We did an 8-day road trip along the south coast of Iceland. After our visit to Reykjavik, we travelled to Selfoss, one of the largest cities in southern Iceland. We stayed one night in Sunnuvegur Apartment, a cozy and affordable accommodation!
There’s not much to do in Selfoss itself, but it is a good base for a number of attractions. Read in this article what you can do around Selfoss and what attractions you can visit.
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Kerið volcano and crater lake
Kerið is a volcano located a few kilometers outside Selfoss. The crater is about 170 by 270 meters and is 55 meters deep. There are several stories about the origin of the crater lake, but it is believed that Kerið was a cone volcano that collapsed during an eruption. The water in the crater lake has a beautiful turquoise color and is about 10 meters deep.
It is possible to descend from the edge to the crater lake. There are stairs, so it’s easy to get there. During our visit there was snow and the crater lake was frozen, which made it truly special. Pity I didn’t bring my ice skates, otherwise I could’ve crossed off ‘skating in a volcano’ from my bucket list ;-).
The costs for visiting the crater are 400 ISK per person.
Reykjadalur valley: hot river & hot springs
The Reykjadalur valley is a geothermal area located about 20 minutes’ drive from Selfoss. There is a path through this valley that can be hiked. If you follow the path, you will eventually end up at a warm water river. This river is warm, because it originates from a hot spring. A special experience indeed! It’s not just the river that’s special, but also the area surrounding it. The trail runs through the mountains and leads you past several hot springs. Steam comes out of the ground everywhere and you’ll see small bubbling pools.
Note: These baths are boiling hot, so please don’t touch the water.
The distance from the parking lot to the river is about 3.5 kilometers. During the summer, you have a beautiful view from the footpath over a green valley, but in winter it’s a bit different. During our hike, it snowed and it was very windy. There was also a lot of snow on the trail, which made it a tough hike. I had the feeling that we were participating in Arctic Circle Expedition! Once we arrived at the river it turned out not to be hot, but rather lukewarm. This was quite a setback for us after such a tough hike. Perhaps the water is warmer in summer!
The Reykjadalur valley is free to visit and is open every day of the week, 24/7.
The Seljalandsfoss waterfall is one of the most famous waterfalls in Iceland and is very popular among tourists! This waterfall is located between Selfoss and Vík. It is about a 55 minutes’ drive from Selfoss and about 45 minutes from Vík. We visited the Seljalandsfoss waterfall when we drove from Selfoss in the direction of Vík, because that’s when you pass it!
The Seljalandsfoss waterfall is 65 meters high. What makes the waterfall remarkable, is the fact that you can walk behind it. The place where Seljalandsfoss waterfall now flows, used to be the Icelandic coastline. How bizarre is that? Look how much the water has subsided.
Note: Do you want to walk behind the waterfall? Make sure to put on a raincoat, because you’re going to get very wet!
The Seljalandsfoss waterfall can be visited for free.
At about 5 minutes walking distance from the Seljalandsfoss waterfall you will find the Gljúfrafoss waterfall. This waterfall is smaller than the Seljalandsfoss, but still very special! At first you won’t see the Gljúfrafoss, because it’s hidden between some rocks. It’s possible to walk between the rocks towards the waterfall, although you’ll need good rain boots to do so. Unfortunately, we didn’t have them with us and the water was too high to admire the waterfall up close without rain boots!
The surroundings of the waterfall are pretty as well. Green as far and wide as you can see, with several cute Icelandic houses dotted all over the place. A beautiful area to take some awesome pictures!