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South Iceland Along the coast

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South Iceland Along the coast

South Iceland - Along the coast

This tour offers you all what Iceland is about. History, nature, geothermal power, waterfalls, glaciers and much more. This tour is suited for individuals and smaller groups.

Day 1

Out and about

Once you have had your breakfast and packed your luggage you will be ready for a walk to Reykjadalur near Hveragerði. In Reykjadalur you can find a geothermal area and a warm river where you can take a nature bath. After the walk you can have lunch in or nearby Hveragerði. After lunch it is ideal to have a short walk around the Geothermal Park in the center of Hveragerði. After that you drive to Sólhestar and take a two hour long horse ride in the Ölfus area. In Fákasel you can have dinner and see the horse theatre. In the evening you will hopefully see the northern lights.

9:00 – Walk to Reykjadalur

Somewhat to the north of Hveragerði there is one of the country’s largest geothermal areas, Hengill, where plumes of steam can be seen for miles. Hiking and riding trails stretch from the town throughout Ölfusdalur valley, into the Hengill volcanic area and all the way to Nesjavellir geothermal area and Þingvellir National Park. Along the way there is a hot river where bathing is possible.

12: 30 - Lunch in Hveragerði

In and near Hveragerði you can choose between different range of restaurants and price.

Hoflandssetrið Restaurantwww.hoflandsetrid.is

Restaurant Varmáwww.frostandfire.is

Dalakaffiwww.dalakaffi.is

Fákaselwww.fakasel.is

14:00 – Walk in the Geothermal area in Hveragerði

Hveragerði is undoubtedly one of the few populated places in the world located in a geothermal area of this kind. At the centre visitors are invited to take a guided walk around the hot springs and learn a little about the geological history surrounding this unique area. Visitors can experience at first hand the benefits of therapeutic clay by enjoying a clay bath for their hands and feet.

15:00 – Riding tour at Sólhestar or Eldhestar

This is a 2 hour Icelandic horse riding tour in a beautiful setting around the Olfus area. This tour is suited for beginners and is one hour long. Make sure you bring your This tour includes outdoor clothing, protection helmet and footwear.

Website: www.solhestar.is or www.eldhestar.is

18:00 – Dinner and Horse theatre in Fákasel

Experience Iceland's only horse park where you can mingle with locals, dine on fresh Icelandic food and, most importantly, get to know our unique breed of horse. Fákasel Horse Park is Iceland's  leading tourist attraction for all things "Icelandic horse" and one of the country's best equine competition facilities. This is a fun, entertaining and educational place for the whole family to visit all year round.

Website: www.fakasel.is

20:00 – Check-in at your accommodation near Selfoss

Near Selfoss and Hveragerði you can choose between different range of accommodation and prices.

Accommodation near Selfoss and Hveragerði

Hotels:

Hótel Selfosswww.hotelselfoss.is

Hótel Örkwww.hotelork.is

Hótel Grímsborgir – www.grimsborgir.is

Frost & Fire Hotel www.frostandfire.is

Hótel Eldhestar www.eldhestar

Guesthouses and other accommodation:

Hjarðarból Guesthousewww.hjardarbol.is

Selfoss Hostelwww.selfosshostel.is

Guesthouse Selfosswww.gesthus.is

Núparwww.nupar.is

Frumskógar Guesthousewww.frumskogar.is

Menam Guesthousewww.menam.is

Hreiðurborg Country Housewww.hreidurborg.is

22:00 – Northern light hunt

If the weather is good and some chance of seeing the northern lights you can go for drive in the neighbourhood and try to see them. The northern lights are a natural phenomenom and sightings can never be guaranteed.

Day 2

Upcountry of Árnes county

After breakfast you will drive to Þingvellir which is a site of historical, cultural, and geological importance and is one of the most popular destinations in Iceland. Þingvellir became a national park in 1928 due to its historical importance, as well as the special tectonic and volcanic environment as a rift valley. The continental drift between the North American and Eurasian Plates can be clearly seen in the cracks or faults which traverse the region, the biggest one, Almannagjá, being a veritable canyon. After Þingvellir you’ll drive to Laugarvatn and directly to Fontana Geothermal baths. Since 1929 has the locals bathing in a geothermal baths and it is a good place to relax and enjoy the atthentic Icelandic nature while bathing in a geothermal pools and natural steam rooms. After Fontana geothermal baths you will have lunch at a restaurant of your choise. When you have eaten you will see Geysir and Gullfoss waterfall, two of the most popular destinations in Iceland. After Geysir and Gullfoss you drive towards your accommodation in or around Hvolsvöllur. After dinner you could see the northern light if the weather is promising.

