Iceland – South Coast Spectacular (28.08.19)

Iceland, renowned for its magical scenery and outlandish wilderness is dramatic everywhere and at every turn. However, the South Coast Route 1 highway is to my mind not only the island’s, but one of the world’s, most spectacular road trips. Wilderness on steroids. Jaw-dropping to the point of being difficult to take in.

Your journey changes at every turn as you duck and dive between mountains, valleys, wondrous waterfalls, glacial giants, iceberg-dominated lakes, silky black sand beaches, volcanoes and a horizon-stretching shoreline bordered by lava.

This smorgasbord of ‘wow factor’ landscapes, which are even more impressive when illuminated by mesmeric flat Nordic light, will give you the ride of your life. You could be forgiven for assuming you were travelling across an endless conveyor belt of big-budget futuristic film sets.

I urge you to go as soon as you can. Iceland’s expanding reputation is attracting more tourists and you really want to experience some of nature’s most dramatic Nordic displays almost alone.

Although I have circumnavigated the whole island, including the Fjordland North, as well as the inland regions, this stretch of island coastline is the premium ‘must do’ journey. Ideally done on a self-drive itinerary, travelling between the capital Reykjavik (west coast) and Eskifjordur (east coast) over at least a week.

To be frank, you could pretty much park up and walk off in any direction, as you will immediately be consumed by the astonishing wilderness for as far as you care to wander. It is wild though, and the only real proviso is that you dress for all weathers and take as many layers as you can carry. When the sun goes in and the wind picks up, you’ll feel you’ve been  cut in half and your only emotion will be a sincere desire to survive.

Summer is obviously the best time to visit with the flat dream-light illuminating the landscapes and wildlife like jewels in a museum.

As these photos, which include Urriðafoss, Seljalandsfoss and Skógafoss waterfalls, Reynisdrangar’s black sands, glacial Diamond Beach, Jökulsárlón glacial lake, Vestrahprn and east coast peninsular settings, show – you are in for a real treat.