THE SOUTH COAST OF ICELAND – TOUR & GUIDE
Here you’ll find all the information on our South Coast Tour + We created a guide for you that
includes everything you need to know and what to expect on this scenic route in Iceland.
The South Coast is the most easily accessible section of the country’s southern region, with a variety
of scenery including marshlands, bays, farmed grasslands, estuaries, and black sand deserts.
This tour is also ideal for individuals who want to see a glacier up close.
Our South Coast Personalized Day Tour
We will stop at every location with plenty of time for photos, snacks and simply enjoying the views.
We offer a personalized experience tailored to what you want to see on the South Coast route.
We start our day early at 8 by picking you up at your accommodation in Reykjavík area to beat
the traffic and crowds. The length of the tour depends on the agreed upon stops and how we’ve
come to tailor your South Coast tour. There are no age limits and upon requests we provide car seats
for your little ones. Our vehicle is a 5 seat 4×4 Hyundai Santa Fe, which includes driver + group
of 4 people.
To make the most of your last day in Iceland we also offer a dropoff at
Keflavík Airport at the end of your South Coast Tour (charges apply).
Our South Coast Itinerary
This is our usual itinerary that can be personalized and tailored to your group’s preferences.
SELJALANDSFOSS AND SKÓGAFOSS
Two beautiful but distinct waterfalls. Seljalandsfoss originates from a large glacier but has a fairly narrow cascade. Even so, on a sunny day the falling water catches the light beautifully and in the winter, the icicles all around are a sight to see. The best part? You can walk around the whole waterfall, underneath the cliffs from which the waterfall cascades. Skógafoss is definitely bigger and empties into a river of the same name, where char and salmon can be fished for in the summer. It’s possible to walk right up to the booming waterfall, as long as you don’t mind getting a bit wet. An alternative is walking up a staircase to gaze at the waterfall from above, keeping an eye out for some local birds while you’re at it.
This glacier spawns from the fourth largest glacier in Iceland but it is one of the most easily accessible glaciers. This glacier outlet spawns 8×2 kilometers (5×1 miles) but has been slowly shrinking for some years now. Underneath this area is Katla, one of Iceland’s most infamous volcanoes. Although we won’t be hiking during this tour, this glacier is a very popular glacier hiking destination in Iceland.
This peninsula reaches 120 meters (393 feet) off the coast and into the sea, featuring a swarm of different birdlife and the infamous arch. Centuries of erosion have dug into the rock, creating a giant arch over the sea. Hence the name of the peninsula, translated to Door Hill Island. From May until September, the Atlantic Puffin can be spotted.
Stretching out from Dyrhólaey peninsula is the world famous black-sand beach. Of note are the rocky sea stacks sitting off the shoreline, presumed to have once been trolls that turned to stone. The vibrant array of birds can also be found here, nestling in the cliffs along the beach and flying out to the ocean for a snack.
The beautiful roaring waves of the beach have tempted many to get close, so look out for the sneaker waves as fatal accidents have occured here.
What to bring?
We recommend to dress appropriately for the season and weather. A heads up, the weather can change dramatically in just a few hours, no matter the season.
Contact us today to Personalize your Tour
South Coast Iceland Complete Guide
– EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW
We made a complete guide for your visit to the South Coast of Iceland.
WHY SEE THE SOUTH COAST OF ICELAND?
The South Coast of Iceland entices travelers with its abundant natural wonders, such as waterfalls, volcanoes, glaciers, and black sand beaches. Touring the South Coast showcases the best locations along this stretch. Extending from greater Reykjavík in the west to the magnificent Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon in the east, the remarkable South Shore of Iceland also allows for a visit to the popular Golden Circle.
The south shore of Iceland boasts a collection of enchanting destinations, each with its own unique charm. Among these are the captivating waterfalls of Seljalandsfoss and Skógafoss, the striking black beach adorned with columnar basalt formations at Reynisfjara, the awe-inspiring Eyjafjallajökull and Sólheimajökull glaciers, as well as the majestic Vatnajökull, Europe’s largest ice cap. Let’s not forget the ever-popular Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon, accompanied by the captivating black Diamond Beach. This region is brimming with exquisite natural treasures, conveniently located just a few hours’ drive from Reykjavik.
HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO DRIVE THE SOUTH COAST OF ICELAND?
How long the drive is will depend on how far you aim to go. The South Coast can be put together in a beautiful day trip. For a day trip it’s recommended to drive as far as Vík í Mýrdal located 188 km / 116 miles from Reykjavík. The South Coast reaches all the way to Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon 380 km / 236 miles from Reykjavík, or even further to Höfn in Hornafjörður 458 km / 284 miles from the capital. If you plan on going this far east it’s recommended to take a few days to set aside time to enjoy the views and attraction on the way.
THE SOUTH COAST IN MILES AND KILOMETERS
These following distances are calculated from Reykjavík and to the destination.
How far is the South Coast from Reykjavík?
The first highlight attraction on the South Coast is Seljalandsfoss Waterfall – 129 km / 80 miles from Reykjavík. The South Coast reaches as far as Höfn in Hornafjörður – 458 km / 284 miles from Reykjavík.
There is a great number of attractions on the South Coast that can make for a gorgeous day tour, leaving Reykjavík early in the morning and coming back in the late afternoon or evening.
When is the best time to visit the South Coast of Iceland ?
The best time to visit the South Coast in Iceland is in summer from June to August. During those months the sun barely sets, and temperatures are warmer. In winter you’ll experience frozen majestic waterfalls and mountains draped in a white blanket of snow. However, winter winds and snow might play a big part in your tours schedule.
What sea or ocean is off the South Coast of Iceland?
