2 Full Days in Iceland - Day 2 (Southcoast Iceland)
Day 2 we spent exploring and discovering the southern coast of Iceland. This part of the country was very different from what we have seen the day before when we went around the Golden Circle. We saw a lot of new views that were vast and gorgeous. Interestingly, Ryan and I both thought that Iceland reminded us of Maui a lot, just covered in snow instead of tropical trees. It’s because they are both volcanic islands so they have similar views, similar sands, and structures to them!
TIP: Start your day from Reynisdrangar (black sand beach) and visit the waterfalls on your way back to Reykjavik. Most tours visit the waterfalls on the way to the black sand beach. When you do it reversed, you can avoid the big tour buses!
The black sand beach of Reynisfjara was voted as one of the Top 10 non-tropical beaches to visit in the world by National Geographic. We visited the black sand beach in Maui before and even though they were both formed due to the volcanic nature of the islands, they looked so different! Maui was tropical while Iceland‘s black sand beach was covered in snow!
WARNING: The waves here are very strong and the currents are big, so please admire the waves from a safe distance. The land south of this beach is Antarctica, which means there’s a lot of space for strong currents between the two lands.
We were joking that the sand + snow looks like cookies & cream icecream! Haha ^^
What you see on the left photo are basalt columns that look like organ pipes. These were formed as the basaltic lava cooled down. We’ve never seen anything like this before! They were in perfect column shapes, what nature can do is crazy sometimes!
I saw a lot of people taking pictures standing up on the lower columns so of course, I tried it as well. But for some reason, I had a hard time getting up on them! So, I ended up just taking a picture standing in front of them.
There’s also a small cafe/restaurant here where you can grab a quick bite. We spent about an hour here admiring the views and grabbing lunch!
Seacliffs near Reynisfjara
On the other end of the black sand beach, you can drive up to go see the seacliffs. You will have an amazing view and get to see the black sand beach and the waves from a different angle.
During the summer season, you can go observe the cute puffins near this area among many other locations where you can also see these birds. The puffins usually arrive in Iceland in May and leave in August. To protect these birds and their habitats, during the summer months, they limit the number of visitors as well as the hours you can visit, so plan ahead if you want to see these cute little birds.
One of the must-see places in Iceland is definitely its glaciers. There are several places to see the glaciers, but this specific location is above the infamous Katla volcano. Since beneath this is an active volcano, there’s always the risk of it erupting; however, it is carefully monitored so it should be generally safe to travel around here.
Sadly, due to global warming, all the glaciers around the world are melting and shrinking, including this one. Go visit now when you can still enjoy and witness the wonders of nature!
Pictures definitely don’t do justice here. The glaciers in person are much more clear blue color.
If you want to spend more time here, there are a lot of guided tours for glacier hikes. We didn’t participate as we didn’t have enough time, but if we return next time, definitely want to put that on our list!
This waterfall is extra special and famous because it provides a 360 degree view. You can walk behind the waterfall and enjoy the waterfall from an unique angle. Unfortunately, for safety purposes, the walkway behind the waterfall is closed during the winter. Even during the non-winter months, it can get very slippery, so be careful!
Skogafoss is one of the largest and most well known waterfalls in Iceland.
TIP: Visit this waterfall in the afternoon when the sun is out. Due to the amount of water spraying from this waterfall, you have a very good chance of seeing the rainbow! We went in the mid-afternoon and we were blessed with the waterfall views with the rainbow! It was the most spectacular and vivid rainbow I have ever seen in my life!
You can also view the waterfall from the top by going up the stairs to the right. It was closed when we went because it was too slippery and dangerous.
The sun was too bright and it was hard to take photos. Above 3 pictures show Ryan’s solution to taking photos when the sun is in your face! ^^
That is the end of our 2 full days itinerary in Iceland. We had a half day spent in Reykjavik on our traveling day, which we spent exploring the small, cute town of Reykjavik and eating. If you only have 2 full days here, I’d highly recommend this itinerary to see the most in Iceland. We look forward to returning during the summer months to get a totally different perspective of this beautiful island.
Also, below is our first Gopro video documenting our trip to Iceland! Enjoy!