8:00 – Breakfast

Breakfast at your hotel/accommodation

10:00 – Þingvellir

No single place epitomises the history of Iceland and the Icelandic nation better than Þingvellir by the Öxará river. At Þingvellir – literally “Parliament Plains” the Alþingi (Parliament) general assembly was established around 930 and continued to convene there until 1798. Today Þingvellir is a protected national shrine. According to the law, passed in 1928, the protected area shall always be the property of the Icelandic nation, under the auspices of the Alþingi. In the last few decades, research has made it clear that Þingvellir is a natural wonder on an international scale, with the geologic history and the biosystem of Lake Þingvallavatn forming a unique entity, a magnificent sight.

11:30  - Laugarvatn Fontana Geothermal baths

Laugarvatn Fontana is a place where you come to relax and experience authentic Icelandic nature while relaxing in the warm geothermal pools and natural steam rooms. The baths vary in depth, size and temperature and the steam rooms that have been built over natural hot springs that has been used in this purpose since 1929. Fontana is located by a beautiful lake Laugarvatn and you can enjoy the spectacular views from the sauna or the pools.

Website: www.fontana.is

13:30 – Lunch

You can either have lunch in Laugarvatn Fontana  or in the nearest restaurant of your choise

Restaurants in or around Laugarvatn

Restaurant Lindinwww.laugarvatn.is

Gallerí Laugarvatn Caféwww.gallerilaugarvatn.is

Héraðsskólinn Hostel & Travel Centre – www.heradsskolinn.is

Efsti-Dalur 2www.efstidalur.is

15:00 - Geysir geothermal area

Walk around the Geysir area and see the geothermal springs, the famous Geysir and its smaller brother, Strokkur, which spouts every 7 to 10 minutes.

16:00 – Gullfoss

Gullfoss is one of the most popular attractions in the country and part of the famous Golden Circle. It is in the wide Hvítá river which rushes southwards from the highlands. Gullfoss is actually two separate waterfalls, the upper one has a drop of 11 meters and the lower one 21 meters. The rock of the river bed was formed during an interglacial period.

18:00  – Check-in at your accommodation in or around Hvolsvöllur

In and around Hvolsvöllur you can choose between different range of accommodation and prices.

Accommodation in and around Hvolsvöllur and Hella

Hotels.

Stracta Hótel Hellawww.stractahotels.is

Hótel Rangáwww.hotelranga.is

Hótel Hvolsvöllur www.hotelhvolsvollur.is

Hótel Lækur www.hotellaekur.is

Hótel Fljótshlíðwww.smaratun.is

Guesthouses and other accommodation:

Hestheimar - www.hestheimar.is

Eldstó Guesthouse www.eldsto.is

Langbrók Café and camping groundwww.rang.is/langbrok

Hellishólarwww.hellisholar.is

19:00  – Dinner

You can either choose to have your dinner at your hotel or in a restaurant nearby.

Restaurants of choise

Stracta Hótel Hella – www.stractahotels.is

Hótel Rangá – www.hotelranga.is

Hótel Hvolsvöllur – www.hotelhvolsvollur.is

Hótel Lækur – www.hotellaekur.is

Hótel Fljótshlíð – www.smaratun.is

Eldstó Café – www.eldsto.is

Langbrók Café and camping ground – www.rang.is/langbrok

Hellishólar – www.hellisholar.is

Björk, Mini-market and restaurant

22:00 – Northern light hunt

If the weather is good and some chance of seeing the northern lights you can go for drive in the neighbourhood and try to see the them. The northern lights are a natural phenomenom and sightings can never be guaranteed.

Day 3

Waterfalls and the ice

After breakfast you drive to Seljalandsfoss waterfall, the only waterfall known of its kind, where it is possible to walk behind it. After Seljalandsfoss will drive to Landeyjaharbour where you will take Island cruise with Viking Tours. You will see Elliðaey island and Bjarnarey island along with millions of seabirds. You might even try out sea angling. After the Island cruise you drive to Gluggafoss waterfall, beautiful little waterfall. After being outside for the whole day you stop by The Saga Centre where guests are introduced to two periods of Iceland history that have influenced the southern communities. After the Saga centre you’ll drive back to your accommodation.

8:00 – Breakfast

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Enjoy it!

10:00 – Seljalandsfoss waterfall

Stop by Seljalandsfoss waterfall. A unique waterfall in the river Seljalandsá, about 30 km west from Skógar. It is 60 meters high with a foot path behind it at the bottom of the cliff, but with a thin cascade. It is the only known waterfall of its kind, where it is possible to walk behind it. The waterfall is very picturesque and therefore its photo can be found in many books and calendars.

