South Iceland: Discover the 9 days itinerary

South Iceland: Discover the 9 days itinerary

IJsland Dettifoss

16 days itinerary

Iceland is known for its spectacular landscapes, with volcanoes, glaciers, waterfalls, and geothermal activity. If you are looking for an unforgettable adventure, a 9 days itinerary through South Iceland is the perfect choice. In this article, we will take you on a daily journey along the highlights of this enchanting region.

Transportation during your Iceland itinerary

Public transportation in Iceland is almost non-existent outside of Reykjavik. There are buses between the airport and Reyjavik, but beyond that, everything is by your own transportation, or through trips. You cannot get to many attractions without a rental car. Accommodation is quite expensive, so to save a lot of effort and money, we recommend renting a rental car with a rooftop tent. Also a 4×4 insures that you can drive everywhere. If you want to know more about driving in Iceland, check out this article.

Tip: Check here if all roads are open. This is especially important in the winter months, when there is a lot of snow. You can see that on this Icelandic website.

How many days do you need for this itinerary

For this itinerary, we recommend taking 9 days. Do you have more time? We give an indication of how long you can be somewhere, but this can of course always be longer or shorter. Take an extra day in Reykjavik or Vik, or maybe add a day to your trip to Vestmannaeyjar. Do you need more inspiration? Then also check out the 16-day itinerary through all of Iceland. This way you can put together your own trip!

Map of Iceland

Day 1:  Reykjavik

You start this itinerary with your arrival at Keflavík International Airport. Pick up your rental car from the airport and drive to Reykjavík, the bustling capital of Iceland. Here you can spend the day exploring the city. Certainly walk down the Laugavegur, Laugavegur is the main street in Reykjavík, lined with shops, restaurants, and bars. Also stroll down the Skólavörðustígur, which leads you to the Hallgrímskirkja church. Furthermore you should visit the Sun Voyager. This sculpture is made by Jón Gunnar Árnason and is a popular spot for photos and offers stunning views of the Atlantic Ocean.

Reykjavík is a vibrant city with a lot to offer visitors. With its friendly people, rich culture, and stunning scenery, it’s the perfect place to start your journey to Iceland. Check out our article about Reykjavik as well. Are you staying in Reykjavik longer, then you might want to use the Reykjavik City Card as well. Read all about it in this article.

Hotelrecommendation Reykjavik: 100 Iceland Hotel. On the Laugavegur 100 you’ll find this centrally located hotel. With easy access to all attractions in Reykjavik, this is a perfect spot to stay during your time here.

IJsland Reykjavik, Sun voyager

Day 2:  þingvellir, Geysir, Gullfoss and Geysir

Depart early in the morning for the Golden Circle route. Make sure you stop at a supermarket for groceries, that will save you a lot of hassle on the way. The first stop is Thingvellir National Park, where you walk on the fault line between the Eurasian and North American tectonic plates. A beautiful 1.5-hour walk, with a waterfall, beautiful boardwalks, and a stunning nature park.

IJsland Thingvellir

Continue the journey to the Geysir Geothermal Area, where you can witness the spectacular eruptions of geysers. The Geysir is unfortunately dormant, but the Strokkur shoots a beautiful jet out of the ground every 5 to 7 minutes.

Afterwards, enjoy the majestic Gullfoss waterfall, where you can walk all the way along and enjoy the power of nature. The last stop is the serene crater of Kerid. There are more than enough hotels to stay overnight near Kerid.

IJsland Gulfoss

Hotel recommendation Kerid: Solheimar Eco-Village Guesthouse. This guesthouse has excellent facilities for an overnight stay and you can also visit the Golden Circle activities from the guesthouse. You also support a good cause with this, as it provides accommodation for people with a distance to the labor market.

Hotel recommendations Selfoss: Hotel Selfoss. Here you can sleep comfortably on the nice and soft beds in this centrally located hotel and enjoy an amazing breakfast.

