This day trip down the South Coast features many of my favourite things in Iceland. It’s a fair amount of driving, but easily done in a day. If you get off early you’ll have no trouble being home in time for dinner, or you could have dinner at the end in Vik, or one of the many other lovely places on the way back.
The whole route is essentially to head out on Route 1 going East until you eventually reach the town Vik, which is the Southern most point of Iceland. Along the way there are many, many incredible things to see.
You’ll go through the town of Selfoss, where there is a nice cafe called Kaffi Krus that does amazing Nachos and Pulled Pork sandwiches (trust me, I have had them A LOT).
After that you’ll pass through the town Hella, then you’ll pass Hotel Ranga (which is one of the places we like to stay when we’re in Iceland) which as well as being a lovely hotel has a wonderful (but expensive) restaurant, then on through the town Hvolsvöllur. Keep on Route 1 this whole time and you will get to:
An amazing waterfall where you walk all the way behind the waterfall (be careful, it’s a bit slippery and you can get a bit wet) and take approximately 1000 photos. https://goo.gl/maps/1jcCvEPceN22
A little bit further up the road you turned onto to get to Seljalandsfoss is this great hidden waterfall. A lot of people seem to miss it, but it is well worth a visit. There is a gap in the rocks and you hop through the water to get into a cavern with a big massive waterfall coming down right next to you. It’s worth getting wet for and you will get some fantastic pictures. https://goo.gl/maps/mXac1iC8CDA2
Back on Route 1 and under the shadow of Eyjafjallajökull volcano, you get to a little exhibition about the eruption in 2010 and features a film about what happened and who it affected everybody in the area. https://goo.gl/maps/TskUewVA3qk
Another amazingly epic waterfall. This is one that you see photos of all the time. It’s huge and you can walk right up to it. There are also stair on the right hand side with a viewing platform right at the top. It’s a bit of a climb, but the stairs are good and the view is spectacular. https://goo.gl/maps/WyzvLkd86zE2
A huge big glacier tongue that you can walk along a path and get (fairly) close too. There are organised tours you can take that will take you up on to the Glacier, but that’ll take you a few hours, so is probably not best to do that whilst doing this day trip (add it to your ever growing list of reasons to come back to Iceland though). https://goo.gl/maps/8N3sdE3SfpJ2
Solheimasandur Plane Wreck
As featured in a Justin Beiber music video (in fact a lot of things on this trip are in that video). There a a crashed plane wreck on a black sand beach. Can be a bit tricky to reach depending on the weather and general muddiness, so be careful and stop and go back to the road if it gets too much. https://goo.gl/maps/o3VEmCUrvX32
Dyrhólaey Coastline and Light House
Some stunning scenery and amazing views, including a stone arch over the sea. https://goo.gl/maps/9ezRg84ys8v
Just around the corner from Dyrhólaey is another stunning bit of coastline with incredible views in all directions. https://goo.gl/maps/e5pYv2agsqJ2
Reynisfjara Black Sand Beach
Round the other side of the bay is this fantastic beach. There is a giant basalt stone column cliff face and cave. Subject to the tide, you can walk round the corner and down the beach to see the stone columns standing in the sea right on the Southern most tip of Iceland. https://goo.gl/maps/KLPLWXCqeg52
Go right down to the black sand beach for some amazing views of the stone columns. Nice to walk up and down the beach if the weather is nice. Vik is a nice little town with a pretty church up on the hill. The is a great big Icelandic knitwear shop too that’s very popular if you want to get some of those jumpers and cardigans that all Icelandic people seem to wear (Wanda will tell you that this is because of the wool trapping air and therefore keeping you warmer). https://goo.gl/maps/MvpraDeb5NF2
That’s about it, you are probably best turning around and going back at that point. If you go further round on Route 1 you eventually reach the truly magical Jökulsárlón Iceberg Lagoon.
However it’s another 2.5 hour drive onwards from Vik, so it’s would be a very, very long day of driving. So please plan accordingly and driving safely.