Samples of South Iceland - Part 1: Keflavík to Vík

Iceland is a place where there is always something more to see just around the corner. The south shore main road stretching from Keflavik to Höfn.
December 7, 2017
Kári Gunnlaugsson

Iceland is a place where there is always something more to see just around the corner. The south shore main road is an example, stretching roughly 500 km from Keflavik to Höfn. Passing through some of the most amazingly wild if not extraterrestrial landscape on this planet.

The south coast offers a collection of experiences that should rock any traveller´s world. Begnning with the great geothermal areas of Reykjanes peninsula. Passing Eyjafjallajökull volcano and the otherworldly Eldhraun lava field. Ending near the magnificent Glacier Lagoon and the black sand deserts.

Let´s start with the south western part. 

Reykjanesviti
Reykjanesviti

Reykjanes peninsula is not only the home of KEF international airport and The Blue Lagoon. It also contains the powerful hot spring Gunnuhver, the Bridge Between Continents and the crazy rugged beach at Reykjanesviti lighthouse. All these are around twenty minutes from the airport and the lagoon. Road 427 takes you through the great lava fields from Grindavik along the coastline eastwards. You will pass the geothermal area at Krýsuvík with its boiling mud pools and the otherworldly Lake Kleifarvatn. Keep going with the sea on your right and you will hit the town of Þorlákshöfn. Here you can either go up to the great lava cave at Raufarhólshellir or continue to Selfoss along the beautiful coastline. If you are in the mood for a great meal our recommendation would be: The langoustine feast at Við Fjöruborðið in Stokkseyri. If you are into fine dining we recommend Tryggvaskáli Restaurant in Selfoss.

Also, if you are coming from KEF airport you will already have had a pretty full day so there always Hotel Selfoss, a save haven for any traveller in need of a warm bed.

The 120 km stretch from Selfoss to Vik is a drive full of sights and history. This area is the setting for one of the great sagas, Nial´s Saga. A tale of heroes and villains centring around an argument between two women that escalated into a minor civil war around 1000 AD.

The main attractions are the waterfalls Seljalandsfoss and Skógarfoss, both in the foothills of Eyjafjallajökull volcano. As well as Sólheimajökull glacier and the Black Sand Beach (Reynisfjara). There are also numerous other stops that can be made for longer or shorter experiences. The ferry to Vestmannaeyjar islands sails from Landeyjahöfn which is also worth driving to just for the view of the islands and the volcano. There is also the plain wreck on Sólheimasandur made famous by Justin Bieber in his video for the song “I Will Show You”. Justin managed to piss off most of the South Coast with his video. He did this by climbing out on dangerous ledges and dancing on protected vegetation. Topping it off by doing downright stupid things like jumping into icy waters in his underwear. People worried that legions of Beliebers would follow after and either kill themselves or leave a path of destruction. For better or for worse neither has been the case. However it´s worth keeping in mind that despite the monstrous forms of the landscape here it still shelters a fragile ecosystem.

 

Reynisfjara lies between the amazing rock formations of Dyrhólaey and Reynisdrangar basalt columns rising from the sea. This is one of the truly breathtaking stops along the ring road and should not be passed by under any circumstances.

The area around Vik also has various options for accommodation such as Hotel Dyrhólaey, Hotel Katla and Icelandair Hotel Vik. All well situated , and it must be said that this area is worth at least a couple of days stop on any journey around Iceland.

Reynisfjara
Reynisfjara black sand beach

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