Finally, I have made it to the post about our third day in Iceland aka my favorite day of the entire trip! On the Tuesday of our trip, we did another day long road trip like we did the day before around the Golden Circle, but this time along the south coast. I knew we had a ton of cool sights ahead of us after researching our route, but for some reason I thought this day wasn’t going to be as good as the golden circle. That turned out to be completely wrong because although everything along the golden circle is beautiful and picturesque just like the entirety of Iceland, we saw some incredibly gorgeous waterfalls and beaches on this day *heart eyes emoji*. This will be a loooong post because we took so many pictures so hang on.
When we left around 9am (after getting breakfast at this cute little bakery whose owner was weirdly rude for someone wearing a bright pink apron) it was so foggy and rainy that Austin could barely see when he was driving. I’ve never seen fog that thick, and we could only barely see the car right in front of us. Luckily by the time we got to our first stop, we were around two hours away from Reykjavik and the weather was pretty nice.
Our first stop was this amazing waterfall called Seljalandsfoss! ‘Foss’ in Icelandic means waterfall, so a lottt of things have that in their name. I had actually never been to Niagara Falls until the beginning of this trip on our way to the airport, so all of the waterfalls we saw on this trip were truly amazing.
The thing that made this waterfall really sweet was that you could actually walk completely behind it. I didn’t realize how totally soaking wet we would get from doing this–even though now it seems pretty obvious that, duh, there’s a lot of water falling off of a mountain right next to you–but it was so worth it!
To the right was where the parking lot area was, and you can see the teeny tiny tourists over there compared to this huge waterfall. When we took this picture, we had just walked from where those people are all the way to the left behind the waterfall along this (slippery and treacherous) path and made it back up to a platform thing on the other side.
“Hidden waterfall” aka the coolest freaking part of the trip
After spending a freakishly long time taking weird close up pictures of me near this waterfall that I will not share, we kept walking down the path just to dry off a little bit. I didn’t think there would be anything cool to see down this path but I was WRONG.
WE DISCOVERED THE COOLEST THING EVER.
I’m being dramatic but honestly this was the coolest thing that I saw in all of Iceland.
First we encountered this river, and from the side you can’t really tell what’s going on, and it just looks like a normal river that somehow is flowing out of this mountain/hill thing. NO. It is going into this awesome cave thingy and it is OPEN AT THE TOP.
We had to wade through nearly knee deep water to get into this cave area (shoutout to my Hunter rain boots), but once we were inside there were huge rocks to stand on. The sunlight coming in and the deafening sound of the waterfall itself made it feel like such an adventurous experience to be discovering this.
This was one of the only if not the only thing I hadn’t already seen pictures of while researching before we went on the trip, so it made it that much cooler to truly be seeing it for the first time. Of course, we got completely soaked again, but the sun came out while we were in this cave thing so we spent some time just walking around before we went back in the car to go to our next stop.
We had to pull over and stop along the side of the road on the way to our next destination because this farmland against the snowy mountain top in the background was soooo beautiful.
This was one of the many spots where they had a little paved area on the side of the road where you could pull over – likely because so many tourists stopped there and were causing traffic problems. Every blog I read about Iceland said that it is suuuper dangerous to stop on the actual side of the road, but I find that hard to believe because there isn’t much traffic and you can see cars coming for miles. Anyway.
Next up was another favorite stop of mine from Iceland. This waterfall is pretty classic – most posts about Iceland have a picture of it included somewhere. It is so freakin PRETTY though that I definitely understand why. This one had probably the most tourists at it out of any place we went in Iceland besides Thingvellir park (which was so big that everyone was still really spread out anyway).
It took a lot of work and timing to get pictures without other people in the background. At this waterfall, they had steps so you could also go all the way to the top.
At the bottom these stairs are not a big deal but they slowly get steeper and steeper and at some parts there is no railing so I almost died/had a panic attack no big deal. It was definitely worth it because the view from the top was soo incredible.
So yeah when we got to the top you could obviously see the river that led to the waterfall and walk for awhile along that. This was probably the best view of a large distance that I saw while I was in Iceland.
Like, PLEASE look at that river. Iceland was sweet because everything was very black and green instead of the light brown dirt color that the land is here in the US.
Once we took enough pictures at the top to last a lifetime, we made our way back to the bottom. The sun had come out again so we did another complete photoshoot and even captured a little rainbow in the mist of the waterfall.
Probably *spongebob narrator voice* two hours later after we got to Skogafoss, we finally, sadly, got back in the car. Our next stops were all at the beach!
Plane Wreck Site aka Hell on Earth
Next up was the site of a plane wreck. I don’t remember the exact history off the top of my head, but I’m pretty sure a U.S. Navy plane crashed on the beach in Iceland in the 70s (the guy lived to tell the tale so it was fine) and they just left the plane there? Not sure why they didn’t clear it away, but it looked cool so we decided to go. Little did we know it was around a THREE MILE WALK from the parking lot to this site. That doesn’t even sound that bad now that I am writing it, but this was hell for many reasons:
A) When we stopped at the beach, I didn’t even realize this was where the plane was. We just wanted to walk to the beach and look around before going on with our regularly scheduled programming.
B) The entire time we were walking it was an OPTICAL ILLUSION so the beach looked like a ten minute walk away when really it took us at least an hour to walk there if not more.
C) We were walking on a loose graven path the entire time so we might as well have been walking in sand.
D) By the time we realized it wasn’t worth it, we were in too deep.
See video of me suffering:
ANYWAY, eventually we made it. Not worth it tbh but I guess since we saw it I can at least say the plane was kinda cool.
We walked allllll the way back to the car and were then dead inside, but we continued on anyway.
Kirkjufjara Beach & Reynisdrangar (aka Black Sand) Beach
Our last stop for the day was Black Sand Beach, but first we stopped at a lesser known area called Kirkjufjara Beach.
We drove for a little while through an area that probably had the fewest other cars on the road out of everywhere we went on our road trips. We eventually made it to the top of a mountain area that had such a cool view.
We were actually pretty high up but the waves were huge so they would actually crash all the way up to where we were. You could seriously see so far from this point, both out into the ocean and on land. The bright blue water against the bright green and black landscape is suuuch an amazing view.
Honestly after that walk to the plane crash site, we were dead inside so we only stayed here for a little bit. It was probably around 5pm or so by this time, so we had also been gone all day long.
We continued to drive on to the Black Sand Beach, which is a pretty popular destination for people that come to Iceland. It’s pretty rare to see a beach with black sand of course, but the rock formations along the coast were very interesting as well. I wasn’t sure we were driving to the right place, because everything I’d read online listed a slightly different location for it. I knew we were in the right place though once we saw this:
Anyway, our last destination of the day was amazing.
After a long, long day we were eager to head back to Reykjavik to get some dinner. It was honestly depressing to drive back knowing that we wouldn’t get to see this stuff again, or at least not soon. Very early the next morning we would be leaving for Paris though, so we were definitely excited to keep moving on! After the first day in Iceland, I didn’t think I would really want to return. After a couple more days, though, I learned about all of the beauty Iceland has to offer and I know I would definitely go back.
Below is my Google My Maps where I mapped out the route for this road trip! This was super helpful because we could store the map offline and then we didn’t have to use data to navigate between places. The red pins are all of the places we stopped on our South Coast road trip!
Next will be my posts about PARIS!!!