2-Day South Coast Tour | Jokulsarlon, Black Beach, Waterfalls & Canyon
Explore the wonders of the South Coast, discover spectacular hidden waterfalls, glaciers & be amazed by the stunning Glacier Lagoon
What to expect
The South Coast of Iceland is an amazingly diverse natural environment filled with magnificent must-see landscapes, majestic waterfalls, eye-catching volcanoes, iconic black sand beaches, fast-flowing rivers, iceberg lagoons, and gigantic glaciers.
This two-day tour will quickly take you there from Reykjavik, and you’ll first be amazed by one dazzling waterfall after another. Then you will have the option to strap on crampons and walk across a blue-ice glacier, before walking across the world-famous black sand beach at Reynisfjara, taking in the astonishing Reynisdrangar sea stacks.
The second day will take us further east into the Vatnajokull National Park, visiting a breathtaking river canyon and a traditional Icelandic turf church. Then comes the highlight of the tour – the glittering Glacier Lagoon and Diamond Beach at Jokulsarlon, where enormous ghostly icebergs slowly wander their way to the Atlantic Ocean. You’ll even be able to take a memorable boat trip amongst the bergs too!
Day 1 | South Coast Waterfalls, Black Beach & Glacier
Our South Coast adventure will start with a convenient pick up from your accommodation or designated meeting point in Reykjavik, and a picturesque drive over a magnificent mountain pass down to the coastal plain. On the way, we’ll pass through Hveragerdi and Selfoss and the South Coast’s fertile farmlands before a rest stop at Hvolsvollur. As we continue, the Atlantic Ocean and the Westman Islands can be seen on one side on bright days, with looming volcanoes, mountains, and glaciers on the other.
Seljalandsfoss & Gljufrabui Waterfalls
Our tour’s first sensational sight is the “hidden” waterfall at Gljufrabui, which is concealed in a cave and is missed by most visitors here – but we will show you how to find it! Nearby there is an even more fantastic sight, a 60-meter-high waterfall called Seljalandsfoss, which plunges off the side of the Eyjafjallajokull volcano into a deep pool. There is also a path that can be walked around this waterfall, although it can be very slippery, so you should check with our guide first. This place is very popular, as it has been seen in several music videos, TV programs, and feature films.
Skogafoss & Irafoss Waterfalls
Close by on the southern slopes of Eyjafjallajokull are Irafoss and Arjanurfoss, two more “hidden” waterfalls that other visitors to the South Coast often miss – we will make sure that you don’t miss them! This area is famous across the world, because Eyjafjallajokull was the volcano that erupted in 2010 with an enormous ash cloud that grounded air traffic for weeks.
The next stop on our South Coast tour brings us to Skogafoss, one of the most recognizable waterfalls in the world, featured in “Game of Thrones” and many other films and TV programs. From a height of 60 meters, the waters crash over the cliffs and produce sheets of spray and spectacular rainbows on sunlit days. It’s even possible to climb up some stairs to see the falls from on high too. There’s a café and restrooms here if you want to grab a snack or a coffee.
Solheimajokull Glacier (with optional glacier hike)
After our time at Skogafoss, we will drive a little further east to Solheimajokull, which translates as “Sun’s Home Glacier”. Solheimajokull glacier is part of a much larger glacier, Myrdalsjokull, ice-sheet in the Katla UNESCO Global Geopark, and you will have a chance to walk across this ancient blue-ice glacier. Accompanied by a qualified guide and with all the necessary safety equipment provided, including ropes, crampons, and helmets, you’ll be able to really appreciate the sheer scale of the glacier and explore the crisscross of crevasses, ice tunnels and other glacial features here. If you don’t wish to take the glacier hike, you can relax and enjoy a leisurely look at the glacier and the surrounding area from a viewing point.
