10 Reasons to Visit South Iceland

Updated August 14, 2020.

It’s Faraway Friday! Our recent trip to the South Coast of Iceland was inspiring and unique, and I encourage everyone to visit! Here are our top 10 reasons why.

10. Mythical Scenery

I mostly prefer tropical settings–bright colors, impossibly clear water, warmth, fruit growing in the wild… But Iceland delivers on a completely different level. The landscape is stunning and larger than life. The waterfalls are seemingly endless, and the mountains appear draped in greenery. It’s truly different from anything I’ve ever seen before. It’s almost like a dream!

Scenery from an Icelandic dream world

9. Sweet Wildlife

The sheep and horses in Iceland are super mellow! They just look so calm, and they roam freely throughout the country, which I think is amazing. It was serene just looking at them. Make sure you capture them in pictures so you can keep them forever!

So sweet, so hungry

8. Photo-ops

Iceland is a photographer’s paradise. There are so many unique sites and landscapes, and everywhere you look is dramatic–clouds, Aurora Borealis, mountains, volcanoes, etc. It’s all there, waiting to become a perfect photograph. Just make sure you have something in your picture for scale, since Iceland has very few trees. So put yourself, an animal, or a group of people in your photos so your viewers can see just how big Iceland is.

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Sogafoss Trail
Related: Epic Landscapes of the World

7. Jet-black Sand

I’ve seen several black sand beaches on my travels, but the black sand in Vik was a different level of black! It was worth a walk to the freezing beach in the wind and rain just to see it–and get a picture!

Black Sand, White Boots

6. Blue Lagoon

There is nowhere else in the world that I’ve ever heard of quite like Iceland’s Blue Lagoon. The silica mud is pretty cool, but the warmth is the real draw!

Mask Bar at the Blue Lagoon
More here: The Ultimate Guide to Iceland’s Blue Lagoon

5. Seljalandsfoss

This is what I started calling the “go behind waterfall” because you can walk behind the water! It’s a pretty popular spot, so get there early for a less crowded experience. But despite any number of fellow tourists, it is an memorable place to visit. Bring your rain gear–you will get wet!

The view behind the falls!
Read also: Your Guide to Road Tripping South Iceland

4. Skogafoss and the Skogafoss Trail

This huge waterfall is my favorite that we saw in Iceland. Not only is it gorgeous, there is a beautiful trail at the top that takes you past several other gorgeous waterfalls. The walk up the hillside is so worth your while!

Skogafoss from a distance
Keep reading: The Ultimate List of Hiking Tips

3. Volcanoes

Iceland is home to many active volcanoes! The most famous, perhaps, is the Eyjafjallajokull volcano that erupted in April 2010 and wreaked havoc in much of Europe’s air travel for weeks! We saw it from the Ring Road, seemingly snow-capped and sleeping!

Snow-covered in the distance

2. DC-3 Plane Wreckage

I really really wanted to get some epic, haunting shots of this crash site. This American DC-3 military plane was flying from the U.S. to Europe in the 1970s and had to ditch on this black sand beach on Iceland’s South Coast. Everyone survived, but no one came to pick up the plane! The hike is 5-miles around-trip, and there were way too many other people there crawling all over the plane to get pictures, but I did get one shot that I’m really proud of:

Crashed DC-3 Plane Wreckage
More here: Ruined: Beauty in the Broken Places

1. Northern Lights (Aurora Borealis)

Iceland is not the ideal place to see the Northern Lights due to its often overcast skies, but we saw them while we were there! We saw them from the plane on our flight to Iceland and in Hella at Hotel Ranga, but not every night. Stay tuned for a post all about the Aurora Borealis on Monday!

Aurora Borealis!
More here: Tips for Seeing Iceland’s Northern Lights

Are you ready for your own trip to Iceland’s epic South Coast? I hope so! Let me know what you like best on this list in the comments section below! And check out my Iceland Page for more.

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