11:30 – Island tour by Viking tours

Dring the Viking Tour boat cruise you will see Elliðaey island and Bjarnarey island. Colourful ocean caves, millions of seabirds and, occasionally during the summer, groups of whales. On the return from the cruise you can try out sea angling. The crystal clear air and the excitement of catching a fish in the happy company of first-timers and experienced fishermen makes this a must-do trip. The most commonly caught fish on our tours are cod, haddock, pollock and catfish. If you are lucky, you might even catch a giant halibut! We provide all the equipment needed for fishing and assistance by experienced guides.

Website: www.vikingtours.is

15:00 – Gluggafoss waterfall

The Merkjá River has several beautiful waterfalls but the most outstanding is called Gluggafoss or Window Falls. The upper half of the cliff is palagonite or tuff rock and the lower ledge is basaltic rock. The river has formed tunnels and grooves through the soft rock, which over time has carved a series of “windows” in the tunnels, thereby earning the name “Gluggafoss”. At the very top of the falls, the river passes under a stone arch.

16:00 -  Saga Centre

At the Saga Centre guests are introduced to two periods of Iceland history that have influenced the southern communities. In the exhibitions you will take a glance back to the Viking Age, with the well-known Njáls saga, and the last 100 years of trade in South Iceland ans the Icelandic cooperative society. Audio-guides are provided.

Website: www.njala.is/en/

19:00  – Dinner

You can either choose to have your dinner at your hotel or in a restaurant nearby.

Restaurants of choise

Stracta Hótel Hella – www.stractahotels.is

Hótel Rangá – www.hotelranga.is

Hótel Hvolsvöllur – www.hotelhvolsvollur.is

Hótel Lækur – www.hotellaekur.is

Hótel Fljótshlíð – www.smaratun.is

Eldstó Café – www.eldsto.is

Langbrók Café and camping ground – www.rang.is/langbrok

Hellishólar – www.hellisholar.is

Björk, Mini-market and restaurant

22:00 – Northern light hunt

If the weather is good and some chance of seeing the northern lights you can go for drive in the neighbourhood and try to see the them. The northern lights are a natural phenomenom and sightings can never be guaranteed.

Day 4

South shore

After breakfast you will drive to Þorvaldseyri Visitor centre where you will see an exhibitions on the volcanic eruption in Eyjafjallajökull. Close to the visitor centre is Skógafoss waterfall and that will be your next stop. Skógafoss is one of the biggest waterfalls in Iceland with a width of 25 metres and a drop of 60 metres. From Skógafoss waterfall you will drive to Vík í Mýrdal where you will have your lunch. After lunch you will explore Dyrhólaey and Reynisfjara. Dyrhólaey is a 510 acre promontory south of Mýrdalsjökull glacier and is the southernmost point of the country. Reynisfjara is a black beach outside of the town Vík and features an amazing cliff of regular basalt columns resembling a rocky step pyramid, which is called Garðar.After Dyrhólaey and Reynisfjara you will drive to Fjaðrárgljúfur which is a magnificent and massive canyon, about 100 meters deep and about two kilometres long. The canyon has sheer walls, and is somewhat serpentine and narrow. After Fjaðrárgljúfur canyon you check-in at your accommodation of choise.

8:00  – Breakfast

They say that breakfast is the most important meal of the day.

10:00 – Eyjafjallajökull Erupts Visitor Centre

The Þorvaldseyri Visitor Centre opened on April 14, 2011, exactly one year after the Eyjafjallajökull eruption started. As a family-run facility, the goal is to give visitors a personal look at what it is lika to have a volcano at one’s back door. A short film portrays the spectacular natural event, and the hectic times and incredible challenges met by the family farm of Þorvaldseyri.

Website: www.icelanderupts.is 

11:00 – Skógar og Skógafoss

Skógafoss is one of the biggest waterfalls in Iceland with a width of 25 metres and a drop of 60 metres. Due to the amount of spray the waterfall consistently produces, a single or double rainbow is normally visible on sunny days. According to legend, the first Viking settler in the area, Þrasi Þórólfsson, buried a treasure in a cave behind the waterfall. The legend also says that local people found the chest years later, but were only able to grasp the ring on the side of the chest before it disappeared again. The ring was allegedly given to the local church. The old church door ring is now in a museum, though whether it gives any credence to the folklore is debatable.

12:30 – Lunch in Vík

In Vík í Mýrdal you can choose between a few restaurants.

Restaurants in Vík

Halldórskaffiwww.halldorskaffi.is

Welcome Hótel in Víkwww.vikhotel.is

Restaurant Ströndin, Bistro and Barwww.strondin.is

14:00 – Dyrhólaey

Dyrhólaey is a 510 acre promontory south of Mýrdalsjökull glacier and is the southernmost point of the country. Dyrhólaey was formed about one hundred thousand years ago in the warm-up period of the last ice age in an underwater eruption that has its similarities to Surtsey, the famous volcanic island south-west of the Westman Islands. Dyrhólaey is an important bird nesting site and the area has been protected since 1978.

15:00 – Reynisfjara

Reynisfjara is a black beach outside of the town Vík and features an amazing cliff of regular basalt columns resembling a rocky step pyramid, which is called Garðar. Out in the sea you see the spectacularly shaped basalt sea stacks Reynisdrangar. The area has rich birdlife, including fulmars and guillemots. At Reynisfjara beach you need to be careful because of the strong waves. The waves can catch you and easily suck individuals out to the cold Atlantic ocean.

17:00 – Fjaðrárgljúfur

Fjaðrárgljúfur is a magnificent and massive canyon, about 100 meters deep and 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.

18:30 – Check-in at your accommodation in or around Kirkjubæjarklaustur

In and around Kirkjubæjarklaustur you can choose between different range of accommodation and prices.

Accommodation in and around Kirkjubæjarklaustur

Hotels:

Hótel Lakiwww.hotellaki.is

Hótel Geirlandwww.geirland.is

Icelandair Hótel Klausturwww.icelandairhotel.com

Fosshótel Núpar - http://www.fosshotel.is/hotels/fosshotel-in-the-south/fosshotel-nupar/

Guesthouses and other accommodation:

Guesthouse Hunkubakkarwww.hunkubakkar.is

19:00 – Dinner

Dinner at your choise of accommodation

Day 5

Vatnajökull region

After breakfast you drive to Vatnajökull region. Yoy will begin your day by taking a glacial hike. You will hike in Svinafellsjökull glacier tounge in Skaftafell national park. After the glacial hike you have lunch in Skaftafell and then afterwards you will walk to Svartifoss waterfall and around Skaftafell area. After Skaftafell you will drive to Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon. Jökulsárlón is one of Icelands most visited places and for a good reason. The large glacier lagoon is a unique place with icebergs constantly breaking off from the glacier and eventually drifting through the short river to the sea. You can go for a sight seeing tour around the lagoon or just enjoy the spectacular scenery. After Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon you will drive to Höfn í Hornafirði. After dinner it is lovely to walk around the neighbourhood and enjoy Höfn and hopefully you will see some northern light if the weather is good.

8:00 – Breakfast

Today will be eventful so make sure you eat well

10:00 – Glacial walk

Walk on Svinafellsjokull Glacier Tongue in Skaftafell National Park.

Icelandic Mountain Guideswww.mountainguides.is

Glacier Guideswww.glacierguides.is

Arctic Adventureswww.adventures.is 

13:00 – Skaftafell and Svartifoss waterfall

Skaftafell is definitely a must-see for all visitors of the Vatnajokull Region. Skaftafell is known as one of Iceland´s most beautiful places with its magnificent contrasts of white glaciers, black sands and green meadows.

You will find Svartifoss waterfall by walking 250 meters from the visitor centre through the campsite take you slightly upwards into the mountain heath in Skaftafell (elevation is 140 meters in 1.5 kilometers). From that point the path will take you down into the ravine below the waterfall). After enjoying the waterfall and its surroundings you should walk up the basalt column steps on the other side of the ravine and follow that path all the way down to the campsite via Lambhagi.

16:00 – Jökulsárlón

Jökulsárlón is one of Icelands most visited places and for a good reason. The large glacier lagoon is a unique place with icebergs constantly breaking off from the glacier and eventually drifting through the short river to the sea. The waves turn some of the icebergs back to the black sand beach where they lie scattered like gems.

Jökulsárlón is extremely popular amongst photographers due to its spectacular scenery. Jökulsárlón was the setting for the Hollywood films A View to a Kill, Die another Day, Tomb Raider and Batman Begins - in addition to the reality-TV series Amazing Race.

There are hundreds of seals in the lagoon during winter and plenty of birds live by the lagoon.

Website: www.jokulsarlon.is/

18:30 – Check-in at your accommodation in or around Höfn

In and around Höfn you can choose between different range of accommodation and prices.

Accommodation in and around Höfn

Hotels:

Fosshótel Vatnajökull - http://www.fosshotel.is/hotels/fosshotel-in-the-south-east/fosshotel-vatnajokull/

Hótel Jökullwww.hoteljokull.is

Hótel Höfnwww.hotelhofn.is

Guesthouses and other accommodation:

Guesthouse Hólmurwww.eldhorn.is/mg/gisting

Brunnhóll Guesthouse - www.brunnholl.is

Guesthouse Hoffellwww.hoffell.com

Höfn Campingwww.campsite.is

19:30 – Dinner

You can either choose to have your dinner at your hotel or in a restaurant nearby.

Restaurants of choise:

Humarhöfnin Restaurantwww.humarhofnin.is

Kaffi Nýhöfn – www.nyhofn.is

Fosshótel Vatnajökull - http://www.fosshotel.is/hotels/fosshotel-in-the-south-east/fosshotel-vatnajokull/

Hótel Jökull – www.hoteljokull.is

Hótel Höfn – www.hotelhofn.is

Guesthouse Hólmur – www.eldhorn.is/mg/gisting

Brunnhóll Guesthouse - www.brunnholl.is

Guesthouse Hoffell – www.hoffell.com

22:00 – Northern light hunt

If the weather is good and some chance of seeing the northern lights you can go for drive in the neighbourhood and try to see the them. The northern lights are a natural phenomenom and sightings can never be guaranteed.

Day 6

City life

After breakfast you drive to Höfn í Hornafirði domestic airport and take the morning flight. You will fly from Höfn to Reykjavík. Once you are in Reykjavík you check-in at your accommodation and you can choose to spend the day in Reykjavík city centre or  swim in the Blue Lagoon. You can spend the rest of the day and evening exploring Reykjavík city and all that it has to offer. The are a lof of museums, galleries, restaurants and cafés. A good day to enjoy the city or the Blue Lagoon before heading back home.

Reykjadalur valley

Reykjadalur valley is the most popular and arguably the most beautiful hiking area in Ölfus. Hot springs and colourful areas full of geothermal activity entertain along a hiking trail which leads to a hot river. For some of the length of the river the temperature in it is perfect for bathing and that's a wonderful natural experience.

Geothermal area in Hveragerdi

Right inside the town of Hveragerði is an area of hot springs from which the community derives its name (hver = hot spring). The hot springs of Hveragerði are among the most remarkable natural attractions og south Iceland. Visitors to the Geothermal Area can learn about geothermal energy and the springs, which include Eilífur, a geysir which erupts regulary, Ruslahver which has an interesting history. You can also boil an egg in the area and try the hot spring bread."

April May June July August September
Weekdays 09:00- 17:00 09:00- 17:00 09:00-18:00 09:00-18:00 09:00-18:00 09:00-17:00
Saturdays Closed 09:00- 17:00* 09:00-18:00 09:00-18:00 09:00-18:00 09:00-17:00
Sundays Closed Closed 10:00-16:00 10:00-16:00 10:00-16:00 Closed
*From 15th May
During winter we welcome groups upon request

Telephonenumber: +354 4835062

https://www.facebook.com/Geothermalpark/

Hiking Tours - Hiking

Hiking with or without a guide us always a popular mode of travel and many hiking trails exist.

Horse Activities

The Icelandic horse is a favorite of many and known around the world as an excellent steed. There are many horse rentals throughout the country offering short or longer rides.

Thingvellir, National park

Þingvellir (Icelandic "Þing": parliament, "vellir": plains) is a place in the southwest of Iceland near the peninsula of Reykjanes and the Hengill volcanic area.

It is famous for two reasons:

As one of the most important places in Icelandic history. In the year 930 the Alþingi, one of the oldest parliamentary institutions of the world, was founded. The Alþingi met yearly, where the Lawspeaker recited the law to all of the gathered people and decided disputes as well. In the year 999 or 1000 the Lawspeaker Þorgeir Ljósvetningagoði made Christianity the official religion of Iceland. After the conversion it is said that, upon returning from the Alþingi, Þorgeir then threw his statues of the old Norse gods into the waterfall that is now named Goðafoss ("Waterfall of the Gods"). At this historical place, the independence of the Republic of Iceland was proclaimed on June 17, 1944.

As a national park (since 1928) because of the special tectonic and volcanic environment. The continental drift can be clearly seen in the cracks or faults which are traversing the region, the biggest one, Almannagjá, being a veritable canyon. This causes also the often measurable earthquakes in the area.
Þingvellir is situated on the northern shore of Þingvallavatn, the biggest lake of Iceland. The river Öxará traverses the national park and is forming a waterfall at the Almannagjá, called Öxaráfoss Together with the waterfall Gullfoss and the geysirs of Haukadalur, Þingvellir is part of the most famous sights of Iceland, the Golden Circle.

Þingvellir is a designated UNESCO World Heritag Site

Thingvellir, 50 km (31 miles) to the east of Reykjavík, is the national shrine of Iceland. Icelands most historic site, and one of its most beautiful places, it is also part of The Golden Circle tour. The oldest existing parliament in the world first met here in AD930. The Alþing met here every year to enact laws, including the law passed in AD1000 to introduce Christianity into the island. It has always been the focal point for the country, and whenever a major event is to be celebrated, thousands of people come here. At the celebration of the 1,100th anniversary of the first settlement in 1974, more than 60,000 people packed into Thingvellir.

Nearby Lögberg is the cliff overlooking the place where the Alþing (assembly) met, and speakers stood to address the gatherings from this point. Nearby is Drekkingarhylur (The Drowning Pool), where mothers of illegitimate children were drowned. It is sited in the river Öxará in Almannagjá, a lava gorge, which with the Öxarárfoss waterfall, is an impressive sight.

Peningagjá (The Money Chasm) is a deep fissure filled with crystal clear spring water; people throw coins into it from the bridge that lies across. The coins give off strange reflections as they drop through the water, it is said that if you can follow the coin all the way down until it comes to rest on the bottom, your wish will come true. Scubadiving and snorkeling in wet suits is becoming increasingly popular here.

There is an old church at Thingvellir. Beside the church is the national burial ground.

Thingvallavatn is the largest lake in Iceland, 83sq km (32sq miles) and over 100m (328ft) deep. The only outflow from lake Thingvallavatn is the river Sog, a famous salmon river with beautiful blue water. The lake's catchment area is 90% underground and the water from the thousands of cold springs has a constant temperature of 3-4°C the whole year round.

The anglers, who use boats for their fishing, have to be careful and watch out for changes in the weather. The lake becomes a boiling pot, when the wind starts blowing. The catch in the lake has always been a necessary part for the survival of the farming families on the lake. They have netted the lake traditionally for centuries. Angling permits are sold in the little shop and visitors centre in the camping area or at Hotel Valholl. The catch consists of brown trout and lake char.

It is said that these fish became isolated in the lake in the wake of the last ice age when the terrain rose at the south end of Þingvallavatn. These two species are a living testimony to how the evolution of species occurs in nature, as over a period of 10,000 years they have adapted themselves to various habitats in the lake. The constant, regular influx of groundwater into Lake Þingvallavatn, together with a very varied habitat, has created good conditions for fish and other life forms in the lake, to which they have adapted even more.This has resulted in the fact that both the brown trout and char in Thingvallavatn are amongst the largest to be found in the world. The trout are said to be as big as over 20 kg (max weight) and the char over 10 kg (max weight), which is at the max of both species size range.

The lake is part of the Þingvellir National Park. The volcanic origin of the islands in the lake is clearly visible. The fissures around it - the famous Almannagjá is the biggest of them - indicate that here the tectonic plates of Europe and The Americas are in a conflict. In this lake, the large quantity of sulfur and salt, the lake is extremely light and the water seems to be in less weight than other lakes.

The Great Geysir

One of the greatest natural attractions of Iceland and part of the famous "Golden Circle Tour", The Great Geysir, or Stori-Geysir, has been dormant since 1916 when it suddenly ceased to spout. It came to life only once in 1935, and as quickly went back to sleep. Since then its repose has sporadically been disturbed by the dumping of tons of carbolic soap powder into its seething orifice in order to tickle it to spout. It is not exactly known when Geysir was created. It is believed that it came into existence around the end of the 13th century when a series of strong earthquakes, accompanied by a devastating eruption of Mt. Hekla, hit Haukadalur, the geothermal valley where Geysir is located. What is known is that it spouted regularly every third hour or so up to the beginning of the 19th century and thereafter progressively at much longer intervals until it completely stopped in 1916. Whether its silence is eternal or temporary no one knows. When it was alive and shooting, it could thunderously blast a spectacular jet of superheated water and steam into the air as high as 60 to 80 meters according to different sources. Its opening is 18 meters wide and its chamber 20 meters deep. One reason for cessation is believed to be the accumulated rocks and foreign objects thrown into it by thousands of tourists throughout the years. Though definitely damaging, this however could not be the only reason for its dormancy. The Great Geysir was among the most notable geysers in the world, such as those in Yellowstone Park, New Zealand and North Iceland. The English word "geyser" is derived from the Icelandic word "geysir" which means gusher. Though the Great Geysir itself is now more or less inactive, the area surrounding it is geothermically very active with many smaller hot springs. The attraction of the area is now Strokkur (The Churn), another geyser 100 meters south of the Great Geysir, which erupts at regular intervals every 10 minutes or so and its white column of boiling water can reach as high as 30 meters. The whole area is a geothermal park sitting on top of a vast boiling cauldron. Belching sulphurous mud pots of unusual colors, hissing steam vents, hot and cold springs, warm streams, and primitive plants can all be found here. A short distance away to the west stands the small Laugarfjall Mountain with a panoramic view overlooking the Geysir area. King Christian IX of Denmark visited the area in 1874 and by the foot of the mountain are the rocks where he leaned while his hosts tried to impress and amuse him by boiling eggs in the hot springs. The rocks are now called Konungssteinar ("The King's Stones").

Gullfoss waterfall

Gullfoss is actually two separate waterfalls, the upper one has a drop of 11 metres and the lower one 21 metres. The rock of the river bed was formed during an interglacial period.

Water flows over Gullfoss at an average rate of 109 cubic metres per second. The heaviest floods have recorded a flow of 2000 cubic metres per second. During the summer the flow is 130 cubic metres per second, which would take only 3 seconds to fill this building. People were eager to exploit the power potential of Gullfoss and many plans for hydroelectric developments on the river Hvítá have been proposed.

Geothermal bathing

Geothermal energy is one of Iceland´s most important power sources. Geothermal energy primarily comes from heat stored in the Earth’s core. Magma deep in the core heats surrounding rock and rainwater that has seeped through the ground. A part of the hot water returns to the surface as hot springs. A larger part remains trapped underground in porous rocks and fissures termed geothermal reservoirs.  Icelanders have utilized the geothermal energy for laundry and bathing and for cooking and baking since the country was first settled. Hot water was first pumped from the ground in 1928 for commercial and residential utilization, and the Reykjavík Geothermal Heating Plant was established in 1943. Today, geothermal heating plants exist throughout the country and the hot water is used for heating homes and public swimming pools. The hot water is also utilized in the production of electricity. In geothermal areas, particularly in the south of the country there is much cultivation and there are many greenhouses where fruits, vegetables and flowers are grown. The geothermal energy also creates plenty of hot natural pools in many shapes and sizes, where one can bathe year round. The south of Iceland has several of these pools, with the hot river in Reykjadalur being one of the better known. The majority of these pools are open to the public, but some are privately owned and fees and rules of admission are determined by the owners.

Seljalandsfoss and Gljufrabui Waterfalls

A unique waterfall in the river Seljalandsá, about 30 km west from Skógar. It is 60 meters high with a foot path behind it at the bottom of the cliff, but with a thin cascade. It is the only known waterfall of its kind, where it is possible to walk behind it. The waterfall is very picturesque and therefore its photo can be found in many books and calendars.

Access to the waterfall is from the farm of Seljaland along the Ring Road, Iceland's main highway. A little further to the west there are several other falls, among them the interesting Gljúfrabúi which is partially masked by its own canyon. Access to it is from Hamragarðar farm along the road, east of Markarfljót.

Both of these "do-not-miss" attractions lie very close to the main Ring Road at the base of the Eyjafjallajökull Glacier, on the road leading in to Thorsmörk.

Boat Tours

From whale watching to puffin tours to northern light cruises, coast hugging trips and more, they each provide an enjoyable and memorable experience.

Interesting museums

South Iceland has all kinds of museums and exhibitions. Most of them are pretty standard but others are dedicated to more abstract things, such as eruptions and other curious phenomena.

Skogafoss - Waterfall

Only a few kilometers away from the south shores of Iceland, lies the village of Skógar along the Southern Ring Road. It is a popular summer-resort centre surrounded by unusual scenic beauty. The breath-taking view of Skogáfoss waterfall and scenic surroundings and the snow-capped heights of two towering glaciers are Skógar's major summer attractions. There are two settlements by this name. One is Ytri-Skógar (outer or western Skógar) and the other Eystri-Skógar (eastern Skógar), located at a short distance from each other. Ytri-Skógar, commonly referred to as Skógar, is the main settlement. It is an old farm and has a church from 1890. It is located between the Skógá and Kverná rivers.
The greatest attraction of Skógar is of course the beautiful 60-metre high Skogáfoss waterfall in the river Skógá. Like the legends of buried treasures of Egill Skallagrímsson in Mosfell near Reykjavík and Ketilbjörn in Mosfell near Skálholt, there is a similar legend about the settler Þrasi who is believed to have buried his chest of gold under the Skogáfoss waterfall.
If the sun conditions are favourable - one can see a vivid rainbow in front of the waterfalls. The river below the falls holds a large salmon and char population and fisherman are seen here fishing July - October. The path leading to the top of the waterfalls continues following the river upstream - where numerous more dramatic waterfalls of sheer beauty are to be found. A great hike - to say the least!
One of the finest folk museums in Iceland is situated in extraordinarily beautiful natural surroundings. The interesting local folk museum has a collection of over 6000 artifacts and examples of various types of dwellings in Iceland since the early times. The collection of tools and equipment used at land and sea is outstanding. The museum also has an old turf farmhouse, where guests can experience the standards of living in Iceland in past centuries.
From Skógar the Ring Road runs eastwards along the foot of Mýrdalsjökull glacier, across the southern sandy plains and over glacial rivers, passes Seljavellir and continues along the soaring glaciated massive of Eyjafjöll and the two waterfalls Seljalandsfoss and Gljúfrabúi. From here runs a 10 km long trek along the river Skógá over the Fimmvörðuháls Pass between the Eyjafjallajökull and Mýrdalsjökull glaciers to the mountain oasis of Þórsmörk.
Skógar is a place to explore the natural diversity of the south or, if the weather is good, to spend a holiday amid beautiful and rugged landscapes. It is also very close to the ocean and the unique black bea

Dyrholaey
Dyrhólaey is a 120-metre high promontory, not far from Vík. The place got its name from the massive arch that the sea has eroded from the headland. (The name literally means "door-hole"). When the sea is calm, big boats can sail through it. There has even been a maniacal daredevil pilot that flew through the arch with a small-craft airplane! From the top of Dyrhólaey there is a great view. The headland is thought to have been made in an underwater volcanic eruption late in the glacial period, not unlike the eruption of Surtsey. Several outcrops are in the sea, the highest one called Háidrangur ("High column") is 56 m. high. Dyrhólaey has been a natural reserve since 1978. The promontory is widely known among sailors as "Portland", and English trawler fishermen ubeach where one can climb (at your own risk). According to legend the Reynisdrangar needles were formed when two trolls were trying to drag a three-masted ship to land. When daylight broke they turned to stone. The Needles can be seen clearly from the village of Vík and are 66 meters above sea level at their highest. In one of the many caves here - there is a local legend about a monster having lived here for many centuries. The monster seems to have disappeared after a landslide over 100 years ago…sed to call it "Blow hole". There are also amazing rock formations all along the Birdlife here is abundant, with puffins and eider ducks being the most common species in the area. The lighthouse on the top of the cliff stands impressive and stoic in this often very windy area. Be careful not to go too close to the ledge of this dramatic cliff. You should not miss going down to the black beach to see some of the incredible stone fissures there and to be chased by the waves in this truly extraordinary place. It is also great fun to venture down on the black beach in this area. The waves are often quite impressive and many people enjoy being chased by them up the beach. Although people have actually surfed here (under optimal conditions in wet suits), the rip tides and currents are devious and one should never attempt to go into the water! Leave the swimming to the numerous seals which one often can see in the are.
Skaftafell

Scenic nature, favorable weather conditions and a network of hiking trails make Skaftafell an ideal destination to enjoy outdoor activities in Icelandic nature. Short and easy trails lead to the waterfall Svartifoss and Skaftafellsjökull glacier, but for those who want to reach further out Morsárdalur valley and Kristínartindar mountain peaks are perfect in terms of distance and labour. Skaftafell is also the perfect base camp for those who seek to climb Iceland's highest mountain peak, Hvannadalshnúkur.

Private travel companies operate in Skaftafell and offer guided hikes on the nearby glaciers and mountains. Also on offer are sightseeing flights over Vatnajökull glacier and other renowned attractions.

Jokulsarlon Glacier lagoon

The main lagoon measures about 7 square miles (20 km2) and until 1932 was covered in thick glacial ice. Then the glacier started to retreat, and nowadays more than 300 feet (100 m) of ice breaks away each year to reshape the lagoon and fill it with spectacular icebergs.

The lagoon is open to the sea and so contains a mixture of salt and freshwater, giving it a unique blue-green color. There are hundreds of seals here in the winter and the lagoon supports many species of fish including krill, herring, trout and, occasionally, salmon.

South Iceland

Towns & Villages

The south of Iceland has several towns and villages, each with its own style, charm and points of interest. Selfoss is the largest town and has a variety of shops, services, many restaurants and fast food places. Most towns are close to the main route, making them accessible and enjoyable.

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Map Höfn Kirkjubæjarklaustur Vík Vestmannaeyjar Hvolsvöllur Flúðir Laugarvatn Reykholt Laugarás Borg Brautarholt Hveragerði Árnes Selfoss Hella Stokkseyri Eyrarbakki Þykkvibær Þórlákshöfn