Exploring Southern Iceland

Magazine Exploring Southern Iceland
10 Days Exploring Southern Iceland 
Written by Kate Holthouser for Icelandair Hotels. 
 
Regardless of where one hangs their hat in Iceland you’re guaranteed to experience things to write home about. But one area of the country that really stuns is the south. Barreling waterfalls, glacier-topped mountains, miles of charcoal-black lava fields —you’ve got it all in Southern Iceland.
 
Days 1-4 | Enjoy Reykjavík
 
Strolling along Skólavörðustígur street on the way to Hallgrímskirkja church. 
 
 
Undoubtedly Europe’s coolest capital, Reykjavik is the perfect place to enjoy an intro in to the Icelandic experience. Shop in the many boutiques that line the main streets; try an Einstök White Ale or a Garún No. 1 at a local bar; and wander up to Hallgrímskirkja, the uniquely shaped church that pierces the city’s skyline. Just being in the moment and seeing where the city takes you is rule one of Reykjavík.
 
The city is also situated to enjoy a multitude of day trips — horseback riding with Sólhestar, a visit to the Blue Lagoon and venturing inside Langjökull glacier with Into The Glacier tours are day trips highly recommended. And when you’re ready to call it a night, checking into the Icelandair Hotel Reykjavik Marina won’t disappoint.
 
Day 5 | The Golden Circle
 
evening view of Gullfoss
Evening view of Gullfoss waterfall on the Golden Circle route.
 
Head east from the city and begin your journey on Iceland’s most famous tourist route: The Golden Circle
— comprised of Þingvellir National Park, the Great Geysir and Gullfoss waterfall.
Þingvellir is the site where Iceland’s original parliament was established in 930 A.D. and is known for its unique placement
between the North American Eurasian tectonic plates. Geysir and Gulfoss stand beside Þingvellir as tributes to the stunning natural wonders found in Iceland. Geysir, a geyser that erupts with remarkable frequency, and Gulfoss, a
magnificent series of waterfalls, lie close in distance and are easy to visit.
Once you’ve completed the Golden Circle, take a dip at Laugarvatn Fontana Geothermal Baths and recharge your batteries. The Icelandair Hotel in nearby Fludir is a short drive away — and is the perfect place for a quiet night.
 
 
Day 6 Head to Vik
 
sculpture Icelandair hotel Fludir
Morning breakfast welcome at Icelandair Hotel Fludir
 
Spend the morning at Iceland’s oldest swimming pool — The Secret Lagoon — in Fludir and then head further south, toward Vik. The drive south holds noteworthy stops along the way: the church of Skálholt (the site is also home to interesting archeological ruins from the Middle Ages), Seljalandsfoss and Skogafoss waterfalls, and famed Eyjafjallajökull glacier, which lies atop an active volcanic caldera. Once you’ve satisfied your wanderings for the day, head to Icelandair Hotel Vik and put up your feet.
Day 7 Vik by morning, Kirkjubaejarklaustur by afternoon
Black sand vik
The black sands of Vik’s beaches.
 
Icelandair hotel Vik
Interesting architectural detail of Icelandair Hotel Vik
 
Walk along — but don’t get in the water — at Vik’s volcanic black beaches by morning.
Follow with a quick backtrack to Dyrhólaey to see the large arch in the peninsula (and maybe some puffins) and then driving on to Kirkjubaejarklaustur would complete a fulfilling day of travel. Kirkjubaejarklaustur is ideally situated between the Myrdalsjokull and Vatnajokull glaciers and is home to craters at Lakagigar and Kirkjugólf basalt formations that resemble a tiled church floor. Not a bad place for hiking either. The Icelandair Hotel Klaustur is nearby and waiting to invite you to dinner.
 
Day 8 Kirkjubaejarklaustur
 
Vast land near Vatnajökull
A view of the vast land near the Vatnajokull glacier.
 
After visiting any remaining wonders near Kirkjubaejarklaustur, have a swim at the local swimming pool, or go for a drive towards the Vatnajokull glacier. Amazing vistas can be had from the car.
 
 
Day 9 Back to Reykjavík
 
ships docked Reykjavik Marina
Ships docked in the Reykjavik marina near Icelandair Hotel Marina.
 
Head back to the city — about a 4 hour drive from Kirkjubaejarklaustur — and enjoy stops along the way —
the crashed plane at Sólheimasandur is one popular suggestion. Once back in the city, stay near the marina for an evening. Fish and chip joints huddle together near the docks. They’re excellent for a cold beer after a long day of driving —as is Slippbarinn restaurant, famous for their innovative cocktails. 
 
Day 10 Final Goodbyes
Enjoy one final Icelandic breakfast, mail your postcards, and review all your photos of puffins.
Then plan your return trip to Iceland. There’s even more to see.
 

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