How to Explore Iceland’s South Coast

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After four days spent exploring Iceland, I can tell you my absolute favorite was driving through the south coast and visiting Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon.

Below is how we did it in one day.

We stayed in Reykjavik and took an entire day to drive to the Lagoon and back. We left our Airbnb at 6 am to start our drive. The total drive time depending upon weather is four and a half to five hours to the Lagoon. Always check the weather prior to departure. Keep in mind conditions can change in an instant depending on the season you are traveling.  You can also choose to stay in towns on the way like Vik or rent a campervan and stay wherever you choose along the way. But, it can be done in a day too, weather dependent.

 

Once you get to the lagoon the views are breathtaking. You’ll see white, blue, black and turquoise icebergs floating and dancing before you. The icebergs are 1,000-year-old pieces of the Oraefajokull glacier breaking off and heading out to sea. You can hike around the perimeter or during the summer months take a boat tour out and around the icebergs.  We saw multiple seals swimming around and lounging near the icebergs.

After hiking around or boating between the icebergs, there are a couple of food trucks situated by the Lagoon parking lot. These could be weather or seasonal, but when we were there the options were fish and chips or a truck with lobster rolls and seafood stew.

On your way to the Lagoon or your way back, take time to pull of the side of the road and explore. There are waterfalls coming out of everywhere! Could you imagine this backdrop as your backyard? Many of these are private property (and many are not). Picture your morning view, a cup of coffee and the beauty of a backyard waterfall. I’m in.

Skogafoss waterfall is also on your path to or from the Lagoon. Skogafoss is about two hours out of Reykjavik. If you’re lucky, you’ll catch a rainbow or two… we did 🙂 Unfortunately I did not get to climb the 370 steps to the top of the waterfall (stairs and being 6 months pregnant does not equal a great climb), but if you do I hear the view of the coast at the top is beyond worth it. There’s also a hiking trail that begins here and a camping area.

Renting a car versus taking a bus tour was how we picked to explore and I’m so glad we did. Every time something popped up into our view that we wanted to check out; we just pulled over and explored. We could take our time or just a picture and hop back in.

On our way back to Reykjavik we stopped off to check out the Black Sand Beach, Reynisfjara in Vik. There is a parking lot here with a restaurant, toilets and a food truck, in case you need to fuel up!

The black sand mixed with the powerful waves and rocky cliffs is a sight to behold. I’m guessing there are fewer visitors early in the morning; so if you can, make it your first stop on your way to the Lagoon.

Keep in mind the sneaker waves. Do not stand too close to the water and never turn your back to the water.

Finally to wrap up your South Coast tour; if you’ve done it in one day as we did, pizza and beer is the only acceptable end. Olverk Brewery is a must on your way back into the city. The brewery is located about 30 minutes outside of Reykjavik.

After stuffing ourselves with pizza we made it back to the Airbnb just before midnight. A very successful day of exploring the South Coast.

Truly there is so much to see! Any questions about traveling Iceland’s South Coast?

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2 thoughts on “How to Explore Iceland’s South Coast

  1. Good to know! I haven’t done Iceland yet. A friend and I talked about doing it this fall, but then I made the decision to buy a condo instead…and that kind of ate up the disposable summer cash budget. Hopefully I will get there soon, I love the idea of renting a car, vs the bus ride!

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