South Coast Journey

Tours cancelled: destination has become victim of trash-tourism

We start off early by driving eastwards out of Reykjavík, through the Svínahraun lava-field, towards the Hellisheiđi plateau but just before reaching it, we'll veer off the main road and head south through the Ţrengsli pass,where one of Iceland's longest lava-caves, the so-called Raufarhólshellir which actually passes underneath the roadway,is to be found.
Shortly thereafter, from the top of the hillside , the immense southern shoreline of Iceland, dotted with a few fishing villages, will come into view and, in good visibility,the Vestman islands offshore can also be seen.
Once in the lowlands, our route first passes along the shoreline, across the new bridge on the Ölfusá river estuary, where anglers and seals can often be spotted competing with one another for the catch of the ever elusive salmon.
Next, we pass through the first of these coastal villages, Eyrarbakki, which used to be one of Iceland's main trading posts throughout the Middle-Ages,past Litla-Hraun, the country's main penitentiary, and on to Stokkeyri, an old fishing village whose main claim to glory is to have been the place where Ţuríđur formađur, a female fishing boat captain and her crew used to set sails in the early 19th century. A tiny folk museum dedicated to her endeavours can be found in the village centre.
Having passed Stokkseyri, the immensity of the South-Iceland lowlands, with it's endless fields and pastures, will stretch out before our eyes until we reach another estuary, that of Iceland's longest river, the Ţjórsá,which unfortunately is not bridged here so that we are forced to cross it north of the Urriđafoss waterfall which although it does not rank among the country's mos spectacular is still worth a visit.
Both Hella and Hvolsvöllur, the next inland towns on our way, are perfectly suited for a mid morning halt for refreshments, and from there we will proceed alongside the Fljótshlíđ hillside,renowned for it's saga times events.Crossing over the wash-out of yet another big river, the Markarfljót this time, we will perceive the Eyjafjallajökull which is both a glacier and an active volcano at the same time, and the tall but lean Seljalandsfoss, a much admired waterfall.
The district on the southern side of the Eyjafjalla -and Mýrdalsjökull glaciers, being extremely well sheltered from the northern winds,enjoys a micro climate all of it's own, as attested by the numerous wheat and barley fields which have been planted there in recent years.But suddenly, another spectacular waterfall springs into view: the magnificent 180 ft high Skógafoss.
We will arrive at the picturesque village of Vík í Mýrdal around lunchtime and after refreshments,if the tour takes place sometimes from early spring till late summer, have the opportunity (not included) to set off, in an amphibious vehicle owned by a local tour operator, either on a short cruise around the Reynisdrangar rocks or even go all the way to the Dyrhólaey mull itself and to continue our journey from there. In any case, the breathtaking landscape and very active bird life,i.e.fulmars, kittiwakes and seagulls all year round, arctic terns, puffins by the thousands in summer are all there for our enjoyment.
Proceeding homewards from this southernmost tip of mainland Iceland, we will first drive up to the edge of the glacier tongue Sólheimajökull, which strangely enough was longtime advancing while most other glaciers in Iceland were retreating, but now it's started to retreat as well. .
Our last mission of the day will then be to visit the highly interesting folk museum at Skógar, which is the lifetime of achievement of one remarkable man, Mr Ţórđur Tómasson, who, as a rule takes a great pleasure in presenting it personally to his guests, an event which many people have even considered to be the highlight of their Iceland tour.
A rapid return, via the towns of Selfoss and Hveragerđi,to Reykjavík will then be made in the late afternoon.
Duration of tour: 10 hours,
Departures: Sundays and by request at 8:00 a.m,
Price per person, (for 3 passengers or more):
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Services included: Transporation and guidance.