South Iceland contains many of the most popular sights, sites and must see spots in the country. Close to Reykjavík is the Reykjanes Peninsula, with the Blue Lagoon, Keflavík Airport, and many wild spots and charming villages; over the Hellisheiði mountain pass lies the tranquil farmland and small towns like Hveragerði, Selfoss and Flúður. The Golden Circle and south coast roads are busy during the summer, and there are several glaciers dotting the coast and volcanoes silhouetted against the skyline. Vík í Myrdal is the halfway point, and Höfn—beneath the mighty Vatnajökull—marks the gateway to the east. To help you out along the way, here are our panel’s best South Iceland must-see spots.
Friðland að Fjallabaki, Highlands, Road F208
Of all the deep nature of the South, the astounding Landmannalaugar is a true must-see. “It’s a stunning place with fantastic views,” said the panel. You could spend days hiking the trails, which wind around the geothermal area where hot steam pours from vividly coloured mountains. There are captivating lava fields, a bright green canyon, crater lakes, and lots more. Only accessible in summer, buses arrive at the campsite daily; Don’t forget your swimming gear—there’s a geothermal bathing spot.
Kerlingarfjöll, Highlands, Road F347
This hidden gem is high in the west Highlands. Take a bus to Kerlingarfjöll, check into a cabin or pitch up on the lovely campsite, then take a daylong hike into the mountains along the well-marked trail. You’ll find a jaw-dropping series of geothermally active valleys. “It’s life-changingly beautiful,” said the panel.
The Þórsmörk valley is surrounded by active volcanoes, glaciers, and the gnarled, ashen landscape they created, it’s a deeply immersive environment for camping and hiking. “You can see parts of three glaciers when you hike in the mountains,” said the panel. Take a shuttle bus: the rivers are notoriously treacherous for drivers.
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