South Coast Day Tour

Tour description:

- leave the capital and drive road no. 1 to the south, heading for Hveragerði


Hveragerði

- so called green house town, 1.700 inhabitants, situated in a very active geothermal area, hot springs and steam all around the town

- the geothermal power is used for heating homes, greenhouses and swimming pools

- small geyser Grýta erupts several times daily (20 minutes walk from town centre)

- great swimming pool, walking paths and horse riding possibilities

- tourist information

- in a former green house there is a cafeteria, souvenir shop and an exhibition on Nordic Mythology, called Iðuvellir

- continue on road no. 1, pass the town Selfoss, and the villages Hella and Hvolsvöllur


Seljalandsfoss

- very beautiful waterfall in the river Seljalandsá, 40 m high, narrow but powerful waterfall

- sensational walk on a foot path behind the waterfall

- bird colonies, fulmars

- facilities

- turn back to the main road and continue on road no. 1, now you have the glacier Eyjafallajökull to your left, after a while you reach Skógar


Skógafoss

- one of the most beautiful waterfalls in Iceland, 60 m high, walking path beside the waterfall to climb up the mountain , be careful not to damage the vegetation

- not far from Skógafoss (just some 100 m down the road), you find the folk museum of Skógar


Skógar

- the name refers to two farms, a school and an open-air museum, near the waterfall Skógafoss

- very interesting folk museum: a church replica, various types of traditional stone and turf farm buildings and two modern buildings for exhibitions

- countless artifacts of former everyday life in a farming and fishing society, collected for over more than 5 decades by Þórður Tómasson

- exhibition on history of transportation and infrastructure in Iceland

- guided tours available, nice café, souvenir shop

- for further information on Skógar folk museum see here

- continue on road no. 1, turn right to get to Dyrhólaey peninsula


Dyrhólaey

- small peninsula with 120 high cliff and offshore stacks with a good selection of breeding sea birds, including puffins, gulls and fulmars

- cliffs rising over a long expanse of black sand

- all the cliffs, rocks etc. are a protected area, be careful not to disturb the birds or damage the vegetation

- during early summer Dyrhólaey can be closed to protect the colony of eider ducks

- lighthouse build by a famous Icelandic architect (Guðjón Samúelsson)

- turn back to the main road and continue on road no. 1 to reach Vík


Vík

- small village in the picturesque landscape near the valley Mýrdalur, 300 inhabitants

- southernmost village in Iceland (except of Westman islands)

- restaurant, cafeteria, service station, wool factory, handcrafts

- great view of the impressive cliffs “Reynisdrangar” (66 m high, folktales say they are trolls that turned to stone at first daylight)

- after visiting Vík, drive back on road no. 1, heading west

- before you reach Skógar and just before you cross the glacial river Jökulsá, turn right onto a gravel road to get to the glacier tongue Sólheimajökull
 

Sólheimajökull

- one of the glacier tongues that jut out of Mýrdalsjökull

- rather narrow, 8 km long

- stop at the parking lot

- from the parking lot, it is a 15 minutes’ walk to the glacier

- Be very careful! Do not climb the glacier; the melting ice can break down every second! Do not walk into ice caves!

- mountain guides provide guided tours

- drive back, turn right onto road no. 1, continue on road no. 1


Hellisheiði

- highland plateau to the south of the mountain Hengill, separates the Greater Reykjavik area from the south coast of Iceland

- 374 m above sea level, often bad weather conditions

- covered by lava fields and typical Icelandic moss vegetation

- you will see many signs of a geothermal power plant such as steam clouds

- it is really worth a visit to the power plant Hellisheiðarvirkjun (situated to the right of road no. 1, follow the signs)


Hellisheiðarvirkjun

- new geothermal power plant on Hellisheiði in the mountain ridge Hengill

- really interesting visitor centre with a lot of multi-media information, friendly staff and a small coffee bar

- for further information see here

- drive road no. 1 back to Reykjavík

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Highlights

Seljalandsfoss waterfall, Skógarfoss waterfall, Skógar folk museum, Sólheimajökull glacier tongue, Vík village, Dyrhólaey peninsula and bird colony, Hellisheiðarvirkjun geothermal power plant

Total distance: approx. 375 km

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