The South Coast of Iceland is one of the most popular places to visit in Iceland.
You’ll see incredibly beautiful places you’ve most likely seen online.
The airplane wreck
But there’s a problem.
Because it’s one of the most popular places to visit, there are going to be a lot of people.
On top of that, it’s a long drive and in the winter the days get shorter and shorter.
In this post, I’ll give you some travel hacks so you can make the most out of your South Coast Iceland trip.
I’ll go over;
- Places to check out
- Some travel hacks
- The South Coast in the winter and how to plan around it.
So let’s jump right into it!
Tours for the South Coast
When you’re on your trip to the South Coast you want to make the most out of it.
Sure, there are going to be crowds of people in some places, that’s just the way it is.
But that doesn’t mean we can’t try and work around it!
There are many tours that do day trips to the South Coast and you want to try and avoid them, especially the big ones.
Most of the tours leave at 09:00 am and will be at the first stop (Seljalandsfoss) at around 11 am.
So make sure to leave before they do!
If you leave at 8 am, you can be sure that you arrive before the big buses.
This is a bit more difficult in winter, but I’ll touch more on that in the winter section.
Some tours start earlier as well, but that’s mainly small groups.
Travel hacks for the trip
Let’s start with a quick overview of a usual South Coast trip.
This is what it looks like.
- Airplane wreck
Some tours skip the Airplane wreck since it takes a while to get there and it’s the ‘most skippable’.
You can also add some places, check out this post to read more
So here are a few tips on how to travel the South Coast of Iceland.
Break it up
Don’t hit every place in the ‘correct’ order.
This is because the drive home will be very tedious with nothing fun to look forward to.
I recommend that you break the trip up.
Go to Seljalandsfoss but then skip Skógafoss and go straight to the wreck or Reynisfjara.
Then stop at Skógafoss on the way back.
You’ll be able to eat at Vík and enjoy the town before heading back to Reykjavík.
But the main reason why you should break it up is to make life easier for the driver.
Don’t underestimate how tiring it gets driving in Iceland after a long day.
My only advice for the Black sand beach is to be very careful.
Listen to warnings and signs.
People are caught by the waves all the time and some of them end up being dragged into the ocean and they can’t come back.
The beach is beautiful and witnessing the sea rage on a stormy day is incredible, just make sure that it won’t be your last day.
Swimming pool at Hveragerði
On your way back to Reykjavík, stop at the local swimming pool at Hveragerði.
It’s quieter than the one in Selfoss and you’re closer to Reykjavík so the drive back isn’t as long.
And if you’re feeling very adventurous or have plenty of time (and daylight) you can hike to Reykjadalur.
And get soaked in the hot waters.
Gas station meal
Now, this isn’t really a ‘travel hack’ but more of a personal recommendation.
I absolutely love gas station food. There’s something about it. It’s sloppy and amazing.
Make sure to try the hot dogs as well!
There are plenty of gas stations on the South Coast, so you’ll have no problem finding them.
Now, don’t get me wrong,
You shouldn’t eat there at every opportunity, but once or twice is a nice experience.
But what about things to do on the South Coast?
Things and places not to miss on the South Coast
While you’re not going to miss out on the main stops on the South Coast, there are a few places I’d like to hit on so you don’t drive past without a second thought.
Nauthúsafoss is very close to Seljalandsfoss but it’s very frequently missed.
Not as many people will go there and it’s absolutely stunning.
So make sure to drive just a little bit further and stop by!
There is a brewery in Vík called Smiðjan. There you can try some local beers which are well worth it.
It’s located right next to the Swimming pool so you can take a swim or soak in the hot tub right after!
Sólheimajökull is a glacier located close to road nr 1.
You’ll be able to walk up close to it and see an actual glacier! Though don’t try to walk on it, you’ll need a special guide for that.
It can be a long stop or a quick one, it’s up to you!
Either way, I recommend checking it out!
South coast trip in the winter
How and when you travel changes in the winter.
You have to be more aware of the weather and the road conditions since they might be closed.
And the days start to get really short.
This is the main thing to be mindful of when traveling the South Coast of Iceland in the winter.
You can’t really get away from the crowds during this time because… well, there simply isn’t enough time.
But I have a few recommendations to help you out with that.
I mentioned this earlier in the blog and it’s still a good idea.
You want to be arriving at your first location when the sun is rising.
Not only is this absolutely beautiful, but that also means that you’ll always be slightly ahead of the tour buses.
Stay in the countryside
Another tip for the South Coast in the winter is to stay there!
Instead of basing out of Reykjavík, you should stay around Hella, Vík, or Selfoss.
This means that you’re closer to all the places and activities in the area.
This leads me to one of the most important tips…
Driving in the dark
It can be incredibly uncomfortable to drive on Icelandic roads in the dark.
It’s only a two-lane road most of the time so I don’t fault people that aren’t used to it to feel a bit uncomfortable.
And if you’re driving like that for a long time, it gets very tiring.
This is also why it’s best to start early so that you’re driving in daylight for the most part and why you should stay on the South Coast.
I’ve gone over how you can make the most out of your trip to the South Coast.
If you follow my advice, you’ll have a good time well away from the biggest crowds.
And, if you need clothes for your trip to the South Coast, check out our selection!