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.
Hveragerði to Höfn
Route One South
The south coast is an amusement park of natural wonders on a grand scale. Every few minutes, there’s a sign for a historic spot, a canyon, a glacier tongue, a wild beach, a forgotten pool, a coastal viewpoint. The scenery changes so rapidly and suddenly, constantly disarming one with wonderful and unexpected sights. “This drive will forever leave me speechless,” said the panel. It always looks different depending on the time of year and weather conditions, so it’s a genuinely beautiful drive no matter how many times you do it. It would take years to explore every turn. As the panel said: “It just never gets old.”
Just a quick hop away from Reykjavík, it’s quite special to spend a day exploring this peninsula. With scenic geothermal areas, lush mossy lava fields, lighthouses, basalt cliffs, and breathtaking coastlines, it’s a lot of wonder squeezed into a very manageable day. Perfect for a traveller with only one day to spare.
Skaftafell to Höfn
Starting just after the Skaftafell National Park, a breathtaking spot in its own right, one is treated to jaw-dropping views of the massive Vatnajökull glacier out their car window. This entire stretch is a testament to how glacial volcanoes shape the ecology. At Höfn, look back northwards to get another eyeful of the icy behemoth.
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.