Gray Line’s South Coast and Glacial Lagoon Tour
Go South Young Man, Go South
When it comes to deciding on where to go on your first visit to Iceland, given the myriad of available choices, I can let you in on a secret – Gray Line Iceland’s South Coast tour is packed with all those memorable sights for which Iceland is so famous.
But First a Word About the Weather
Iceland is as renowned for its weather as it is for its landscapes and there’s never a dull moment as far as that’s concerned. You might experience a range of weather conditions over the course of the day – sunshine one minute, showers the next with the wind picking up speed along the coastline, and then back to bright blue clear skies with amazing cloud formations that create stunning skyscapes. Throw in the odd summer hailstorm for good measure; it’s all part of the thrill of being in Iceland.
The south coast tour departs Reykjavik heading out over the Hellisheiði heath giving us a taste of things to come – green moss topped lava as far as the eye can see, billowing steam emanating from the Hellisheiðarvirkjun geothermal plant and on a clear day, the whole of the glacier strewn south comes into view.
Small Town Life
When the days lengthen and the weather warms, many Icelanders head out of Reykjavik to spend time in their summerhouses. As a result, small towns around the country are generally quite lively in summer and we’ll get a feel for small town life Icelandic style, as we pass through the little communities along the south coast.
Let the Magic Begin
Once we arrive in the village of Hvolsvöllur, the magic begins. From here on in, the landscape unfolding before our eyes becomes intensely varied: we’ll pass the infamous Eyjafjallajökull volcano, now peacefully slumbering on the northern horizon, iconic waterfalls, misty, craggy mountain peaks where seabirds keep watch high above the sheer scree slopes that descend from the foothills of Eyjafjallajökull and Mýrdalsjökull glacier. Looking southwards, the distant peaks of the Westman Islands rise up out of the ocean about 10 km from the coast.
An Insider’s View of Iceland
On this particular journey, our driver/guide is just bubbling over with tall tales, elf and troll stories and anecdotes about life in Iceland. This is the kind of stuff that no guidebook can offer, and another reason why taking a tour of this kind is a good value for money.
We speed onwards over the vast desert sands of Mýrdalssandur, and through the mossy lava mounds at Eldhraun that are just heaven to walk on. The springy moss is much thicker than it looks and you can bounce from mound to mound, or lie down between them for a little siesta. Ask your driver if you can stop for a moment to experience this surprising element of the tour.
Getting Into Iceland’s Heart and Soul
Once we cross the Skeiðarársandur bridge and into the Skaftafell National Park, measuring roughly ten times the area of London, we are really getting into the heart and soul of Iceland. The sheer size of the vistas that lie before our eyes is astounding. Hold it in your memory because no camera, no matter how fancy, can capture this panorama as well as the human eye. We visit the Skaftafell Visitor Centre on the return leg where we can stretch our legs and peruse multimedia exhibits and have a bite to eat.
The moment we are all waiting for however is still yet to come: our first look at those gorgeous light turquoise-blue icebergs at Jökulsárlón glacial lagoon, the star attraction of this tour. As we cross the suspension bridge, the lagoon itself in all its glory suddenly pops into view. It’s an unforgettable moment. Included in the tour is an amphibian boat cruise on the lagoon that’s fun and don’t forget to look for grey seals as they people watch from the shallows of the lagoon.
The return journey includes a dinner stop in the picturesque village of Vík, with time to walk down to the beach to check out the black sand. Last but not least, we take time for photos at the photogenic waterfall, Seljalandsfoss, as the sun begins its graceful descent on the northwest horizon.
It has been a long day as we head back to Reykjavik, but I can already hear the words forming in my heart – ‘Iceland… I’ll be back’.
Gray Line Iceland
+354 540 1313