I know, just a couple of days ago, I told you that if you only do one thing in Iceland, visit the Golden Circle. That still stands… but if you do two things in Iceland, make sure to check out the waterfalls, black sand beaches and puffins in Southern Iceland.
We took another great small group tour booked from Viator and had an awesome guide, Oskgair (I may be spelling that wrong!). It took about 1.5 hours to get to the south coast, but as we drove, the scenery was stunning.
Farm Home Visit
Our first stop was a farm where the farmers invited us in for coffee, cake and an impromptu concert. Her voice was amazing and the cakes were delicious. This isn’t something we would have been able to do on a larger tour and it’s also not something we would have found on our own. I also had an opportunity to get up close and personal with a sweet sheep who rubbed against me like a cat and enjoyed being pet (who knew!).
Eyjafjallajökull Volcano Visit
Up next, was a visit to the Eyjafjallajökull Volcano site. You may remember Eyjafjallajökull as the volcano that erupted in 2010 and caused many flight cancellations throughout the U.S. and Europe. Fortunately, no one lost their lives in the eruption and she hasn’t blown her top since. Apparently it started as a normal eruption and then the volcano “exploded” which sent the ash soaring into the air. One thing I noticed is that Oskgair didn’t pronounce it the way the folks on the news did. He also recommended to listen to the locals if you are ever stuck in a volcano eruption situation (hopefully not, but…). He had a group of tourists traveling with him. Some tried to return home right away (and got stuck at the airport), others tried to go elsewhere in Europe (and spent countless hours traveling) while those who stayed behind enjoyed most of the scenery in Iceland, without any crowds because no one could get into the country!
Waterfall #1 – Skogafoss
Our next stop was the first of many beautiful waterfalls. Skogafoss was a great introduction before seeing one of Iceland’s most famous waterfalls later that day. There were numerous people camping at the waterfall, and I can just imagine waking up to see this lovely site (not to mention the great white noise all night long!)
When there’s a waterfall, there’s often rainbows…
One thing to note, since the forecast didn’t call for rain, I left my raincoat at the hotel. If you’re going to the waterfalls, I’d recommend bringing yours along with you. As you can see, I got quite soaked!
While there are other tours that will suit you up with ice picks and crampons, if you want a taste of walking on a glacier, you can get it here. It was a pretty cool treat to hike over volcanic rock to the base of the glacier. There are numerous signs warning you of danger ahead, but the worst I got was plopping my feet in the river because my legs are too short to reach the rocks that take you over the river stream to the glacier. I thought poor Oskgair was going to freak out when he saw my feet drop in, but I just laughed it on and sloshed onto the glacier. Since I’m traveling for almost 7 months, I don’t have clothes for all situations, but I’d definitely recommend waterproof, warm hiking shoes/boots for Iceland. My sneakers are still drying out and I am the proud owner of a new pair of $15 Icelandic socks!
Views from the Glaciers
Squishy feet and all, it was worth it!
Black Sand Beaches
After a quick lunch (at a unique sort of gas station greasy spoon), we continued on to the black sand beaches near Vik. There were multiple warnings from signs (and Osgkair) not to go near the water because the current is insanely strong. They have what they call sneaker waves that can surprise you and suck you out to sea. There have been tourists who have died at the beach, so definitely pay attention.
With all the warnings out of the way, we were able to witness some beautiful, lush scenery and see the little puffins (not pictured because they are too tiny for an iPhone to do justice to!). Puffins are small birds with bright orange feet and beaks. They can only fly when they see water and they are absolutely adorable!
In addition to the puffins, we saw some cool natural rock formations that reminded me of those we saw on Isle of Skye and that I will hopefully see at Giant’s Causeway.
We also checked out the caves that the crazy waves formed.
By saving Seljalandsfoss for the end of the day, we definitely ended the tour on a high note (and a wet one too!). Seljalandsfoss is one of Iceland’s most famous waterfalls and it deserves all of its accolades. You don’t realize how big and powerful it is until you get up close… and walk around it, which is super cool (and again, wet!).
Because the weather was so nice, we got the treat of seeing a bonus waterfall, one that drops through a whole in the cave.
We then walked along the path which had several smaller waterfalls until we got to the ultimate waterfall.
Here you can see Seljalandsfoss with a few other tiny falls. It looks so small in this picture, but in person is very impressive and powerful.
Iceland has been quite a bit of unicorns and rainbows, so fitting we saw another one here.
Walking behind the waterfall was a unique experience that left me thrilled (and soaked!). This was the best photo I got as the others were quite drenched!
So for those of you counting at home, I got soaked three times, but had a blast. As I mentioned in my last post, they really make traveling to see the beauty easy here. While we did this tour, you could also drive if you’d prefer. The roads are nice, wide and seemingly easy to navigate. Either way, check out the south coast if at all possible. It’s quite stunning.