South Coast of Iceland – discover this world famous coastline

The south coast of Iceland is world-famous for its incredible scenery

The list of attractions is familiar to all of you Iceland enthusiasts. But if you are new to Iceland, the South Coast is a great way to get to know the country.  I have created this free Iceland south coast plan for you with suggestions for tours and activities. By subscribing to my newsletter here below👇🏼, you can save on renting a car or camper van rental; in addition, the codes you will receive will give you discounts on many tours and travel services. Since the demand for hotel rooms and other forms of accommodation is heavy, I recommend booking early.

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Reynisfjara black sea beach
Reynisfjara black sea beach

Map of the South Coast of Iceland road plan

 

Part 1 of the free-to-use Iceland south coast road trip plan – Start at Keflavik International Airport and head to Reykjavik

Most people pick up their rented car at Keflavik airport and then drive to Reykjavik. Reykjavik, Iceland’s capital, is home to the world’s oldest parliament and offers beautiful views of mountains and the ocean. Reykjavik and its satellite towns are essentially Iceland; after all, 2/3 of the country’s population lives there. Don’t miss the main street, Laugavegur, known for its shops and cafes. I would also take care not to miss the adjacent Skólavörðustígur road, which also has a lot of great design shops. If you are into architecture and culture, you want to check out the impressive Harpa concert and conference center downtown. If you need to take the bus from Keflavík airport to Reykjavik, remember to use the discount code for Airport Direct to save 10%.

The Harpa in Reykjavik. Photo by Laila Gebhard on Unsplash

You will be spoilt for choice of tours, restaurants and cafés. One recent feature of Reykjavik is its bustling food halls. Check out the food halls at Hlemmur and the more upmarket Hafnartorg Gallery.

Grótta lighthouse looking pretty great.
Grótta lighthouse is looking pretty great.

Check out my section on Reykjavik; Reykjavik is a family-friendly city with many great places and activities. Pro tip: rent outdoor clothes with Iceland Cover to save money and reduce your luggage.

Quick tips for things to do in Reykjavik

Sign up for the free and exclusive Stuck in Iceland newsletter to save on the following activities in Reykjavik with my great travel partners partners:

Partners for indoor activities in Reykjavik

Partners for outdoor activities in Reykjavik

Even more activities in Reykjavik!

There is also a great selection of Reykjavik tours.

Part 2 of your south coast road trip – Head towards the village of Vík

Drive towards the village of Vík. This is a day for beautiful waterfalls, the famous black beach, and the Dyrholaey promontory. Check out the waterfalls Seljalandsfoss, its hidden neighbors Gljúfrabúi, Kvernufoss,  and of course, the well-known Skogafoss.

This is just one example of the scenery which can be enjoyed on Icelandic road trips: Reynisfjara Beach near the village of Vík.
This is just one example of the scenery which can be enjoyed on Icelandic road trips: Reynisfjara Beach near the village of Vík.

After that, it is Reynisfjara, AKA the black beach with the Reynisdrangar sea stacks. You get a lovely view of both from the Dyrholey promontory. Remember to be careful when you are on the beach and the promontory. I would check out my partners at Katlatrack, who run many tours near Vík. You should also stop at the Icelandic Lava Show and see the only exhibition that features flowing lava indoors.

Now we can all go for a tandem paragliding adventure in Vík.
Now we can all go for a tandem paragliding adventure in Vík.

Finally, you can join my partners, True Adventure, who have a Zipline and offer paragliding tours in Vík.

There are many tours available for the south of Iceland.

Part 3 – Head to towards Klaustur (Kirkjubæjarklaustur) village

When you are done exploring Vík, you can head up to the fantastic canyon of Fjaðrargljufur (try to say that after a couple of pints!).

The massive Fjaðrárgljúfur canyon should be a part of your South Iceland Itinerary.
The massive Fjaðrárgljúfur canyon should be a part of your South Iceland Itinerary.

It will take you an hour to drive there. This incredible canyon is probably one of the most photogenic places in Iceland. Just be careful on the edge, as in some places canyon is more than a hundred meters deep. Fjaðrargljufur Canyon is close to the village of Kirkjubaejarklaustur. The scenery there is just beautiful. If you stay there overnight, I suggest you check out the steep rocky hill of Systrastapi and the Systrafoss waterfall. Both of these are connected to the medieval convent which Kirkjubæjarklaustur is named after.

Part 4 – Travel to the town of Höfn via the Glacier Lagoon and the Diamond Beach

Since you have come this far, you must check out the Skaftafell national park. Hike to the beautiful Svartifoss waterfall and admire the majesty of Vatnajokull glacier and its highest peak ´Hvannadalshnjukur.´

Mt. Hvannadalshnjukur, the highest peak in Iceland seen from the Hrutfjallstindar peaks
Mt. Hvannadalshnjukur, the highest peak in Iceland, is seen from the Hrutfjallstindar peaks.

On your way, you can stop at the beautiful Fjallsárlón glacial lagoon. A boat ride on the lagoon is great fun. I also recommend two great hotels to those who like class and comfort. These are the Vatnajokull Fosshotel and the Fosshotel Glacier Hotel. And there is another lagoon not far away. This is the world-famous glacial lagoon called Jökulsárlón. I recommend going on a boat trip on the water so you can get a close look at those majestic icebergs floating on the water. 

The Amazing Jökulsárlón glacial lagoon. Photo by Martin Schulz.
The Amazing Jökulsárlón glacial lagoon. Photo by Martin Schulz.

You will hear the rumble of giant icebergs breaking off the main crawling glacier in this distance. Don´t forget to cross the highway and go to the legendary ´Diamond Beach.´

The diamond beach across the road from the glacial lagoon on the south coast of Iceland.
The diamond beach is across the road from the glacial lagoon on the south coast of Iceland.

Visit the town of Höfn. It has a surprising number of great restaurants. Don´t leave town without tasting the L’angoustine! Yet another incredible place is the legendary canyon Múlagljúfur.

Important! Stay safe when driving in Iceland!

Icelandic roads are narrower than roads in Europe so keep your speed down and your eyes open.

NEVER, EVER STOP IN THE MIDDLE OF THE ROAD TO PHOTOGRAPH SOMETHING.

If you are renting a car for use in winter please consider renting a 4×4 vehicle. When driving in Iceland in winter the car and yourself must be ready to handle slippery roads, snow, darkness, low (or zero) visibility heavy rain, gale-force winds, and frost.

Always follow the weather forecast and be mindful of road conditions. Go on the site www.sitetravel.is, study and follow the advice given there.