Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Stunning South Iceland

Reynisfjara Beach
The small town of Vik in the south coast of Iceland is a two and a half hour drive from the capital, Reykjavik. Its black sand beach and basalt columns were our main reasons for visiting the area. Because the weather is volatile in Iceland, we thought it best to go with a tour company rather than self drive. There was a storm in that region the previous day and tours were canceled. We were lucky that the sun shone brightly on our day at the beach.

We chose the South Coast Classic sightseeing tour through When in Iceland which handles small groups. And we were happy with this choice as we didn't have to deal with a bus full of people. 

Columnar basalt
When basaltic lava starts to cool from within, it contracts and fractures, forming hexagonal columns like these ones on Reynisfjara beach. They look deceptively man made.

Black pebble beach and Dyrhólaey Peninsula
Though visitors are advised to keep a safe distance from the water's edge, there are still many who turn a deaf ear. This beach is treacherous as the waves can sweep away an unsuspecting person. It has happened a few times before.

Sólheimajökull Glacier
Climate change is chillingly real in South Iceland. Sólheimajökull glacier has retreated a kilometer between 1930 and 2010. And the ice is measurably thinner than in previous years.

Seljalandsfoss
The beauty of Seljalandsfoss can be observed behind the cascades. You can walk behind it if you're not afraid to get a little wet. There are two smaller waterfalls in the area that can be explored. In this part of the country, you don't have to look far to find a waterfall.

Skógafoss
Skógafoss exudes power as it plunges 60 meters down the side of the cliff. The cascade is an impressive 25 meters in width. There is an interesting legend about a hidden treasure chest in a cave behind the falls. It was left by a Viking settler named Þrasi. It has yet to be found though the handle of the chest was pulled out by some locals and is now on display at a museum nearby. 

I wish I could have spent more time in South Iceland. We had a full day exploring its attractions yet there were many that we missed. All the more reason to pay another visit in the near future.

Where to stay:
Foss Hotel Baron
Baronsstigur 2-4, Reykjavik
fosshotel.is
The hotel is located across from the sea and a 24/7 grocery store is conveniently located behind it.

Tour company:
When in Iceland
wiiceland.com

*****

Images by TravelswithCharie


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