The Atlantic Ocean touches on the South Coast of Iceland. Iceland’s rugged coastline, of more than 4800 km / 3,000 miles meets the Greenland Sea on the north, the Norwegian Sea on the east, the Atlantic Ocean on the south and west.
Where is the bloom located on the South Coast of Iceland?
A few of the best places to see the lupine bloom in Iceland are on the South Coast. From Selfoss to Vatnajökull National Park you’ll see fields of purple lupines, waterfalls and glacier-capped volcanoes.
For the best chance of seeing the lupine fields in full bloom, visit Iceland during the summer months of June and July. During this period, they will be in bloom and visible almost everywhere throughout the country, particularly alongside roads, around lakes and near the coast.
One of the best places to see and photograph a lush field is in Vík in Mýrdal on the South Coast.
What to see on the South Coast
Sólheimasandur Plane Wreck
In 1973, a United States Navy DC plane crashed on Solheimasandur’s black sand beach. This
wreckage, juxtaposed against the desolate black beach, swiftly rose to prominence as one of
Iceland’s prime photography spots.
Initially, it was a hidden gem, known only to a few photographers. Reaching the site involved a
challenging drive along a gravel road and a bit of hiking, adding a sense of adventure.
However, times have changed dramatically.
Today, it stands as one of Iceland’s most renowned photography locations. Its fame skyrocketed
with the thousands of Instagram posts showcasing its beauty, and it gained even more popularity
when it served as a filming site for one of Justin Bieber’s music videos.
Now, the journey here is more convenient and visitors simply park their vehicles in a designated lot
on the ring road and embark on a two-mile walk along a flat gravel road to reach the plane wreck.
Hjörleifshöfði and ‘Yoda’ Cave
For history enthusiasts and avid travelers, the Hjörleifshöfði cave is an ideal destination worth
exploring. Situated within the Hjörleifshöfði mountain, this cave is often referred to as the Yoda
Cave, gaining popularity after it was featured in the Hollywood film Star Wars Rogue One. While
Iceland boasts numerous unique caves, this one stands out for its distinctive shape and the
captivating views it offers from inside, allowing you to gaze upon the surrounding area through the
According to historians, Hjörleifur, Iceland’s first settler, visited the country in the eighth century
alongside his foster brother Ingólfur Arnarson. It is believed that Hjörleifur’s burial site lies atop
Hjörleifshöfði cave. Although the steep path can pose a challenge for hiking, there is an alternative
route on the west side of the rock that eases the ascent. Starting from Bæjarstaður, the location of
Hjörleifur’s old farms, you can follow a map of the cape with marked locations to reach the burial
After a 7 km hike, which typically takes around 2-3 hours, you will be rewarded with panoramic
views of the Katla Volcano, Mýrdalsjökull glacier, and the striking black volcanic sand beach known
as Mýrdalssandur. At the pinnacle of the rock, you’ll discover a remarkable burial mound erected
near Hjörleifur’s resting place. Upon reaching the summit, you can also explore the remains of
ancient fields and spot a small waterfall nestled among the hills.
The name of this location, Fjaðrárgljúfur translates to “Feather River Canyon,” and it stands as one of
Iceland’s most picturesque spots. A 2 km hiking trail runs along one side of the canyon, providing
breathtaking views of the river below. Previously, one could venture out onto narrow cliffs for
incredible canyon vistas, but for safety reasons, these areas are now cordoned off.
To reach this enchanting site, you’ll need to drive several kilometers on a dirt road. However, a
standard car will suffice, as there is no need for a 4×4 vehicle. Once you arrive, park in the small and
free parking lot, and then follow the trail that traces along the cliffs.
The extraordinary design of the Hallgrimskirkja church in Reykjavík was influenced by this distinct
waterfall. Cascading delicately over black volcanic basalt columns, it possesses a remarkable charm
that makes it a highly picturesque sight.
Svartifoss, situated within Skaftafell Nature Park, requires a hike to reach. The round trip spans
approximately 3 km and takes roughly an hour and a half. Starting from the Skaftafell visitor center,
you’ll embark on a predominantly uphill trek leading to the waterfall.
It’s definitely worth the visit.
Enjoy the beautiful views of these mesmerizing waterfalls in summer or winter.
The extraordinary design of the Hallgrimskirkja church in Reykjavík was influenced by this distinct waterfall. Cascading delicately over black volcanic basalt columns, it possesses a remarkable charm that makes it a highly picturesque sight. Svartifoss, situated within Skaftafell Nature Park, requires a hike to reach. The round trip spans approximately 3 km and takes roughly an hour and a half. Starting from the Skaftafell visitor center, you’ll embark on a predominantly uphill trek leading to the waterfall. It’s definitely worth the visit.
Fjallsárlón Glacier Lagoon
This glacier lagoon is a smaller and less crowded version of the Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon, yet it’s even more breathtaking. A visit here is fast and free of charge. Restrooms and a restaurant are available, making it an ideal spot to take a break during your road trip along Iceland’s scenic South Coast.
Just on the other side of the road from Jökulsárlón is this spectacular black beach lined with ice, known as Diamond Beach. This remarkable destination offers one of Iceland’s most extraordinary beach experiences, as chunks of ice drift onto the ebony shoreline. For parking you can choose from two parking lots available for Diamond Beach, conveniently situated on either side of the lagoon’s outlet. Parking is free of charge, with the lot conveniently located right next to the beach, allowing easy access to this mesmerizing natural wonder.
JÖKULSÁRLÓN GLACIER LAGOON
Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon, located on Iceland’s South Coast, is a highly popular destination. It offers a simple and convenient experience where you can drive up, park your car, and immerse yourself in the breathtaking view. However, for those seeking more adventure, there are options to embark on a kayak tour or take a zodiac ride within the lagoon. The glacier lagoon presents an astonishing spectacle on sunny days and is an exceptional location for capturing stunning sunset photographs.