South Iceland Road Trip Itinerary

This route will take you through the best of what south Iceland has to offer. 

Having previously visited Iceland before, this route does not include the Golden Circle sights (which I also highly recommend).

Starting and ending in Reykjavik this route will take you through the best natural views that Iceland has to offer. I travelled during early November, the sunlight hours were short. The sun rose around 9 am, with sun down around 4pm. Bear this in mind when travelling if you don’t like driving in the dark. 

Start point: Reykjavik

47km – 50 minutes

Stop one: Hveragerdi Geothermal Park

After leaving the city and finally getting into the beautiful countryside, our first stop was Hveragerdi.

It’s a small self-guided park that has a few hot springs, old mud pools and one active geysir. There is a small cafe and there you will have an opportunity to boil an egg in the hot spring, as well as trying some local “lava bread”, traditional bread baked underground. The fee to the park was small and if you do not have a chance to visit other geothermal parks, then this small one is a good pitstop. 


83km – 1 hour, 10 minutes

Stop two: Seljalandsfoss 

This stunning waterfall is a great stop just off of route one. Entrance is free, however there is a small fee for the car park. 

The waterfall drops around 197ft and it’s one of the few waterfalls that you can walk behind. 

You will get wet from the spray and mist, so dress appropriately (especially with good footwear). There is a relatively easy path up and behind the falls, but it can be quite muddy.  Nearby there are other hiking trails to other small waterfalls nearby, including Gljufrabui which is around 500 meters away. 

There is a small gift shop and toilet facilities at Seljalandfoss. 


39km, 36 minutes 

Stop three: Widok Na Myrdasjokull (Solheimajokull glacier tongue)

If you want to experience the power of nature, make a stop at this glacier. Underneath the ice is the famous active volcano called Katla. It is expected that the volcano will erupt in the future, which will obviously melt the ice above, so see it while you can!

From the carpark, it is a ten minute walk to the viewpoint for the glacier. The glacier is melting rapidly and you can see a few pieces of blue ice down in the lagoon nearby. I visited here just before sun down so was unable to take a guided hike. However at the carpark there were a few companies who offered tours. 

One company – Troll Expeditions offer a 3 hour guided hike. 

Night one accommodation:  Skammidalur Cottages

We stayed here for two nights, it is just a fifteen minute or so drive into the town of Vik and the famous black beaches area also nearby. It offered free parking, a small kitchen, free wifi and was clean. 

Skammidalur Cottages booked via

8.5km, 10 minutes

Day two: Vik and the black beaches

Stop one: Reynisfjara

On our second morning, we had an early start to head down to the beach area. After a short drive from our cottage we headed to the black sand beach at Reynisfjara. 

The beach is world famous and rightly so, it has huge basalt columns and the wild Atlantic sea roars alongside the large sea stacks just off the shoreline. This beach was very striking and contrasting, especially with the white foam of the waves against the black sand. 

Safety on the coast

Please be aware of the sea conditions, at the entrance to the beach you will see a three light system of red, amber and green. You should abide by the rules and if the light is flashing red then you can’t get onto the beach because it is deemed unsafe.

You should also be aware of “sneaker” waves which are huge coastal waves that can suddenly appear in a train of smaller waves. I stupidly got caught out with this and got soaked – you have been warned!


11km, 12 minutes

Stop two: Vik Town Centre

From the Reynisfjara to the town of Vik is a short 12 minute drive.  It is a stunning town, surrounded by incredible mountain and sea views. The town is very small but the surrounding landscapes make it a worthwhile stop. 

I also recommend stopping here for lunch and to top up on supplies and fuel. 

There is also a large supermarket and clothing shop. If you want to purchase woollen items, then check out Icewear for some nice knits. 

The town has a very striking white and red church perched on top of the hill, drive up to the car park and you’ll be rewarded with views across to the sea and you’ll see the sea stacks. 

Places to eat:

In the town itself we stopped at a few different places. 

The first is a cool old american yellow school bus that has been converted into a unique coffee shop. Skool beans has a good range of hot drinks and cakes, and if you’re lucky enough you might spot the well loved resident cat!

The second is more for evening dinner or a large lunch – Black Crust Pizza (which is next to the supermarket). Although the pizza itself may not be traditionally Icelandic, it does have a special “volcanic” looking black crust. The sourdough is infused with activated charcoal and they have a range of interesting toppings. 

Nearby to the main shopping area there is another section of beach you can visit – Vikurfjara Black Sand beach There is nearby parking and I found this beach a lot quieter compared to the other one. 


14km, 15 minutes

Stop Three: Gigjagja “Yoda Cave”

On route out of Vik, I recommend a quick stop to Yoda Cave which is just off of route one. 

The surrounding landscape is almost desert-like, with vast areas of black sand and large rocks. The road to the cave is gravel and there were a few potholes, but you can drive right up to the entrance of the cave.

The best view for Star Wars lovers is from inside the cave, enter inside the cavern and you’ll be in awe of the yoda shape that mother nature has left. 

Afterwards we worked our way back to the cottage for the night. 

