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Things to do in South Iceland

Things to do in  South Iceland

Welcome to South Iceland

Travelers exploring South Iceland can check off many of the country’s top natural wonders. This is where you’ll find Gullfoss waterfall, Thingvellir National Park, and Geysir geothermal area, all of which lie along the mighty popular Golden Circle driving route. Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon, Vatnajökull National Park, the waterfalls of Seljalandsfoss and Skógafoss, and the black-sand beach of Reynisfjara are a few more reasons that this is the country’s most-visited region. Active travelers will also find near-endless things to do in South Iceland, from ice-climbing, glacier-hiking, and snowmobiling to quad biking and horseback riding.

Top 6 attractions in South Iceland

Sólheimajökull Glacier

Among Iceland’s most famous peaks, the notoriously difficult-to-pronounce Eyjafjallajökull volcano made headlines when it erupted in 2010, spewing an enormous cloud of volcanic ash that grounded air traffic all across Europe. The imposing, ice-capped volcano has three main peaks, the tallest of which reaches 5,417 feet (1,651 meters).More

Reynisfjara Beach

A place of stark, wild beauty, this black-sand beach on Iceland's south coast is one of the country's most photogenic locations. Here, roaring Atlantic waves batter the Reynisdrangar sea stacks, the black pebble shoreline, and the pyramid-like cliff of basalt columns known as Garðar, where you can spot puffins and guillemots.More

Mýrdalsjökull Glacier

Covering more than 270 square miles (700 square kilometers) and reaching a thickness of as much as 2,460 feet (750 meters) in places, this vast glacier is Iceland’s fourth largest. It sits atop the active Katla Volcano, which has erupted many times over the centuries, spewing meltwater, rock fragments, and ash into the air.More


Located at the confluence of the Þjórsá and Fossá rivers, Hjálparfoss waterfall cascades over a 31-foot (10-meter) basalt cliff. The lava-strewn landscape that surrounds the waterfall is courtesy of the nearby Hekla volcano, one of Iceland’s most active volcanoes. During the warmer months, spot Icelandic horses grazing in the surrounding grasslands.More
Hellisheidi Geothermal Power Plant

Hellisheidi Geothermal Power Plant

The third-largest geothermal power station in the world, Hellisheidi is a state-of-the-art facility run on sustainable methods. This site is of interest to travelers because along with Iceland's other geothermal station at Nesjavellir, Hellisheidi provides 30 percent of the island's total electricity and hot water. Often visited on adventurous mountain biking or jeep tours through southern Iceland, the station creates electricity through the constant geothermal activity that takes place way below the ground, caused by the shifting of the tectonic plates between North America and Europe.The power station's multimedia energy exhibition showcases ways of harvesting green energy and highlights geothermal sources around the world. Surrounding the power station are raw Icelandic landscapes, hot springs and rivers warm enough to swim in, as well as more than 60 miles (100 km) of hiking trails.More


An expanse of uninhabited and unspoiled volcanic terrain located in central Iceland and largely off-limits to vehicles, Landmannalaugar has fast become a popular choice for those looking to escape Reykjavík and explore off-the-beaten-track. Among Iceland’s top hiking destinations, Landmannalaugar is best known for its spectacular scenery, with its multi-colored rhyolite mountains, rugged lava fields and steamy thermal pools, set against a backdrop of the ominous Helka Volcano.The No. 1 challenge for enthusiastic hikers is the 43-kilometer-long Laugavegur trail, Iceland’s most famous long distance trail, which runs from Landmannalaugar all the way to the Thorsmork Valley. Alternatively, less-experienced adventurers can tackle the 16.5-km Landmannahellir Hiking Trail around the Laugahraun lava field, enjoy a day hike or horse riding excursion through the Jokulgil valley, camp out one of the remote mountain huts or soak in one of the many natural hot springs.More

Top activities in South Iceland

Ice Cave & Snowmobile Tour from Gullfoss
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Snowmobile Adventure on Langjökull Glacier from Gullfoss
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Black Sand Beach Horse Riding Tour from Vik
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Quad Bike Tour on Black Lava Sands from Mýrdalur
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Sólheimajökull Ice Climbing and Glacier Walk
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RIB Boat Tour

RIB Boat Tour

2-Hour Black Sand Beach Buggy Tour from Hella
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Volcano ATV Tour

Volcano ATV Tour

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All about South Iceland

When to visit

Summer is typically the most appealing season in South Iceland, as the long daylight hours and relatively mild temperatures afford more opportunities to enjoy the outdoors. That said, the area is full of tourists in the summer months, and the main stops along the Golden Circle—Geysir, Gullfoss, and Thingvellir—are especially crowded. You may want to consider visiting in May or September for still-pleasant conditions and smaller crowds.

Getting around

While there is a public bus that travels along the entire southern section of the Ring Road, you’ll save time and hassle (and be able to see more sights) if you rent a car to get around. The Ring Road (Route 1) will take you to most of the area’s communities and attractions. If you want to head into the highlands, make sure to get a four-wheel-drive vehicle.

Traveler tips

South Iceland is the country’s most-visited region, but there are still a few hidden gems that aren’t swamped by tourists. One lovely, spot is the Kvernufoss waterfall, which is within walking distance of the famed Skógafoss waterfall, nestled in a spectacular, narrow gorge. While it’s smaller than Seljalandsfoss, this waterfall also has a path behind it, and (because it doesn’t attract the same size crowds), it’s far more tranquil.

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Frequently Asked Questions
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