Discovering South Iceland Top Attractions & Experiences

Trip to South Iceland's Key Attractions: Discover a World of Beauty and Wonder

South Iceland

blog authorBy Johanna Sigurðardóttir shield verificationVerified Expert

    Are you ready to explore a place of breathtaking beauty and wonder? Then pack your bags and get ready for an unforgettable journey to South Iceland! From majestic waterfalls, stunning glaciers, vast national parks, hot springs, and other incredible natural attractions – there's something here that will leave you in awe.

    Imagine walking on black sand beaches with horses by your side or exploring the depths of a glacier lagoon. Or better yet - take an ATV adventure through the highlands or try dog sledding across snow-covered mountains!

    In this blog post, we'll introduce you to the top South Iceland attractions and experiences that will make your trip memorable. Read on as we give you our recommendations for:

    • Must-see sights in South Iceland
    • Unique experiences in South Iceland
    • Hidden gems of South East Iceland
    • Uncovering the treasures of South West Iceland
    • A 5-day South Iceland itinerary

    South Iceland

    Must-See Sights on the South Coast of Iceland

    If you're headed to South Iceland, don't miss out on visiting the stunning south coast. This region has various attractions and activities that will keep you busy for days. Here are some highlights that you won't want to miss on the south coast of Iceland:

    Reynisfjara Beach

    Reynisfjara Beach, located on the South Shore of Iceland, is a mesmerizing black sand beach in Iceland that captivates visitors with its dramatic beauty. With its striking basalt columns, towering sea stacks, and powerful waves crashing against the shore, Reynisfjara is truly a sight to behold.

    The beach offers a unique blend of natural wonders, including the famous Reynisdrangar rock formations, which stand tall in the ocean. Visitors can explore the intriguing basalt cave known as Hálsanefshellir and witness the awe-inspiring power of the Atlantic Ocean.

    Reynisfjara Beach showcases the raw, untamed beauty of South Iceland. It is a must-visit destination for nature enthusiasts and photographers alike.

    Reynisfjara beach

    Skógafoss Waterfall

    If you're looking for things to see in south Iceland that'll blow your mind away, Skógafoss Waterfall should be on the top of your list. This powerful cascade is one of Iceland's most iconic waterfalls and attracts visitors from all over the world.

    Situated on the Skóga River in South Iceland, this majestic waterfall pours a stunning amount of water into a deep ravine below. At 60 meters (197 feet) high and 25 meters (82 feet) wide, Skógafoss Waterfall is one of the largest waterfalls in Iceland.

    The best way to experience this natural wonder is by walking down the stairs on the right side of the waterfall. Here, you can enjoy a close-up view of the cascading waters and the majestic surroundings.

    Skogafoss Waterfall

    Dyrhólaey Peninsula

    Dyrhólaey Peninsula, located along the South Coast of Iceland, offers a breathtaking and diverse landscape that leaves visitors spellbound. This stunning natural wonder boasts soaring cliffs, striking rock formations, and panoramic views of the ocean and black sand beaches.

    The iconic Dyrhólaey Arch, a massive 120-meter (394 feet) tall stone arch rising from the sea, is the peninsula's signature feature, providing a dramatic backdrop for photographs and unforgettable moments.

    Aside from its scenic beauty, Dyrhólaey Peninsula is also a haven for birdwatchers, as it is a nesting site for numerous seabird species. This makes it an ideal spot for viewing puffins in Iceland.

    Dyrholaey arch

    Seljalandsfoss Waterfall

    Visiting Seljalandsfoss Waterfall is undoubtedly one of the best things to do in South Iceland. This mesmerizing waterfall is renowned for its unique feature that sets it apart from others - a hidden pathway that allows visitors to walk behind the cascading water curtain.

    With a drop of approximately 60 meters (197 feet), Seljalandsfoss is an impressive sight to behold. Its thundering roar, surrounded by lush greenery and moss-covered rocks, creates a captivating ambiance.

    The beauty of Seljalandsfoss is further accentuated by the stunning landscape surrounding it, including the nearby Eyjafjallajökull volcano.

    Seljalandsfoss

    Fjaðrárgljúfur Canyon

    Fjaðrárgljúfur Canyon is one of Iceland's most stunning natural attractions and a must-see destination in South Iceland. This ravine was carved into the landscape by glacial meltwater thousands of years ago and has since become an iconic landmark in Icelandic history.

