Leaving the Golden Circle area we began venturing counterclockwise around Iceland, first hitting the south/southeastern coastlines. South Iceland has it all- breathtakingly stunning views, waterfalls, glaciers, beaches, mountains, hot pots, canyons, puffins… the list goes on. I felt that we covered so much of Iceland as a whole (and we definitely did), but I also know that there was so much that we didn’t even touch on! Some gems you can see from the road for miles, others you have to find. Despite the tour buses and groups, as we still weren’t too far from Reykjavik, South Iceland was one of my favorite parts of this country. The endless black sand beaches, the pounding roar of the waterfalls, and the enormous glaciers still left me feeling alone with nature.
Built in 1923, Seljavallalaug Swimming Pool is also said to be the oldest swimming pool in all of Iceland (not the Secret Lagoon). The 82ft long pool is built into the rocks in a shallow valley and is fed by a nearby hot spring. It is a short 20-25 minute trek to the pool but the views, as always, did not disappoint.
Seljalandsfoss is part of the river Seljalandsa. This waterfall has a 200ft drop and a cavern behind it which allows tourists to encircle this beauty. And water gear is a must… you are enveloped in a cloud of spray anywhere near this fall! I was amazed at how nothing was roped off or off limits despite the slipperiness of the trail and force of the water. You can walk close down to the bottom of the falls from behind!
About a 5-10 minute walk from Seljalandsfoss you will find Gljufrabui waterfall tucked behind a rock face. It is a spring-fed waterfall and less voluminous than Seljalandsfoss, but that doesn’t take away from its mystical feel. You literally have to wade through water or balance on a small rock path (that serves as a two way path for people coming and going) in order to reach the bottom of this waterfall that pours into the cave. It’s tricky but so picturesque. A fertile marsh covers the rock walls inside the cave making it seem like you are walking into an undiscovered enchanted forest. The boulder that blocks the bottom of the falls is called Franskanef, and previously, people believed that it and the surrounding cliffs were home to the hidden people.
Then there’s this beast… Skogafoss. This waterfall is unique because it comes directly from two glaciers. There are VERY steep and high stairs that lead up to the top of this majestic waterfall that even I was feeling the difficulty (and I’m pretty fit!). But of course, it was well worth it. Above the falls there are green landscapes all around. Below lies a large black sand and pebble layer that create a darker image as the mist spreads out above. Simply gorgeous.
Our roots will forever be from here, America, born and raised. Yet, life requires us to move more frequently than we care to count. Whether living stateside or abroad, you can always find us traveling somewhere. We scout out places that you only think you can dream of one day seeing and we seek out those that aren’t found in guidebooks. We then bring them to life here in our travel memos, so hopefully, one day you too can visit them or at least be able to live vicariously through us. This blog isn’t just about crossing off places from a bucket list. It’s about absorbing and learning how other cultures grow and fit into the same world that we do. Life is short and the world is big. Enjoy and get out there!