Rent a car and hit the road to explore South Iceland! This guide will show you all the highlights along the way.
When we were planning our trip to Iceland, we were overwhelmed by all there was to see and do. After some discussion, we decided to not drive the entire Ring Road and just focus our time on 2 areas: west and south. I already posted about our time spent in the west of Iceland on the Snæfellsnes peninsula. Here is what we got up to in Southern Iceland.
Keep reading for more information about each day!
Once we left Reykjavik, we headed out onto the Ring Road, Road 1, towards the Golden Circle. This is a very popular route but for good reason. Some of Iceland’s most beautiful sights can be found on this route! Click here for the full post of our trip around the Golden Circle.
The morning before we heading to Vik, we decided to go snorkeling in the Silfra fissure which is located in Þingvellir National Park. The water is the clearest you’ll ever see but the temperature is a quite bracing 35° F or 2°C. You wear a dry suit and are totally bundled up except for your nose and mouth. It was a once in a lifetime experience but also quite pricey. Read more about our experience here and judge for yourself if you think it’s worth the money!
Head back to the Ring Road (are you sensing a theme here?) and make your way toward Vik. On your way there, you will see some of Iceland’s most beautiful waterfalls! One awe-inspiring in it’s power, one you can walk behind and one you have to hike through a cave to find! Read more about each waterfall in this post.
That night for dinner, we headed to Gamla fjósið. It was super adorable with delicious food so I would definitely recommend eating there if you are in the area. We booked an Air BnB in Vik for two days which was a great jumping off point for exploration.
Our goal for the day was to head to Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon, about 2.5 hours from Vik. Factoring in stops along the way and exploring the lagoon, this took up most of the day. So, make sure to plan accordingly.
When you wake up with views like this, you know it’s going to be a good day!
Very close to the town of Vik, you’ll find Reynisfjara Black Sand Beach. Stop here on your way out or if you want more time, do it on the way back into Vik. You definitely want leave 30 mins to an hour to explore the beach. The best part about going to Iceland in the summer is all the hours of daylight you have to explore! Read more about our time there here.
Our next stop was Fjaðrárgljúfur Canyon. I had seen so many photos online of this place that I was worried it wouldn’t be as cool in person. But, like most of Iceland, it lived up to the hype! It took us about 20-30 mins to walk up the side of the canyon, take photos and walk back to the car park. For more information about Fjaðrárgljúfur, read the full post here.
After lots of driving, we finally made it to Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon. Iceland makes it hard to choose a favorite place but I have to say this is one of the coolest places I’ve seen in my life. Huge pieces of glacial ice floating in a mirror-like bay. There is river that leads to the beach so you can actually see the ice floating by and breaking up on its way to the sea. Read more about our time at Jökulsárlón here.
On the other side of road, you’ll find what’s called Diamond Beach. Coal black sand sprinkled with sparkling pieces of ice give you the impression of diamonds everywhere so you can see where it got its name. 😉 This is where you can actually interact with the pieces of glacier on the beach and in the water. Such a cool experience! Head to that same post for more information about the beach as well.
Our last day in Iceland, we left Vik early in the morning to get to Eldhestar where we were going horseback riding and hiking. Icelandic horses are special because they have 2 unique gaits and they haven’t had other horses imported since the 10th century! After the ride was over, we went for a hike at Reykjadalur and got to lounge in a hot river. For all the detail about the ride and hike, head to this post.
Our final stop was more than welcome after a day of horseback riding and hiking; we were off to the Blue Lagoon! There is a lot of debate among tourists as to whether the Blue Lagoon is worth seeing or not. You can read my post here and decide for yourself. We definitely enjoyed our time there!
We ended up spending our last night in Iceland at a place right by the airport since our flight was out early in the morning and we still had to return our car.
I LOVED Iceland and it has been the most unique place I have seen so far. If you have any questions, let me know in the comments below. Also, if you want details about where we stayed, let me know in the comments as well. Thanks!