    The canyon boasts dramatic cliffs, soaring up to 100 meters (328 feet) high, and is surrounded by lush vegetation and rolling hills. Visitors can explore the canyon on foot or by car, taking in its unique features along the way.

    Fjaðrárgljúfur Canyon is also a popular filming location and has been featured in Game of Thrones, as well as movies such as Noah and King Arthur: Legend of the Sword. Justin Bieber also chose the canyon as his stage when he filmed his music video for the hit song 'I'll Show You.'

    south coast iceland

    Solheimajokull Glacier

    Solheimajokull Glacier, one of the awe-inspiring glaciers in Iceland, is a captivating marvel that should not be missed when exploring the array of South Iceland attractions.

    Located within the Myrdalsjokull ice cap, this spellbinding glacier offers an otherworldly landscape of shimmering ice formations, deep crevasses, and imposing ice walls.

    Guided glacier hikes provide an opportunity to venture onto the glacier, where visitors can witness the icy terrain up close, listen to the crackling sounds of the ice, and marvel at the ever-changing glacial landscape.

    Glacier Hike

    Thingvellir National Park

    Thingvellir National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is a captivating destination that offers many things to do in South Iceland. Located in the rift valley between the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates, this historical and geological national park in Iceland is a must-visit. 

    Visitors can explore the Almannagjá Gorge, a remarkable fissure formed by the shifting plates, and walk along the path where the Icelandic Parliament, Alþingi, was established in 930 AD, making it one of the oldest in the world.

    The park also features the crystal-clear Silfra Fissure, where adventurous souls can snorkel or scuba dive between the continents. Thingvellir National Park provides an extraordinary blend of natural beauty, cultural significance, and geological marvels that make it an essential stop in South Iceland.

    Thingvellir National Park

    Landmannalaugar

    Landmannalaugar, although situated in the region of the highlands, it can be included in any South Iceland itinerary as it is a must-visit destination among the incredible things to see in South Iceland. This remote and captivating area offers a stunning surreal landscape characterized by colorful rhyolite mountains, vast lava fields, and soothing hot springs.

    To reach Landmannalaugar, you will need a 4x4 vehicle as the journey involves driving on F-roads. Once there, visitors can embark on scenic hikes, explore the surrounding canyons, and bathe in natural hot pools.

    Landmannalaugar presents a unique opportunity to immerse oneself in the untouched beauty of Iceland's highlands, providing an unforgettable experience for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts.

    Landmannalaugar

    Hveragerði Hot Springs

    Hveragerði Hot Springs, nestled in the heart of South Iceland, is a hidden gem among the array of captivating South Iceland attractions.

    Located in the geothermal town of Hveragerði, these Icelandic hot springs offer a blissful and rejuvenating experience. Surrounded by lush greenery and bubbling streams, visitors can immerse themselves in the naturally heated pools while taking in the serene beauty of the surrounding landscape.

    The therapeutic and mineral-rich waters provide a perfect opportunity for relaxation and tranquility. Hveragerði Hot Springs allow visitors to unwind and connect with nature, making them a delightful addition to any South Iceland itinerary.

    south iceland attractions

    Thjorsárdalur Valley

    Thjorsárdalur Valley, a picturesque and enchanting destination, is a hidden gem worth exploring in South Iceland. Located just a short detour from the popular Golden Circle route, this valley offers a serene and untouched natural beauty.

    Surrounded by rolling hills, sparkling rivers, and stunning waterfalls, Thjorsárdalur Valley showcases the raw and captivating landscapes of the region. Visitors can hike through lush meadows, admire the breathtaking panoramas, and discover historical ruins, such as Stöng, a reconstructed Viking-era farmhouse.

    Thjorsardalur Valley

    Unique Experiences in South Iceland

    South Iceland offers many unique experiences that can be enjoyed and cherished forever. So, if you're looking for something extra special to add to your Iceland itinerary, South Iceland is the place to go. Here are a few of the most unique experiences South Iceland has to offer:

    Dog Sledding in South Iceland

    Embark on an exhilarating dog sledding adventure in South Iceland, where the power and energy of amazing sled dogs will leave you in awe. With a tour that guarantees departure (weather permitting), this is your opportunity to experience a real Icelandic adventure.

    Feel the rush as you ride with a husky dog team, guided by an experienced musher who shares their knowledge and passion for dog sledding. Midway through the tour, enjoy a photo break where you can cuddle with the dogs and create lasting memories.

