exploring the southern coast of Iceland
Updated: Aug 18
The Southern Coast of Iceland: rugged cliffs, staggering waterfalls, and stunning black sand beaches; but is it worth the money to see?
I'll admit, the southern coast wasn't particularly high up on my list of things to see or do in Iceland, and I only really got the chance to because it was included in our four-day tour, but man am I glad I did.
If you've seen Vikings before (and if you haven't, you need to!), you'll know the scene in which a certain character discovers Iceland, and I'm not kidding when I say that the Southern Coast really does inspire that much awe.
Our tour started in the city of Reykjavik, and by around 9am we were on our way South, the darkness still obscuring our vision. We passed through several small villages and outlets, and let me tell you that Iceland is somewhere it shouldn't be possible to live. The sight of little houses at the base of a huge, wicked-looking mountain is enough to make you think 'why on earth would ANYONE want to live so remotely?'
After a quick refuel and some much needed snacks for our long day ahead, we set off on the road again, the sun making sharp work of the disappearing night sky.
The first stop on our tour was the magnificent Skógafoss - a waterfall you'll have likely seen around on Facebook or from a friend of a friend. Having this being the first waterfall of this magnitude I've seen, and the first I've seen in Iceland, it pretty much blew me away.
The first thing I'll say is that there were A LOT of tourists, enough that no matter what angle and direction you take your photos from you're bound to have a few in there. Tourists can be pretty damn rude too, and will quite literally walk in front of you obviously taking a photo so they can take theirs instead.
With that being said, it in no way deducts from the magic that is Skógafoss! The first thing you see is the yellow-y mountains surrounding the waterfall, and the stream leading away from the waterfall. Not only do the mountains make for pretty awesome photos, but the spray from the waterfall itself makes for some hellish photos, especially if you can catch a rainbow in there too!
With our time at Skógafoss up, we trudged back to the van, many of us charging our shitty iphones that absolutely cannot hack the cold and simply went from 90% to 1%. Say no more really. Still won't get an android though...
I wish I could have gotten better photos of the land between our stop off's, because christ was it breathtaking.
THE GLACIER HIKE
Our next stop was our glacier hike on Sólheimajökull, something I was both super excited for and dreading in my bones. We pulled up, geared up, got a thorough safety briefing, and set out towards the glacier.
This was probably one of my favourite activities that we did in Iceland, and you can read all about it in my previous post.
THE BLACK SAND BEACH
I was absolutely buzzing for this part of the tour because I'd never seen a proper black sand beach. I'd seen similar types on volcanic islands, but nothing compares to the literal pitch blackness of Reynisfjara.
A mixture of sand and rubble, the black sand beach really is a stunning sight, especially in winter. With snow topping areas of the beach, and the waves white enough to be ice, the beaches make for some spectacular photos.
By this point in the day, the skies were already giving way to darkness, and after a quick bite of carrot cake in the nearby cafe, we set off once more back towards Reykjavik, making a quick pit stop at another waterfall named Seljalandsfoss. Lit up with floodlights, the waterfall was still a sight to see, even in darkness.
The South Coast honestly blew my expectations out of the water, and I think to miss this beautiful part of the country out of your itinerary would be to rob yourself of some of the most fantastic scenery Iceland has to offer. Our tour company was Troll Expeditions, and I'd very much recommend checking them out for your touring needs!