Skip to main content

Miles and miles of black-sanded beach, ice caps topping volcanos and glacial rivers turning into tumbling waterfalls, Iceland’s south coast shows why this small island nation is known as the Land of Ice and Fire. The Route One road runs along the south coast, making it easily accessible from Reykjavík and the perfect spot for a day trip.
Skógafoss waterfall
Best Time to Visit
All year-round
Distance from Reykjavík
120 - 380km (75 - 236mi)
Coordinates
63.41767, -18.99731

Related tours

Hikers admiring the Sólheimajökull Glacier during a hike in the south coast of Iceland.
    6.5 hours

    Glacier Panorama Trail

    Enjoy a versatile, scenic hike by the volcano Katla that rewards you with a stunning panoramic glacier view of Eyjafjallajökull, Sólheimajökull and other unique landscapes of the scenic south coast. This guided day tour, which is moderately difficult, gives you a glimpse into the world of Iceland’s geological wonders and how glaciers have shaped the land for thousands of years. A specially modified glacier truck transports you approximately 750 metres to start the hike, which will generally continue downhill. Participants should be in good physical shape with some mountain climbing experience.

    From €140/person
    An iceberg peacefully floating on the glacial Lagoon Jökulsárlón in the south coast of Iceland.
      14.5 hours

      Jökulsárlón Glacial Lagoon & Boat Tour

      With its enormous white and blue icebergs breaking off from Vatnajökull glacier, the Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon is a natural wonder of Iceland, a sight you absolutely cannot miss. This scenic day tour includes a thrilling boat ride on Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon, the epic waterfalls of Skógafoss and Seljalandsfoss, the glittering Diamond Beach and charming Vík. Explore some of south Iceland’s most spectacular and iconic landscapes!

      From €201/person
      A woman holding a piece of iceberge in the Fjallsárlón lagoon in Iceland.
        7 hours

        Blue Ice Experience and Fjallsárlón Iceberg Lagoon

        Take your Iceland self-drive adventure to the next level with this combo tour on a beautiful outlet glacier and a boat ride along a stunning lagoon. Experience the beauty of Iceland’s mighty glaciers on foot and in water. Expect an easy tour with a 3.5-hour guided glacier walk and a 1.5-hour scenic boat ride on the Fjallsárlón Glacier Lagoon.

        From €173/person
        Reynisfjara in the south shore of Iceland
          10.5 hours

          South Shore Adventure

          This South Shore Adventure is the ideal tour for nature lovers looking to explore some of the most unique and scenic sights in the South. Get ready for an action-packed day seeing epic waterfalls, charming towns, vast glaciers, and the most famous black sand beach in Iceland!

          From €93/person
          A woman looking at the calm icebergs floating on the glacial lagoon
            13.5 hours

            Jökulsárlón Glacial Lagoon & Diamond Beach

            With its enormous white and blue icebergs breaking off from Vatnajökull glacier, the Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon is a natural wonder of Iceland, a sight you absolutely cannot miss. The nearby Diamond Beach has a stunning display of chunks of ice glistening on stark black sands. This tour features some of southeast Iceland's most spectacular and iconic landscapes!

            From €159/person
             Four persons on four kayaks on glacier lagoon in the south coast Iceland
              2.5 hours

              Kayaking by the Glacier

              With its enormous white and blue icebergs breaking off from Sólheimajökull Glacier, join this leisurely kayak tour where you will sail along the Sólheimajökull Glacier Lagoon. This is an experience you absolutely cannot miss out on. Bask in the beautiful nature surrounding you as your expert guide leads you around this gorgeous outlet glacier.

              From €120/person
              Sólheimasandur, airplane wreck, flugvélaflak, c-117
                1 hour

                Plane Wreck Shuttle

                Hop aboard the Plane Wreck shuttle for the 4 km (2.5 mi) to the DC-3 aeroplane wreckage on the hauntingly beautiful black sand beach of Sólheimasandur. The shuttle is available seven days a week between 10:00 and 17:00 and takes just 10-15 minutes to get to the plane!

                From €20/person
                Hikers walking on Sólheimajökull glacier in the south coast of Iceland.
                  3 hours

                  Glacier Discovery

                  Join this easy, short glacier walk and explore the beautiful, icy wonderland of Iceland’s Sólheimajökull Glacier. Enjoy the fresh air, interesting shapes and hues of the ice and marvel at the vast and remote slice of south Iceland. Led by an expert guide, get up close and personal with one of the country's most famous glaciers!

                  From €106/person
                  Hvannadalshnúkur Mountain in Skaftafell area, Iceland.
                    15 hours

                    Hvannadalshnúkur - Iceland's highest summit

                    Ascending the highest peak in Iceland, Hvannadalshnúkur (2110 m / 6900 ft) is a bucket-list worth climb to check off your list! The mountain is located on the northwestern rim of the Öræfajökull volcano and promises an unforgettable hike with breathtaking panoramic views. This is not a beginners’ hike; be prepared for a challenging climb befitting those with ample climbing experience and in fantastic physical shape. No special technical skills are required, but we recommend packing the items on our equipment list (see below). The climb will be mentally and physically gruelling, but it is worth it.

