South coast surrounded with surprises
Iceandic South Coast is among the memorable gems in the country which is also a gem itself!
A beautiful volcano which is formed naturally, blends with the Atlantic Ocean on the opposite side. This simply offers us a breathtaking view as well as a lot of oportunities to obtain ultimate travel.
The South Coast day tour is extremely famous and the area presents numerous attractions which cannot be visited in just a single day.
After you are picked from your hotel, we begin our tour to the east of Reykjavik, in the region of South Iceland. We will travel on main road 1 and pass the town of Selfoss, Hella and Hvölsvöllur; here, some people make stops.
Ahead of us, we will come across Seljalandsfoss waterfall in Iceland which is among the most visited. This is an absolute must see and one can even walk behind the waterfall.
Skogafoss is our next stop where we are not able to walk behind as on previous waterfall Seljalandsfoss. However, the area and waterfall itself offers us special charm. The whole of this region is actually better recognized due to the Eyjafjallajökull volcano which erupted in 2010 and brought air traffic to a standstill in a lot of European countries.
On the same day, we are also going to make a stop on Reynsifjara black beach and from a safe distance, we will view cliffs near the ocean and huge waves. Film makers used this beach as well as others which are similar, for numerous kinds of films.
We are also going to take a break at Dyrholaey and afterwards in Vik, which is a historical town. This private day tour takes around 10 hours; however, at Mercury Grail company, we do not have time limitation for our guests.
Our main objective is to you offer you maximum pleasure for your holiday!
- Available: All year
- Duration: 10 hours
- Activities: Hiking, Sightseeing, Cultural Activity
- Difficulty: Easy
- Languages: English, Croatian, Serbian, Slovenian
Seljalandsfoss in the river Seljalandsa in South Iceland is one of the most sought waterfalls in the country.
Seljalandsfoss has a narrow cascade but is one of Iceland's highest waterfalls, at 63 meters. The waterfall is highly picturesque and has the rare distinction that one can actually walk behind it.
The 120 meter high promontory Dyrholaey is the southernmost part of the mainland, only a short drive south of the Ring Road. It offers a breathtaking view and features spectacular outcrops and rock formations.
A notable attraction is the massive arch that the sea has eroded from the heartland, giving the island its name (‘dyr’=door’). One daredevil pilot even flew through it!
Dyrholaey has an abundance of birdlife, the most common being puffins and eider ducks. You can also enjoy the black beach, where the waves can provide an impressive sight. As these can be very wild, we do however advise uttermost caution.
Reynisfjara is a world-famous black-sand beach found on the South Coast of Iceland, just beside the small fishing village of Vík í Mýrdal.
With its enormous basalt stacks, roaring Atlantic waves and stunning panoramas, Reynisfjara is widely considered to be the most beautiful example of Iceland’s black sand beaches. In 1991, National Geographic voted Reynisfjara as one of the Top 10 non-tropical beaches to visit on the planet.
Reynisfjara is found around 180 km from Iceland’s capital city, Reykjavik, and is a popular stop-off for those taking a sightseeing tour along South Coast. Driving to the beach is particularly easy, taking an approximate two and a half hours from the capital.
Upon visiting the beach, travellers will immediately observe rocky sea stacks sitting off the shoreline, known as Reynisdrangar. According to local Icelandic folklore, these large basalt columns were once trolls engaged in trying to pull ships from the ocean. However, as bad luck would have it, the dawn quickly arose, turning the trolls into solid stone.
Another legend tells of a husband whose wife was kidnapped and killed by two trolls. The man followed the trolls down to Reynisfjara where he froze them, ensuring that they would never kill again.
The sea stacks themselves are home to thousands of nesting seabirds. Species that can be found here include Puffins, Fulmars and Guillemots, making it a must-see location for all birdwatchers out there.
Visitors to Reynisfjara must be made well aware of the potential dangers present at the beach. First of all, the rolling, roaring waves of Reynisfjara are particularly violent, often pushing far further up the beach than many would expect.
