South Iceland

Rich in breathtaking natural wonders, South Iceland is home to wild volcanic landscapes, incredible wildlife, tumbling waterfalls and more. With so much to offer, your vacation isn’t complete without a visit to this stunning region.

Dyrhólaey on the Reynisfjara black sand beach
Seljalandsfoss waterfall in Iceland from above
A rainbow over the Skógafoss waterfall on a sunny day
Dyrhólaey on the Reynisfjara black sand beach
Seljalandsfoss waterfall in Iceland from above

FAQs about South Iceland

The south coast of Iceland is a popular road trip route for seeing some of the country’s iconic natural attractions. You can follow the Ring Road (or Route 1) from the Reykjanes peninsula to East Iceland, where you can find even more natural beauty.

Along the way make sure to stop off at highlights, including Seljalandsfoss waterfall, Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon, and Breiðarmerkursandur (Diamond Beach).

Whether you pick a self-drive tour, or travel with a local guide on a private or small group guided tour, you won’t want to miss exploring Iceland’s south coast.

South Iceland is a great place to visit if you love nature and have a sense of adventure!

These are just some of the top things to see and do along the south coast:

  • Marvel at Europe’s largest glacier in Vatnajökull National Park
  • Lace up your walking shoes and explore hiking trails in Skaftafell
  • Join one of the guided glacier hikes or snowmobiling excursions on offer
  • Relax and soak up the scenery from one of the region’s secluded hot springs
  • Try ice caving in winter with an experienced guide
  • Cruise between ice floes on a boat tour of Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon
  • Pick up an authentic souvenir, such as locally-made knitwear, from the village of Vík

Iceland’s south coast is packed with countless natural wonders. And thanks to its accessibility from the capital you’ll find many of the country’s most famous sights here.

Check out this round-up of some of the top places to see along the south coast of Iceland:

Please bear in mind that these natural wonders are sensitive. So if you’re on a self-drive trip to Iceland, please always leave your car in designated parking lots before heading off for your adventure.

Ask almost anyone what animal they’d like to see most in Iceland, and one of the top answers is likely to be puffins!

These charming birds are perhaps the most popular summer visitors to Iceland. In fact, they have become a sort of unofficial mascot for the country.

During the summer months, almost 60% of the world’s puffins make their way to Iceland to nest. The puffin nesting season usually runs from early May until late August, so plan your trip accordingly if you want to see them.

Luckily, the south coast is one of the best places to see puffins in Iceland. Dyrhólaey, just west of Reynisfjara beach, is a common nesting site.

You must be respectful of the birds and keep your distance, but taking photos is allowed. Bring your binoculars to get the best view!

To see South Iceland and explore the south coast fully, we recommend at least 2 days for your visit.

For instance, you could spend a day in Vatnajökull National Park and Skaftafell. You’d then have another for exploring the coastal highlights like Reynisfjara, Diamond Beach and Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon.

You can plan an overnight stop in Vík, or head further along the coast where you’ll find the fishing town of Höfn. This is is a great place to stay if you’re planning to venture further north into East Iceland as well.

Absolutely! Head for South Iceland and you’ll see many of the country’s best-loved and most-photographed sights. Plus, they tend to be easy to access from the Ring Road.

Packed with mind-blowing nature, shrouded in local folklore, and cultural highlights like Vík you won’t want to miss South Iceland. You can easily make a trip out of your visit to the south coast of Iceland, or you can day-trip from Reykjavík if you’re based there.

Both the north and south of Iceland are incredibly beautiful. But they offer different experiences, so it’s hard to compare them and say which is better.

South Iceland is generally more popular with tourists, thanks to its proximity to Reykjavík. The Vatnajökull glacier and national park are home to some of the most-visited natural attractions in Iceland. This makes it a great place to visit if you want to check lots of must-see sights off your list in one go.

Meanwhile, beyond Akureyri (the capital of the north), North Iceland is much more remote. Here you’ll find peaceful fishing villages and farmsteads.

Not only that but the region is also known as the heartland of the Icelandic horse, so you’ll see plenty of these adorable creatures on your travels. Plus, head for Húsavík if you want to take a whale-watching boat tour. It’s one of the best spots for seeing them in Europe.

So if you have time, why not visit both? North and South Iceland offer different perspectives on the country and you’re sure to be enchanted by both!


See what travelers like you have been up to lately on Instagram.