What to do in South Iceland
1. Climbing Mt. Hekla
One of the easiest hikes to the peak of Mt. Hekla starts from the parking space at Rauðaskál. Drive from Landmannaleið, west of Nýjahraun until you reach the parking space, then walk along the ridge until you reach your destination. The hike should take a whole day and you should carry your day’s supply of water with you.
2. Njáll Exhibitions & Njáll Feast
The area around Hvolsvöllur village is the site of the dramatic Njál’s Saga, the masterpiece of an anonymous 12th century author. Guided tours around the saga centre stage are available, including extensive explainations of the atmosphere in the Viking age and the Icelandic community at the time. Visitors also get to experience traditional noontime meals in a typical Middle Age lodge. Evening programs are also available during weekends.
3. Hiking in Reykjadalur and bathing in a natural hot river
Reykjadalur is a valley above the town Hveragerði and a 90 minute long marked hiking trail leads up the green valley to the warm river Reykjadalsá in Klambragil. The trail begins at the mouth of Reykjadalur valley, where there is a great view of the Djúpagil gorge and its inspiring waterfall. The trail then leads up Reykjadalur and across a lukewarm but shallow river, where wading is required. A bit further up you will reach Klambragil, a ravine where hot streams flow into the Reykjadalsá river, creating an ideal temperature for a relaxed bath, including some natural “jacuzzis”. Note that the hot streams themselves are too hot for bathing. There are numerous onward hiking possibilities from Klambragil and there is an amazing gorge nearby with several hot springs and a beautiful little waterfall at the very end.
4. River Rafting
Exciting river tours are offered near to Gullfoss waterfall on the river Hvítá. Ideal for a multi-activity stay in South Iceland and incentive groups.
5. The Raufarhólshellir cave
The 1,4 km long cave Raufarhólshellir is the second longest lava tube system in Iceland. It is 10 – 30 m wide and up to 10 m high and it brims with lava formations that are officially protected. It is strongly recommanded to bring a torch when exploring the cave as it is dark and diffucult going. Hiking all the way to the spectacular formations at the utmost end is worthwhile. The cave is within easy reach just east of the main road (route 39) from Reykjavík to Þorlákshöfn.
6. Horseback riding
Horses can be rented from the company Eldhestar in Hveragerði that offers two hours to seven days excursions into the picturesque wilderness above Hveragerði. Longer riding tours around Iceland are also available, as well as other horse rental companies.
The Suðurströnd Travel Service in Stokkseyri offers kayaking on lakes and lagoons as well as off the shore, in a great nature paradise, rich in birdlife. The experience is fantastic for families and first time kayakers.
8. Ingólfshöfði Bird Watching
Cape Ingólfshöfði is an isolated headland between the black desert and the ocean. Hundreds of thousands of seabirds nest on the cape, puffins in particular. It is named after Ingólfur Arnarson, Iceland’s first settler and it is said to have been his first home in Iceland, in the winter of 874. A tour of the cape is usually lead by an elderly local farmer who transports visitors over waters, moors and sands in a tractor-drawn trailor to guide a brief but rewarding walk around the nature reserve.
Núpstaður woods is a small wooded area in the slopes of Eystrafjall, a small mountain situated east of the edge of the enormous glacier tongue and south of Grænalón Lake . Those who drive up there often continue on foot to the lake or climb the sheer neighbouring Mount Súlutindar. The track between the main road and the woods requires forceful 4WD vehicles and drivers who are experienced in fording rivers. The volume and current of the rivers en route sometimes render those trips impossible. The surroundings and the astounding scenery have a magnetic influence on anyone who undertakes this adventurous journey.