The South Coast is quite possibly the most popular stretch to travel in Iceland. Especially doing this as a day trip, you don’t want to skimp out on this one and try to cut costs. It’s worth spending the extra money here to help ensure you get a quality experience. We did BusTravel Iceland’s Premier Southern Iceland Tour (https://bustravel.is/tours/southern-iceland/premium-southern-iceland), I highly recommend this top day trip from Reykjavik! With the premier tour, you are paying to be on a smaller bus with a group of only about 10 people. This allows for much more flexibility in how long the stops are and even where you stop! We were originally scheduled on a trip that included Jokusarlon (Glacier Lagoon), but then our Northern Lights tours kept getting cancelled. We ended up opting to do the trip that excluded Jokusarlon (Glacier Lagoon) because it was shorter and we wanted to get back early enough to try and get on a northern lights tour (which unfortunately ended up getting canceled). BusTravel was INCREDIBLY responsive and accommodating as we moved our plans around and switched tours the night before. We had a phenomenal tour guide on this one; an Icelandic woman who is a mother to young children. We loved hearing cultural tales of trolls and elves through stories of her children and their beliefs.
We saw both Seljalandsfoss and Skogafoss Waterfalls on the first portion of this trip. They were both gorgeous, but Skogafoss was truly amazing. This was in part due to the grand size of it, but also that we got to see it in sunny, bright daylight. The sky was a cloudless, crisp blue and the sun shone directly on the falls creating unbelievable movement and depth with the falling water and the snow and ice on the ground and cliffs surrounding the falls. It felt like the world in HD. The weather and lighting in this moment were so perfect, the pictures do not even look real. They look edited and as if we were Photoshopped in front of the falls rather than actually standing there!
We were able to stop briefly between the two falls at Eyjafjallajökull, the site of a volcanic eruption in 2010. Next we hit Sólheimajökull Glacier. This was equally amazing and hilarious. We decided against doing a true glacier hike as we felt like we didn’t really need to spend all that much time walking around on a glacier. We headed out much further on it than we thought we would (which was AWESOME) especially considering everyone around us had crampons on their feet and hard hats on their heads… we did not. We ended up getting exactly what we wanted in a glacier walk- to experience it without spending too much time just walking around on a glacier! At this point the sky turned more gray, almost blending with the glacier, and it actually began to snow! It felt right!
We then stopped for a lunch break in Vik, BUT SKIP LUNCH! Just over the hill from the café and where the bus was parked was a stunning black sand beach with very fine black sand. Here we were able to watch the sun set over the water and black sand beach. Another lunch of nuts and bars for us, and totally worth it! I was also attacked by a wave here trying to capture shots of the setting sun and waves.. still worth it. There was a small church up on a hill and upon request we got to stop there to check out the view, perks of the small group tour! Then we headed to the iconic Vik black sand beaches with the large basalt columns. This was a different black sand beach than the previous one, it was not sand but smooth, round black pebbles. Since we already had sun and snow, here we got the rain. But not before we could check out the view, the beach, and jump around on some basalt columns!
The last stop on the trip was a very special one. We stopped at a farm where a young couple is raising both animals and children. We were invited into their home for coffee, tea, and deserts which were very welcome after an active, cold day. We heard their story of moving there, operating a farm, and their experience when a volcano nearby erupted. It was inspiring to hear how the small town came together and supported one another through such a scary time. The woman then revealed her incredible talent as a folk singer and guitar player. She had actually played with the band Of Monsters and Men (who are from Reykjavik). It was a very heart-felt and ultimately uplifting experience that we did not expect to have on this tour. We were very grateful for such a unique end to an incredible day trip.