South West Highlights - 4 Days
Iceland’s most spectacular phenomena. Tour that offers many highlights and an astonishing variety of landscapes and nature.
The southwestern part of Iceland is home to many of Iceland’s most spectacular phenomena. Here we have the capital of Iceland, Reykjavík, and five other towns that together form the Greater Reykjavík area. However, many world-famous highlights are also situated here, including the hot spring area of Geysir, Gullfoss waterfall, and the former parliament site of Þingvellir National Park. The Reykjanes peninsula juts out in the southwest and is home to the famous Blue Lagoon as well as some amazing geothermal phenomena, such as hot mud pots and hot streams. The peninsula is covered with lava and parts of it look like another planet. In contrast, along the south coast of Iceland, you will find green farmland, beautiful waterfalls, impressive bird cliffs and many other things to explore, as well as many magnificent glaciers. Although this tour covers only a small part of the country, it offers many highlights and an astonishing variety of landscapes and nature. This tour is also very convenient if you want to stay in the same HI Hostel the whole time as it's based on day trips from the capital area, but you could also stay in a couple of other hostels along the way - whatever suits you!
DAY 1: REYKJAVÍK AND THE GOLDEN CIRCLE
You might want to make your espresso a double or skip that milk in your tea as you're going to have a busy day! You will see some of the most popular tourist attractions in the whole of Iceland. Leave Reykjavík and visit Gljúfrasteinn, the home of the most famous Icelandic novelist and Nobel-prize winner, Halldór Laxness, before reaching Þingvellir National Park. The park is not only home to the most important place in Icelandic history, where one of the world's oldest parliaments was founded in 930, but also Iceland's largest natural lake and a lava field, situated right on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, where the Eurasian and North American tectonic plates are moving apart. At Þingvellir, you can walk through parts of the ridge. Carry on through the town of Laugarvatn, with a pretty lake baring the same name. Next up, it's the hot spring area of Geysir, including the very active geyser Strokkur, erupting every 5 to 10 minutes. Spend time walking along the paths and looking at the different geothermal phenomena. Carry on to the beautiful Gullfoss waterfall or the "Golden Waterfall". 32 m high and 250 m wide, the water falls into a 70 m deep gorge, allowing for breathtaking views from different viewpoints. Finish the day with a visit to Skálholt church and archaeological remains, one of Iceland’s places of special historical interest.
DAY 2: WATERFALLS, PUFFINS, AND BLACK SAND BEACHES
Today is full of beautiful waterfalls and breathtaking nature. You start the day off by visiting the small town of Hvolsvöllur, where if you're all about the Icelandic Sagas, you can check out the Saga Centre. Carry on your drive to one of the most famous waterfalls in Iceland, Seljalandsfoss, a narrow but high and powerful waterfall that you can walk behind (as long as it's not too icy). Breathe in the fresh air and forces of nature, all the while getting dewy from the waterfall. Next up: another beautiful waterfall! This one is called Skógafoss, and has plenty of walking paths and amazing views. The area also has a very interesting folk museum that comes highly recommended. You then reach the Vík area with views of the impressive cliffs of Reynisdrangar. Before returning to your accommodation have a look at Sólheimajökull, a glacier tongue that juts out of Mýrdalsjökull glacier.
DAY 3: SOUTH COAST, BLACK SAND BEACH AND PRETTY VILLAGES
Today, you head back along the south coast and get a chance to visit even more amazing places that the area has to offer. Unbelievable, we know, but this is Iceland after all! Start off by going to the black sand beach of Reynisfjara, at the foot of the mountain Reynisfjall. Watch out for the strong tide along the shore here! All around, you will find interesting geological phenomena, such as cliffs and caves with basalt column formations, so take your time and see if you can spot the puffin colonies on the cliff faces of Dyrhólaey (in the summertime). You can at least admire the magnificent view from up there. Carry on your journey and pass through the town of Selfoss on the banks of the beautiful and powerful river Ölfusá, Iceland's largest river. Spend some time down by the river, breathing in the fresh air. From here, you drive down to the very pretty seaside villages of Eyrarbakki and Stokkseyri, a few minutes apart from one another. Both villages have many lovely old timber houses and pretty churches, as well as some interesting museums and amazing seafood restaurants. Enjoy a nice stroll along the seafront.
DAY 4: REYKJANES PENINSULA, THE BLUE LAGOON, AND A GEOTHERMAL AREA
Get ready for a fantastic day full of top attractions! You start off by heading out to the Reykjanes peninsula. Your first stop is at Strandarkirkja church with its rich history and beautiful surroundings. From here, you drive to the fascinating Krýsuvík hot spring area, where you can walk around some interesting - and smelly - hot springs, steam rivers, and bubbling mud pots. Remember to watch your step! Carry on your trip and drive through the small town of Grindavík by the sea, where you might want to stop for a visit to the Icelandic Saltfish Museum, or check out the fishing industry by the harbour before heading over to the Blue Lagoon, one of Iceland's most famous attractions (make sure to book in advance). Enjoy relaxing in the pale blue water, so very warm and rich in minerals. Once you've had a proper soak and are totally relaxed, you're ready to end your day and this tour at Keflavík International Airport, or at your accommodation if you're staying for longer in this magnificent country.
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