We went to South Iceland a few months ago and here are my five things you totally have to do if you visit the area. If you’ve already checked out my South Iceland Travel Vlog you’ll see that we had an amazing time in South Iceland. It was our second time in the country…having done a quick trip last year, we knew we wanted to visit again and check out more of this beautiful island.
Top of the list is most definitely Jokulsarlon. We decided to make the long drive (around 4 hours from where we were staying, near Hella) across the South Coast to Jokulsarlon to see the Glacier Lake (Lagoon). It’s the place where the glaciers tumble down from the mountains, coming to rest in the lake as mini icebergs and then slowly drifting out to sea.
When we got to the lake, most of the icebergs had gone…we knew we were late in the season, but the lake was still beautiful and I was really glad not to have made the drive in the snow…it would have taken upwards of 6 hours.
However, then we found the beach! The sea had crashed the icebergs back against the black volcanic beach and it was one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen. Hands down. Seriously.
We drove to one of the most breathtaking places I've ever been today. We saw chunks of glacier drift towards the sea and get thrown into the black volanic sand beach. Utterly beautiful. #jokulsarlon #Iceland #island #glacier #naturelovers #nature #sea #icelandicadventure #ig_iceland #breathtaking #ig_nature #jökulsárlón
The startling blue of the icebergs was breathtaking. I wanted to stay for hours to watch it, drinking it all in with my eyes. Unfortunately we had to leave for the long drive back…but hell, that drive was worth it just for that time spent on the beach at Jokulsarlon.
#2: The Secret Lagoon
The Secret Lagoon earns it’s name not because it’s especially all that secret, but because it’s a lot less ‘developed’ than The Blue Lagoon. Do watch my South Iceland Travel Vlog, I show you around the place and you can really see it’s beauty. The Secret Lagoon was recommended by quite a few friends and despite reading a few reviews that it was just a muddy pond in someone’s back garden, I still went. These reviews were kinda right…The Secret Lagoon is Iceland’s oldest swimming pool and still has a muddy bottom (fnarr fnarr)…it’s on a farm’s land, so kinda in someone’s back garden. But that’s where the review ends at being right. It’s just lovely…it’s developed enough to be enjoyable (they give you towels, they sell beer and chocolate bars) but it’s still got lots of soul and natural beauty.
It’s not crowded, although it does get busier apparently between 3:30 and 5;30pm which is when some of the coaches come on their tours.
Thanks to the geothermal shizzle in the area, the water stays at 38-40 celsius all year around.
It’s beautiful and peaceful. I would highly recommend visiting if you’re staying in South Iceland, or doing a Golden Circle tour of your own from Reykjavik.
#3: Drive down the South Coast of Iceland
We had a lovely Hyundai 4×4 on this holiday…very comfy for the long drive down the South Coast.
We managed to get a pretty decent price because I really shopped around.
On our way to Jokulsarlon, we drove through lots of different terrain….from black ash dessert as far as the eye could see, past volcanoes, through lava fields and we saw debris from the previous ‘1’ road (they don’t have a lots of roads in Iceland) which was destroyed by a volcano eruption. In fact, you can check out the family-run exhibit about the massive Eyjafjallajökull volcano which erupted causing chaos to the flights across that side of the world a few years back.
We also saw two amazingly beautiful waterfalls… Seljalandsfoss and Skógafoss. Make sure you take really grippy shoes so you can scramble behind them, it’s totally worth it…you do get a bit wet, but the beauty is just breathtaking.
#4: Gulfoss Waterfalls
One of Iceland’s best known waterfalls, the power of Gulfoss Waterfalls is just immense! Ok, so it’s not technically in South Iceland…but if you’re staying in South Iceland and haven’t been before, you totally need to go. We didn’t manage to get to Gulfoss last year because the weather was just too bad…the roads were becoming dangerous. So this year we made the relatively short trip up to see the Geysir (watch the travel vlog to see the Geysir and Gulfoss) and we weren’t disappointed. Just beautiful.
#5: Hotel Ranga: South Iceland’s only luxury hotel
I’d been recommended Hotel Ranga from a few people and so we chose it as our South Iceland base. It’s located near Hella in South iceland and it’s the area’s only luxury hotel. We had a lovely stay. I’m going to do a proper review soon on Hotel Ranga…all I’ll say for now is that you should stay for a night or two if you can…they have outdoor hot tubs, a fantastic tasting menu and they wake you up if the Northern Lights appear. What more could you want?!
We managed to catch the Northern Lights on our fourth night. They weren’t terribly active and stupid me forgot to take a tripod, so it’s not the greatest photo ever…but sod it, there’s loads of great photos of the lights. I just stood there and admired their beauty.
Hope you found this quick guide to my favourite places in South Iceland. It’s a truly beautiful chad charming place. The perfect week in Iceland for me was four nights in South Iceland and three nights in Reykjavik.