What are the main attractions in South-East Iceland? This is a difficult question because different people have different tastes. Iceland is a land of nature, and it can take much more time to see all the attractions than you can imagine. If you are heading the southeast coast, from Vik and onwards to reach the Village of Hofn, known for its fishing traditions, then there are many attractive places that can catch the attention of every traveler. One tip: it is better to start your trip early in the morning. Most of the attractive places do not get crowdie until mid-day, and you can enjoy nature views more clearly.
During this trip, you’ll drive through significantly changing terrains. For making the most of the time traveling in South-East Iceland, don’t forget to take notes of all the adventurous places that we are going to share with you. Let’s start the guide with the top most attractive place in South-East Iceland.
Your first destination when driving from Vik is Thakgil canyon (Icelandic: Þakgil). To get there, head for Höfdabrekka, located on your left, about 5km east of Vik. From there it‘s about a 20 minutes drive through hills and mountains. The road is a bit narrow so please drive carefully and please note that Thakgil should only be visited during summertime. Once you arrive at the Thakgil camping site you will have the oppurtunity to enjoy a tranquil hike while enjoying picturesque views. Next to the camping site is a naturally formed cave and once you get inside it you will notice a cozy barbeque area, so make sure to bring some Icelandic Hot Dogs with you!
The panoramic views of the 100 meters deep and somewhat narrow canyon Fjaðrárgljúfur will leave you speechless. This amazing sight stretches its history all the way to the Ice Age, as the bedrock of the canyon is thought to be about two million years old. The river that runs through the canyon is named Fjadra and has a rather soft stream as it consists of relatively low water. Therefore, hikers and visitors alike can walk by the river, walking path up on the canyon’s edge while simultaneously enjoying the view above the canyon.
about two kilometres long.The canyon has sheer walls, and is somewhat serpentine and narrow. The bedrock in Fjaðrárgljúfur is mostly palagonite from cold periods of the Ice Age and is thought to be about two million years old. The river Fjaðrá has its source in the mountain Geirlandshraun and falls off the heath edge in this stunning canyon until it makes it down into Skaftá river. Fjaðrá has changed a lot in the course of time. Today Fjaðrá is often rather low in water and therefore hikers can safely choose to walk inside the canyon. However, wading is necessary fairly often. Deep in the canyon there are waterfalls so one needs to walk the same way back. Most people choose to walk along a walking path up on the canyon’s edge while simultaneously enjoying the view above the canyon.
In the past, this place was hugely famous with the name of “Kirkjubær” that means church farm. If you are running out of services than this is the only place between Vik and Hofn that offers every kind of services such as petrol, car services station, a post office, a bank, restaurants and stores. This place also has many other tourist attraction places nearby worth seeing. One of those places is the natural pavement made up of basalt and known as Church Floor.
Kirkjubaejarklaustur is a natural monument with the formation of large lava formations which is similar to the Giant’s Causeway of Ireland. The Laki road of Kirkjubaejarklaustur led you to the highlands if you travel straight from the Ring Road. The southern part of this district is served as the circular landbrot.
Have you ever hear the name of this place? This place is considered to be the largest lava fields in the world. With the all greenery and scenery views of Eldhraun, this is felt like an out-of-the-world place. Eldhraun is considered to be the most expensive land of rocks that are entirely covered with moss. You can get to the site after driving miles straight from the Ring Road. The thick and green layer of moss has covered the all rough edges of the lava rock. The moss on these roads gets greener with the rain and gives a very breathtaking view. This place is ideal for you if you are the lover of nature and greenery.
You can view all the lava fields by standing on the parking space of Route 1. Furthermore, the origin of Eldhraun is connected with the devastation of 1380 eruptions. Don’t get near to the places of living moss and follow the trail of well-label tracks. Mosses are very sensitive and can easily damage your footprints and tires. Moss can take 100s of years to grow again. So, be careful while passing through the tracks that are covered with moss. Skaftárhreppur
This district is the center of the south of Iceland. With different tourist attraction points, Skaftárhreppur is the perfect location. It is recommended to visit this place during daytimes. This district is known as the house of Iceland’s natural treasures. This is the main point that leads you to the glacier lagoons of Jökulsárlón, Eldgjá fissure, Skaftafell, and Reynisfjara black beach.
This is district is also the meeting point of lava and saga. This the gateway that leads you to the western gates of the Vatnajökull National Park and the center point of the Katla geopark.
SKAFTAFELL/VATNAJÖKULL NATIONAL PARK
Glaciers of the Vatnajokull National Park are also the tourist attraction point of the Iceland that can catch the attention of any tourist in no time. It is the largest glacier of Europe that covers the 20% landmass of Iceland. Vatnajokull National Park covers more than 20% because it includes not only glaciers but the green land that surrounds it. Recently, this National Park was nominated to include in the World Heritage Site of the UNESCO. Several areas cover the territory of this National Park that also includes Skaftafell. This is the area that covers a couple of hiking points. Most popular hiking points of Skaftafell are Savitoss Waterfall and another one that is located to the opposite base of the glacier. This National Park is also the best place for camping.
The 5.2 Km round trip of Savitoss hiking point almost takes 2 hours to complete. The waterfalls of the Savitoss cover the base points of basalts columns. With the meaning of “Back Falls,” this hiking point is the most chili place of Iceland, and it becomes difficult to hike with the piles of clothes.
Both hiking points start from the Visitor Center of Skate full. Here you can use the restroom and buy food for your next destination.
JÖKULSÁRLÓN GLACIAL LAGOON
This glacier lagoon is known as the jewel of the South coast. If you are planning to visit the only the south coast of Iceland, then don’t forget to make a trip at JÖKULSÁRLÓN GLACIAL LAGOON. It is a lake that is connected to the ocean and the short river. Between the river and ocean, there are to black sand banks. If you go to the other side of the lake, there is the head of Breiðamerkurjökull glacier. This glacier is the head point of the giant Vatnajökull glacier. Here you can enjoy the breathtaking view of the giant icebergs that is break off from the glacier and drift out of the ocean. The speed of these icebergs is pretty slow, but if you take the closer look into the ocean, you can see other types of icebergs that are smaller in size. At the bank of black sand, you can also see many seals.
At this surreal place, lagoons only appeared almost 80 years ago. The size of the icebergs are incredibly large and giving a very peaceful view while silently sitting on the blue ocean. The primary specialty of this place is its Diamond Beach that is located at the street right across the lagoon. The icebergs at this beach give the view of diamond calmly lying on the black sand.
Black Sand Diamond Beach
If you drive straight from the road of glacier lagoon, then you can reach this gift of nature. This is the most worth sight-seeing views on the trip of Vik to Hokin. The sand on the bank of this beach is in black color that is completely covered in the chunks of ice. These chunks are looking like diamonds and give the most breath-taking views to the tourists. If you visit this beach during a full sunny day, then you will see nothing regardless of the hundreds of chunks of diamonds lying peacefully on the black sand.
The size of chunks varies as their color ranges from bright white to shiny blue. For snapping pictures and spending a whole day, this beach is ideal for the devotees of Mother Nature.
All of the above mentioned places are attractive tourist points that no one wants to miss while driving in South-East Iceland.