    This must-do activity in the 'Land of Ice and Fire' is perfect for families and loved ones. The tour includes pick up and drop off in Reykjavik, a 35-45 minute guided dog ride, photo opportunities, and the chance to meet these adorable sled dogs. Don't miss out on this unforgettable experience amidst the breathtaking landscapes of South Iceland.

    Ice Climbing on Sólheimajökull Glacier

    Experience the exhilarating thrill of ice climbing on Sólheimajökull Glacier, a captivating adventure on the South Coast of Iceland. This comprehensive glacier tour provides an opportunity to learn about these massive natural phenomena from knowledgeable guides while ensuring your comfort and safety with all necessary equipment.

    Ascend the vertical crevasse walls of the glacier, mastering the basics of ice climbing in a stunning icy landscape. Marvel at the eerie silence and isolation, surrounded by millennia-old blue ice and the vastness of the glacier.

    The sight of the mighty Katla volcano beneath the ice cap adds to the awe-inspiring experience. With experienced guides, you'll receive instruction and safety briefings, allowing you to explore this breathtaking natural wonder worry-free.

    Ice climbing in South Iceland

    Horseback Riding on Black Sand Beaches

    Embark on an exhilarating horseback riding adventure along the stunning black sand beaches of the South Coast of Iceland. This Black Beach Riding Tour is perfect for riders of all levels, including beginners seeking an unforgettable experience. 

    Feel the thrill as you gallop through the wild Icelandic terrain, guided by their friendly and sure-footed horses. In the summer, watch majestic puffins soaring overhead, adding to the awe-inspiring atmosphere.

    During winter, the ever-changing weather enhances the rugged beauty of the landscape, creating a truly mesmerizing backdrop. Whether at a steady pace or trying the special tölt gait, this tour promises an adrenaline-pumping journey.

    Buggy Adventures in the Highlands

    Going on a buggy adventure is undoubtedly one of the best things to do in South Iceland. This exciting buggy tour takes you off the beaten path and into a world of adventure, where you can explore some of Iceland's most breathtaking landscapes.

    Your journey begins in the small village of Brú, located on Road 249. Here you will be outfitted with safety gear such as waterproof suits and helmets before setting off on your adventure. The journey will take you through the Þórsmörk nature reserve, nestled among the glaciers of Eyjafjallajökull, Mýrdalsjökull, and Tindfjallajökull

    You can explore the effects of the 2010 Eyjafjallajökull eruption at Gígjökull glacier and take in the majestic landscape views. As you drive through this untamed wilderness, you will experience an adrenaline rush like never before.

    Kayaking in Glacial Lagoons

    Kayaking in glacial lagoons is an incredible way to experience the captivating beauty of South Iceland. With Icelandic Mountain Guides' exclusive tour, you can paddle among ever-changing icebergs in the beautiful lagoon of Sólheimajökull glacier.

    This tour offers a unique perspective of the stunning glacier landscape with stable sit-on-top kayaks that require no prior experience. You will learn the basics of kayaking technique and safety from your experienced guides before embarking on this incredible journey.

    Kayaking in Glacial lagoons

    You will also have the opportunity to take stunning photos of the landscape and capture lasting memories. So don't wait; come explore the majestic beauty of South Iceland with this unforgettable kayaking experience!

    Hidden Gems of South East Iceland

    The lesser-known attractions of South East Iceland hold a charm and beauty that often go unnoticed. Thankfully, we have rounded up some of the hidden gems that this region has to offer. Let's explore a few of these unique attractions:

    Stokksnes Peninsula and Vestrahorn Mountain

    Stokksnes Peninsula and Vestrahorn Mountain stand as captivating South East Iceland attractions. This hidden gem offers a breathtaking landscape that will leave visitors in awe.

    With its black sand dunes, jagged peaks, and the iconic Vestrahorn Mountain, this area presents a photographer's paradise. The contrasting elements of the calm lagoon and the dramatic mountains create a visually striking scene.

    Explore the pristine beaches, hike along the trails, and witness the ever-changing light that adds an ethereal touch to the surroundings.

    Stokksnes, Iceland

    Vatnajökull Ice Caves

    Vatnajökull Ice Caves, located in the magnificent Vatnajökull National Park, is a mesmerizing wonder of nature in South East Iceland. These ethereal ice formations, hidden beneath the massive Vatnajökull Glacier, captivate visitors with their crystalline beauty.

