South of Iceland (I): From Seljalandsfoss to Vik

A drive along the South coast of Iceland is a perfect day trip! It is easy to navigate and it offers many different sightseeing opportunities such as lava fields, sea cliffs, waterfalls, and hot springs. The minimum duration of the trip is about 7 hours, so wake up early! All the sights are placed along the main road; it is hard to miss them.
South-Iceland route

The first stop on the route is Seljalandsfoss, a unique waterfall because you can walk behind it.
Seljalandsfoss

Seljalandsfoss

Seljalandfoss is surrounded by less popular, yet, also beautiful waterfalls, and there is a camping just next to it.
waterfalls

waterfalls

You may want to stop by Þorvaldseyri, the farm at the foot of infamous Eyjafjallajökull. This volcano paralyzed the planes all over Europe in 2010. In 2011, a visitor center was opened at the farm to teach about the coexistence of man and animals in their battle against the powers of nature—and what it is like to live at the foot of active volcano. Here you can see the amazing photographs and video presentation on the 6-week eruption.
Þorvaldseyri

In the meantime, the next stop, Skógafoss is a must (in case you have not noticed “foss” means “waterfall”). Skógafoss is more than just one waterfall: if you go up the stairs, you will find many more. Skógafoss is another great place to catch the rainbow, just like Gullfoss.
Skógafoss

Skógafoss

Skógafoss

Skógafoss

It is a lot of fun to watch sheep from the top of the waterfall and wonder how comes that they do not roll down into the water.
Skógafoss

If you have time you may continue hiking up the road, it is a starting point for the long hiking route.
The area around Skógafoss is called Skógar (“forest”) and there is a great museum here showcasing an old turf house, a church, a collection of transport and more. Skógar museum was founded in 1949 and preserves the cultural heritage of South Iceland.
Skógar

Skógar

Continue driving and enjoying the views of Mýrdalsjökull glacier.
Mýrdalsjökull glacier

Many stop to see the abandoned plane wreck on Sólheimasandur. For this, you have to leave your car at the parking lot (GPS coordinates to the turnoff/parking lot 63.4912391, -19.3632810) and walk for about 40 minutes to the plane (GPS coordinates to the plane 63.459523, -19.364618). The landscape surrounding you is the same, very boring, and there are lots of people. Because of this, many recommend to head to the plane early in the morning, and you may do so if you do not make a clockwise circle around Iceland, on the way back to Reykjavik.
Sólheimasandur

abandoned plane wreck

The next stop is Dyrhólaey cliffs. Dyrhólaey was formed partly in a sub-aquatic eruption about 80 thousand years ago. The area has amazing view at the black sand beach.
Dyrhólaey cliffs

Dyrhólaey cliffs

Dyrhólaey cliffs

The first must here is seeing puffins. You will easily find their location by the crowds of people surrounding and photographing them.
puffins

puffins

puffins

We recommend driving along the side road to the top of Dyrhólaey, where a lighthouse is located: if the weather is not bad, you will not need 4×4 jeep. The lighthouse was built here in 1910. The lighthouse keeper was also a sheep farmer for several decades.
lighthouse

lighthouse

Finish your day at Renisdrangar cliffs at Reynisfjara beach. Be careful when walking on the beach: the Atlantic Ocean waves are extremely dangerous, and people have got caught in the large waves resulting in several deaths and serious injuries. In 2016, it took a life of a Chinese man in his forties who was travelling with his wife. He had his back to the ocean when a sneaker wave came out of nowhere and swept him out to the sea. The ocean did not look very dangerous either one sunny day in May 2007 when a 75-year-old woman from the US, travelling to Iceland for the 5th time, also drowned here.
Reynisfjara beach

Reynisfjara beach

Reynisfjara beach

Reynisfjara beach

On this day trip in Iceland we stopped in Vik camping, which was the worst in our trip: overcrowded and dirty. If you have a chance, pass Vik on your way further to the east and continue exploring the south, and stay in another camping. Lake Heidarvatn in Myrdalur is said to be the great camping nearby. Another option is to stay in Vik for one more day to enjoy hiking in Katla geopark and around.