This article will dissect the major attractions in Southeast of Iceland. Iceland proudly boasts one main road known as Route 1 or more commonly known as the Icelandic Ring Road. The road snakes all the way across the Island and is 1332 kilometers long. This magnificent road allows travelers to see all the spectacular regions of Iceland except the Snæfellsnes Peninsula and the Westfjords. The road connects the capital city if Iceland; Reykjavik to the second largest city in Iceland called Akureyri. Moreover, some other noteworthy towns that are connected via the ring road are Blönduós, Egilsstaðir, Höfn, Kirkjubæjarklaustur, Vík, Hella, Hvolsvöllur, Selfoss and Hveragerði. Continue reading to uncover all the amazing attractions on and located near the Ring Road. We will discuss all the things you can partake in on Iceland’s famous Route 1. Additionally, we will provide you with vital information on how to locate bedazzling sparkling waterfalls, gaze upon the midnight black sand beaches, secret spots to spy on reindeers, majestic volcanoes and towering intimidating glaciers. So, keep on reading!
What are the main attractions in Southeast Iceland?
The village of Kirkjubaejarklaustur is a quaint tiny village of approximately 120 inhabitants. This village is names after convent that once stood on that very land. The town boasts numerous breathtaking camping sites and lush hiking trails that serve as a perfect romantic getaway. Additionally, you can also embark on a leisurely walk to the Kirkjugolf basalt columns or Systrafoss waterfall.
Fjadrargljufur, canyon is a picturesque place to explore on foot. It is located only a short drive away from the beautiful Kirkjubaejarklaustur. This canyon was featured in HBO’s Game of Thrones television series and will surely be a feast for fans of the show. Tourists can hike across the valley or on top of the stunning ridge. It’s 328 feet (100 meters) deep and 1.25 miles (2 kilometers) in length and its walls are dotted with dazzling waterfalls.
The Skaftafell nature reserve was once formerly known as Iceland’s National Park. Nestled at the base of the Vatnajokull glacier and this reserve is now considered a significant part of the Vatnajokull National Park.
The area is surprisingly full of greenery and lush lands. It is surprising because the reserve is located next to a glacier. One would expect a winter wonderland and and not an enchanted park right out of a story book. One expects fairies to come dancing out of the lush greenery. It truly is a magical place and is sure to be loved by lovers of fantasy and of nature. Individuals can take a short hike to Svartifoss waterfall (“Black Waterfall”), which is surrounded by dark basalt columns that give the waterfall its name, or join a photography tour to this bedazzling reserve.
Diamond Beach is as magnificent as its name suggests. It is located right next to the Jokulsarlon Glacial Lagoon, is dotted with huge starry chunks of ice. Walking down the beach you will notice chunks of ice pushed ashore by the waves and dotting the black sandy beach. The contrast of these sparkly silvery white chunks of ice against the black sand is nothing short of spectacular. The chunks glisten like diamonds across the velvety black smoothness of the beach. This particular area is known as the Breidamerkursandur, but is more popularly known as the “Diamond Beach” due to the presence of the ice against the black sand, which makes it seem like velvet dotted with diamonds.
The Hofskirkja Church is a mesmerizing and picturesque church made of turf. It sits by the Ring Road betwixt the Skaftafell Nature Reserve and the Jokulsarlon glacier lagoon. Built in 1884 his church is the last of its kind. No churches after were built in this design and therefore Hofskirkja Church always reminds visitors of Iceland’s rich culture, history and traditions. This location is a must visit for all those planning a nostalgic visit down Iceland’s memory lane.
Jokulsarlon Glacial Lagoon is considered one of Iceland’s most popular tourist destinations. Huge blocks of ice break away from the glacier and swim around the lagoon until they make their way out to sea. Visitors can also observe seals taking naps on giant chunks of ice. During the summer, tourists can enjoy boat tours on the lagoon as the wind softy kisses their passion for adventure. During the winter months, visitors have the option to embark on an ice cave adventure from Jokulsarlon Glacial Lagoon to the Vatnajokull Glacier.
We hope you had a wonderful time reading about the main attractions surrounding Southwest Iceland’s Ring Road and we hope that you will have an even wonderful time exploring them with us. This is series is far from over and over the next few articles, we will unravelling the main attractions in East of Iceland and the North of Iceland and West of Iceland and some of the best modes of transport whether its driving, or by air (or a combination of both) you can take to travel to Iceland’s Ring Road. So, let the adventure begin, for Iceland awaits thee!