    Step into a world of surreal blue hues and intricate ice sculptures as you explore these magical caves. Each winter, as the glacier shifts and melts, new caves form, creating a unique experience every season

    Guided tours offer the opportunity to witness the awe-inspiring beauty of the ice caves, providing insights into the glacier's formation and the ever-changing landscape. Vatnajökull Ice Caves offer an unforgettable adventure, immersing you in the enchanting world of glacial wonders.

    south west iceland attractions

    Diamond Beach

    Diamond Beach is one of the top south east Iceland attractions and certainly lives up to its name. This alluring black sand beach is dotted with shimmering icebergs, which appear as if they were diamonds against the dark sands.

    Witness the dramatic waves crashing against the ice sculptures dotting the shoreline, providing an incredible spectacle that will take your breath away. Enjoy a stroll along this picturesque beach or simply sit back and observe the ever-changing light that creates a surreal atmosphere.

    A visit to Diamond Beach is a must-do when exploring the hidden gems of South East Iceland.

    Diamond beach in Iceland

    Systrafoss & Systravatn Waterfalls

    Systrafoss and Systravatn Waterfalls, located in South East Iceland, offer a serene and picturesque escape into nature's wonders. Systrafoss, meaning 'Sisters' Falls,' cascades gracefully down a rocky cliff surrounded by lush greenery.

    Its tranquil beauty and gentle flow create a soothing atmosphere that invites visitors to relax and soak in the peaceful ambiance. Systravatn, the serene sister lake, mirrors the surrounding landscape, reflecting the captivating scenery.

    Together, these twin attractions provide a harmonious harmony of sight and sound, offering a tranquil oasis for nature lovers and photographers alike. Explore the trails, capture the beauty with your camera, and be enchanted by the magic of Systrafoss and Systravatn Waterfalls.

    south shore iceland

    Laki Lava Fields

    The Laki Lava Fields, situated in South East Iceland, are a striking testament to the raw power of volcanic activity. This expansive volcanic landscape stretches as far as the eye can see, with vast fields of hardened lava, rugged rock formations, and desolate stretches of land.

    The eruption of the Laki volcano in 1783-1784 left behind this otherworldly terrain dotted with fascinating volcanic features. Hiking through the Laki Lava Fields offers a surreal experience, immersing you in a landscape that feels otherworldly and untouched. 

    The unique geological formations and dramatic scenery make the Laki Lava Fields a captivating destination for nature enthusiasts and those seeking a glimpse into Iceland's volcanic history.

    South Iceland Lava fields

    Skaftafell National Park

    Skaftafell National Park is one of the most majestic attractions in South East Iceland. This expansive park offers an array of breathtaking landscapes, from meadows and grasslands to glacial lagoons and cascading waterfalls.

    This pristine wilderness also allows visitors the chance to explore trails through the Svartifoss Waterfall or hike up to Kristínartindar Peak for panoramic views of the surrounding scenery. The park also offers opportunities to witness arctic foxes, seals, and other wildlife in their natural habitat.

    Skaftafell National Parks

    Uncovering the Treasures of South West Iceland

    South West Iceland is an area bursting with captivating attractions, majestic fjords, and stunning glaciers. From trekking through the wild outdoors to sipping on a beer in historic pubs, this region offers something for everyone. Let's explore the hidden treasures of South West Iceland:

    The Reykjanes Peninsula and Blue Lagoon

    The Reykjanes Peninsula and Blue Lagoon are the perfect spots for anyone who wants to explore what South West Iceland has to offer. The Reykjanes Peninsula is located just outside of Reykjavik, and it's known for its stunning landscapes and scenic vistas.

    Visitors can hike along the coastline, explore the rugged lava fields, and take in the stunning view of the ocean. The Blue Lagoon is a must-see south west Iceland attraction for anyone who is looking for a relaxing experience.

    The geothermal waters are known for their healing properties, and the spa treatments are world-renowned. Whether you're exploring the Reykjanes Peninsula or enjoying the soothing waters of the Blue Lagoon, you're in for an unforgettable experience!

    Reykjanes Peninsula

    Reykjavík, the Capital City

    Reykjavík, the vibrant capital city of Iceland nestled in the South West region, is a captivating destination offering a perfect blend of culture, history, and natural beauty. One of the things you should do in Reykjavík is to visit the famous Hallgrímskirkja church and enjoy the panoramic view from its tower. 