Visitors are advised to never turn their back on the waves, don't go chasing after them and keep a safe distance of 20-30 metres.
Aside from these sudden and dramatic shifts in tide (known as “sneaker waves”), the currents off the shore are infamous for their strength and ability to drag helpless people out into the freezing cold open ocean. A number of fatal accidents have occurred at Reynisfjara, the last of which occurred in January 2017.
Vik in Myrdalur valley is the southernmost village on the Icelandic mainland, located 186 km from the capital Reykjavik.
Vik is important as a service centre for the inhabitants and visitors of the marvellous Reynisfjara beach.
Reynisfjara is widely considered one of the most beautiful beaches on earth (see for example Islands Magazine). This black pebble beach boasts an amazing cliff of regular basalt columns called Gardar, which resembles a rocky step pyramid and out in the sea are the spectaculary shaped basalt sea stacks Reynisdrangar. The area has rich birdlife, including puffins, fulmars and guillemots.
Hella is a small town of around 781 people (as of 2011), located in South Iceland, around 94 km from the capital. It is an important regional centre for the area.
Hella's economy mainly consists of commerce, services and industry. Tourism is an ever-growing sector as well.
The river Ytri-Ranga on the east bank of which Hella is located, is one of the best salmon rivers in Iceland. Hella has excellent lodgings and for recreational activities there is plenty to choose from; sightseeing tours, horse rentals, dog sledge tours and fishing. Horse shows are held regularly and in July the town hosts an annual family festival. Hella is furthermore located near to many of Iceland's major attractions, such as Hekla volcano, Iceland's most famous volcano and one of its most active, as well as the nature wonders of Thorsmork valley and Landmannalaugar geothermal area.
Hvolsvöllur is a small town of 950 people in south Iceland, conveniently located by the ring road. The local airport has flights to the Westman Islands.
Economy and transport
Hvolsvöllur’s main economy is services to the surrounding agricultural area, which has an additional 600 people, meat processing and tourism.
The area features prominently in one of the most famous Icelandic sagas, Njál’s saga. There is indeed an excellent Icelandic Saga Centre in the town that we recommend checking out. It has two exhibitions, ‘The exhibition of Njála, introducing guests to the characters of the sagas along with the Viking cosmology and the literary art and one on the history of trade, commerce and the cooperative movement in the 20th century. You can also view a model of Alþingi, Iceland’s parliament, founded at Þingvellir in 930. There is also a nice gallery there and a good restaurant in the Saga Hall, a replica of a medieval longhouse.
Hvolsvöllur has a number of interesting hiking routes in its vicinity. Among interesting sights is the large and peculiar rock Drangurinn by the farm Drangshlíð, under the Eyjafjöll mountains. Hvolsvöllur is also a short drive from many other interesting attractions, among them some of Iceland’s top ones. One of Iceland’s oldest swimming pools, Seljavallalaug, is about 44 km from the town. At a 14 km distance is the rural area of Fljótshlíð and the farm Hlíðarendi. According to Njal's Saga, its hero, Gunnar, lived there.
There is good trout and salmon fishing in the nearby rivers. Several interesting caves, both natural and man-made are in driving distance from Hvolsvöllur, 18-40 km. There is also a number of beautiful waterfalls not far off, the most well known being Seljalandsfoss, which you can walk behind, and Skógafoss, one of Iceland’s highest and most beautiful falls. Forests and groves can be found no further than 9-18 km from Hvolsvöllur.
Skogar, in South Iceland, is a popular destination for travelers. It has a population of about 20 people, features a regional museum and and is close to the beautiful Skogafoss waterfall. The area had a region school until 1949, now run as a hotel.
The regional museum site
The museum features several buildings. The main building has many interesting artefacts but its main attraction is the eight-oar fishing ship Petursey, the best-known Icelandic ship of its kind.