                    From €365/person
                    Snowmobile driving on Mýrdalsjökull Glacier in the south coast of Iceland.
                      2.5 hours

                      Snowmobile Adventure on Mýrdalsjökull Glacier

                      Join this thrilling snowmobile experience on the mighty Mýrdalsjökull Glacier! Spend 1-hour riding across the ice field, with breathtaking scenery and an experienced guide. This tour doesn’t require previous snowmobile riding experience, and anyone over the age of 17 with a valid driver’s licence can operate the snowmobile. But, if there are kids over 8 in the group or non-drivers, they can ride as a passenger. Get ready to glide on a glacier!

                      From €279/person
                      Snowmobiles on the Mýrdalsjökull Glacier in Iceland.
                        10.5 hours

                        South Coast - Glacier Snowmobiling Adventure

                        Join this thrilling snowmobile experience on the mighty Mýrdalsjökull Glacier! Spend 1-hour riding across the ice field, with breathtaking scenery and an experienced guide. This day tour doesn’t require previous snowmobile riding experience, and anyone over the age of 17 with a valid driver’s licence can operate the snowmobile. But, if there are kids over 8 in the group or non-drivers, they can ride as a passenger. Get ready to glide on a glacier! The tour also includes sightseeing stops at the epic waterfalls Skógafoss and Seljalandsfoss!

                        From €286/person
                        Couple on footpath at Fimmvörðuháls
                          10 hours

                          Day Hike over Fimmvörðuháls

                          Want to experience a slice of the highlands but don’t have the time for a multi-day hike? Book this guided day tour over the spectacular Fimmvörðuháls pass! A professionally trained guide will lead you on this trail, named one of the Best Hikes in the World by National Geographic. Expect a demanding 10-hour hike where you will see fantastic glacier views, volcanic craters, vast canyons and impressive waterfalls. The 22-kilometre hike is available July-August; participants must be at least 12 years old and up for a challenging hike.

                          From €259/person
                          A guide inside an ice cave in Skaftafell, Iceland.
                            5.5 hours

                            Ice Cave - Only the Brave

                            Looking for a challenge with a fantastic reward? On this active day tour, you will experience a natural ice cave, one of the most iconic and picturesque features of the glacial landscape. As is often the case, the most beautiful places can be difficult to access, but it is absolutely worth it if you are physically up for it. Expect a challenging tour with about 4.5 hours spent on the ice.

                            From €186/person
                            ATV Journey Across a Lake, Unforgettable Off-Road Experience
                              2 hours

                              ATV - Black Beach Safari and the Plane Wreck

                              Looking for an active tour in south Iceland? Get an adrenaline rush while riding an ATV on vast black sand beaches! This thrilling 2-hour guided tour includes breathtaking views of the surrounding area and a visit to the Sólheimasandur Plane Wreck.

                              From €213/person
                              Hikers walking through a glacier crevasse in Skaftafell, Iceland.
                                3.5 hours

                                Blue Ice Experience

                                Explore a stunning outlet glacier in Skaftafell during this easy glacier walk. Marvel at this icy giant, a breathtaking outlet glacier that extends from the vast Vatnajökull Glacier, the largest in Europe. Get ready for an adventure against a backdrop of glacial ice!

                                From €126/person
                                Hikers walking on the Sólheimajökull glacier in the south coast of Iceland.
                                  10.5 hours

                                  South Coast & Glacier Hiking

                                  Enjoy a guided glacier walk, exploring the beautiful, icy wonderland of Iceland's Sólheimajökull Glacier. Enjoy the fresh air, interesting shapes and hues of the ice and marvel at the vast and remote slice of south Iceland. Get up close and personal with one of the country's most famous glaciers! Expect a 2-hour drive from Reykjavík, a 1.5-hour glacier hike, and some sightseeing along the south coast and back to Reykjavík.

                                  From €166/person
                                  Hiker climbing a glacier wall on Sólheimajökull in the south coast of Iceland
                                    4 hours

                                    Sólheimajökull Glacier Walk and Ice Climbing

                                    Experience an easy glacier walk with an introduction to ice climbing on this small group day tour. You will explore the majestic landscapes of Sólheimajökull glacier, including water cauldrons, ridges, and deep crevasses, followed by a quick search for a suitable spot to rig up our gear for a short, moderately difficult introduction to ice climbing. You can expect about 3 hours on the ice with a professionally trained glacier guide.

                                    From €179/person
                                    A person on a ATV looking at a plane wreck in the icelandic black beach
                                      10.5 hours

                                      South Coast & DC-3 Plane Wreck Black Beach ATV Adventure

                                      Explore Iceland's legendary South Coast, where the thundering cascades of Seljalandsfoss and Skógafoss await. Amidst the shadow of the mighty Katla volcano, feel the thrill of an ATV ride across scenic valleys and black sand expanses, leading you to the iconic DC-3 plane wreck on Sólheimasandur beach. A harmonious blend of tranquil vistas and heart-pounding adventure!