Black Beach of Reynisfjara
The final stop on your first day on the South Coast is a visit to the famous black sand beach at Reynisfjara, once named by National Geographic in the Top Ten of non-tropical beaches in the world. The dark volcanic sands are pounded by powerful Atlantic waves and the brooding sea stacks of the Reynisdrangar loom just offshore, a supernatural picture opportunity.
Don’t go too close to the waves – they’re often much faster and stronger than you might expect!
Hexagonal basalt columns decorate the cliffs, providing a home to puffins and other summer seabird visitors. The stone sea arches of Dyrholaey can also be seen in the distance. There is also a café and restrooms here. After spending some time here we head to our accommodation.
Day 2 | Glacier Lagoon & Fjadrargljufur Canyon
The second day of your South Coast summer tour sees us traveling further east into the Vatnajokull National Park, the largest in Iceland. There are stops at the picturesque seaside village of Vik, the enchanting Fjadrargljufur canyon, the traditional turf church at Hofskirkja, and crowned by the glittering Glacier Lagoon and Diamond Beach at Jokulsarlon.
The charming village of Vik is the furthest point south in Iceland. It has a fairytale feel to it, overlooked by a pretty church where there are fantastic panoramic views. We’ll take you to this vantage point, where you’ll also be able to see the Reynisdrangar and Dyrholaey from another perspective. Vik is also unusual for being an Icelandic seaside village without a harbor. In the summer, countless seabirds nest here, including Arctic terns.
As we move further east, we’ll pass through the Eldhraun (Fire Lava), a barren and desolate wasteland filled with moss-covered lava formations.
The river canyon at Fjadrargljufur is an astonishing place, a winding green gorge about a hundred meters deep and nearly two kilometers long. Fjadrargljufur became famous when it featured in a Justin Bieber music video. It is now very popular with visitors from all over the world as a result. It’s an extraordinary natural environment, deeply carpeted with fragile mosses. The canyon was formed a few thousand years ago during a glacial period, leaving a snaking river behind when the ice sheet retreated. We will stay at this marvelous place for an hour.
Hofskirkja was the last church of this type to be built in Iceland, dating back to the 19th century. Deep layers of turf make up the roof of the church here, which is also surrounded by moss-covered burial mounds. Rebuilt in the 1950s, it is still a practicing church, even though it seems to be merging into the landscape around it. Not many turf churches have survived in Iceland, so this is a rare opportunity to see one. The church is not open to the public, so this will be a quick photo stop.
Now we come to the highlight of your South Coast adventure – the Diamond Beach, and the Glacier Lagoon at Jokulsarlon.
The Diamond Beach gets its name from the countless sparkling fragments of multi-colored icebergs found here. They are slowly being sculpted into fantastic shapes by the wind and the waves on this black sand Atlantic beach. The eye-catching slivers and chunks of ice of all shapes and sizes will astound you and offer fantastic photo opportunities. This is the perfect location to pop up the question.
Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon (with optional amphibian boat tour)
Just a few hundred yards away from the Diamond Beach is the Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon, one of Iceland’s “crown jewels”.
Here, enormous bright-blue and ghostly-white icebergs tumble away from the receding Breidamerkurjokull glacier and crash into an ever-growing meltwater lagoon.
From there, the icebergs very slowly start making their way towards the Atlantic Ocean, and you will have the opportunity to take a thrilling 45-minute amphibious boat tour amongst the bergs, getting up close to these icy giants and maybe even seeing a seal or two as well.
Jokulsarlon truly is an extraordinary place, a bucket-list location featured in several Hollywood movies, but also very peaceful and tranquil too. The scenery is stunning, and always changing too, as wind and tides pull the icebergs in different directions all the time.
After enjoying the magic of the Glacier Lagoon, it will be time to return to Reykjavik, with a drive first to Vik for a rest stop and then continuing onwards to your drop-off in the capital city.
Know Before You Go
Any questions? We will be happy to assist you!
Have Questions? We will be happy to assist you!
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NICETRAVEL was founded by three Icelandic families with the aim of helping visitors to Iceland to enjoy a nice and enjoyable experience
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