Destinations Europe

Driving To Vik, South Iceland

From Borgarnes on the west coast of Iceland, it was a 150-mile drive to the black volcanic beaches of Vik on Iceland’s south coast. Waterfalls, volcanoes, glaciers and even a power station await so good news for all you ‘Geothermal power station fans’.

While chatting over breakfast to the owner of our hotel in Borgarnes he mentioned that a storm was due to hit the south coast later that afternoon. The exact time was uncertain but hopefully, it would be later rather than sooner.

Hellisheidi Geothermal Power Station

Hellisheidi Geothermal Power Station

Hellisheidi geothermal power station near Reykjavik

Our first stop was the Hellisheidi geothermal power station, it had an interesting display and an earthquake simulator but if you are pushed for time and not a big fan of ‘eggy’ aromas then it isn’t really worth the stop.


Seljalandsfoss Waterfall

Seljalandsfoss waterfall along side route 1

As you drive along the ring road south Seljalandsfoss is visible on your left. This line of cliffs from where the waterfalls now cascade were once the original coastline.

Seljalandsfoss is an impressive sight, you can get quite close and can actually walk behind the falls. it was amazing on the grey day we were there but must be spectacular in the sun. It is quite wet and slippery so you should wear boots even in the summer. Also, one side is quite steep and rocky so take your time.

Seljalandsfoss in the snow

Seljalandsfoss South Iceland

Although busy, there was still plenty of room to wander around and explore the falls. Luckily there weren’t the usual tour groups who seem oblivious to others and stand in the prime positions making the ubiquitous instagram selfie peace signs.



Skógafoss waterfall South Iceland

The next waterfall we encountered was Skógafoss, there are a LOT of waterfalls in Iceland. Skógafoss is nearly 200 feet high and you can walk up the path at the side to get a great view. In the sun, a beautiful double rainbow is often produced but being stormy and overcast we weren’t lucky enough to see this. Nonetheless, it did not detract from the sheer magnificence of the waterfall.

Skogar Folk Museum

Skogar Folk Museum

The turf covered buildings at Skogar Folk Museum

Next to Skógafoss was the Skogar Folk Museum. The museum exhibits artefacts and buildings from Iceland’s cultural heritage. We loved the unique 19th-century farmhouses with the grass roofs, we’ve never been asked ‘Have you mowed the roof?” before.

What you can’t see in the photograph is the wind, as we were looking around the first wave of the storm started to move in.

Sólheimajökull Glacier

 Sólheimajökull Glacier near Vik, iceland

The Sólheimajökull glacier near Vik, South Iceland

The Sólheimajökull glacier is only a couple of kilometres off the ring road and about 30 mins from Vik. It is an extension from the larger Mýrdalsjökull glacier and stretches down towards the south coast. The glacier itself is a 25min walk from the carpark but this is changing rapidly. Due to the effects of global warming the ice has retreated up the valley by about a kilometre in the last 10 years, so you need to get there soon before it’s just a large puddle of water.

The Black Beach In Vik

Vik During A Storm

The waves crashing onto the beach in Vik

We arrived in Vik at the height of the storm, the waves were crashing onto the shore and sleet and rain mixed with black volcanic sand were blowing horizontally across the beach. We took the photographs from the safer confines of the car. However, despite being in a 4 by 4, when we decided to drive off we found ourselves stuck in the soft black sand. Following 35 mins of digging and after getting very wet we managed to break free, emerging from a cloud of burning clutch smoke back onto the road.

The black sand beach of Vik

The black sand beach of Vik in the sun

The next morning revealed a much calmer and sunnier Vik, you could clearly see the impressive Reynisdrangar basalt sea stacks standing guard over the bay.

We stayed in Vik at the Icelandair Hotel. The Scandinavian style hotel was a luxurious refuge from the raging storm outside. You can read more about our stay at the Icelandair Hotel Vik here.

If you want to see more of our Icelandic road trip then please visit our YouTube Channel for the daily highlights. To read more about planning a winter road trip to the south of Iceland, check out this post by Katherine.


