If you’re staying in Reykjavik, a day trip from Reykjavik to Vik along Iceland’s south coast is the perfect way to spend the day. Use this post as your step-by-step guide to the journey, and you can even use this Google Maps route. I recommend leaving Reykjavik by 8:15am since the majority of the tour busses leave around 9am.
As for renting a car, I suggest Blue Car Rental, which is the company I used for this trip. Use code #BLUELTT to get 5% off. They are reliable, are transparent about providing you all the information you need, and even give you a rules of the road guidebook which is handy to review before driving and keep with you in the car. I also recommend opting in to all of their insurance options to be on the safe side.
Stop 1: Seljalandsfoss Waterfall
+1 hour, 45 mins from Reykjavik
Falling 213 feet (65 meters) over an old sea cliff, Seljalandsfoss is one of the most well-known waterfalls in Iceland. If you don’t mind getting wet, you can even walk all the way behind the falls for a unique viewpoint. There are restrooms here, a small shop, and a stand that serves some sandwiches and cakes if you need a snack.
Stop 2: Eyjafjallajökull Volcano Visitor’s Center
+15 mins from Seljalandsfoss (use these GPS coordinates 63° 32,597’N, 19° 40,043’W)
Hours: 10:00am – 4:00pm
Admission: 850 ISK (~$7) per person
The “Eyjafjallajökull Erupts” Visitor Center is a stop I highly recommend, especially if it’s a rainy or cold day and you’re craving an indoor stop. Here, you can watch a 20-minute video about the 2010 volcanic eruption that cancelled tens of thousands of flights and how it impacted the local people. For short, it’s called E-15, because it’s E + 15 letters!
Though you can’t see the volcano itself since it’s below the glacier, you will pass right by the farm right across the road from the visitor’s center that is featured in the video. The visitor’s center is a small building on the south side of the highway that is easy to miss, so I recommend inputting the exact coordinates into your GPS and keep a close eye out for their sign so you don’t miss it.
Stop 3: Vik
+30 mins from Eyjafjallajökull Visitor’s Center
Vik is the largest town for 40 miles in all directions with a bustling population of about 300 people. Sitting right along the Ring Road, it is the most southern town in Iceland.
Vik is a good stopping point for lunch. If you didn’t pack a lunch, Sudur Vik is a great option. It’s not cheap (nothing is in Iceland) but a cup of hot soup can make a big difference on a chilly day of driving.
Stop 4: Reynisfjara Beach
+10 mins from Vik
From Vik, you’ll be on your way back toward Reykjavik with these next few stops. This was one of my favorite stops along this day trip from Reykjavik to Vik. Reynisfjara Beach is especially impressive because the sand is black and the beach is home to basalt columns of Reynisfjall mountain, which are like an otherworldly experience. These rock formations are completely natural and the massive basalt cave has been continuously carved and shaped by the sea.
Keep your distance from the shoreline, as the crashing waves can be dangerous and sometimes appear to come out of nowhere. Reynisfjara Beach is quite the eerie site to see, particularly on rainy, foggy days.
Stop 5: Dyrhólaey
+25 mins from Reynisfjara Beach
When you head over to Dyrholaey, you’ll have two options: drive it straight all the way to the beach, or turn right and drive all the way to the top. If you have time, go for both. But if you have to pick one, I suggest taking the route up to the top. From the lighthouse up at the top, you’ll get the best view of the natural arch (hence the name Dyrholaey, which means “door hole”). If you have a nice day, you may be able to view some puffins from here. On not so nice days, be cautious as the winds can be quite intense up here. Make sure to check if it’s accessible before you leave because there are certain times when it may be closed or have limited access.
Stop 6: Dinner
+1 hour, 5 mins to Hotel Ranga, or +2 hours 25 mins back to Reykjavik
Depending on how long you spent throughout the rest of the day, if it’s late enough you could stop for a classy dinner at Hotel Ranga Restaurant. If you finish up earlier, head back to Reykjavik and make your way to Íslenski Barinn, or simply, Icelandic Bar for interesting Icelandic fare and a beer.
Remember to book your Blue Car Rental with code #BLUELTT for 5% off!
Special thanks to Blue Car Rental for facilitating my Iceland road trips. All opinions are my own.