There is an electicity station in the area, built in 1929. There’s also charming little schoolhouse there, built in 1901 and serving until 1907. Furthermore, there is a beautiful church there, Skogakirkja, built in the 19th century style, using material from decomissioned churches.
A transport museum at the site has a collection of vehicles, along with am exhibition on the history of transport and its development.
The timberhouse of Holt has its earliest origins in 1878 but has since been restored, with the latest restoration ocurring around 1950. The house has domestic artifacts ranging from 1870-1930. Another building, the reconstructed ‘Skalarbaer’ dates back to 1919-20 and last, but not least, is the old reconstructed turf farm of seven houses, dating back to the 19th century and with old artifacts, showcasing the farm life of the time.
There are several spectacular waterfalls in the area. The most famous, about 5 km from Skogar. is the Skogafoss waterfall, one of the highest and most beautiful waterfalls in Iceland. You can walk to the top of the waterfall and on sunny days it may produce a rainbow. You can also travel by jeep to Fimmvorduhals, one of Iceland’s most popular hiking routes. The volcanic glaciers Myrdalsjokull (home to Katla volcano) and Eyjafjallajokull are not far off, the latter famous for its 2010 eruption. Further north is Thorsmork, one of Iceland’s most popular sites.
The South Coast of Iceland is the country's most visited sightseeing route, along with the Golden Circle.
The famed South Coast shoreline stretches from the greater Reykjavík area and is dotted with natural wonders such as cascading waterfalls, volcanoes both active and dormant, black sand beaches and glacier lagoons.
Geography, Nature & Wildlife
Iceland is divided into eight geographical regions. Out of these, the Southern Region is the largest, as it spans over 24.000 square kilometres with its administrative centre in the municipality of Selfoss.
What is known as the South Coast embodies the shoreline of this particular region. The area consists of a lowland that is mostly composed of marshlands, bays and cultivated pastures that are met by a series of black beaches where the estuaries to the east and west of the district close off the coastal body.
Underneath the soil rests a vast lava field, known as Þjórsárhraun. Its edges reach several hundred metres offshore where the ocean waves crash upon them, thereby protecting the lowland from the invasion of the sea. This results in the South Coast being unusually lacking in the deep fjords that so distinctly characterise the rest of Iceland's shore line.
The region boasts vibrant bird life during all seasons. It is not only rich with both marshland birds and seabirds but also migrating birds such as the North Atlantic puffin. Some species stay throughout the harsh Icelandic winter, including the northern diver, the loom and various species of gulls and ducks.
Highlights of the South Coast
The South Coast offers an unprecedented array of natural wonders that draw thousands of visitors each day. When driving the route from Reykjavík City, the highlights in their correct order are:
- Seljalandsfoss Waterfall
- Vestmannaeyjar; The Westman Islands
- Eyjafjallajökull Glacier Volcano
- Skógafoss Waterfall
- Sólheimajökull Glacier
- Dyrhólaey Peninsula
- Reynisfjara Black Sand Beach
- Reynisdrangar Sea Stacks
- Coastal Village Vík í Mýrdal
- Skeiðarársandur Glacial Sand Plain
- Vatnajökull National Park
- Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon
These attractions count for but a fraction of what the South Coast has to offer. The vast sand plains of Sólheimasandur are home to a crashed DC-3 Plane Wreck, and close to Seljavellir by the Skógar Village there's Seljavallalaug, one of the oldest swimming pools in Iceland.
- Explore the many wonders of the area on these South Coast Tours
Starting time : 09:00
Tour including guiding and driving to area with most northern lights possibilities to see in winter timeþ.
In tour is not including lunching, drinks etc.
What to bring:
Water resistant clothes in case travel want to walk near or behind waterfalls. Camera.
Good to know:
This tour is one of the most visited tours in Iceland so we will try to avoid groups in bus. Mercury Grail tour operating company would wish to know more about tourists and their wishes just in case to customize some interesting things by their wishes and interests.