What To See In South Iceland – Tips, Example Itinerary & Expenses Breakdown

Quack, Quack, QUACK, QUACK!

Over 20 years ago, we watched a rag-tag team of misfits take on the world with a hockey stick.

Could they really take on the WORLD?

All appeared to be going well for Team USA...until Coach Bombay was caught canoodling over ice cream with the enemy! *gasp*

It was in this moment I heard a dialogue between the enemy's fille de joie and our own Coach Bombay:

Bombay: I thought Iceland was covered in ice?

María: No, it's very green!

Bombay: I thought Greenland was green...

María: Greenland is covered in ice, and Iceland is very nice.

iceland nice bombay mighty ducks

How could you do this to Team USA, Coach?!

It's this conversation that brings us to this post: is Iceland indeed “nice”?

After a week in Iceland, I’m here to tell you: SO MUCH YES!

It's a stunningly beautiful country and I don’t know many other places where the hastag #IWokeUpLikeThis would be more appropriate:

What To See In South Iceland

#IWokeUpLikeThis

The point of this post is to share my expenses breakdown, itinerary, tips and some photos, because after all…

DUCKS FLY TOGETHER!

Iceland just became one of my favorite countries, because as I continue to travel, I find myself enjoying the hunt of taking epic landscape photography more and more. There seems to be an abundance of these opportunities in Iceland (and I only saw a bit of the South of Iceland)

This trip was taken in the month of July for eight days. Its summer in Iceland during July, which means 24 hours of daylight, giving you the ability to explore the amazing scenery to your heart’s content, since it doesn’t really get dark.

There’s A TON of stuff to do, and many ways to do it depending on your budget (Iceland isn’t cheap) and time frame.

On one hand, you can buy an organized tour for just about every activity you can think of (helicopter volcano tours, whale watching, scuba diving, snowmobiling on glaciers, Icelandic horseback riding, etc.) and on the other you can easily take a backpack and hitchhike and camp your way around the country while cooking your own food.

The Quick Break Down

Total Spent: 118,898 Icelandic Krona ($891.56 USD)​

Total Days: 8​

​Avg. Daily Spending: 14,862 ISK ($111.45 USD)

How Much Does It Cost To Visit South Iceland

Favorite Photos (More At The End)

What To See In South Iceland

Just downstream of the Gulfass Waterfall

What To See In South Iceland

Looking at Vestmannaeyjar from the mainland

What To See In South Iceland

Searching for puffins on Vestmannaeyjar

What To See In South Iceland

The black sand beach of Vik

What To See In South Iceland

Beached icebergs in Jökulsárlón

Itinerary & Tips

Transportation To Iceland (From The US)

I took advantage of Iceland Air’s My Stopover promotion on my way out to Europe from the US.

All Iceland Air flights from the US to Europe (and vice versa) layover in Iceland and Iceland Air will allow you to extend your layover up to 7 days at no additional cost. This allowed me to fly from the US to Amsterdam and spend a week in Iceland each time.

So keep that little fact in mind if you’re thinking about flying across the Atlantic anytime soon.

Transportation In Iceland

There isn’t much of a public transport system in Iceland, so if you want to get out and see the country your options are as follows (in order of cost):

  • Personal/Small Guided Tour - I’d recommend this option if you have a large budget and want to see some less touristy spots or just travel with someone who knows their shit. Also, some of the roads in the center of Iceland require off road tires and lifted vehicles to cross rivers. This might make some people uncomfortable, so you can take any number of tours (helicopter, snowmobile, boat, Icelandic horse, off-road truck) with a guide and get to some epic locations.
  • Personal Car Rental - You can rent regular cars and adventure vehicles. I love this option because it allows you to go at your own pace and the creativity to get lost and make your own adventure. However, it will require more pre-planning on your part.
  • Large Bus Tours - This is a good option for someone with a smaller budget and less time. The drawbacks are traveling in a large tourist group, with not much time at each stop.
  • Bike - I saw a surprising amount of people biking their way around the country. There are great maps and resources for bikers, and plenty of camping options, just don't forget plenty of rain gear.
  • Hitchhiking - The ultimate budget option. I have never seen a country with so many hitchhikers who get picked up consistently (this was the first time I’ve ever picked up a hitchhiker). So it’s definitely a viable way to see the country if you have the time and adventurous spirit. I’d highly recommend traveling with camping and rain gear if you want to go this route.

Accommodation

To give you a general idea of accommodation prices in Iceland, a dorm bedroom in a hostel in Reykjavik is going to run about 6,000 ISK ($45 USD) per night.

If you’re on a budget, I think the best way to see as much Iceland as possible would be to rent a hatchback car, a sleeping bag and then car-camp your way around the country.

Ideally you’d be with another person to help split the costs.

