On this thrilling two-day tour to the most popular region of Iceland, you’ll first see four fantastic waterfalls and enjoy a sensational walk along the famous black sand beach at Reynisfjara. Your South Coast adventure continues with a visit to the gorgeous Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon and Diamond Beach, crowned by an unforgettable underworld experience in a blue ice glacier cave.
The first day of our tour will take us from Reykjavik on an exciting drive over a mountain pass and through the farm country of the South Coast. We’ll pass through Hveragedi, with all its famous greenhouses, before reaching the little roadside towns of Selfoss and Hvolsvollur, where we’ll take a short break. On the way, the Atlantic Ocean will be on one side, and on clear days the Westman Islands will be visible just offshore. On the other side of the road, there will be imposing mountains and glaciers to catch the eye, as well as the looming presence of Hekla, Iceland’s most active volcano.
Our first sight on tour is at Seljalandsfoss, which will have been growing larger dead ahead as we speed eastwards. We’ll take you first to the “hidden” waterfall of Gljufrabui, which tumbles into a concealed cave that most other visitors miss seeing, but we’ll show you where it is. It’s an amazing feeling to stand so close to a waterfall like this. The waterfalls here are all fed by meltwater from Eyjafjallajokull, the volcano whose last eruption put a stop to air traffic for a while in 2010, making Iceland famous all over the world. Only few minute drive brings us to Seljalandsfoss itself, a much taller waterfall that plunges over from a 60-meter high rockface into a plunge pool. Seljalandsfoss has been seen in several films and music videos, including one for Justin Bieber.
Just a little further on the other side of one of Eyjafjallajokull’s slopes, we come to another two “secret waterfalls”, where Irafoss and Arjanurfoss tumble down the rocky cliffs. Missed by most Ring Road travelers, we’ll make sure that you find them. Beyond lies Skogafoss, which is probably the most famous waterfall in the country now. One of the most recognized waterfalls in the world, Skogafoss is a spectacular sight at any time of year, and has been seen in “Game of Thrones”, several Hollywood films and many music videos too. Skogafoss faces southwards, which means that there’s an excellent chance to see rainbows arching over the 60-meter-high falls. It’s also possible to climb up some step to the top and see the Skoga river cascade its way out to the sea.
After leaving Skogafoss, our next destination is Solheimajokull, which translates as the “Sun’s Home Glacier”. This is one of the most easy-to-reach glaciers in the country, and a part of the mighty Myrdalsjokull ice-cap in the Katla Global Geopark. We’ll take you very close to one of the glacier tongues for a good look from a viewing platform.
The last stop on the day is at the famous black sand beach at Reynisfjara. Dark volcanic sands stretch as far as the eye can see, with mighty Atlantic waves crashing into the Reynisdrangar, fingers of volcanic rock that tower into the sky just offshore. There’s also a stunning cliffside stack of basalt columns that almost resemble a church pipe organ. The gigantic stone arches of Dyrholaey can also be seen on the horizon. Watch out for the waves as you explore and take pictures – they are often faster and stronger than you think!
OVERNIGHT STAY ON THE COUNTRYSIDE
Everyone who visits Iceland hopes to see the Northern Lights. Magical displays of green, white and purple light shimmer across the skies on clear nights. If we are lucky with the weather and if the aurora is active, we will make the best use of the low light pollution in this area to try to see them. Remember though – the Northern Lights are not “switched on” every day!
The second stage of our South Coast adventure takes us deep into the Vatnajokull National Park. On that day we will also stop by a traditional turf church.
First stop is the astonishing Diamond Beach, where the gleaming remnants of icebergs are slowly being carved into wild and fantastic shapes by the fierce winds and Atlantic waves. Lying on the black sand beach like diamonds on satin sheets, the ice formations here are incredible to see. We will bring you here first, to make sure that you get the best photos, before taking you to the place the icebergs come from in the first place – the Glacier Lagoon at Jokulsarlon.
Just few minutes away lies the magnificent glacier lagoon of Jokulsarlon, a place featured in Batman and James Bond films. Here, gigantic multi-colored icebergs tear apart from the Breidamerkurjokull glacier and then float around for as long as five years as they make their way slowly out to sea, moving back and forth and always changing in shape and size. Some of the icebergs are even striped with volcanic ash from earlier eruptions, so this means that you see geological time on display here. Seals and seabirds make their home here too.
The highlight of our two-day South Coast adventure is a three-hour expedition to descend into a unique natural blue ice cave. Climb on board a Super Jeep with us to discover this rare phenomenon, buried deep in a glacier in the Vatnajokull National Park. The Blue Ice Cave really shows the tremendous forces of Icelandic nature, as they are formed naturally in glaciers when fresh water freezes in the plunging winter temperatures. New caves are created every year as the glaciers freeze and melt and refreeze into different shapes. It’s a memorable sight to see, with fabulously different ice formations in a range of striking colors. Our local guides will take you to the most beautiful blue ice caves to be found here. Once you’ve been there, that single blue ice cave might never exist again, so this is truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
After we have made our way from the Blue Ice Cave back to Jokulsarlon, we’ll start heading back to the capital.
On the way back to Reykjavik we will make three extra stops. The turf church at Hofskirkja is thought to be amongst the last to be built in Iceland, dating back to the 19th century. Layers of green turf lie on the roof of this fairytale church, surrounded by moss-covered burial mounds, which makes it seem as if it’s melting into the scenery. Rebuilt in the 1950s, the locals still worship at the church, so this will just be a quick stop for a photograph.
As we head back west, the landscape becomes bleaker as we pass through the Eldhraun lava field, a coastal area filled with jagged lava formations.
Vik is the most southerly village in the country and a busy spot for resting Ring Road travelers. There is a beautiful hilltop church which has fantastic views of the coast, including the Reynisdrangar. We’ll stop here so that you can take some great pictures from this vantage point.
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