Driving To Vik South Iceland

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  • Kavey at Kavey Eats
    April 8, 2017 at 8:01 am

    Beautiful photos! We drove around the main ring road of Iceland a few summers ago, it was just glorious. We too got caught in a couple of storms, one ferocious ones that was I think the tail end of what had been a hurricane over the north eastern coast of the US. We were out on the road in that one but made it through OK. But fortunately, most of the time we had glorious weather in which to enjoy the stunning landscapes of Iceland. Such a wonderful destination to self-drive!

    • Mr and Mrs W
      April 8, 2017 at 10:24 am

      We were lucky with the weather too, only one day of storms. We are going back in the summer to explore further and head up to the north of the island.

  • sara | belly
    April 9, 2017 at 6:58 am

    It all looks so stunning, Iceland is on my bucket list, just so far away from Australia, but will get there eventually!! The Seljalandsfoss look beautiful and I love the fact you can walk behind the falls, that is pretty cool.

    • Mr and Mrs W
      April 9, 2017 at 8:18 am

      Yes, it couldn’t get much further away. Would be worth the trip if you are already in Europe as it’s only a 2-hour flight.

  • Jenna
    April 10, 2017 at 8:12 am

    Iceland is one of our favorite spots! We loved driving along the south coast and stopped at many of the same spots you did–Great recommendations! I would love to check out Skogar Folk Museum on our next visit–those grass roof houses are adorable!

    • Mr and Mrs W
      April 10, 2017 at 11:15 am

      We would have spent more time at the museum but the weather was getting worse so headed off towards Vik. We are going back in the summer.

  • Vicki Louise
    April 10, 2017 at 9:24 am

    I can’t wait to visit Iceland (although I think everyone in the world will get there before I do the way things are going at the moment!) The waterfalls are and geysers are so beautiful – and I’d love to see the houses covered in turf too, they look so cute!

    • Mr and Mrs W
      April 10, 2017 at 11:17 am

      The museum was interesting and yes the old farm houses were cute but must have been quite a struggle to live in them during long dark winters.

  • elisa
    April 11, 2017 at 10:12 am

    Never been to Iceland but it looks so cool and different! No wonder all the travel bloggers are heading there, too much to see & do !

    • Mr and Mrs W
      April 11, 2017 at 4:26 pm

      Lots to see and do and quite cheap to get there. Although once you’re there it is quite expensive and getting accommodation can be tricky.

  • stacey veikalas
    April 11, 2017 at 10:15 am

    Beautiful post I have never been to Iceland but so want to go! I love that your drove and saw the sights, the waterfalls looks amazing! I also love that little folk museum looks like a cool stop!

    • Mr and Mrs W
      April 11, 2017 at 4:27 pm

      You definitely need to drive to see it properly. We only got stuck once (don’t tell the rental company)!!!

  • sirtomunk
    April 12, 2017 at 12:00 am

    Wow, beautiful! I hope I’m able to go there one day

    • Mr and Mrs W
      April 12, 2017 at 6:20 pm

      You should go if you get the chance.

  • Anneklien Meanne
    April 12, 2017 at 8:31 am

    I been to Iceland but only in Reykjavik, i would like to go bac and explore the outdoors too and driving seems fun, great landscape shots

    • Mr and Mrs W
      April 12, 2017 at 6:20 pm

      We are going back to explore the north in the summer.

  • Nisha
    April 12, 2017 at 7:08 pm

    I can’t wait to visit Iceland. Have been reading about it so much. Skogar Folk Museum looks very interesting. DIdn’t know Iceland means so much to explore.

    • Mr and Mrs W
      April 12, 2017 at 7:22 pm

      There is a lot to see in Iceland, I would allow at least 7 days if not more.

  • Lauren
    April 13, 2017 at 5:12 am

    We were just here in June and loved it so much! The South Coast is so pretty, with so many waterfalls and amazing landscapes. I would love to go back!

    • Mr and Mrs W
      April 14, 2017 at 10:29 pm

      We loved it so much too, we are going back in August to travel around the whole ring road.