Iceland is an island in the Atlantic Ocean and is located northwest of mainland Europe. You can fly there in 3.5 hours. Iceland is very unique. You will find all kinds of special natural formations, like waterfalls, volcanoes, glaciers and geysers! This article describes our ultimate South Iceland road trip and a 8-day itinerary. It was about 1250 kilometers long and we did it in the month of March. In my opninion, travelling by car is the perfect way to explore Iceland.
Table of Contents
Directly to the cities:
Road trip South Iceland
Start road trip Iceland: Reykjavik
Like everyone else we arrived at the airport of Keflavik. We picked up our rental car here and travelled directly to the first stop of our road trip around Iceland: Reykjavik. Reykjavik is the capital of Iceland and also the most visited city of the country. Many flights between Europe and North America make a stopover on Iceland, which means you’ll meet many day trippers in Reykjavik. We stayed one night in Blue Luxury Apartments.
Reykjavik is home to the Hallgrimskirkja, a 74.5-meter-high church that rises far above the city. The church is very modern, which makes it a place worth seeing. Other nice sights and attractions in the city are the artwork Sun Voyager, the Höfði house, the shopping mall Kringlan and the shopping street Laugavegur.
A popular activity in Reykjavik is whale watching. We booked our tour at Elding Whale Watching. Keep in mind that it is best to book in advance. People who make a stopover in Reykjavik often do this activity as well, so it can be very busy. In the unlikely event of very bad weather, the tour will be cancelled. Discover more about whale watching with Elding.
We travelled from Reykjavik to Selfoss, one of the largest places in the south of Iceland. You can visit several interesting sights from here, like the Kerið volcano crater lake, the warm water river in the Reykjadalur valley, the Seljalandsfoss waterfall, the Gljúfrafoss waterfall, the Skógafoss waterfall, the Kvernufoss waterfall and the Skógar Museum. Even though you mainly visit waterfalls here, they never get boring. The waterfalls are all very different and some really stand out!
Vík (Vík í Mýrdal)
Vík is the southernmost town in Iceland and also the city with the most rainfall. When we got there, we were lucky! There was a bit of precipitation, but the showers alternated with a lovely sunshine. We stayed one night in Skógar, west of Vík, in the Þorsteinshús Four-Bedroom Farmhouse.
Surrounding Vík are a number of special sights, like the Reynisfjara Black Sand Beach and the Dyrhólaey Arch. We travelled the next day via the Fjaðrárgljúfur Gorge, the glacial lakes Fjallsárlón and Jökulsárlón and Diamond Beach to Höfn. If you are lucky, you can see seals swimming in the Jökulsárlón glacier lake!
Note: Unfortunately, Fjaðrárgljúfur was closed during our visit, because the area is currently too damaged and needs to recover.
Near Höfn you will find Stokkenes, Vestrahorn and the Viking Village film set (an abandoned Viking style film set for the never released Universal film Viking). Höfn is the most southeastern place we visited and we saw the northern lights from here!
From Höfn we travelled back to Steinar. On the way back we visited the National Park Skaftafell. This is where you can find the Svartifoss waterfall.
From Höfn we travelled back to Steinar. We chose to spend the night in this village, because the hotels and accommodations here are a bit cheaper than in Vík. We spent the night in the South Iceland Guesthouse.
There isn’t much to do in Steinar itself, but a few kilometers from here you’ll find the famous plane wreck Solheimasandur Plane Wreck/DC-3 Plane Wreck. The plane crashed in 1973 and the wreckage was never cleared. Luckily all passengers survived the plane crash. The wreck is a popular tourist attraction and makes for a great photo opportunity.
Tip: Do you want to take a (Instagram) picture where you are alone on the plane? Make sure you visit the plane just after sunrise! You can walk from to the wreck from the parking lot in a little less than one hour.
The next day we traveled on to the sights near the “Golden Circle”.
Tungufell was the ideal base for us to visit the sights near the Golden Circle. Tungufell is a quiet, secluded village and is just a stone’s throw away from the main attractions. We spent the night in Jaðar – The Old House.
The Golden Circle is a route of about 300 kilometers along popular attractions, such as the National Park Þingvellir (Thingvellir), the Skálholtskirkja in Skálholt, the Gulfoss waterfall, the geysers Geysir and Strokkur and the Faxifoss waterfall. Unfortunately, we couldn’t finish the Golden Circle and so we couldn’t visit Thingvellir National Park, as there was too much snow when we were there.
End of itinerary: Sandgerdi
Sandgerdi is a tiny village located about 50 kilometers from Reykjavik and is close to Keflavik. Keflavik is where the international airport Keflavíkurflugvöllur is located. Because we couldn’t visit Thingvellir National Park, we had some time left and decided to spend a few more hours in Reykjavik. Then we left for our accommodation in Sandgerdi, where we spent the night in Sandgerdi Cottages.
The accommodations and hotels near the airport are the perfect base for a visit to the Blue Lagoon, a geothermal bath and Iceland’s most popular attraction. You should book your visit to the Blue Lagoon well in advance, as there’s limited capacity!