Day Three

After checking out of the cottage near Vik our aim was to head further east towards Hofn.

On route we stopped near the main road for a photo opportunity of Foss à Sidu (Waterfall). You can spot the high and impressive falls from the road. We stopped in front of the gate to take a picture, after the gate and the land on which the waterfall is on is private property. However, you can still get a good view from the public car park. 

141km, 1 hour and 40 minutes 

Stop one: Veitingasala Restaurant, Shop, And Gas

After a drive, we stopped at the Veitingasala rest stop for a comfort break and to have a gas station hotdog (they are super good). From this stop you’ll get amazing mountain views and you can see the Svínafellsjökull Glacier.

There after we stopped near the main route road to see one of the turfed roof churches at Hofskirkja, it was a  quaint little church and very peaceful. 

191km, 2 hours, 15 minutes

Stop two:Diamond Beach (Jokulsarlon glacier lagoon).

It was then onto my favourite place we visited in Iceland – Diamond beach. 

The icebergs, “diamonds” which fill the Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon wash up on shore, creating a spectacular contrast with the volcanic black sand. We were lucky with lighting and the ice was glistening beautifully.  The car park is a very short walk to the beach, it is also worthwhile walking a little further inland to see the glacier lagoon. 

Jokulsarlon glacier lagoon

Cross the bridge or drive to the next car park and from there you will see the huge floating icebergs that have made their way from Breiðamerkurjökull, an outlet glacier of the famous Vatnajökull (the largest icecap in Europe). You can see the sheer size of the icecap on any Iceland map. 

The icebergs are a pure icy white or vibrant deep blue colour and it’s a place you should definitely take your time with, we walked around half way along the lagoon before we lost daylight.  

It should be said that don’t attempt to climb on the icebergs, treat these natural wonders like ancient relics, after all the ice from the bergs are over 1000 years old!

Boat trips or kayaks are available, I’ve linked a company below:

51km, 37 minutes

Stop Three: Lilja Guesthouse

For the night we stayed over at the Lilja Guesthouse, the surroundings were beautiful and the skies were very dark. We were lucky enough to spot the northern lights above us. 

Once we checked in, it was a short drive to the town of Hofn for some dinner. Hofn was a small fishing village and had quite a few options for food. We opted for a nice meal at Pakkhús Restaurant which was down at the main harbour. I highly recommend the cream of langoustine soup. 


Day Four

After an early start at Lilja guesthouse it was time to work our way back to Reykjavik. 

The route took us back along the same road we took, our intention was to see one of the waterfalls we didn’t get to see and to have a nice lunch in Vik. 

181 km, 2 hours.

Stop One: Gönguleið um Eldhraun Lava fields 

As you are driving through South Iceland you will be amazed at the lunar-like landscapes. The mossy green lava fields are vast and there was a good opportunity to stop and see them close up. There was a small car park and pathways across the lava. It is important to stick to the path. The moss growing on top is very fragile and can take years to regrow. 

Eldhraun lava fields are the biggest lava flow in the world. It occurred during the famous Laki eruption during the 1700s. The lava fields were used for the Apollo 11 crew trained for their moonwalk. 

62km, 47 minutes

Stop Two: Vik

Our next stop was Vik for fuel and lunch at Black Crust Pizza. The cost of petrol, surprisingly for Iceland was not outrageous. I would recommend filling up often along route one.
After a filling lunch it was time to head to Skogafoss to see the waterfall. 

34km, 30 minutes

Stop Three: Skógafoss (waterfall).

As you drive along route one you will begin to see the waterfall, it is a very short detour off of the ring road. 

Stopping to see the waterfall was another highlight on this route. It is one of the largest waterfalls in Iceland, with an impressive 60 metre drop. This waterfall is special because you can walk right up to it, granted you will get soaked but it’s impressive to see. 

Above the waterfall there is a staircase up with a viewing platform if you are feeling brave. For us, we decided just to stay on the ground and marvel at the rainbow appearing in the mist.

1.7km, 5 minutes

Stop Four: Skogar Museum 

Near to the waterfall is the small town of Skogar, and the heritage and folk museum. 

Part of the museum is outdoors, with six buildings showcasing the history and housing of the Icelandic people. I loved seeing the turf houses and you can visit inside them to see what life was like. Whilst you are outside exploring, keep an eye out for the miniature fairy houses tucked away in the corner, Iceland’s folklore is heavily surrounded around fairies and elves and it’s clear to see why.

157km, 2 hours

Stop Five: Reykjavik city centre

After Skogar it was time to head back to the city and drop off our car hire. 

Car Hire: 

It’s good to search on price comparison sites and Skyscanner for the best deal. We hired the car from Discover Cars, with drop off available at Keflavik airport.

One thing that we make sure and do is to purchase extra insurance prior to picking up the car. Usually they will try and up sell you higher insurance. 

Parking: throughout Iceland you should download some parking apps, one of the most popular ones was the Parka App which allows you to pay for parking in the city and around the country. 

Another useful app to download to check the road conditions is called Safe Travel Iceland.


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