Reykjadalur Thermal River — about 45 kilometers south of Reykjavik on Route 1, we stopped at a thermal river — it’s free to the public and only requires a short uphill walk before you’re soaking in a hot natural river! I got there in evening and had the place to myself. I imagine it’s more crowded in the daytime and high season though. (Note– this photo does NOT count as a beach-feet selfie)
Don’t go chasing waterfalls… unless it’s Skogafoss! In Southern Iceland on the ring road– it’s a gorgeous place and well worth adding to your itinerary.
Sólheimajökull Glacier Hike – We did this through Extreme Iceland, which offered a transfer to/from Reykjavik, crampons, and ice axes. Our glacier hike became intense with extreme winds and whiteout snow, which prevented us from getting to do the ice climbing, but the glacier hike was still a great experience with some surreal ice formations
Jokulsarlon Glacial Lagoon — after driving through lunar landscapes and deserted fields of lava and moss, we stopped at a rest stop and climbed over a hill to look around. Expecting to see more of the same, I was shocked to find this:
The Jokulsarlon lagoon is filled with icebergs set to a stunning backdrop. You can take zodiac boats into the lagoon during warmer weather. Definitely worth a stop if travelling in southeast Iceland!
Hofn — a small fishing town in Eastern Iceland. We stopped here briefly before going on to some natural hot tubs run by local residents (honor system — put a few coins in a box).
Afterwards, we stayed at Guesthouse Nypugardar, about 25 km outside of Hofn. I highly recommend this place — it’s a sheep farm located on a gorgeous landscape with a glacier in the background. The owner will make you a delicious dinner (lamb, naturally) — and she even washed our clothes at no extra charge. They had a great breakfast the next morning. As there were high winds reported on the road back the next day, she made arrangements to call us that evening to ensure we made it back safely.
Ice caving — we used Arctic Adventures to book an ice caving tour, which was not quite as blue and spectacular as I’ve seen elsewhere, but our cave got downgraded as the one we were supposed to visit was flooded that morning. So we got the “chocolate milk cave” because of the color of the water running through it : / It involved a 20 minute hike through some gorgeous glacier landscape with crampons and makeshift bridges to get there. Despite getting the smaller cave, it still made for some decent photos and I’d recommend doing this if visiting south Iceland.
Vik… in the fog
Vik — When we visited Vik, it was super foggy, so I didn’t get the full experience, but it was a cozy little town and is famous for its wool products. We did walk on the waterfront, which has some exotic rock formations (featured here).
Southern Iceland has some breathtaking scenery and (at least when I did it a few years ago) there’s enough room to explore on your own.