South Iceland

The South coast of Iceland holds some of the most beautiful natural attractions in Iceland. The area boasts a unique mix of volcanoes and glaciers, geysers, hot springs and waterfalls, along with multiple historic sites like the UNESCO site of Thingvellir. 

You’re headed into the ‘volcano zone!’ South Iceland is a masterpiece of volcanic activity and home to some of the island’s most celebrated natural wonders along the ‘Golden Circle’ route which is a real must for sightseers. Its centerpiece is Thingvellir (UNESCO), where settlers established an assembly in AD 930 which has evolved into the world’s oldest parliament today. Thingvellir is also a masterpiece of nature, with a scenic lake and rifts which mark where the continental plates of America and Eurasia meet.

Other Golden Circle highlights include Gullfoss, the ‘Golden Falls’, a mighty two-tier waterfall on the Hvita River, and the geothermal fields of Geysir, where the spouting spring Strokkur erupts every ten minutes.

The forces of nature in South Iceland have shaped not only the land but man’s life too. Off the south coast, the Westman Islands were evacuated in 1973 because of volcanic activity – but the inhabitants soon went back. The area is also the location of Iceland’s newest star Eyjafjallajokull, the unpronounceable volcano that made itself known to the world in April 2010.

History is everywhere in South Iceland, too, spanning the whole range from the Saga Age farm at Stong to the old bishop’s seat of Skalholt and the regional folk museum at Skogar. The southeast offers Europe’s largest glacier at Vatnajokull National Park where you can also experience the awe-inspiring Jokulsarlon glacial lagoon, renowned for its boat cruises among dancing icebergs.

Few places in Iceland can match the wealth of contrasts found at Skaftafell National Park, where green woodlands and black mountains converge with the sheer white glacier in the shadow of the country’s highest peak, Hvannadalshnjukur.