Day 3 in the “land of fire and ice”: the Icelandic spectacular south coast – waterfalls, cliffs and the best last – the famous glacier lagoon Jökulsarlon.
|Destination||Iceland, Ring Road from Hella to Hofn|
|Where I stayed / Recommendations||We stayed at the Vagnsstadir HI Hostel, but…no recommendation from our side! We paid 140 Euros for one night and got a room with 2 single beds and a sink, quite old-fashioned. So far, so good. But: we shared a bathroom (including the toilet) with the entire floor, meaning more than 20 people. Who didn’t mind occupying thhe room for half an hour…). Really, you don’t want such an accomodation.
|Restaurants||Hali Country Hotel & Restaurant: near Hofn (or Höfn) and about 20 drive from Jökulsarlon|
|Things to do and see||Seljalandsfoss – see the front and the back
Adore the fantastic landscape – everywhere!
Dyrholaey: cliffs, black sand and Puffins
Fjaðrárgljúfur: feel like Justin Bieber
Dwarf Rocks – nice, but not a “must see”
Jökulsarlon Glacier Lagoon and beach – my personal highlight of the entire Iceland trip!
|Recommendations in a nutshell||Take 2 days (at least) for the south coast, if possible
Book your hotel or hostel way in advance (6 months or more…)
Our third day brought us from Hella almost to Hofn, passing the entire south coast of Iceland. About 300 km on the ring road – that should be fine. But…there are so many great sights and attractions on the south coast, that you should definitely stay longer! Unfortunately, due to our tight schedule (the ring road in 8 days), we couldn’t. So, here’s the south coast “fast track”.
Having stayed at Hella, the first highlight of the day – after a short drive of about 20 minutes – was the Seljalandsfoss, a spectacular waterfall with a footpath leading behind it. And the first spot of the day also featuring in the Justin Bieber video of the song “I’ll show You”. In fact, the video is a really nice comprehension of the touristic highlights of the Icelandic South Coast!
Despite not being on the “Golden Circle” it is pretty crowded at the Seljalandsfoss, even at nine a.m. But the sun coming up behind the cliff is definitely worth the visit:
And the walk behind the curtain of water is absolutely great:
Prepare to get REALLY wet!
Here some more impressions of the waterfall I almost liked best in Iceland:
Particularly nice are the colors: the dark stones, the white water and the green and yellow meadow in front:
And if you’re lucky, you’ll even get a blue sky above!
Icelandic Landscapes on the spectacular south coast
Our second stop on the spectacular south coast of Iceland was supposed to be the Dyrholaey peninsula. However, the landscape that we travelled through was so amazing and diversified that it made us stop and take pictures every few kilometers.
Like these fields of lupins, flooding the whole landscape with a bluegreen color:
…and sometimes even with a white glacier in the back…
… which in this case was the Eyafjallajökul glacier:
…a famous name, because its volcanic eruption stopped the entire European air traffic in April 2010 for several weeks! See this impressive video on youtube!
The latin name of this lupin species is “Lupinus nootkatensis”, the “Alaskan lupin”. These plants are not domestic in Iceland, but have been introduced at the beginning of the 20th century in order to stop soil erosion. Lupins are undemanding, grow on meager ground, develop a dense root system and thus condense loose soil. They are able to fix nitrogen in their root nodules by building a symbiosis with Rhizobium bacteria, thereby enriching the soil. And contribute to a really lovely landscape:
…which looks certainly a bit nicer that the rather bare lava stones covered with the occasional lichen:
And in addition, there are green meadows (at least during the short summertime) on soft hills…
or steep mountains:
…and many more great sights:
Dyrholaey Peninsula – the most southern tip of the spectacular south coast
Finally, we made it to Dyrholaey, a peninsula pretty much at the southern tip of Iceland, in the middle of the south coast, close to the town of Vik i Myrdal. Dyrhólaey, which translates to Door Hill Island, has once been an island, but is now joint to the mainland. Its most famous part is the stone arch below. And – of course – Dyrholaey also features in the above mentioned Justin Bieber video…
The area features long black beaches besides spectacular cliffs…
…and more rock arches:
..and a rich bird wildlife. We even think that we saw some Puffins – they are supposed to nest there and can be distinguished from other sea birds by their characterstic “flight style” – flapping fast and fiercly with their short wings. However, the nests are difficult to see from above, so you might see them better from the beach.
Overall, Dyrholaey is a great place for a short (or longer) break – we had lunch on the cliffs with this view:
Not far from Dyrholaey, there’s a nice little gorge that also became famous due to the Justin Bieber video (official video to “I’ll Show You”) that had been shot at Fjaðrárgljúfur. In fact, the “balancing above the abyss” part is certainly forbidden, but pretty popular due to the video! Embedded in a lovely green landscape…
…, moss and grass covered cliffs rise left and right to a deep blue river:
Unfortunately, the Justin Bieber video brings a lot of tourists, some of them even ignoring the barriers in order to get to the place where Justin Bieber stood…
Maybe people should rather focus the video scene shot at Seljalandsfoss – way less dangerous! Anyway, the video pretty much sums up the highlights of the Icelandic south coast.
Dwarf Rocks – well, a maybe, not a must-see on this spectacular part of the Icelandic coast
This is – if I recall it correctly – the one stop on the spectacular south coast that does not appear in the Justin Bieer video. And – to tell the truth – it really was the least appealing place of the day. Maybe due to the busload of tourists gathering in front of the few stones, when we arrived. Or the fact that these kind basalt colums are nice, but can be seen in other places as well. Anyway, here are some pictures, one with the bus group:
…and one without:
Jökulsarlon Glacier Lagoon
And now – the highlight of the day on the spectacular south coast at last: the Jökulsarlon Glacier Lagoon (also featuring in the … video, of course). In fact, this was my personal no. one place of our entire trip – magic!
The entire panorama – the lagoon in front and the mighty Vatnajökul Glacier in the back – is breathtaking:
During low tide, the icebergs are sucked into the ocean via a narrow channel – a spectacular event that you can’t really capture by fotos:
…but watch this video: Jökulsarlon Iceberg
Equally spectacular and famous is the sight of the iceberg that get washed into the ocean and then run ashore on the beach next to the Jökulsarlon channel. They lay there stranded and melt away, thereby producing the most amazing ice sculptures:
…providing great picture motives:
Some icebergs don’t make it through the channel into the open sea, but strand within the lagoon to equally nice sculptures:
There is the option of going close to the glacier by an amphibian vehicle, which looks like a lot of fun:
This time, we skipped it – maybe next time! We spent the entire late afternoon at the lagoon and decided to come back after checking in at the hostel (see above – and try to avoid the place!) and a nice dinner. This is the great thing about going to Iceland at the end of June: is does not get dark! So you can visit most attractions at any time, even at midnight. Which we did – his picture was seetaken on the 21st of June a few minutes after midnight:
The Icelandic spectacular south coast – this was certainly my most memorable midsummer night ever!
Greetings from Jökulsarlon,
Read more about Iceland:
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