Iceland’s south coast is a truly awe-inspiring place. It’s home to vast glaciers, majestic waterfalls, black sand beaches, and countless spectacular landscapes.
Of course, a trip around the iconic Ring Road (Route 1) is a bucket list adventure for many people, and with good reason.
But did you know that many of the highlights are scattered along the southern coast? This includes Vatnajökull National Park, where most of our Iceland adventure trips and courses take place.
We’ve used our local knowledge and insights to put together an Iceland South Coast itinerary filled with amazing places to visit.
It’s impossible to cover everything in a single blog, and every visitor has their preferences and time constraints, so think of this as more of a starting point to shape your own adventure!
Scroll down to find our tips for the best places to visit in South Iceland. And if you have any questions about our Iceland adventure tours, please get in touch.
Seljalandsfoss: The Waterfall You Can Walk Behind!
This waterfall is located right off Route 1, making it an easy first stop on your south coast adventure.
And it’s a spellbinding sight, as runoff from a volcanic glacier falls 200 feet over a sheer cliff.
What sets Seljalandsfoss apart is the opportunity to walk behind the waterfall, allowing you to immerse yourself in nature’s raw power.
The path can be a bit slippery, so take care. But the chance to experience the cascade from a unique perspective is absolutely worth it.
Looking for even more travel inspiration? We think you’ll love our tips for the most exciting things to do in Iceland.
Skógafoss: One of Iceland’s Most Iconic Waterfalls
Our next destination is none other than Skógafoss, a thundering waterfall that leaves visitors in awe.
Standing at just under 200 feet, Skógafoss is around the same height as Seljalandsfoss.
But Skógafoss is more than double the width of its neighbour to the west, so it’s a more dramatic and powerful cascade.
You can approach Skógafoss to get a fantastic view of the falls — and if you do this, the drifting mist will make you wet, so come prepared!
If you’re feeling adventurous and want to elevate your experience, climb the stairs beside the waterfall for a breathtaking view from above.
Do you want a bespoke and personal experience while you’re in Iceland? Ice Guardians provides custom tours of the Vatnajökull Glacier and the surrounding area.
Dyrhólaey Cliffs: Drive to the Top for Incredible Views!
Before you reach Vík, Iceland’s southernmost village, turn off of Route 1 and onto Road 218.
As you head down this road, you have two options. You can either drive it to the end or make a right turn up the hill.
If you have the time, do both! Taking the uphill route will lead you to Dyrhólaey Lighthouse and Viewpoint.
Standing atop the cliffs, you can take in astounding views in all directions.
From this vantage point, you can see Mýrdalsjökull glacier, the black coastline running on for miles, Reynisdrangar (the famous black lava sea stacks), and a black arch of lava extending out into the sea.
When you come back down the hill, consider driving to the end of Road 218. You will find yet more remarkable views and a black sand beach to explore.
Please note, Dyrhólaey has limited access during spring and summer as this is the nesting season, so always check before leaving.
The lower area will remain open to car traffic, but you may find the higher area is only accessible on foot.
Reynisfjara Black Sand Beach: A Beach Unlike Any Other
Our adventure takes an enchanting twist as we visit Reynisfjara, a black sand beach renowned for its unique beauty and powerful waves.
Towering basalt columns rise like ancient sentinels, guarding the coastline, while the roaring Atlantic Ocean showcases its brute force.
But beware of the sneaker waves that can unexpectedly rush ashore — always stay a safe distance from the water’s edge.
The captivating black sand and raw power of the sea may make you feel like you’re standing at the edge of the world.
Vatnajökull National Park: A Glacial Wonderland
Prepare to venture into the icy heart of Iceland as we make our way to Vatnajökull National Park.
Home to the largest glacier in Europe by volume, this is a must-visit place for any nature lover or adventure seeker.
The sheer scale of the Vatnajökull Glacier will leave you feeling humbled and small, but also ready to conquer the world!
Check out our Ultimate Glacier Exploration in Vatnajökull — consisting of a full-day hike and ice climb — to find out more about the adventures waiting for you here.
Certified and experienced guides lead all our excursions, and they love sharing their deep knowledge of the glacier, ice caves, and the many surrounding wonders.
For clarity, Skaftafell National Park was incorporated into Vatnajökull National Park in 2008.
Today, this nature reserve sits at the southern edge of Vatnajökull National Park and is a starting point for numerous adventures, including our own Skaftafell Hike: A Day of Glacier Exploration.
Read our Adventurer’s Gude to Vatnajökull National Park to find out more about visiting this remarkable place.
Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon: Where Icebergs Are Born
Our final stop is Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon, a glacial lake fed by runoff from the Vatnajökull Glacier.
This lagoon is an enchanting mix of peace and power.
Icebergs of all sizes float in the freezing water, some of which are truly huge. This is the peaceful part. There’s something truly tranquil about the silent drift of these giant formations
The pale blue icebergs are the stars of the show, but those with streaks of black also make for unique pictures too.
If you’re lucky, you may see the spectacular sight of an iceberg splitting in two. And even if you don’t see this show of power, you will probably hear the almighty crunch and splash.
The icebergs slowly melt in the lagoon. When they’re small enough, they then drift through a narrow channel to the sea.
You can see many chunks of crystal-like ice scattered on the black sand of the appropriately named Diamond Beach.
Don’t forget to head to our FAQs page if you have any questions for us. We may have answered your query there already.
Feel the Thrill of Our Adventure Trips in Iceland!
We hope this Iceland South Coast itinerary has inspired you to book your adventure in the Land of Fire and Ice.
Browse our full range of adventure trips and courses in Iceland to see all the excursions you can enjoy in and around Vatnajökull National Park.
And if you have any questions about anything you see, please feel free to get in touch.