The South Coast of Iceland is perhaps not as famous as the Golden Circle, but no less stunning, with waterfalls, coastal villages, black sand beaches, and glaciers to explore…
This time I went with the tour company Sterna Travel, and ended up with a wonderful tour guide. He offered us hilarious personal anecdotes as well as knowledge on the local history. While the WiFi on the bus kept cutting out, the free USB charging was an unexpected bonus, and it was easy to pass the time watching the beautiful scenery out of the window.
The first stop of the day was at the Urriđafoss waterfall which has the highest volume of water in all of Iceland. It’s another waterfall at risk of being dammed to generate electricity, but so far it’s natural beauty is undisturbed.
After that, we visited Skógafoss, a waterfall situated on the Skógá river with a total height of 60m and a width of 20m. Due the amount of spray this waterfall produces a rainbow is normally visible at its base on sunny days.
Just before lunch, we stopped at Dyrhólaey, the southernmost tip of Iceland. It’s an island of volcanic origin from which the whole coastline to the west is visible. In the summertime, many puffins nest on the cliff faces. Perfect for a stroll in the fresh air, but avoid the beach as the area is known to be common for sneaker waves to hit, and you’ll find yourself trapped against the cliff.
The black sand beach, Reynisfara, features a distinctly shaped cliff of regular columns called Hálsanef. Out in the midst of the waves are the basalt sea stacks named Reynisdrangar. According to the legends, two trolls tried to drag a ship to land, but were turned to stone when the sun rose.
The shrinking glacier, Sólheimajökull, has retreated by over a kilometre in the last decade, a rather sad consequence of global warming. Our tour bus only made a quick stop, but there are plenty of companies that will run a full glacier walk along Sólheimajökull if you want to explore it further.
To end our fantastic Icelandic adventure, we visited Seljalandsfoss, one of the best known waterfalls in Iceland. Here there is a path leading right up to the waterfall and behind the flow of water into a small cave. This is the perfect opportunity for some cool photographs but beware the slippery steps, and the fact that you’ll emerge soaking wet.
The bus dropped me off back at the Old Harbour, and I celebrated my last night in Iceland with a hearty meal of fish and chips in the Reykjavik Fish Restaurant.
Then I headed to bed ready for my early 5 am start to catch the FlyBus to the airport. I had a fantastic time in this beautiful country, and I’m already planning for the chance to return. Until next time, farewell, Reykjavik!