East & South Iceland
Country: Iceland Language: Icelandic Currency: Icelandic krona (kr)
Iceland is a remarkable island in the North Atlantic Ocean. The island is full of spectacular natural scenery; all you have to do is follow the Ring Road, which will take you around the entire island! Iceland is volcanically and geologically active, with a plethora of lava fields, volcanos, glaciers, and waterfalls to explore! Whether you are looking for a relaxing getaway to explore nature or an action-packed hiking trip, Iceland is the perfect place to visit. In the summer months, enjoy the midnight sun, where the sun never sets. In the winter, watch the dark skies light up with the incredible Northern Lights and explore one of the many ice caves.
CTW Must See
The eastfjords are incredibly beautiful. The landscape is divine with black sand beaches nearby, waterfalls that trickle down the mountains, and a variety of small villages to visit. There is huge opportunity for hiking and the eastfjords provide one of the best places to see the Northern Lights, as the cities on this side of the country are much smaller, creating less light pollution! Also, the eastfjords are famously the home of reindeer, so keep an eye out for these awesome creatures as you drive around the fjords!
Vatnajökull National Park
Vatnajökull National Park covers 13% of Iceland and is the largest glacier in the world, outside the Artics! The park features some extreme wonders of Iceland from the tallest mountain to the deepest proglacial lake. The scenery changes with every turn, and there are a huge amount of hiking, including ice cave hikes during the winter!
Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon
Glacier Lagoon is absolutely jaw-dropping. It is one of Iceland’s most visited natural attractions! The lagoon is filled with glacial ice chunks that are slowly making their way out to sea. As they drift out into the Atlantic, the waves crash into them forcing most of the ice back onto the black sand beach, called Diamond Beach, at the base of the lagoon. The photo ops here are insane, especially if you’re lucky enough to visit at very specific times of the year when the ice chunks brought back to the beach are larger than a life
N 64°00’59.0" W 16°57'59.4"
Svartifoss is another dramatic waterfall off the Ring Road. The waterfall is framed by massive lava columns, similar to those at Reynisdrangar. The walk from the visitors center is out 45 minutes one way over a gradual incline, so be prepared to sweat it out a bit!
GPS POINTS N63° 50' 56.404" W17° 51' 41.297”
Dverghamrar, or Dwarf Rocks, are located just off the Ring Road. These rocks were formed just as other basalt columns were, by lava that flowed into water and was quickly was cooled. The detour from the Ring Road is short and the walk around Dwarf Rocks is quick; the trip is well worth it!
GPS POINTS N 63.402778 W-19.028333
Reynisdrangar is a series of basalt sea stacks near the village of Vik. As you approach Reynisfjara Beach, you will see the dramatic stacks sticking out from the ocean. A short detour from the Ring Road will bring you to the black sand beach, where you can walk up to the sea stacks and wander around the basalt columns. While visiting, please be aware of the waves and keep a reasonable distance. The tide here is very strong and can be dangerous.
GPS POINTS N63° 31' 54.500" W19° 30' 43.187"
Skogafoss is one of the largest waterfalls in the country! It stands 60 meters tall and 25 meters wide within a beautiful mossy landscape. The breathtaking waterfall is surrounded by hiking trails, fishing opportunities, and incredibly natural scenery.
N64° 19' 38.220" W20° 7' 8.135"
Gulfoss is yet another stunning waterfall in Iceland! It is located in the canyon of Olfusa River and is a popular tourist attraction. The rushing water falls in two parts, the longest drop being 21 meters. From the carpark, there is a short 10 minute walk to reach the closest point of the waterfall. After you have seen the waterfall, grab a coffee at the cafe near the carpark.
Iceland’s great geysir is roughly 10 kilometers from Gulfoss. The thermal area remains semi-active today. You can see the ground bubbling in the lava pools nearby while you patiently wait for the geysir to erupt and sprout water 30 meters in the air!
This volcanic crater lake is found off the 35 toward Reykavik. It is believed the crater was formed from a volcanic explosion that occurred roughly 3,000 years ago. Visitors can walk to the top of the crater, however a fee is required to make the journey.
More Icelandic Adventures...
South Iceland is one small portion of the Ring Road. Check out our other Iceland Guides to keep your adventure going!