We spent one night in a campground with facilities for 1,200 ISK ($9 USD), and just free camped the rest of the nights. A sleeping bag was around 1,600 ISK ($12 USD) per night and our car was 14,800 ISK ($110 USD) per day. The car was a manual hatchback with GPS that ran on diesel.

Itinerary

Here's the full itinerary for my stay in Iceland:

Day 1: Landed in Keflavik from the US - Reykjavik

Day 2: Reykjavik

Day 3: Reykjavik – Geysir – Gulfoss Waterfall – Þhingvelir National Park – Reykjavik

Day 4: Reykjavik

Day 5: Reykjavik – Reykjadalur – Vestmannaeyjar – Seljalandsfoss – Skofafass

Day 6: Skofafass – Vik – Skaftafell – Jökulsárlón

Day 7: Jökulsárlón – Reynisfjara – Plane Crash Site – Reynisfjara – Reykjavik

Day 8: Reykjavik – Keflavik – Flight to Amsterdam​

You could do a great trip of Reykjavik and Southern Iceland in 4 days and to do that I’d highly recommend renting a car and camping gear. The nice thing about Iceland in the Summer is the 24 hour sunlight, so you can fit in a ton of sightseeing and activities, without having to miss anything due to it getting dark, just don’t forget your rain gear.

Below is the path we took to see South Iceland in our rental car (Day 5 through 7 in the itinerary above.)

South Iceland Example Itinerary

Pictures From Each Location of the 8 Day Trip

Reykjavik

What To See In South Iceland - Reykjavik-35
What To See In South Iceland - Reykjavik

Second Floor of The Harpa

What To See In South Iceland - Reykjavik

Looking up at the Harpa building from the outside

What To See In South Iceland - Reykjavik-35

Looking up in The Harpa from the inside

What To See In South Iceland - Reykjavik-35-37

Hallgrímskirkja Church

Golden Circle Tour

What To See In South Iceland - Golden Circle Tour

Eruption in the background at Geysir

What To See In South Iceland - Golden Circle Tour

Gullfass Falls

What To See In South Iceland - Golden Circle Tour

Gullfass Falls

What To See In South Iceland - Golden Circle Tour

Boundry of the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates in Þhingvelir National Park

What To See In South Iceland - Golden Circle Tour

Rain over the lake in Þhingvelir National Park

Reykjadalur - Natural Hot River

What To See In South Iceland

Reykjadalur is about a 1 hour hike until you reach the hot river to relax

Vestmannaeyjar - Southern Most Point of Iceland

If the weather is good there's a short ferry ride (2,520 ISK - $19 USD) you can take out to the archipelago of Vestmannaeyjar, which is the southern most point of Iceland. 

On our way out we luckily met some awesome British gals who were taking their Land Rover Defender out to camp for the night. We hitched a ride with them for a few hours to explore the island before hopping on the last ferry back to the mainland to continue our journey.​

What To See In South Iceland

Freddy with a front row seat out of the ferry on the ride over to Vestmannaeyjar

What To See In South Iceland

Almost to port in Vestmannaeyjar

What To See In South Iceland

Almost to port in Vestmannaeyjar

What To See In South Iceland

The sweet Defender we toured the island on

What To See In South Iceland

Hunting for puffins on the edge of Vestmannaeyjar

What To See In South Iceland

I find a dirt road always leads to something interesting

What To See In South Iceland
What To See In South Iceland

Seljalandsfoss

What To See In South Iceland

Long exposure of Seljalandsfoss

What To See In South Iceland

Sunset from behind Seljalandsfoss

What To See In South Iceland

Seljalandsfoss from afar, reflected in a pond off the side of the road

Skofafass

What To See In South Iceland
What To See In South Iceland

View from the hike to the top of Skofafass

Vik

What To See In South Iceland

Skaftafell

What To See In South Iceland

The glacier in Skaftafell National Park

Jökulsárlón Glacial Lagoon

What To See In South Iceland

Icebergs floating in Jökulsárlón Glacial Lagoon

What To See In South Iceland
What To See In South Iceland
What To See In South Iceland

Beached icebergs on the black sand beach in Jökulsárlón

What To See In South Iceland
What To See In South Iceland
What To See In South Iceland
What To See In South Iceland

Sólheimasandur Beach Plane Crash Site

For specific directions on how to get to the Iceland plane crash site, use this resource.​

What To See In South Iceland

Iceland’s Famous Sólheimasandur Plane Crash

What To See In South Iceland

The minimalistic landscape at the Sólheimasandur Plane Crash

Reynisfjara - Best Spot I Found To See Puffins

What To See In South Iceland

I don't have a zoom lens so this is the best picture I have of the cute puffin!

What To See In South Iceland

The black sand beach of Reynisfjara

What To See In South Iceland

Amazing rock formations at Reynisfjara beach

What To See In South Iceland

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