Thursday, January 9, 2014

South Coast – Five Days

Jokulsarlon Glacial Lagoon in Iceland
The Jokulsarlon Glacial Lagoon.
Here is a suggestion for a five day visit to Iceland, with focus on the south coast. Of course you can adjust this to your needs as you like.

Day 1:
Arrival at Keflavik Airport. If time permits stopping by at the Blue Lagoon could be a good idea (it is only a short detour on the route to Reykjavik). After visiting the Blue Lagoon you can either dine at the Blue Lagoon’s restaurant or head straight to Reykjavik.

Distances: Airport to the Blue Lagoon: 30 minutes max. Blue Lagoon to Reykjavik: 30 – 45 minutes.

Day 2:
Head eastwards on the Ring Road (road no. 1) along the south coast, making the Seljalandsfoss waterfall your first destination. Distance from Reykjavik approx. 2 hours. Stop at the Seljalandsfoss waterfall and walk behind it. It’s an adventure for kids and adults alike.

From Seljalandsfoss you can choose between three interesting destinations or choices: First you could go to Thorsmork, but then you need to be driving a 4x4 or take the bus from Seljalandsfoss. Distance from Seljalandsfoss 1-2 hours. Second you could take the ferry from Bakkafjara to the Vestmann islands. Distance from Seljalandsfoss to the ferry approx 15 minutes. Sailing time approx 30 minutes. Third you can head further east and for the purpose of this guide that is what we will do.

Continuing east you will now be driving through the area that was most severely damaged by the recent Eyjafallajokull volcanic eruption, though you can now hardly see any evidence of this catastrophic event in the area. After about 30 minutes drive your next stop is the Skogarfoss waterfall and the Skogar Museum.

After visiting the Skogarfoss waterfall and the Skogar museum, your next destination is the village of Vik. Distance from Skogarfoss waterfall: Approx. 1 – 2 hours. There you can take a walk down to the black beach, visit the geothermal pool or play a round of golf at the Vik golf course.

You can stay overnight at Vik but if you are all still in good shape you could head a little more eastwards over to Kirkjubaejarklaustur village and spend the night there. Kirkjubaejarklaustur is rich of history and the surroundings are beautiful. Kirkjubaejarklaustur village also has a geothermal pool, like every village in Iceland.

Day 3:
After a healthy breakfast everyone is ready for the day ahead. Bright and early you are still headed eastwards. Your next stop is Skaftafell in the Vatnajokull National Park. Distance from Kirkjubaejarklaustur approx. 2 hours.

After taking your time at Skaftafell you keep going east. Next up is your main destination: The Jokulsarlon Glacial Lagoon. Distance from Skaftafell approx. 2 hours. You can take a boat trip on the lagoon or just stay on shore take in the breathtaking beauty of the lagoon. Don’t forget to take a short hike down river to the shore, where you are likely to be greeted by a seal or two.

After visiting the glacial lagoon you start backtracking towards Reykjavik. Again you spend the night at Kirkjubaejarklaustur or Vik.

Day 4:
Arrival in Reykjavik, probably by noon or early afternoon. You should have time for a city stroll or perhaps go on a whale watching trip. Another option would be to take a detour on your way back to Reykjavik and visit Thjorsardalur valley.

Day 5:
Departure day, perhaps starting off with a visit to one of Reykjavik’s many splendid geothermal pools, before heading to Keflavik Airport.

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