Iceland Part 2: Southern Coast

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

In the summer of 2016 we were lucky enough to take a vacation to Iceland, and drive around the entire country.  I blogged about our first leg of our trip in Reykjavik, and today I'm taking you through the next leg of our trip: The South Coast, followed by the Eastfjords and Northeast Iceland.  We rented a car, and headed south to do some hiking, soaking and waterfall viewing.  As I mentioned in my Reykjavik post, Iceland has this really incredible soaking culture, and when I read about a hike that ends at natural hot springs, I knew Reykjadalur had to be our first stop.








Iceland has so much geothermal activity, which is why there are so many natural hot springs and hot pots in the country.  It was so wild to see how the mountains in some areas are so hot they literally are smoking.  The hike to Reykjadalur took about an hour to get up the mountain and to the hot springs.  It was pretty chilly and rainy but the views were so beautiful.  I now am spoiled and am pretty disappointed with hiking that doesn't end with a soak in some natural hot springs!




























After a nice long soak, we took a little detour for langoustine at við fjöruborðið.  Iceland is known for langoustine and this place did not disappoint!  They basically served us piles of delicious langoustine in a big copper pot.  The restaurant is right on the coast, so we took a little walk after lunch and saw the coolest abandoned beach house.








After lunch, we hit the road again to Seljalandsfoss.  We saw quite a few waterfalls on our trip and this one was definitely a highlight.  It's incredibly tall and powerful, and what's so special about is that you can walk behind the waterfall on a little trail.
















We had hoped to make it to Seljavallalaug thermal pool but by that time we were close to missing our check in at our log cabin, so we decided that one soak in hot springs for the day would have to suffice.






The next day we got an early start and headed to Dryholaey where we were lucky enough to see some puffins!  They are such strange little birds but so cool to see in person.


















We continued on to Vik and another beautiful black sand beach.  Reynisfjara has amazing basalt columns, which is actually what the Hallgrímskirkja church is modeled after in Reykjavik.  There are so many gorgeous overlooks just driving through the south coast and some very pretty red roofed churches and turf houses.






















Next, we headed to Fjaðrárgljúfur Canyon, driving through amazing fields of mossy lava rocks.  This stretch of our drive was otherworldly and so beautiful.  Fjaðrárgljúfur Canyon was such a highlight of our trip, and an absolute must do.  It's a short hike up to the top and the views are simply stunning.






















This stretch of our drive was definitely a long day, but culminated with an amazing trip to Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon.  This is a total must do if you're going to Iceland, it's not every day that you can see and touch 1,000 year old glaciers!  The lagoon itself is amazing, we were able to see giant glaciers moving down the channel and washing out to the ocean.  Definitely walk down to the beach to see these giant hunks of blue ice washed up on the black sand beach.  It's pretty magical, and not something you can experience very often!






















We continued on to Hofn, where we spent the night and had a really delicious dinner at Pakkhús.  It's named after the fishing boat that sources their seafood every day.  We had the most delicious seafood soup; the base of the soup had some coconut in it which made it so unique - it tasted like tom kha broth.  I went for the catch of the day and was thoroughly impressed with how fresh the fish was!  They also make a great gin and tonic.  We sat outside by the docks enjoying the never-ending day.














Next up, the East Fjords!

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