Southern Iceland is home to most of the most popular tourist routes in Iceland—with good reason. The coastal Ring Road road from Reykjavík to Höfn is a trail of picturesque towns, black sand beaches, dramatic mountains, powerful waterfalls, basalt cliffs, towering glaciers and sprawling lava fields. It’s a completely immersive and visceral experience of Iceland’s natural environment that you could easily spend weeks exploring. These are just a few of our favourite sites along the way.
Best Bathing Spot
South Coast, Route 242
This run down, barely serviced pool is located in a wild valley with natural hot water, built right into the mountainside. It’s a wildly unique Icelandic moment. Be warned, there are no facilities, and it gets crowded in the summer these days, but go late on a glorious bright summer night and it can’t be beat. “Just look at the location – mountain babes everywhere!” said the panel. It’s about a fifteen-minute easy hike from the road and it’s not for the prudish or faint of heart, but the payoff is incredible.
The Secret Lagoon
Formerly for locals only, this delightful little man-made lagoon that feels like swimming in a hot freshwater lake. The facilities are modern and beautiful, tucked behind a bunch of friendly greenhouses. “I just grab a mini Prosecco and a bunch of pool noodles and get super chill.” It even has its own geyser going off every few minutes.
Fjallabak Nature Reserve
On a late summer night, there is nothing like bathing in this remote geothermal pool. While it can be overcrowded at times, if you’re willing to stay up late you’ll be able to find a quiet moment to take a swim. Pro tip: the warmest parts are where the two streams flow into the pool near the back.
More Best Of Iceland Awards
You can buy a copy of the full Best Of Iceland 2018 magazine—an essential guide to having fun in Iceland—here, posted worldwide. We also have a Special Offer double-pack that also includes our Best Of Reykjavík magazine, about places to eat, see, swim, visit, and shop in the country’s capital city, here.
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