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July 7, 2016

What To Do On A Layover in Iceland

Travel Guides

This past May, I got to spend a couple of days in Iceland during a layover on my way to the Faroe Islands. I had heard that you should spend at least a week in Iceland, but I’m always down for a good challenge and was determined to make the most of my time! So after doing some research, I discovered that a lot of the most popular sights (and the same ones I was interested in seeing) could be easily accessed by driving Iceland’s South Rim.

Iceland South Rim

The South Rim is Iceland’s Route 1 that runs along the southern coast of the country. This is an easy drive that doesn’t require a 4×4 vehicle, and there are so many sights to see along the way that are right off the main road. This drive included some of my favorite photo spots I had seen of Iceland, so we rented a car from Lagoon Car Rental and gave it a shot! Here were the places we stopped along the way:

1. Seljalandsfoss


Our first stop was one of the most famous waterfalls in Iceland and is only an hour and a half from Reykjavik. One of the cool things about these falls is you can walk directly behind them – just be prepared to bring a rain jacket and cover your camera gear!

2. Skógafoss


Our second stop was Skógafoss, the place I was most excited to see in Iceland! If you’ve ever looked up photos of Iceland and seen a photo of a little person standing with massive falls plummeting in the background, it was most likely this spot. It’s amazing how easily accessible it is – and for that reason there are a lot of tourists, but it was so beautiful that it didn’t really bother me. I also recommend hiking the trail to the top for a different perspective!


3. Black Sand Beach, Vík

Black Sand Beach

Vík is the southernmost village in Iceland and is where you can find the black sand beaches. Other than the black sand being cool to see, this beach has very unique rock formations and tall cliffs.

Vík Vík, Iceland

4. Fjaðrárgljúfur Canyon

Fjadrargljufur, Iceland

I don’t think I will ever be able to pronounce the name of this place, but I can’t tell you how excited I was to see it in person! This canyon is about 50 minutes past Vík and was the last stop of our day. Once you park it’s just a short hike to get to the lookout points over the canyon and river below. This is definitely one of the most magnificent views in Iceland, and is well worth the 3 hour drive from Reykjavik.

Fjadrargljufur Fjadrargljufur

Fjadrargljufur Canyon

Here are a few other great spots along Route 1 that you might want to check out

Seljavallalaug Swimming Pool
Skaftafell National Park
Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon

Having a layover in Iceland is a great way to fly to Europe on a budget and still have the chance to explore an incredible country! Head over to Icelandair‘s website to plan your #MyIcelandStopover.

And a big thank you to my sponsors Lagoon Car Rental for our awesome set of wheels and to Loft Hostel Reykjavik for a great place to come home to every night!


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I'm Donna — travel photographer, educator, and environmental advocate here to help you turn your passion into a career and help you find freedom in life + business. 

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