We leave Reykjavik behind us and drive to Vik in the south of Iceland. It's an easy drive as the ring road is perfect, no chances of getting lost here!
We stay in a fantastic place: The Garage. Just a few miles from Skoga and perfectly located for further exploration of southern Iceland. We booked this apartment through Booking.com. To get a fabulous place like this you have to book early!!
Not far before our next sleeping place we pass the waterfall of Seljalandsfoss, one of the most beautiful and spectacular waterfalls in Iceland. The special thing here is that you can also walk behind the waterfall, so a raincoat is also a must on sunshiny days!
A few kilometers from our apartment lies the small village of Skoga. From the ring road you can see the spectacular waterfall named after this village: Skogafoss. The waterfall is 60 meters high and 25 meters wide. On a sunny day, a beautiful rainbow ensures that you can make stunning pictures. You can also witness the entire spectacle from above when take the a stairs on the right side of the falls. This place is also the start (or end) point of a multi-day walk that connects to the hiking trails from Landmannalaugar. On the first part of the hike (7 kilometers untill you reach a bridge which crosses the river) you can see no less than 26 waterfalls!
This place is a touristic hotspot, which means that you can also camp here, choose from several restaurants, there is a shop, ....
On the way back to our apartment we found the real hidden gem of this area: the hotsprings of Seljavallalaug.
You reach these hot springs by a small street about 10 kilometers before Skoga (if you drive towards Vik). There are no directionsigns, but your GPS will find the place if you enter the name of the source. The springs are located on a private property, it is requested not to stay longer than 3 hours. So staying overnight is not allowed here. After a walk of about one kilometer from the parking spot you will arrive at the source. A changing room is provided, but don't expect too much of it! The water in the pool is wonderful! You can also cool down in the cold river that flows along it. A little further there are a few small sources, they are perfect if you prefer a private swimming pool!
Not far from Vik is another special place: a plane wreck of a DC-3. This plane was on its way to America in 1973, but ran into problems due to a fuel shortage. It managed to make an emergency landing and everyone was unharmed. But no one has bothered to remove the wreckage. In the meantime it has become a tourist attraction. Even in corona time it was quite busy. We didn't find the plane itself very special, but the walk to the plane and back was quite tough! The wreck is about 4 km from the parking place. Walk 4 kilometers straight ahead, without shelter, a chilly wind and bright sun. Fortunately, there are markers because otherwise you would think you got lost! It's a special experience. Don't underestimate this hike!
Time to explore Vík today. The village of Vík is the southernmost village in Iceland, located on the main ring road around the island. It has only 300 inhabitants but it's a location that attracts a lot of tourists every year.
Vík is one of the wettest places in Iceland. The cliffs west of the black beach are home to many seabirds, if you're lucky you can spot puffins here which burrow into the shallow soils during the nesting season. Offshore you can see impressive basalt rocks, remnants of a once more extensive cliffline Reynisfjall.
You can reach the beach from the town or by a little road that starts about one mile before Vik (if you come from the Reykjavik-side).
This place is a real touristic hotspot, you're never alone here, shop and restaurant at the beach: check!
But the views are spectacular and a beach is always fun, even if it's black instead of white!
Vik itself is a small cozy village. Our favorite restaurant is Sudur Vik, really good food! You will also find everything you need to travel around in Iceland, from a large supermarket to a shop with ourdoor clothing and supplies for long hikes.
A few miles after Vik you can find another hidden gem: the road to Pakgil, road 214. It's no F-road, but it's a tricky one to do with your rental car (we tried!). Pakgil is located between the Mýrdalsjökull glacier and the Mýrdalssandur plain. It's like being on another planet! Parts of this area were the set of Games of Thrones.
This area is hikers paradise ànd bikers paradise, go and discover this stunning, breathtaking part of Iceland!!
A visit to the Vestmannaeyjar-island. Close to the Seljalandsfoss starts the road to the ferry (about 12 km). If you want to take your car on the ferry (the only way you can get around the island is by car!) you have to book the ferry way in advance.
The trip to the largest island, Heimaey, takes about 30 minutes. This island has a population of 4,135, most of whom live in the main town, Vestmannaeyjabær. The other islands are uninhabited, although six have single hunting cabins. Vestmannaeyjar came to international attention in 1973 with the eruption of Eldfell volcano, which destroyed many buildings and forced a months-long evacuation of the entire population to mainland Iceland. Approximately one fifth of the town was destroyed by the lava flow. There is a museum on the island where you can witness this event by video's, pictures and remains of houses, very impressive and absolutely worth a visit!
There are many hiking trails on Heimaey, on of them leads to the top of the Eldfell and gives you a magnificent view over the whole island.
This place is also very good for puffin-spotting, we saw dozens of them.
This day we drove all the way from Vik to Jökulsarlon, about 200 km (and back!).
It was a beautiful route with some beautiful glaciers and waterfalls on the way. After almost two weeks filled with the most beautiful waterfalls, we get used to it a bit and we don't stop anymore everytime we see one. The glacier of Jokursalon really defies all imagination, it is adembenemend. Pieces of ice break from the glacier into the gigantic lagoon, and at low tide the ice flows towards the sea. You are not alone at this place, even in corona time we found it quite busy here. You can take boat trips on the lagoon, not cheap, and you can actually admire the spectacle from the shore perfectly. Some pieces of ice are still scattered on the beach a little further. Just before this glacier is the one of Fjallsarlon. Also very beautiful, but much quieter! You can also take boat trips here. There is a restaurant here (which we did not really like ...).
One last place in the Vik neighbourhood we didn't visit: Dyrhólaey. The word itself is Icelandic for door hill island. In fact, Dyrhólaey is the southernmost point in mainland Iceland. It was formerly an island of volcanic origin. The peninsula has an elevation of 120 metres and the Dyrhólaey Lighthouse sits at the top of the formation facing the sea. There is a road that lead to the top but it's only accessible for 4x4 cars. So we went by foot. An easy hike with a lot of puffins sitting only a few meters away from us! Time to make some pictures here!
To the north you can see the big glacer Mýrdalsjökull from the top, to the east, the black lava columns of the Reynisdrangar come out of the sea, and to the west the whole black coastline in the direction of Selfoss is visible. In front of the peninsula, there is a gigantic black arch of lava standing in the sea. A spectacular place!
Time to get back to Reykjavik. We made a reservation at the Blue Lagoon for the afternoon (Always do! This place is very popular and number of people is limited!). Best way to end an Icelandtrip! It's a bit expensive. But kids up to the age of 13 don't have to pay. And you can take all the time you want! We did spent the whole afternoon here. Because we had a 7am flight the next morning we booked an hotel in Keflavik. We stayed at Bergas Guesthouse, perfect if you have an early flight!
Time to return home on our privat jet with a lot of beautiful memories and a lot of plans for the next trip to Iceland!