There are many places to see in south Iceland. Most of them are quick stops along the ring road and you shouldn’t need a lot of time per stop. You will, however, need to dedicate extra time at Solheimasandur if you are planning to see the Plane crash. We were able to make all of these stops in one day from the farmhouse that we were staying at in south Iceland. Below is a list of our stops and snippets of information about them.
A lesser known neighboring waterfall to Skogafoss. You can find this waterfall by parking at Skogar transport museum. It is a 1.4 km round trip hike to the waterfall from this point. We did not get to see this waterfall, but if you have, we would love to hear about your experience!
Solheimasandur Plane Crash
This is one of Iceland’s most iconic and haunting photography locations. On Saturday Nov. 24, 1973 a US Navy Douglas super DC-3 airplane was forced to land on Solheimasandur’s black sand beach in the south of Iceland after experiencing severe icing. All members of the crew survived, but the plane was abandoned.
It is a long walk to get to the plane as the “road” that was previously there is no longer accessible. It is roughly 3 miles to reach the plane from the road and you will need to walk the same distance to get back. Depending on your walking speed and the amount of time spent here, it could take anywhere from 2-3 hours for this stop.
When we arrived at the plane, we were surprised to see that the roof had begun caving in and it seemed to be starting to fall apart overall likely due to the number of tourists climbing the plane. It was still a fun stop and we all managed to get some cool photos and we even saw a full rainbow over the plane.
Basalt sea stacks situated under the mountain Reynisfjall out in the ocean near Reynisfjara Beach. They make for very neat photos.
A black sand beach surrounded by roaring surf, and the hexagonal basalt stacks of Reynisfjall mountain. Very beautiful for a non tropical beach.
Is walking distance from Reynisfjara beach. It is found by locating the giant arch which has been eroded away by seawater.
Seljalandsfoss is unique in that you can walk behind the actual water fall. There is a path, but be careful as it does get slippery and wear a rain jacket if you have one cause you will get a bit wet.
Both Seljalandsfoss and Gljúfrabúi waterfalls are accessible from the same point. It is about a 1.5 km loop. Gljúfrabúi was our favorite, but to get to it, one must travel through water and over rocks. We recommended wearing waterproof hiking shoes/boots and rain jackets/pants as chances of getting wet are highly likely.
A unique swimming pool built into a rock face which has become one of Iceland’s best kept secrets. It is about a 2 km walk to reach the pool.
Our thoughts: The water was actually cold and the algae on the bottom was very slippery. It was hard to stand upright in the pool without sliding around. If you have water shoes we’d recommend wearing them. There was a changing room available, but there were no bathrooms. Additionally, the changing rooms were community rooms and you will need to being your own towel.
Skogafoss is one of Iceland’s most splendid waterfalls as it tumbles 60 meters from the cliffs. Colorful rainbows are a common occurrence here and a wooden stairway will bring you to a viewing platform on the top.
Quaint town near Reynisdrangar. Great place to fill up on snacks and gas as there isn’t much more along the way to Diamond Beach.
Ice diamonds glistening on a black sand beach near Jokulsarlon lagoon. This is the most beautiful when the sun is shining. We loved visiting here, thought it was really pretty and had lots of fun playing on the ice.
Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon
Breidamerkurjokull glacier is slowly melting with giant blue-tinted icebergs breaking off and floating into a lagoon. Some of the ice collects onto the shores, while some floats into the lagoon. You can potentially see seals playing here!
Vatnajokull Glacier – Glacier National Park
Nice Place to Stop and Grab a small lunch at the small cafe at the base of the Glacier. Beautiful glacier spilling into it’s own glacial lagoon. Certain times of the years you can come here to explore the Ice Caves.
Skaftafel Wilderness Area
Located inside Vatnajökull National Park, Skaftafel is a beautiful wilderness area with hiking trails and waterfalls. Beautiful views from the top of the hike.
You can enter the cave via a sheep shed built in front of it. There are traces of human habitation in the cave, we didn’t go in but we did stop and have a look.
We really enjoyed everywhere we stopped in South Iceland. It’s a long drive to Diamond Beach which was our end goal so it was nice to have some many other things to pop out and see along the way. We did some things going one way and the others coming back to break up the driving. Overall we loved the scenery and were happy everywhere we went. It was a big full day and we were happy to get a nice hot meal at the end of it.