Heading east out of Reykjavik on Route 1 on the south coast takes you past volcanoes, waterfalls, nature reserves, glaciers, black beaches and dramatic coastline. There is also the Iceland Volcano and Earthquake Centre and the Skogar Folk Museum to visit which get positive reviews but we have not been there yet.
Then there is Jokulsarlon, the ice lagoon that I am desperate to see but it’s a a fair few hours drive from Reykjavik and although it is possible to get there and back in one day, an overnight stay may be preferable.
You can see the dramatic waterfall of Seljandsfoss on your left from the main road and there is free parking. There is a very slippery and wet path which takes you behind the falls. Not far away is Gljufuarbui which tumbles into a hidden crevice in the rocks.
Skogarfoss, a few miles further east is just as dramatic and there is a steep path to the top where you can take in the views.
This is one of the most accessible glaciers and is part of the larger Myrdalsjokull ice cap. You can drive quite close to it and then there is a short slippery walk from the car park. In 2009 there was a dirt track off Route 1 that led to the car park. We were able to carefully walk on the glacier, but it was not safe to stray far.
Solheimajokull in 2009
When we revisted in 2017 this road had been tarmacked and there is now a basic but welcome cafe with toilets in a shipping container by the car park. The glacier had retreated several hundered metres since our last visit which was a bit of a shock. Even though the walk to the glacier was not far, the day we visited the weather was pretty extreme and the path was very icy. It was hard work to stay on your feet and it was so cold our faces hurt. Walking on the glacier was a complete no-no this time as it was too dangerous due to calving.
Solheimajokull in 2017