Exploring the Southeast Coast of Iceland

 

Iceland has so many amazing places to explore.  One of our favorite days was when we drove along the southeast coast, stopping to see some of nature’s best pieces of art.  We spent the day hiking into a valley to find a hidden swimming spot, climbing waterfalls, and even walking behind one.  Here is my itinerary for a perfect day in Iceland:

Stop #1: Seljalandsfoss Waterfall

Just off the Ring Road you will come across an enormous waterfall cascading off the side of the mountain.  The falls are narrower than some of the others, but the water drops over 200 feet! There are hundreds of waterfalls in Iceland, but the incredible thing about this one is you can walk behind it.  You can follow a path that leads you in a circle behind it and out the other side.  Some parts are rocky, but for the most part, it is a smooth path.  The force of the water send waves of mist onto you and the sound is deafening.  The view from behind the waterfall is incredible. 

Tips:

-A raincoat and rain pants is a great idea because you will get wet.

-Make sure you use a waterproof camera or have a protective sleeve.

-There is a snack bar that sells sandwiches, hot dogs, soup, and drinks.

-There are bathrooms at the falls.

-They have some picnic tables with a view of the falls.  You may want to pack a lunch and have a picnic.

Stop #2: Seljavallalaug Pool

This was truly a once in a lifetime experience that I’m so glad we did.  As soon as you step out of your car you will be overwhelmed by the beauty of the mountains surrounding you. 

After walking down into the valley for about 20 minutes, passing over a few streams, you’ll suddenly come around the corner and a pool will appear tucked into the mountain.  The water is heated by hot springs and is the temperature of a warm bath.  As you swim, the mountains cascade around you and you can see several waterfalls in the distance.  It was one of the coolest thing we did in Iceland.

Tips:

-A waterproof camera is great to bring.

-There is a small 3-room building where you can change your clothes.  I’ve heard it can get pretty gross, so be prepared.  It was pretty clean when we were there. 

-Keep it clean…bring out what you bring in.

-The bottom of the pool is slimy, so you may want to wear water shoes if you are easily grossed out!

How to get there: When driving in the direction of Reykjavik, you turn off the Ring Road onto road 242 marked Raufarfell.  It is just passed Porvaldseyri (The Iceland Erupts exhibit).  Drive until you see a sign that says Seljavellir.  Park where the new pool is  and walk down into the valley for about 15-20 minutes.

Stop #3: Skagafoss Waterfall

The sheer size of this waterfall will make you stop in your track.  It is almost 200 feet wide and over 80 feet high, and is one of the most beautiful waterfall in Iceland. First, we decided to climb the stairs to get to the top of the falls.  A word of warning if you are nervous of heights like I am… 400 steps is super high…like ‘I wish I had a Xanex high’!! The metal steps move a bit when someone is going down the steps and about every 50 steps the railing disappears and a rope takes its place.  I was white-knuckled the whole way up!

The view from the top was so worth it!  Look at all the pretty sights you’ll see:

Back at the bottom we were overcome by the power of nature.  The waterfall is unforgettable and we even got to experience a rainbow!

Stop#4: Black Sand Beaches of Vik

The beautiful beach of Vik will make you feel like you are on another planet.  The black pebble beach is bordered by stunning basalt cliffs that have a stair-like appearance.  In the distance, you can see a natural bridge, and we were lucky enough to see seals playing in the waves.   

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