Iceland: South Coast Sights - Hotel Rangá


Skógafoss waterfall in south Iceland.

Iceland: South Coast Sights

Visit the dramatic South Shore of Iceland crossing fertile farmland with striking views over waterfalls, glaciers and historic natural landmarks. Perfect for a gentle half day exploration or a full day excursion, the South Coast route encompasses spectacular scenery, captivating birdlife and the raw beauty of Iceland’s rugged coastline. You can pick and choose your stop off points on route but here are a few of the South Coast’s highlights to consider along the way.

Guests at Hotel Rangá are just minutes away from Iceland’s top south coast sights. See stunning waterfalls like Skógafoss and Seljalandsfoss and visit the epic black sand beaches at Reynisfjara. Keep reading to learn more about these amazing spots.

Skógafoss waterfall in south Iceland.
Skógafoss waterfall is only 45 minutes from Hotel Rangá. Photograph by Paige Deasley.

Seljalandsfoss Waterfall

Stop by Seljalandsfoss. A unique waterfall in the river Seljalandsá, about 30 km west from Skógar. It’s 60 meters high with a footpath behind it at the bottom of the cliff.

Seljalandsfoss waterfall cascades from above with walking path behind.
Visitors to Seljalandsfoss waterfall can actually walk behind the powerful cascade.

Iceland south coast sights: Skógafoss

Skógafoss is one of the largest waterfalls in Iceland at 25 metres wide and a 60 meter drop. Due to the amount of spray the waterfall consistently produces, a single or double rainbow is usually visible on sunny days. There is also a large staircase on the side of the waterfall. Visitors can actually climb the stairs to get an incredible view over the top of the falls.

According to legend, the first Viking settler in the area, Þrasi Þórólfsson, buried a treasure in a cave behind the waterfall. The legend also says that local people found the chest years later, but were only able to grasp the ring on the side of the chest before it disappeared again. Some say that the locals gave the ring to the church. The old church door ring is now in a museum, though whether it gives any credence to the folklore is debatable.


Heading onward in the direction of Vik, take time to stop at Dyrhólaey – a 510 acre promontory south of the Mýrdalsjökull glacier and the southernmost point of the country. Dyrhólaey was formed about one hundred thousand years ago during the warm-up period of the last ice age, in an underwater eruption similar to the formation of Surtsey, a famous volcanic island southwest of the Westman Islands.


One of the most mesmerizing landmarks of the south is Reynisfjara. This black sand beach sits just outside of the town Vík and features amazing cliffs of regular basalt columns. The columns actually resemble a rocky step pyramid and are a popular place to take phoots. Further on, you can see the spectacularly shaped basalt sea stacks Reynisdrangar.

The area has rich bird-life, including fulmars and guillemots. However, it is important to focus your attention on the ocean. At Reynisfjara beach you need to be very careful because of the strong and unpredictable waves. Do not get too close to the water due to the sneaker waves that can catch you off guard.

Columns of basalt at the black sand beach at Reynisfjara in south Iceland.
The black sand beach at Reynisfjara is bordered by columnar basalt.

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On arriving at Vík you will find a few shops stocking handcrafted Icelandic products and also several places to eat. Remember to refuel your car before your return journey. Vík is Iceland’s southernmost village. Although this community of about 450 inhabitants faces the open and unforgiving Atlantic, Vík is the only seaside settlement in Iceland left without a harbor.

The tale of Skógarfoss and the trolls at Reynisfjara are among the many Icelandic folklore’s featured in the Hotel Rangá Coloring Book.

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