    You can also explore the vibrant streets of Laugavegur, which offer trendy cafes, shops, and colorful street art. If you're interested in history and culture, you can visit the National Museum of Iceland, or if you prefer art, head to the Reykjavík Art Museum

    Reykjavík's location makes it a great starting point for exploring the remarkable attractions of South West Iceland, including the Reykjanes Peninsula and the Blue Lagoon.

    Reykjavik Iceland

    Geysir Geothermal Area

    The Geysir Geothermal Area is an incredible natural wonder in South West Iceland. This area is known for its active geysers and bubbling hot springs, which have been erupting since the 13th century.

    Visit the Great Geyser, Strokkur, and enjoy watching it spout water up to 30 meters (98 feet) high every few minutes. You can also explore the surreal steaming pools and bubbling mud spots that make this place so unique.

    The landscape is truly remarkable, with its rugged rock formations and bright blue geothermal pools. The Geysir Geothermal Area is an unmissable highlight among the captivating South West Iceland attractions.

    Geysir geothermal area

    Gullfoss Waterfall

    Gullfoss Waterfall is one of the most iconic attractions in South West Iceland. Gullfoss, often referred to as the 'Golden Waterfall' because of its golden hue, is a breathtaking spectacle.

    This iconic waterfall is a part of the famous Golden Circle route, captivating visitors with its raw power and beauty. Gullfoss features two dramatic drops in succession, creating an impressive spectacle. 

    The first drop measures 11 meters (36 feet), followed by a second drop of 21 meters (69 feet). This gives Gullfoss its total height of 32 meters (105 feet). The waterfall, born from the Hvita River, offers a breathtaking view that embodies the wild spirit of Icelandic nature.

    Gullfoss Waterfall

    5-Day South Iceland Itinerary

    To help you make the most of your visit to South Iceland, here is a 5-day itinerary for exploring the region:

    Day 1: Golden Circle Exploration

    • Start your South Iceland adventure with the iconic Golden Circle. Visit Þingvellir National Park, where you can walk between the continental plates and explore the historic site of the world's oldest parliament.
    • Continue to the Geysir Geothermal Area and witness the impressive eruptions of the Strokkur geyser.
    • Conclude the day with a visit to the majestic Gullfoss Waterfall, marveling at its cascading beauty.

    Day 2: South Coast Adventure

    • Head to the captivating South Coast and visit Reynisfjara Beach, known for its unique black sand and towering basalt columns.
    • Explore the charming village of Vík and enjoy the panoramic views from the Reynisfjall cliffs.
    • Discover the breathtaking Skógafoss and Seljalandsfoss waterfalls, and if time allows, hike to the hidden Gljúfrabúi waterfall.

    Day 3: Glacier Exploration and Ice Cave Tour

    • Embark on an exhilarating glacier hike on Sólheimajökull Glacier, witnessing the stunning ice formations and learning about glacial landscapes.
    • Venture into a mesmerizing ice cave, a natural wonder with enchanting blue hues.
    • Wrap up the day by exploring the captivating landscapes of the Vatnajökull National Park, home to Europe's largest glacier.

    Day 4: Hidden Gems of South East Iceland

    • Journey to the lesser-known attractions of South East Iceland, such as Stokksnes Peninsula and Vestrahorn Mountain, known for their dramatic scenery.
    • Discover the serene beauty of Systrafoss and Systravatn Waterfalls.
    • End the day with a visit to the charming Fjallsárlón Glacier Lagoon, where you can take a boat tour and watch humpback whales in their natural habitat.

    Day 5: Reykjanes Peninsula and Blue Lagoon

    • Visit the geologically active Reykjanes Peninsula and immerse yourself in the soothing waters of the renowned Blue Lagoon.
    • Explore the rugged cliffs, volcanic landscapes, and bubbling hot springs of the peninsula.
    • Conclude your South Iceland journey with a relaxing soak in the geothermal spa, surrounded by stunning natural surroundings.

    South Iceland Itinerary

    Reflecting on the Beauty of South Iceland

    To make your journey through South Iceland even more amazing, consider renting a campervan in Iceland. Imagine waking up to stunning views each morning and having the flexibility to explore wherever the scenery takes you.

    A campervan opens up a world of possibilities. It allows you to chase waterfalls, hike through majestic landscapes, and witness the mesmerizing Northern Lights from the comfort of your mobile home. 

    Don't just visit South Iceland—immerse yourself in its raw and untouched beauty by renting a campervan and embark on an adventure that will stay with you forever.



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