Drive it yourself: Iceland’s South Coast (part 1)

After a morning in Reykjavik we picked up our rental car to explore the south coast. With thanks to great tips from friends, we could see the highlights in just 24 hours. And I must say, visiting the south coast was definitely worth it! We saw beautiful waterfalls, volcanic landscapes and endless black sand beaches.

The below map shows our roadtrip and the sights we’ve visited in an afternoon and evening. According to Google maps the drive is three and a half hours, which is in total 216 kilometers. It will takes as longer as this roadtrip excludes all the stops you can do on the way. The road is pretty comfortable and easy to drive. Only the road uphill Dyrhólaey is a gravel road.

Seljalandsfoss and Gljúfrabúi

After we picked up our rental car we visited a Bonus supermarkt in Reykjavik to buy some snacks for on the road. After the shopping we hit the road to the famous waterfall Seljalandsfoss and the hidden Gljúfrabúi waterfall.


Seljalandsfoss is a stunning appearance, it is one of the most popular and photographed waterfalls in Iceland. The fall reaches nearly 60 meters and can be viewed in nearly every angle, as you can walk behind it. After taking a few pictures we followed a path to the hidden waterfall Gljúfrabúi. This waterfall is near Seljalandsfoss, and can be seen until you reach the end of the path.

Tip: don’t forget to wear a waterproof jacket as there is a lot of drizzle at both waterfalls.

Long exposure shot of Seljalandsfoss

Entrance of Gljúfrabúi

Gljúfrabúi, this waterfall is difficult to photograph as the light shining from above is too bright.

Surroundings of Seljalandsfoss

Surroundings near Seljalandsfoss

Dyrhólaey Nature Reserve

Our next stop was the famous Dyrhólaey, a small peninsula with a breathtaking 360 panoramic views. This stop is definitely a must. The gravel road to the higher part can be passed in small cars, do drive slowly and be carefully when cars are passing by. At the top follow the path towards the lighthouse. From here you will see the endless black sand beach, and a huge arch carved in it by the rough waves. And, if you are lucky you will see the iconic Iceland bird, the puffin.

Dyrhólaey Nature Reserve, as seen from the road

Lighthouse that kinda looks like a small castle

Endless view of black sand beach

Landscape as seen from Dyrhólaey

As seen from the top of Dyrhólaey

Dyrhólaey Arch

Lower part of Dyrhólaey

Reynisfara beach

From Dyrhólaey we continued our roadtrip to Reynisfara black sand beach with its large basalt columns. If the tide is low you can walk to the basalt columns and the cave. Climb on the basalt colums to have an amazing view of Dyrhólaey and the Reynisdrangar needles.

Reynisfara beach

Climbing on the basalt columns

A view of Dyrhólaey

We continued our roadtrip to Vik, a picturesque village, where we ate a burger and fries at restaurant Víkurskáli. From Víkurskáli you will get a beautiful view of the Reynidrangar needles. After our dinner we drove to our hotel Edgar Skogar, near the waterfall Skogafoss. In my next post I will tell more about this waterfall, and also about the golden circle tour.

The view as seen from restaurant Víkurskáli.

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