The south coast of Iceland is famous for its waterfalls, volcanos, glaciers, and black sand beaches. We didn’t quite make it as far as Vík to see the black sand and rocks of the south coast, but we still filled a day’s worth of wonders.
As we drove along highway 1, Iceland’s famous Ring Road, towards our first stop, the clouds began to part to make way to the blue beyond and the glorious sun that had been mostly missing from the previous day. The drive from Reykjavík to Seljalandfoss, our first outdoor destination, is nearly two hours. We decided to break it up with a quick stop at the LAVA Centre in Hvolsvollur.
The LAVA museum is a bit pricey, but offers some fun and impressive interactive exhibits that demonstrate the awesome power of Iceland’s volcanic landscape. There’s a twenty minute movie that runs all day, and is worth watching to see close-up views of the volcanos erupting. I found the devastating effects on the livestock to be a bit depressing, but you do get a real-life feel of what it means to live in the Land of Fire and Ice.
After a somewhat sobering visit to the museum, we headed back out on our path towards our first waterfall of the day. Seljandsfoss is a very popular spot for tourists, but like most of the other attractions in Iceland, one can find parking without a problem. There is almost always a small fee to park, and credit cards are the method of choice.
When we rounded a corner and saw the waterfall in the distance, we knew that our destination was not far away. On a sunny day such as we had, the effect is worth a pause to take it all in, and we stopped for a moment so I could run through the wind and capture a few photographs along the roadside.
Sejalandsfoss, like Gullfoss was one of the spots where I wished there had been half the amount of visitors joining us. Everyone wants to capture her magnificence, and it can be a little frustrating if one wishes to take a personal moment of connection. Still, it is glorious to be there, and more than worth slowing down as much as you can to take in its wonder.
Although it was sunny and becoming quite warm by Iceland’s standards, we donned our raincoats, and I slipped on my rain pants, before we exited the car. Seljalandsfoss is one Iceland’s waterfalls that allows visitors to walk around its perimeter. The path can be slippery and wet, and depending on the wind, you’ll get a good spray of her waters at some point along the way.
If you are prepared for the adventure, I recommend walking the circumference of the falls. We got wet, but I found it to be a holy experience, as though being baptized by Mother Nature as you receive the never-ceasing spray of Seljalandsfoss.
It also felt rather nice to have the cool waters of the falls on our faces as we made our way back into the sun.
After receiving the spray from the falls
The chilly waters of Seljalandsfoss come from the Eyjafjallajokull glacier, which pours down water along the hillside. It’s well worth a longer visit at this site to walk along the paths to visit some of the lesser falls, which we took some time to do.
We started stripping off layers as we walked along the sun-filled path below the hills to view the other falls.
Views along the path to Gljufrabui
If you venture far enough along the path, you will reach Gljufrabui. Although the waterfall is not as large or showy as Seljalandsfoss, it holds its own magic. Hidden inside a canyon, Gljufrabui only partially viewable from the path. One must brave the stream that it flows into, as well as the slippery rocks and the waterfall’s generous spray, to get a close-up. Dave stayed behind on the path, but I could not resist the urge to enter the cave.
Although the “selfie rock” was constantly being occupied by other visitors, I managed to get some decent shots of Gljufrabui devoid of tourists.
It was not easy to say goodbye to the falls here, but even the sun decided to depart as we made our way back to our car to venture towards our next destination. And, somehow, the clouds were just right for where we would next be.
Next stop, Skógafoss…