From the most fertile farmland in Iceland to barren plains of black sand, the flat expanses of South Iceland are hemmed in by high mountains, cliffs, and waterfalls and feature the country’s most famous glaciers and volcanoes. The ‘fire and ice’ epithet is nowhere more applicable than South Iceland…
You can count all the towns and villages in South Iceland on your fingers. The western part of the southern region is extremely fertile and boasts a huge number of farms and the lion’s share of the settlements…some of them far inland by Icelandic standards. Flúðir, Laugarvatn, Hella, and Hveragerði are all blessed with geothermal heat and, as a result, famous for their flowers, fruit, and vegetables. The southwest is the breadbasket of Iceland. Also in the southwest is the town of Selfoss: by far the biggest town in the South and home to all the shops and services you could need.
Despite being offshore, we haven’t forgotten the spectacular Westman Islands. They have their own article for you to read, here.
Next up is Vík, a small cliff-top town known for its woolen goods, for being the southernmost settlement in the country, for its pretty church, the nearby sea stacks and for being the rainiest town in the country. The black sand beaches in this area are allegedly some of the most beautiful in the whole world and the waves can break with awe-inspiring force – and that’s because there’s no land between here and Antarctica.
In the far southeast of Iceland is the chilled out town of Höfn; chilled out both because of the proximity to Europe’s biggest glacier, and also the laid back pace of life. In the great expanse between Höfn and Vík lie only a few farms, the tiny village of Kirkjubæjarklaustur… and some of the most mind-altering and beautiful scenery in the world.
Highlights of South Iceland include: the Skógafoss and Seljalands- foss waterfalls, the entire Golden Circle, the immense and bleakly beautiful Skeiðarársandur flood plain, Eyjafjallajökull, the nearby lush green Þórsmörk valley (one of the most picture perfect postcard images of Iceland), the Vatnajökull glacier national park and Jökulsárlón glacial lagoon, and the hot springs and multi-colored mountains of Landmannalaugar.
Each of Iceland’s regions is unique and beautiful – but perhaps none more so than the South. Certainly, no other area can rival the variety of different landscapes in this special and important region.