                                      From €219/person

                                      Ice and Fire along the South Coast of Iceland

                                      How to access Iceland’s south coast

                                      The route of the south coast is a popular day trip from Reykjavík. The Route One main road that encircles the entire island of Iceland leads from the capital and runs all the way along the south coast, making it an easy place to explore by car. A south coast self-drive adventure is a popular way to see the sights along this route. Under your own steam, you can spend as long as you want at each waterfall, beach and glacier viewpoint, taking your time or speeding up whenever you feel like it. However, if you prefer to simply sit back, relax and take in the volcanoes, mountains and wild Atlantic shore from the car window, joining one of the many day trips or multi-day trips that run from Reykjavík to the south coast is the perfect option.


                                      Skógafoss Waterfall during sunset. South coast of Iceland.

                                      The natural wonders of the South Coast

                                      One of the most popular sights is the south coast waterfalls. Iceland has hundreds of waterfalls that tumble from cliff tops and thunder over rocks and two of the most beautiful are on the south coast. Seljalandsfoss waterfall is the only place in Iceland where you can actually walk behind the cascade. At Skógafoss you can hike up to the top of the waterfall for a view over the mossy-green landscape all the way to the sea and count the rainbows that appear when the sun hits the spray at the cascade’s base. You can also spot some of the country’s huge ice caps from the roadside like the famous Eyjafjallajökull which caused the dramatic ash cloud of 2010.


                                      Basalt columns at Reynisfjara beach in the south coast of Iceland.

                                      Reynisfjara Black Beach

                                      Most South Coast itineraries include a stop at Reynisfjara black-sanded beach, where a sweep of onyx sand stretches for miles and miles. The beach’s Hálsanefshellir cave, made from twisting basalt columns, looks like something from a legendary tale where fae folk might hang out, and two jagged sea stacks stand tall as skyscrapers out at sea. It makes for a striking picture.


                                      Explorer walking on a glacier in the South Coast of Iceland.

                                      Explore the Glaciers

                                      Along the south shore, you'll find some of Iceland's most renowned glaciers. Adjacent to Eyjafjallajökull is the mighty Mýrdalsjökull with its outlet, Sólheimajökull. Further east lies the colossal Vatnajökull, Europe's largest ice cap. These glaciers provide not only breathtaking views for your day trip but also act as a haven for adventure enthusiasts. Glacier hikes, ice climbing, ice caving, and glacier lagoon kayaking tours are available.

                                      Jökulsárlón lagoon during sunset. Floating icebergs and a mountain on the background.

                                      Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon

                                      At the opposite end of the south coast from Reykjavík, Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon is considered the “jewel in Iceland’s crown”. Glowing blue icebergs float in the clear glacial water and you can take a boat out into the lagoon to touch the ice up close. Just across the road from the glacier lagoon, the Diamond Beach is another of Iceland’s black-sanded beaches, but this one is a little different. Huge shards of crystal-clear ice travel down from the glacier lagoon to the shore where it rests on the jet-black sand. When the light hits the ice, it looks like diamonds shimmering on the ground.

                                      Adventure activities along the south coast

                                      There is plenty for the outdoor enthusiast along the south coast of Iceland. One once-in-a-lifetime experience that can be ticked off your bucket list is hiking on a south coast glacier. Iceland isn’t short of ice caps, in fact, 11% of the country is covered in glacial ice. There are a few spots where you can embark on a glacier hike along the south coast, but the most popular are Sólheimajökull and Skaftafell. You can also explore glacial ice caves under the guidance of a professional guide and try your hand at ice climbing.

                                      explorer on top of a peak looking over a glacier in the south coast of Iceland.

                                      A hikers paradise

                                      More hiking opportunities are on offer around Skaftafell, where miles of trails meander across the rugged landscape. You can even follow a long-distance walking trail through the Icelandic Highlands from Skógar (near Skógafoss waterfall) towards the untouched Icelandic Highlands.

                                      Person on an ATV on the black sand beach in Iceland.

                                      Adventures in the South Coast

                                      For a unique view of Iceland’s landscape, you can join a zip-lining adventure at Vík, soaring high above rivers and lava plains. Or, for a more grounded experience, power across the black sand of Reynifjara in an ATV and discover the wreck of a DC-3 plane.

                                      Eat, drink and sleep along the south coast

                                      If you’re taking it slow and spending more than a day exploring the sights of the south coast, you’ll want to stop for food and accommodation. Cabins and rooms in guesthouses on remote farms can be found all along the Route One road for overnight stays, often including a home-cooked meal and breakfast in the morning. The pretty coastal villages of Vík and Höfn are home to a selection of hostels, hotels and B&Bs for all budgets, plus pubs and restaurants for a drink and meal at the end of the day. Most of the major sights have their own visitor’s centre with a café so you can try rustic Icelandic soups, stews and sandwiches for lunch as you sightsee. In some of the remote regions, especially around Skaftafell, you’ll find campsites with tent pitches and spots for campervans.

                                      All About Iceland’s South Coast

                                      Sign up for our newsletter

                                      Subscribe to our newsletter for exclusive tips, personalized travel advice, and early-bird offers on unique experiences!

                                      • Exclusive Insights
                                      • Tailored Travel Tips
                                      • Early Access to Offers