If you have several weeks to explore Iceland then go for it. There is plenty to see and you could easily spend a month or more coming across many amazing attractions. If, however, like most of us you have a long weekend or a week to visit this fabulous country you'll want to schedule in the must-see highlights. When it comes to Iceland there are just so many fantastic things to see, from geological wonders to the delightful small city of Reykjavik.
Top 12 highlights in southern Iceland
1) The Blue Lagoon: A short drive from the airport or Reykjavik, the Lagoon, fed by natural hot springs, is a superb experience. The minerals in the lagoon give it the milky blue quality and they are also said to be very good for the health of your skin. Try a mud face pack while sipping a glass of chilled wine or beer as you soak in the bath warm water.
2) Thingvellir National Park: Located on a faultline where the two tectonic plates, European and American, meet, the park is home to a stunning and dramatic deep fissure. The plates are pulling apart at 2cm per year and creating a deep crack in the terrain. Seeing is believing.
3) Gullfoss: Foss in Icelandic means falls (or waterfall). There are so many waterfalls that it is hard to choose the ones to be highlighted. However, Gullfoss is spectacular. The water plummets 32m in two stages into a rugged canyon, with walls reaching a height of 70m. On a sunny day shimmering rainbow can be seen over the falls.
4) Geysir: The fantastic location of numerous hot geysers, including one, Strokkur, that erupts in a huge bubble of steaming hot water every few minutes.
5) Hveragerdi river bath: In a hillside above the small town are multiple hot springs, which were only revealed after an earthquake in 2008. Walk up to a high river where you can bathe in your swimming costume, all year round. The river is warmed by a hot spring.
6) Kerid crater: A row of volcano craters just beside the road can be walked to. Kerid Crater is filled with water but it’s possible to descend into the crater and walk around the pool of water
7) Seljalandsfoss: A 60m high waterfall that is possible to walk behind. Awesome stuff indeed.
8) Skogafoss: This fabulous waterfall has a 60m drop and a hue 25m width. You can climb the many steps to the top to see the water plummet from the Skoga River.
9) Solheimajokull: One of many glaciers in southern Iceland this one can be seen while driving east along Road 1. A guided glacier walk is highly recommended. See Mountain Guides
10) Skatafell National Park: More glaciers, high, rugged mountain tops, a basalt column backed waterfall and so many spectacular views. Spend at least a couple of days in this area.
11) Woolly fringe moss: Vast lava plains are covered in a thick blanket of woolly fringe moss. Get out of your car at least once to lie down and feel how soft this moss is. Take pictures, read the many information boards and just generally stare in wonder at this strange landscape.
12) The Northern Lights: Iceland is one of the best places in the world for seeing the aurora borealis, or the Northern Lights. This is a natural light show that’s the result of a collision between sun and earth particles. It doesn’t always appear but it’s well worth keeping an eye on forecasts and the night sky. Also see Iceland: Myths, Magic and Magnificence. You can see many of these highlights on Macs Adventures Iceland South Coast Drive & Hike Itinerary.