Southeast and South Iceland:
The reason we did our road trip clock wise was that we wanted to save the best for last. Yes, South coast of Iceland has more diverse terrain and dramatic views than anywhere else. If you only have limited time to spend in Iceland, I strongly recommend you plan to spend at least two full days in the south. After leaving the town of Hofn, still on southeast, we spent almost half a day at Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon, which is located next to the Vatnajökull Glacier and the National Park. This was our highlight of the day, and it was hard to leave this stunning lagoon. We then took another hike to Fjaðrárgljúfur, a beautiful canyon not too far from where we were staying. This was a true hidden gem and totally worth a short hike. Our next night’s stay was at the Horgsland cottages in Kirkjubaejarklaustur. After checking in, we were headed to the Skaftafell national park to visit Svartifoss, but instead of hiking to the waterfall, we ended up hiking to the glacier as recommended by the ranger.
Next day was spent exploring the south coast. First stop was at the Skogafoss waterfall, probably one of the most beautiful waterfalls of the Iceland. There are stairs next to the waterfall takes you up to the viewing platform. We climbed the stairs to the top of waterfall and discovered hiking trail next the river which we chased for a while.
After spending plenty of time there, we took off to visit the plane wreck site. Apparently US Navy’s Douglas Super DC-3 was forced to wreck on the Sólheimasandur black sand beach of the south Iceland due to running out of fuel and has been left abandoned there since 1973. The road leading to the beach is now closed but you can walk about two and a half mile to get to the airplane and the beach. This location is photographers heaven! Next stop was Dyrholaey, which literally means a door-hole, is a massive arch formed by erosion in the ocean.
Another one of the unforgettable experience was to climb on iconic hexagonal basalt columns on the black sand beach near the town of Vik. This beach is made off of small black pebbles and was one of the most picturesque beaches I have ever been to. We spent another night at the same cottages.
Sunday was our last day on the road. We needed to drive back to Reykjavik to catch a flight next day. We still had a couple of places we wanted to visit before heading back to the big town. Funny but sad at the same time, we were kind of having `waterfall fatigue’ after visiting so many waterfalls. I remember experiencing this on the Hana Drive in Maui, Hawaii, it is when you get to see so many waterfalls, and they keep getting better and better and at the end, where you feel that you have seen it all, there comes the best one!! Seljalandsfoss waterfall totally was that grand finale of all the waterfalls. This is the one where the path leads to the backside of the waterfall. It was so much fun walking behind the fall.
Photo description clockwise: walking behind Seljalandsfoss waterfall, on the top of Skogafoss, Fjaðrárgljúfur, a beautiful canyon near Kirkjubaejarklaustur, Seljalandsfoss waterfall, Skogafoss, Reynisfjara shore- black sand beach of South Iceland, Basalt columns at the Reynisfjara shore- black sand beach of South Iceland, Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon, Skogafoss, US Navy’s DC 3 plane wreck site on the Sólheimasandur black sand beach, Dyrholaey, hiking on the top of Skogafoss, Glacier in Skaftafell National Park, Horgsland Cottages, hay cut dried and tied up in large bundles looking like giant marshmallows, Reynisfjara shore- black sand beach, Seljalandsfoss waterfall and Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon.