The second most popular day trip from Reykjavik is ‘The South Coast Tour’ (the first is The Golden Circle)and with good reason, its gorgeous! I’ve been dreaming of seeing the spectacular black beach ever since I watched Dierks Bentley’s ‘Black’ video.
This is a full-day tour with a lot of driving, but it’s well worth it. The first stop takes 90-minutes to get to, so as the saying goes in Iceland ‘when you see a bathroom, use it’. Your tour guide, if you’re on a tour, will make this first stop just for your bladder; you can also purchase food and drinks if you didn’t bring them.
We were told at the beginning of our trip that if time allowed we would get bonus stops. I guess that’s our incentive to not waste time, so do your thing quickly and get back on the bus.
The ‘official’ first stop is Skogafoss and what a great waterfall it is. Along the hillside a staircase goes up to the top of the fall, if you fancy such a hike.. We were given 40-minutes to reach the top and come back down. No thanks, I hate rushing things. Besides, taking video and photos was my first priority.
Normally a trip to the Solheimajokull glacier is near the end of the tour, but rain threatened above, so our guide chose to take us immediately when we left Skogafoss.
When the parking lot was put it, the base of the glacier was only a few feet away. Nowadays it takes 15-minutes to hike back to it. It’s proof of how much it has shrunk in the last twenty years. The hike itself is easy, along a rocky path. Once you get to the glacier, you have to walk across a wooden plank or if you have waterproof shoes the river is shallow enough to wade across to stand on the glacier. Never fear, it’s a short crossing.
It started raining right after we reached the glacier. Light to start with and then buckets. Always be prepared for rain in Iceland, it might not last long, but there is high probability it’ll happen sometime during the day.
I popped my umbrella open as I stepped out of the bus. As I reached the Black Beach, I was happy that I followed my own advice, those who don’t read my blog, ha ha, rain pelted and they quickly looked miserable.
Our driver warned us not to get close to the surf. The coast is notorious for having a strong current and unexpected mega waves crashing on shore. I noticed a young family along the shoreline and before I could warn them water rushed at them, reaching the children’s calves. The dad admitted he would never would have taken the kids that close to the surf if he had known of the danger. Well, there is a sign warning of the danger that awaits when you enter the pathway.
Legend has it that the rock formations rising out of the water are trolls that got caught in the morning sun’s rays. Troll folklore are a huge part of Iceland.
We passed a typical Icelandic church as we entered the beach zone, so as we departed, I asked our driver if we could stop for a quick photo-op. He was happy to oblige.
The cape looked rain-cloud free, so our guide drove us there. The top parking lot has a magnificent view of Black Beach, that was now rain free – go figure. Our driver gave us ample time to enjoy the views, but of course, someone has to hold up the bus. She sat on a rock, gazing out at the beauty before her. Our driver tapped the horn and she glanced our way, then her attention went back to the view. The nice thing about this, I got off a couple more shots while we waited. Finally the driver’s patience ran out and he started backing the bus out of the space. This got her attention, yet she took her time leaving her perch.
It was raining when we arrived at Seljalandsfoss, here though, it really doesn’t make a difference if you are wet to start with, because there is a path that leads behind the waterfall and you’re going to get wet.
Our guide made a surprise stop. It’s not one that most guides will take you to, or so he said. We were a little pressed for time [thank you Ms. View-Gazer], but he didn’t want us to miss out on the unique waterfall that was hidden. You have to balance on river rocks through a crevice to reach the landing. The rocks are wet, of course, and the space is filled with mist. Not the best place for video and camera gear, so I opted out.
Our bus pulled away and I noticed Ms. View-Gazer’s seat was unoccupied. The driver counted heads, so either someone else got on the wrong bus or she was left behind. Our driver warned us that we only had a short time and to stay with him. Personally, I hope she was left behind due to her being inconsiderate to the rest of the group.
Okay, your turn….
Have you been to the south coast?