Our Iceland series is coming to an end! After having spent 8 days exploring by car, we're continuing to share our southern Iceland itinerary to help you plan your next Icelandic road trip!
Here is days 5-8, including a map of our whole trip at then end:
DAY 5 - GLACIERS, GLACIERS AND MORE GLACIERS
Wedged between two volcanoes - Katla and Eijafjallajökkull this giant area felt more like a park of glaciers. Getting to the parking lot can be a bit difficult if your rental car is not an SUV, but is do-able if you go slowly. Once parked up, there are apparent trails you can take that will allow you to go along a mountain side and see the glacier formations in the distance.
Although be warned.
This walk is crumbly and dangerous. The path is sometimes no wider than what you see in the picture above and there is nothing to hold on to!
We walked for about 30 minutes gazing at how interesting the formations and iced mountains in the backdrop were, until we decided to turn around because the ledge was getting too narrow for our liking. It's also very quiet here with not another person in sight, so take caution.
If you have the budget to get a guided tour, this is definitely the place to do it. There are many companies that will set your up with the proper ice-hiking gear and allow you to actually walk on the glaciers them selves.
Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon
A picture's worth a million words and best describes how we felt here. Continuing the southern Iceland itinerary, Jokulsarlon is a large glacial lake in southeast Iceland, on the edge of Vatnajökull National Park. Driving here you can feel the increase in how high you are above sea level. Once parked, its a short walk to the edge of the lagoon, which is a great lookout point.
The weather was amazing and you could just feel the icy breeze coming off the massive floating ice cubes in the lake in front of you.
And no jackets required! (Just a reminder that we were here in mid-May)
The colors, the breeze and how quiet it was makes for the perfect location to stop and truly appreciate the beauty of mother nature and all that is Iceland.
Staying the night
The Glacier Lagoon was our eastern most point of the trip, so from there on it was all about heading back west. Since the glacier is a bit of a drive from anything on the itinerary, plan some time for getting to your accommodation for the night.
We stayed at Hotel Hvolsvollur, 3*, (115€/night) which had a convenient location for the seeing Glacier Lagoon and was comfortable, with nice rooms and breakfast
DAY 6 - THE GOLDEN CIRCLE
The Golden Circle is a tourist route in southern Iceland, that covers a total of about 300 kilometers, looping from Reykjavík into the southern uplands of Iceland and back. There's many places to see here, we didn't manage to cover all of them as you'd need to stay an extra night to have time for all of it, but here's the highlights that can't be missed on your southern Iceland itinerary.
Kerið Crater Lake
Located in the Grímsnes area in south Iceland, this volcanic crater lake has a nice walking path that rings round the top for full 360 degree views. You can also follow a path down towards the water and see it up close.
Land owners charge an entrance fee to see the crater of 400 ISK, and you should plan to spend about 30-40 minutes here, one of the quick destinations.
Thingvellir National Park
The sight where the founding of Iceland's parliament took place, the park is quite large, so plan to spend about an hour here. There are paved paths to walk all around and walking through the park you'll be able to see natural rock formations, some small rivers and relatively groomed greenery.
This was impressive. I mean, huge amounts of water shooting straight out of the ground, relatively every 10 minutes, at an insane force and resembling something you would see from a man-made fountain, I think in itself is almost surreal. Sometimes called the Great Geysir this one was actually the first geyser described in a printed source and the first known to modern Europeans.
This thing is HUGE! Located in the canyon of the Hvítá river in southwest Iceland, you can feel the pure force that comes just from being next to the waterfall. Tourists can walk up to the left side of the waterfall (as you see in the picture) and up close to the water.
Careful though! The rocks can be slippery and the only thing between you and this massive work of mother nature is a low piece of rope on a stick...
Staying the night
After the Gulfoss waterfall, we had planned to spend the last two nights in Iceland relaxing.
After 6 days on the road and an intense itinerary to see 3-4 landmarks each day, you'd be surprised how it wears on you.
The most famous place to relax in Iceland is the Blue Lagoon Spa, located close to Reykjavik and also the airport for our departure, so we drove back to the west and stayed at the Bed and Breakfast Hotel, Keflavík Airport. Costing 236 EUR for 2 nights, for two people, breakfast with a good selection included.
DAY 7 - RELAX AT THE BLUE LAGOON
This natural wonder made into an accessible and fabulous spa, allows you to end your Iceland road trip relaxing and recharging.
Entry here is a bit pricey, costing about 100 EUR for 2 people, and must be booked in advance (here's the link to do that), as tickets allow for the spa to control the amount of people using facilities at once.
Once you pay entry and go inside, there are separate facilities for men and women to get changed and leave your things.
Outside, I guarantee you'll be mesmerized by the large blue milky water pool. The water is warm and feels great after a whole week in the car and they have separate areas like caves you can swim through.
The best part for us was the swim up mud bar towards the left had side of the area, where spa staff will give you handfuls of mud that you can apply all over yourself, exfoliate and then wash off in the water.
Prices inside are also a bit steep, a sandwich coffee shop type lunch will cost you about 30 EUR p/person.
After a whole 6 hours here, it was a great way to top off the end of our trip and we recommend leaving this activity for the end of your trip, which will have you rejuvenated for your journey back home!
Day 8 - Leaving Iceland
When arriving into Keflavik airport, follow signs to a parking area where you can leave your rental car.
One thing we recommend when renting vehicles to to take your own pictures of the car when you receive it, especially of the visible defects, as this will act as proof of what the vehicle or its defects looked like when you got it. Can be very useful when you're returning the car!
After an employee of the company you went with checks the car, you'll be good to go and off on your flight and have brought your southern Iceland itinerary to an end!
That tops off our Iceland series! What makes traveling Iceland stand out from the rest? For us it, it's the nature! Southern Iceland's wonders of mother nature truly make you feel so small and the lack of crowds allow you to explore them at your own pace.
Our whole 8 day road trip itinerary
Read more from our Iceland series, including the first 4 day itinerary of the Iceland trip and our 9 tips for Iceland travel that we learned the hard way, or follow Often Out of Office on social media to be the first one's to know about our new destinations!