Waterfalls, Plane Wrecks and Glaciers: Nesjavillir to Dyrhólaey, Iceland


The costal region of Southern Iceland is truly a majestic and beautiful corner of the world. If you happen to visit it on a gorgeous day, you’ll be treated to awe inspiring scenery that is unrivalled through the world. We would spend today on a day of sightseeing between Nesjavillir to Dyronlaey in Southern Iceland.

This post is one chapter on our trip to Iceland, the United Kingdom and Morocco. This trip was redeemed through Alaska Mileage Plan and enhanced through Marriott Bonvoy Elite Status. For more information on how this trip was booked, please see our trip introduction here. For other parts of the trip, please see this index.

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Region Visit: Waterfalls, Plane Wrecks and Glaciers. Nesjavillir to Dyrhólaey, Iceland.

We woke up at about 8 AM at the ION Adventure Hotel. I peeked outside the windows and the view was clear blue. I was super stoked since the weather had been a bit foul up to now.

The Route:

The day ended up looking like this. The times are a return trip. The route ended up being more spectacular than the Golden Circle and I would recommend this route over the Golden Circle if you only had time for one on your visit.

We got up and headed out the door. We took 360 rural route down to Selfoss. There were some beautiful lake views of Pingveillir along the way.


Breakfast at Kaffi Kaus:

Once in Selfoss, we had breakfast at the Kaffi Kaus. We decided not to go for an overpriced breakfast at the ION hotel. It was a great little vintage house restaurant. An omelette with bacon, mushrooms, onion cheese, fresh bread and salad really hit the spot.

We headed eastward on Route 1 for the Southern Region of Iceland self driving tour today from Skógfoss to Vik.

We started at some unnamed waterfalls on the side of the road next to the magnificent Eyjafallajökull. Eyjafallajökull was the volcano that was responsible for the massive air shutdown between the Americans and Europe.

We continued down the road. The scenery of the road against the mountain and the coast made for some beautiful photo opportunities. Coupled with the fact that we were at 67 latitude, it meant that the sun was never overhead high enough to wash out the photos; making all day a great time to take pictures!


A Visit to Skógafoss:

As we approached Skógar, we hit up the waterfalls at Skógfoss. These were absolutely terrific; a picture postcard version of why you’d come to visit Iceland.

Lots of people here, including a television crew and a wedding photographer, but that didn’t get in the way of some spectacular postcard views.

We decided on a whim that we were feeling athletic. Why not – it’s a beautiful day… We decided to climb the stairs up to the top of the 62 meter high waterfall.

Once at the top, there were more beautiful alpine views and trails to climb higher and higher. I didn’t realize this at the time, but the trail continued upwards for several days worth of hiking travel onto the glacier.

Skógfoss was an absolutely spectacular place to visit. It’s an absolute must for any nature lover.


A Visit to Sólhelmajökull Glacier:

We left Skógfoss and down the road to Sólhelmajökull. Sólhelmajökull is a UNESCO certified glacier that flows down from the Myrdalsjökull ice cap. We took route 221 from the Ring Road about 4 km up to the parking lot. We parked and headed up on foot to the base of the glacier- about 800 meters.

The glacier unfortunately is in recession and has been so since 2010. It is very unique to be able to see a glacier up close and we were able to spend some time enjoying the view. There appeared to be lots of interpretive groups visiting this location for education or ice climbing excursions.

If you look closely, you can see the ice climbing expedition group standing on the top of the glacier cap in this next photograph…

We left the glacier on absolutely beautiful roads. The parts of Iceland that we were able to see were absolutely spectacular!


A visit to Dyrhólaey:

We then went onto Dyrhólaey. Dyrhólaey is a recognizable plateau on the coast that offers terrific views. We were able see both westward and eastward up the coastline. This included some column views in addition to the black sand beach at Reynisfjara.

From looking towards the east, and following the hiking trails, one could see the famous black sand beach that Iceland is known for.

It seems pretty hard to take a bad picture in this country! This is made easier by the fact that because you’re at Latitude 67, the sun is never towering overhead giving you harsh mid day light.


A Walk to Sólheimasandur:

After the visit to Dyrhólaey, we headed back westward on the ring road toward the Sólheimasandur beach. The beach is locally famous for a US Navy DC-3 militarized plane that crash landed here on November 21, 1973.

The trail head parking lot was stuffed full of cars when we set off at 3:45 PM. The trailhead sign cautioned a 3 – 4 hour round trip walk over a four mile journey. The flat trail was easily walkable, with an end distance that seemed much closer than it actually appeared. Walking briskly. we made it to the wreckage in about 45 minutes.

MrsWT73 was not smiling as much when she was 80% into the hike, unlike as pictured here.

The wreckage was pretty interesting. It was covered in tourists when we were there. We were still able to get some cool photographs in what appeared to be a moon tundra like landscape.

After the 45 minute walk back, we headed to the last waterfall attraction of the day at Seljalandsfoss. For some reason, this site was the only location that we had visited today charging 700 ISK for parking, although not many visitors seemed to be actually paying. The afternoon light was hitting the water steam just right.

Wow – we took in a lot of sightseeing today. Instead of eating at the expensive hotel restaurant in the Ion Adventure Hotel, we went back to Kaffi Kaus in Selfoss for dinner. We were passing through Selfoss on the way to Nesjavillir anyway. I had a blue cheese burger which was really tasty.

We arrived back to Nesjavillir. We did a little pack up and headed down to the hot tub where the stars were out on full display.

In Summary:

The drive to Dyrhólaey was easily the highlight of our sightseeing trip in Iceland. The beautiful mountains and scenery made the trip all that worthwhile. I would easily pick it over the Golden Circle since there seemed to be more points of interest that were unique to these areas of the world. We have large waterfalls in Canada so I found other areas such as the black sand beach, glaciers and plane wrecks to be much more interesting and engaging.

If you’ve visited the South Coast of Iceland, did you find it an inspiring and worthwhile place to visit?

2 Comments on “Waterfalls, Plane Wrecks and Glaciers: Nesjavillir to Dyrhólaey, Iceland

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