South Shore Adventure in Iceland

Our sightseeing tour of Iceland had gotten off to a great start with our trip around the Golden Circle. On our second full day, we joined another tour with Arctic Adventures to see more of the south coast.

Again, we had amazing views during the drive as we headed southeast out of Reykjavik.

Iceland’s climate and terrain is not amenable to much crop growth, so the bulk of its agricultural land is used for raising livestock — particularly sheep, which we saw aplenty throughout the day.

A stop at Skógafoss Waterfall

We started off with a visit to another impressive Icelandic waterfall — Skógafoss, situated on the Skógá River at the cliff marking the former coastline. Skógafoss is one of the largest waterfalls in Iceland, measuring 82 feet wide and dropping 200 feet. According to legend, the first Viking settler in the area, Þrasi Þórólfsson, buried treasure in a cave behind the waterfall. On sunny days, you can frequently see a single or double rainbow over the waterfall, which seems apropos of the treasure legend.

The top of the waterfall is accessible via a climb up 430 steps, which was our workout for the week.

Stepping on a glacier

Next up was the coolest thing we did in Iceland, a walk on Sólheimajökull. This unpronounceable destination is an outlet glacier of Mýrdalsjökull, Iceland’s fourth largest glacier.

Our tour did not officially include a glacier hike, but our guide offered us the opportunity to do a short walk onto the glacier up until we reached the threshold requiring crampons and other gear.

We also enjoyed the walk back along the shore to see some other incredible views.

Walking on a black sand beach

For lunch, we stopped at a cafe by Reynisfjara Beach. We ordered the lamb chops which took a while to arrive and were concerned that we wouldn’t have time to explore the beach, but they did eventually come out and we managed to spend a decent chunk of time strolling around.

The highlights of this black sand beach are the roaring Atlantic Ocean waves and the Reynisdrangar basalt stacks — which legend says originated when two trolls unsuccessfully dragged a three-masted ship to land during the night and broke into needles of rock upon exposure to daylight. The cliffs on the west side of the beach are home to numerous seabirds, including puffins that nestle into the shallow soils during nesting season. We missed puffin season so didn’t get a chance to see any during our visit.

Reynisfjara is located in Vik, a small seaside village and the southernmost settlement in Iceland. The village has only about 300 permanent inhabitants, and our guide told us that it is not a desirable place to live given the active risk from being in close proximity to the Mýrdalsjökull glacier, which itself is on top of the Katla volcano. An eruption of Katla, which is expected to occur in the near future, could easily trigger enough glacier ice to melt and cause a flash flood that would obliterate the entire village.

One last waterfall: Seljalandsfoss

On the way back to Reykjavik, we ended our tour with one last waterfall, my favourite of the three we had seen. Seljalandsfoss is part of the Seljalands River originating from the Eyjafjallajökull glacier, with a drop of 197 feet.

It is unique in that it is possible to walk around behind the waterfall. It was a bit treacherous climbing back down on the slippery rocks and we got soaked, but it was worth it to see from this vantage point.

Evening at Sky Lagoon

We returned to Reykjavik in the evening. After a short break at the hotel, we hired a taxi to take us to Sky Lagoon where we had reservations. This geothermal spa located just a 15 minute drive from downtown Reykjavik recently opened in 2021 and I actually discovered it from an episode of The Bachelor, haha. It overlooks Kársnes Harbour, featuring a seven-step spa ritual where you cycle through a series of dry sauna, steam room, cool mist, body scrub, and cold plunge.

Photo courtesy of Sky Lagoon.

We purchased the Pure Pass which included The Ritual, and spent a couple hours here lounging in the warm lagoon and enjoying a drink from the swim up bar. It started to drizzle so it was very atmospheric with the night sky and misty air, although not conducive to photography so I didn’t bother bringing my camera.

This was our final night of a whirlwind trip to Iceland. What an amazing journey! Every sight we saw was more breathtaking than the last, and it was basically impossible to take a bad photo anywhere.

One last blog post coming up: our visit to the Blue Lagoon before heading home.

27 responses to “South Shore Adventure in Iceland”

  1. And more fabulous photos and videos of your adventures! Thanks so much for sharing them.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Ok. That’s it. All you had to say was “seven step spa ritual.” I’m in. Sign me up. Everything else looks great, too, especially those cool rocks that look like Ireland’s Giant’s Causeway, but I’ll just look at photos of all of Iceland’s natural features on my phone while I engage in the spa ritual.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Apparently the rock formations at this spa are “fake” but I still loved every minute of it! We went to three spa lagoons in three days…life is good on vacation 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. It looks really interesting and I would love to have gone, though I have always been terrified of volcanoes!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think a healthy fear of volcanoes sounds very reasonable!


  4. The basalt stacks are so interesting looking, and much larger than imagined! What a great trip you’re having! Maggie

    Liked by 1 person

    1. They were massive and so interesting to see. Thanks for reading!


  5. I’m so glad you got to visit the South Coast of Iceland; among the various day trip tours I took when I was in the country in 2018, the south coast was my favorite! Skógafoss and Seljalandsfoss (the latter being the “Justin Bieber waterfall” from one of his music videos, haha) were my favorite waterfalls to have seen, and it’s incredible one can get so close to them– and get soaked! Vik’s black sand beach had been on my bucket list, and it was really rewarding to have gone…although the wild wind nearly blew me away! Can’t wait to read your final installment about your time in Iceland!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The waterfalls we saw on this trip were so cool and each so different from each other. We didn’t deal with too much wind on our visit to the black sand beach but I imagine it can get quite wild out there. Our guide warned us about sneaker waves that have taken the lives of a few tourists, yikes.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yup, I nearly got pulled in when I foolishly stood too close to the water. Never repeating that again! 😬

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Those waterfalls sure look powerful! What a wonderful trip this is 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Iceland had the coolest waterfalls I’ve ever seen!


  7. Iceland is near the top of my places to see list and that has been reinforced with your beautiful pictures!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You need to go, it really is like no other place on earth.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Absolutely stunning. It looks like nowhere else on earth.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. […] by now, but our trip to Iceland really was awesome. After our tours through the Golden Circle and south coast, it was time to wrap up our visit to this magnificent country and head back home to Canada, which […]


  10. Your pictures are gorgeous. I’m glad you had fabulous weather to more fully appreciate the views.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes we got super lucky with the weather! I was prepared for lots of rain and wind but we had sunny skies almost the entire time.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. I also liked the waterfalls in Iceland, aren’t they better in nature like that than our Niagara-on-Business? 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I had this discussion with my boyfriend. I agree that the ones in Iceland were superior to Niagara Falls even if smaller, because it’s so much more interesting to see them in a natural environment and not all built up into an attraction!

      Liked by 1 person

  12. It’s pretty amazing how most of the country is an uninhabited moonscape of craters, bright green moss, towering glaciers, volcanoes, hot springs, and fields of lava rock. Would love to visit Iceland one day 🙂 Aiva xx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. “Moonscape” is a good way to describe the landscape of Iceland!

      Liked by 1 person

  13. It’s just so beautiful, what a wonderful landscape 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, it’s indescribably beautiful there 🙂


  14. […] South Shore Adventure in Iceland — I’ve Bean Travelling […]


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.