the plane wreckage and finally getting some shots without the crowds, we headed back to the car, warmed up and got back on the road, next up was Skogafoss!

Skogafoss was another 20 minutes further north and we were stunned by this one. The waterfall drops 60 meters (200ft) and you can feel its presence. As the water hits the floor it sprays back into the air which causes a rainbow effect. Parking here is free and therefore I would highly recommend this location to anyone visiting Iceland, especially if you’re on a budget!!

The final adventure of the day was Seljavallalaug Pool. One of the oldest outdoor swimming pools in Iceland, this little gem is tucked away in the peaceful Icelandic mountains and well worth the 40-minute hike from the main road.

Check out this short story and guide on getting to the Pool and what to expect from one of Iceland’s best-kept Secrets!

Just a further 10 minutes down the road we arrived at the car park where we had to leave our car before walking into the unknown. Seljavallalug Pool is not as widely known by tourists and therefore it was no surprise that we were the only ones there when we finally arrived!

We experienced some of the most beautiful scenery and peaceful sounds whilst walking through the mountains to get there! Even if you don’t go in for a dip id recommend visiting just to experience the beautiful Icelandic mountains.

To finish off the day we now had a 2-hour drive to Iceland’s capital city, Reykjavik, we arrived just before dusk and settled into our hotel, City Park Hotel, for the night before nipping out for some food at a local restaurant that like most Icelandic words I cannot pronounce the name of… Poutturinn og Pannan.

A trip to Iceland isn’t complete without seeing the northern lights right!? We were due to go on a northern lights tour that evening with a local tour company but this was canceled due to poor weather conditions. GUTTED!! (We were super tired from all the driving and adventures so had an early night instead)! The company refunded us in full and offered for us to rearrange if we wanted but we couldn’t due to lack of time!


Day 4 – Blue Lagoon

After 4 days, 897km of driving and lots of walking, our trip was almost at an end, we set out early on our final day to the Blue Lagoon for some relaxing downtime. The blue lagoon is situated around 20 minutes south of Keflavik airport and 45 minutes from Reykjavik so this was perfect for us getting back to the airport later that day.

After enjoying the lagoons facilities, a mud mask and a few cold beers at the swim-up bar, it was time to head home, we drove back to the airport and handed the car in before catching our flight back to the UK.

Iceland is one of the most amazing countries I have ever visited. If you’re planning to visit I would highly recommend doing so in winter as the scenery is so much more beautiful when covered in snow. It also means there’s a chance you’ll be able to see the Northern Lights which are only visible in the winter months (althought your chances are reduced in southern Iceland).

I hope you found this post useful and it gave you an insight into southern Iceland and our trip there this year.

If you have any questions please let me know below.

Danny 🙂

 

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Iceland Itinerary
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Southern Iceland – The complete guide! via @dannyexplores
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