Reykjavik may be the cultural heart of Iceland and the Golden Circle may be the most user-friendly road trip for visitors, but no trip to Iceland is complete without a visit to the stunning, rugged coastline and natural wonders of the South.
Discovering natural wonders in Southern Iceland tour
Rugged coastline and natural wonders
Reykjavik may be the cultural heart of Iceland and the Golden Circle may be the most user-friendly road trip for visitors, but no trip to Iceland is complete without a visit to the stunning, rugged coastline and natural wonders of the South. Accessible along the Route 1 highway from Reykjavik all the way to the Skaftafell National Park in the east – where public roads end! – Southern Iceland is full to bursting with gorgeous natural sites unlike anywhere else in the world. From waterfalls to lava fields, black sand beaches to friendly wild ponies, here are the key highlights of Southern Iceland
But if words like “alien”, “strange” and “bizarre” can have negative connotations, they are not intended here, for Iceland is also unequivocally beautiful. And perhaps no other site in the country combines the strange and the beautiful so well as the Jökulsárlón glacial lagoon.
Lava, green fields and ponies
Iceland was largely formed from volcanic rock and lava, eons ago. (Which is not to say the country’s volcanic activity is ancient history, as proven only a few years ago when the Eyjafjallajökull volcano ground European flights to a halt.) The result is a large mass of lava fields; cooled lava formed into wavy rocks, creating an eerily treeless landscape, which you’ll find all over the region. Trees and flowers may not love these conditions, but lush green grass and moss certainly do- as do the thousands of squat, friendly little wild ponies who thrive on the grass and trundle about the fields. Stop and watch some of these quiet beasts in their element, and snap some photos of their rainbow of black, brown and pure white hides against the brilliant green backdrop of the fields.
There aren’t many substantial towns in Southern Iceland. Or perhaps more accurately, there is one substantial town in Southern Iceland. While Vik is certainly no Reykjavik when it comes to visitor attractions and traditional Icelandic culture, this is the perfect little spot to stop on the way and stock up on supplies. Grab lunch, have a little wander around this isolated town and admire the little, oh-so-Icelandic iron houses that dot the landscape.
Dyrhólaey, or the black sand beach
Perhaps the most famous and most arresting attraction in Southern Iceland is the Dyrhólaey black sand beach. Not too far from Vik and on a promontory sticking right out into the wild southern coast, Dyrhólaey is savage, alien and utterly gorgeous. The jet black of the coastline against the oceanic waters, framed by basalt cliffs, makes for one of the most unique sights in the world. Look out for puffins, too!
Wild, iconic and impossibly beautiful, Southern Iceland may not have many traditional hallmarks of nature, like lush trees or warm water beaches. But this isolated corner of the world will offer up some of the most stunning and unusual natural wonders you’ll ever encounter.