Day 3:  Reykjadalúr, Vik and the south coast

After your overnight stay, you go to Reykjadalur, which means “Steam Valley”. Upon arrival, you start a hike through the mountains of about three kilometers. Then you reach the hot springs, where you have the opportunity to immerse yourself in the warm water. While you enjoy the natural thermal baths, which you can visit for free, you are surrounded by the natural beauty of Iceland and you can relax and unwind. A full report of this route can be found here.

As you drive towards Vík, you will come across four powerful waterfalls. First the Seljalandsfoss, where you can walk behind the waterfall. About a hundred meters further lies the Gljúfrabúi, which is hidden in a cave.

IJsland Seljalandsfoss IJsland Gljúfrabúi

A half hour later you will come across the Skógafoss, a 60 meter high and 25 meter wide waterfall. You can also see it from above. Take the stairs that you can find on the side of the waterfall. If you then park your car five minutes further on, you will come to the much quieter and unknown Kvernufoss. A detailed report on these four waterfalls can be found here.

From here you drive on to Vík, a charming town on the south coast of Iceland. Along the way you can enjoy the beautiful scenery, with black sand beaches and imposing rock formations. In Vík itself there is more than enough to do with excursions, such as a glacier tour, ice cave tour and the Icelandic Lava Tour. A full description of Vík and the surrounding area can be found here.

Hotel recommendation Vík: Guesthouse Carina. Book here well in advance, because this hotel with clean rooms and great views is often quickly full. You have views of mountains, the sea and the town of Vík.

IJsland Skogafoss

Day 4:  Fjadrargljufur, Skaftafell and Jökulsárlón

From Vik, you drive towards the Skaftafell National Park. But before you get there, you make a stop at the Fjadrargljufur Canyon, which is right next to the road. Here you can enjoy one of the most beautiful canyons in Iceland from above. Hiking is possible, but we recommend only doing this with good weather in the spring or summer. Otherwise the water is too high. Even in the spring and summer, you can count on wet feet, so water shoes are definitely handy to bring.

IJsland Fjadrargljufur canyon

Continue your journey to Skaftafell National Park, a paradise for hikers, where you can have a great time in the area. Take a hike to Svartifoss, a beautiful waterfall surrounded by basalt columns that look like an old organ. From Skaftafell National Park, you drive on to Fjallsarlon, where you can walk quietly and watch the glacier lake in peace, as it is not yet known to many tourists.

IJsland Svartifoss IJsland Fjalljarlon

Next, you drive to Jökulsárlón, a breathtaking glacier lagoon full of floating icebergs. Touch the water for the feeling, but not for too long, as it is dangerously cold. If you follow the icebergs towards the sea, you will come to Diamond Beach. This black beach is strewn with ice floes that you can touch and climb. There are guesthouses and hostels in the area for overnight stays.

Hotel recommendation at the lagoon: Ekra Glacier Lagoon. With rooms that have a view on a waterfall and a mountain, you want to stay here even longer. The beds are very comfortable and the interior is done amazingly.

IJsland Diamond Beach IJsland Skaftafell

Day 5:  Höfn

Drive to Höfn, a picturesque fishing village on the east coast of Iceland. Enjoy fresh seafood and take a walk along the harbor. If you are adventurous, you can take a glacier hike on the nearby Vatnajökull glacier.

Also visit Stokksnes, where you can walk along the coast on beautiful routes along the black sand and visit a real Viking village film set. This costs you about €7 for the car and then you can stay there all day. This is also the place to visit Vestrahorn, also known as the Batman Mountain.

Hotel recommendation: Arnanes Country Hotel. Here you can stay perfectly in clean and modern rooms. Breakfast is also arranged in the morning with hot drinks. Definitely a solution, because it can be quite cold in the morning.

