Iceland offers an abundance of breathtaking natural attractions. Iceland’s magical South Coast, or “Suðurland” in the local language, has dramatic landscapes worth your time. Thankfully, Iceland no longer has Covid-related border restrictions.
Touring South Iceland
The South Coast is easily accessible from Reykjavik, Iceland’s capital, thanks to the Ring Road. A private day trip from Reykjavik will take you about 10 to 12 hours, with stops at major waterfalls and beaches. The duration depends on how you wish to enjoy the attractions. Daylight hours are longer during the summer months, allowing you to enjoy a lot more during a day trip.
If you want to enjoy a lot more, you could break up the day trip with an overnight stay at Hvolsvöllur or Höfn, or elsewhere along the South Coast. This gives you an opportunity to explore other awesome attractions in southern Iceland that are not necessarily along the coast.
To see all the attractions, plan for 2 to 4 days of exploring. Depending on your interests, you may add such experiences as guided hikes and horse riding across glaciers and through the landscapes of Landmannalaugar or Thorsmork.
The famous Golden Circle has numerous stunning sites along the extended coastline. The roads lead close to Katla, Hekla, and Eyjajfjallajökull volcanos, charming villages, craggy mountains, rural farms, and otherworldly lava fields.
Top Places to See Along the Way in South Iceland
Heiðmörk Nature Reserve
Heiðmörk Nature Reserve lies just a few kilometers outside the capital. You get to see Rauðhólar, which are distinct, eye-catching volcanic red hills with strange shapes. Other activities available at the Nature Reserve are exploring the Mariuhellar caves, cycling, hiking, and horse riding.
Hellisheiði Geothermal Power Plant & Exhibition
Visit the Hellisheiði, the third-largest geothermal power station in the world, to see how a modern power plant can operate sustainably. This sprawling site provides almost a third of the total electricity and hot water for all of Iceland. There is an exhibition where you will learn about renewable and green energy sources, complete with informative and interesting multimedia displays.
Reykjadalur Valley Thermal River & Hot Springs
The Reykjadalur valley, nicknamed the Smoky Valley, is nestled in the Hengill Mountains. This is an active geothermal area featuring hot springs and a river that is enticingly warm. You can have a relaxing dip or walk along the river. The water is hotter upstream.
Seljalandsfoss & Gljúfrabúi Waterfalls
A visit to the Seljalandsfoss waterfall is often the highlight when exploring the South Coast of Iceland. The waterfall is located in the shadow of the Eyjafjallajökull volcano, with water flowing down from the volcano to feed the waterfall. There is a path behind the cascade if you want to see the waterfalls from different perspectives.
Just a short stroll from the Seljalandsfoss waterfall is the secluded Gljúfrabúi Waterfall, a pretty waterfall that flows through a crack in the rocks.
Further east along the South Coast is the Eyafjallajökull volcano which stands more than 1,650 meters tall. The awe-inspiring volcano is famous for the havoc it caused on air travel when it erupted in 2010, causing a big ash cloud. The volcano has an ice peak.
The Skógafoss Waterfall is one of the most stunning waterfalls in Iceland. It spans 24 meters, and it cascades down soaring cliffs that are 18 stories high, making for a breathtaking sight. The waterfall has been featured in different TV shows and movies, including Vikings and Game of Thrones.
The Skógar Museum features many cultural items, artifacts, and folk displays that are related to the heritage and history of Iceland.
Seljavallalaug Pool is an artificial outdoor swimming pool that has been around since 1923, making it the oldest swimming pool in the country. It is surrounded by picturesque hills. The water is warm most of the year, remaining around 30–35°C, but too cold in the winter months.
DC-3 Plane Wreck on Solheimasandur Beach
Solheimasandur Beach features one of the more unusual sights in the Golden Circle: an abandoned naval plane. The wreckage of the US Navy Douglas DC-3 lies on the black sands of the isolated beach. The plane went down in 1973, but thankfully all the seven crew members survived.
Vík í Mýrdal is an important hub in South Iceland. The charming small town has diverse options for shopping, eating, and sleeping. You can walk along the black sand to see the vistas of Reynisdrangar or walk up the hill to visit the quaint church and for a brilliant view over the town.
Other attractions worth your time are:
- The Eldhraun Lava Field, featuring green moss-covered stark black lava rocks born during one of the largest recorded volcanic eruptions in the world
- Dverghamrar (Dwarf Rocks), a protected natural monument featuring basalt columnar and other rock formations
- Lómagnúpur, an iconic landmark and one of the most photographed mountains in Iceland
- Fjallsárlón, Jökulsárlón, and Fjallsarlon glacier lagoons
- Diamond beach, a prime viewing spot for orcas
The choices are many. For the best experience, go for a guided private tour in Iceland to ensure you get a customized package based on your particular needs. At Deluxe Iceland, we are a fully authorized luxury travel agency and tour operator, offering clients private tours and self-drive tours that are designed by our team of local experts. Contact us today if you want to experience the best of Iceland.