Although the Golden Circle tour may include the most popular places of interest with Gullfoss, Þingvellir and the geysers, there are still a lot of things left to see in Iceland’s countryside. A great opportunity to see a whole bunch of beautiful places is to travel the south shore.
Half an hour drive to the southeast from Reykjavík is the village of Hveragerði. A hot spring provides the heat for various greenhouses, where vegetables and flowers are grown. The town is like an oasis in the harsh landscape that surrounds it.
Another 50 kilometres from there you will spot Hekla, amidst the grass-farmland. The active volcano thrones majestically over green hillsides; its top is hidden by greyish clouds. It’s an impressive view, which makes you understand why people in the Middle Ages assumed the entrance to hell to be under the mountain. Ascending Hekla in the summer is a popular daytrip that can be done either on foot or even better by super-jeep. Yet be aware that the time span between signalling earthquakes and an actual eruption could be less than half an hour.
Close by are the waterfalls Seljalandsfoss and Skógafoss. The 66 meter high Seljalandsfoss is especially popular, because you can walk behind it. Skógafoss is not too far from the village of Skógar. It is embedded in a colourful red and green mountainscape. If you take the adventure of following the small path to the top of the waterfall you will be rewarded with an overwhelming view of the crushing water.
Iceland’s southernmost town, Vík, is located about 30 kilometres from here. The town itself has not much to offer, but its hinterland has all the more. Within a few minutes’ drive, you can take a walk at the black beach with a view of Reynisdrangar – black cliffs that rise sharply from the sea. You can also go trekking on Iceland’s fourth biggest glacier, Mýrdalsjokull. Guided hiking tours are available all year. Thus there are good reasons in choosing to go south, when leaving the capital.