IJsland Batmanberg Vestrahorn

Tip: However, if you have a 4×4, you can also drive back to the beautiful Thakgil. A campsite surrounded by mountains, where you can hike three exceptional routes. However, this will extend your trip, as you will not see that much beauty in a few hours. Check out our adventure at Thakgil here.

Day 6:  Vestmannaeyjar

The downside of this route is the return journey. You drive to the port of Landeyjahöfn and take the ferry to Vestmannaeyjar, a group of beautiful islands off the south coast of Iceland. Explore the breathtaking landscapes, steep cliffs and see the many puffins. Visit Eldfell, the volcano that erupted in 1973, and enjoy the breathtaking view from the top. Or wander through the grassland on the south side of the island, where there are an enormous number of puffins. But you can also visit the Beluga Whale Sanctuary, where two rescued whales live and puffins are taken care of. For a comprehensive article on Vestmannaeyjar, see this page.

Hotel recommendation Vestmannaeyjar: Westman Islands Inn. A hotel in a perfect location to be able to visit (almost) everything. You can stay in clean and comfortable rooms and receive the perfect Icelandic hospitality.

Tip: If you want to climb Herjólfsdalur, then staying at campsite Þórsvöllur tjaldsvæði (Thórsvöllur tjaldsvedi) is a recommendation. This is directly opposite.

IJsland Westman Islands

Day 7:  Snæfellsnes peninsula

In the west lies the picturesque Snæfellsnes peninsula. Admire the Snæfellsjökull glacier, visit the black sand beaches of Djúpalónssandur and enjoy the atmosphere of charming fishing villages such as Grundarfjörður and Arnarstapi. Also visit the museum The Fisherman’s Garden, for a glimpse at the houses of the fishermen of yesteryear.

Hotel recommendation Snæfellsnes: Gamla Rif. This old farm was once converted into a coffee shop and is now a guesthouse. With the shared living room, you have a great chance of meeting other travelers from the beautiful island and you are close to the coast and the museums.

IJsland Arnarstapi

Day 8:  Reykjanes Peninsula

From Snæfellsnes, it is a beautiful drive to the Reykjanes Peninsula. Explore the unique landscape with lava fields, boiling mud pools, and the bubbling power field of Gunnuhver. Of course, a visit to the Blue Lagoon, for a relaxing bath in the geothermal water, is a must. Book these tickets well in advance, as they only allow a limited number of people per day.

Hotel recommendation Grindavik: Hotel Grindavik. This hotel offers an amazing breakfast and the owners are there for your perfect stay. With shuttle buses to the Blue Lagoon, or stay here for 2 nights and then go to the airport by taxi service? It can all be done without any hassle.

Hotel recommendation Reykjavik: Center Hotels Plaza. A beautiful room in a central place in Old Town. You can enjoy breakfast in the hotel or find one of the many restaurants in the area. Very close to a lot of musea as well.

IJsland Blue Lagoon

Day 9:  Reykjavík

Spend your last day in Reykjavík. Have you already used the Reykjavík City Card? Then check out here what you can do with it! Explore the city further, visit museums, such as the Perlan and the Saga Museum. Be sure to try the local dishes, such as Hangikjöt or Svið, but we recommend that you first look at what you order. Enjoy the charming shops and boutiques, such as the Christmas shop or the souvenir shops. Depending on when your flight leaves, you can enjoy a drink or dance at Laugavegur, Reykjavík’s nightlife street, or head to the airport to stay next door.

Hotel recommendation: B&B Guesthouse – Bed and Breakfast Keflavik Centre. A perfect guesthouse before your flight, because you can arrange your own breakfast and shuttle to the airport. They arrange everything there, for free!

Sun Voyager Reykjavik

Iceland is an island with many hidden and exposed beauties. There is plenty to discover and see. If you want to discover more of the country, check out our articles on the Diamond Circle, Golden Circle, or the Arctic Coast Way, which will be released soon. We hope that you have gained a lot of inspiration after reading this article and will have a great time in Iceland. Let us know how it was!

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