Even though there is an undeniable, underlying sameness to a lot of the landscape and nature of Iceland, (It’s all young, volcanic, barren etc.) I always claim that every region of the Island has its own unique defining characteristics. Witch makes exploring this beautiful country a treat. And having the chance to showcase that to visitors a privilege. But when it comes to uniqueness few places can compete with the South coast of Iceland.
As a tour guide I constantly get asked for recommendations about where to go whilst visiting and more specifically people ask me to rank different locations, attractions and tours. And people are often surprised when I rank The south coast above the golden circle, which is by far more popular excursion and is that for some very good reasons (See my post about the Golden circle).
My reasons for doing so however are actually quite simple. The south coast offers far more in the way of diversity than the Golden circle. Diversity of Landscapes especially but also sights and experiences. On the drive from Reykjavik you will travel through lava fields, pastures and fields. See hot springs, glacier rivers, small farms and farming communities. And that’s just on the drive there.
They come in different sizes and shapes, some are in plain sight, others hidden away. (Some even flow the wrong way at times…) Most noteworthy are Skógarfoss and Seljalandsfoss waterfalls. There you will find huge black sand beaches were the waves have been crushing and grinding the basalt bedrock into ever smaller pieces as the waves have been coming in and out for millions of years. Even though most beaches in Iceland are black, there is a common misunderstanding that Reynisfjara beach is the ONE and only black beach. It‘s not, but it is by far the best known. All around are high intimidating sea cliffs carved out by the elements. Some still being formed and changed every day by the breaking waves. Others have become landlocked do to the rising of the Island and movements of materials by the ocean. These cliffs also provide homes for the seabirds who make their nest in cracks, holes and ledges. Of course most of the birds are migratory, so mostly they are there in the summer months. But there are some species that stick around for the winter as well.
And just to round up the available sights (even though they are countless) I should mention the scary looking volcanoes and shimmering glaciers peeking out from underneath the clouds. I mention them together simply because the volcanoes often lurk underneath glaciers. As is the fact with the famous Eyjafjallajökull volcano, witch erupted in 2010. And Katla one of our more active volcanoes, witch some say is due for an eruption soon.
You might not believe me, but every time I do the south coast tour. I see or experience something new a different. And I have been a tour guide for almost a decade now. And I say that even though the awe of some of the sights might have faded for me over the years. So I can only imagine how overwhelming it must be for people visiting from major cities and urban areas from around the globe
Now this was just a quick overview of why you should not overlook the south coast. I might go into greater detail about some of the bigger attractions in later installments. If you are interested in exploring the south coast with us check out our available tours page.
If you made it to the end of this post and are considering booking any of our tours you can use the promo code SAEVAR for a discount. Here you can find out South Coast tour