Iceland: Road Trip Day 1 – Seljalandsfoss, Skógafoss & Vik

Iceland: Road Trip Day 1 – Seljalandsfoss, Skógafoss & Vik

Our lovely little log cabin was located in the Geysir area of southern Iceland. We found it to be a great place to base ourselves in order to explore the South of the island. We picked up our hire car as soon as we landed and headed to our log cabin. As we visited in November and didn’t land until 3pm, by the time we reached Geysir it was pitch black, well apart from the brief dance we received from the Northern Lights (YES – bucket list experience ticked off!), therefore exploration would have to wait until the next day.

Northern Lights, Iceland

We were obviously too excited to sleep as we both woke at 6.30am (please bear in mind we are not usually early risers). Unfortunately, the sun was not due to rise until 10.30am so we pottered about – eating breakfast, watching an episode of House of Cards and making a packed lunch to take on our road trip with us. By 9.00am there was a slight glimmer of light in the sky and we couldn’t wait to jump in the car any longer. We, therefore, packed up the car, ensuring the heated seats were switched on to the highest setting (it was freezing outside – literally) and hit the road.


Seljalandsfoss, Iceland

Seljalandsfoss, Iceland

Me at Seljalandsfoss, Iceland

Our initial destination for the day had been Vik, however, as we drove we caught sight of a number of waterfalls on our left-hand side. With nothing close behind us, we quickly flicked on the indicator and parked the car up in the designated car park. As we walked closer to the waterfalls we found the sign letting us know that we had, in fact, stumbled across Seljalandsfoss, which is actually one of the most famous in Iceland. The waterfall drops 60 m (197 ft) and you can, in fact, walk behind it. Unfortunately, on the day we visited, and I imagine every day during the winter months, it was far too icy to get anywhere near the cave that sits behind it. It was so icy, that people were getting far too close to the waterfall and falling over, one girl even landed on her camera, damaging it. Therefore, if walking behind the waterfall is high on your to-do list then we’d recommend visiting in the summer months to ensure you can do it.


Skógafoss, Iceland

Skógafoss up close

Mr ESLT and I at Skogafoss, Iceland

After a very welcome hot chocolate, we jumped back in the car and continued our journey to Vik. However, yet again we were distracted by another waterfall on our left-hand side, this one even bigger than the last. As we approached we saw the sign stating it was Skógafoss. We had planned to visit on our way back from Vik but we were so memorised by it we had to pull in and see it up close right there and then. Skógafoss is one of the biggest waterfalls in the country with a width of 25 metres (82 feet) and a drop of 60 m (200 ft). You can walk to the top of it and look down and walk right up to it. Again, unfortunately, due to the freezing conditions the steps leading up and the rocks up close where extremely slippery and I personally didn’t fancy falling over and injuring myself. In fact, no one was getting that close, barring one brave lady. Skógafoss produces a lot of spray so be prepared to get wet if you get close, also on a clear sunny day you are also almost guaranteed to see a rainbow or two above it.


Our final destination of the day, which had been intended to be the first, was Vik.

Vik Church

Vik Church, Iceland

Vik Church, Iceland

As we rounded the corner into the town the first thing we saw was the beautiful whitewashed church up on a hill, which is the evacuation point should the Katla volcano erupt and the town becomes at risk of flooding. With plenty of parking available up there, it seemed like the perfect place to start our exploration of Vik. We were lucky enough to be the only people there and enjoyed walking around it and taking photographs at our leisure. The church is beautiful and offers great views over the rest of Vik. Although it’s important to remember you are open to the elements so even after a quick five-minute stop it left us windswept and in need of a hot drink.

Black Sand Beach and Rock Formation

Black Sand Beach, Vik, Iceland

Rock formation Vik Iceland

We drove down into the town and parked at the main car park in front of the main restaurant and petrol station, where everyone else was parking. Finding the award-winning black sand beach was very simple, we just followed the crowds of people heading in the same direction. The stretch of beautiful black basalt sand is one of the wettest places in Iceland and the cliffs surrounding the beach are home to many seabirds, including puffins which unfortunately we weren’t lucky enough to see on this visit. Out to sea, you can see a large rock formation of pillars, a great sight and one which has many folklores surrounding it.

Voyages Friendship Statue

Voyages Friendship Statue, Iceland

Voyages Friendship Statue, Iceland

The statue stands tall just on the edge of the black sand beach. The 1.8m (6ft) statue was made by Icelandic sculptor Steinunn Thorarinsdottir. Thorarinsdottir’s inspiration for the aluminium sculpture was the people who make their living at sea and the families who fear they will not return. Thorarinsdottir made a second one and gave it as a gift to the city of Kingston upon Hull, England (OUR HOMETOWN) in 2006 as a token of friendship. Being from Hull, seeing this sculpture made it all the more special, especially as we have links to sea through our families and the fact that Mr ESLT is himself a marine pilot.

As we started to lose the light, it was time to head back to our log cabin, cook dinner, talk about our day and plan our itinerary for day 2 of our road trip.

Day 1 miles travelled – 343km. Driving time – 4hr 24min


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  1. December 28, 2016 / 12:08 pm

    Wow you got to see the northern lights! I was recently in Iceland and was not as lucky. Guess would just have to go back.

    Nice photos. 🙂

    • December 28, 2016 / 12:11 pm

      Thanks Ivy. We were so, so lucky, just very under prepared and didn’t have the cameras ready. What a great excuse to return to such a beautiful place 🙂

      • December 28, 2016 / 12:15 pm

        You still captured it nicely though. 🙂
        And that is so true!

  2. December 28, 2016 / 1:45 pm

    It´s in my bucket list!

    • December 29, 2016 / 11:43 am

      It is such a fantastic country Ester, we cannot recommend it enough. Hope you manage to visit soon!

  3. December 29, 2016 / 9:06 pm

    So exciting you got to see the Northern Lights!!! I went in summer so no such luck. Too bad you couldn’t walk behind Seljalandsfoss. It’s quite the experience. Perhaps a return trip in summer ?

  4. January 4, 2017 / 11:54 am

    We are staying in Vik when we go in March. Excited to read this 🙂

    • January 4, 2017 / 9:58 pm

      Vik is lovely Mellissa, a very quiet but beautiful town. As we were only there during the day I don’t know about restaurants or bars but if you are like us you will be that tired from sightseeing you won’t have the energy to paint the town red.

  5. January 25, 2017 / 6:22 pm

    Wow, it looks like you waited till the best time of day light wise to see Vik. You got some blue sky and nice clouds…you might have missed that if you’d done that first! Always great just letting the car lead you and jumping out when you see something worth stopping for! I always prefer to hire a car when anywhere unless on a city break. The freedom it provides is great!
    Your photos just make me want to visit Iceland even more!

    • February 3, 2017 / 7:29 pm

      I have to stop raving about Iceland, I think I am boring people now 🙂 but we loved it, a week just wasn’t long enough! I hope you manage to visit soon, it is like nowhere we have been before and the car was a must. We have never hired a car before but it’s a must in Iceland. I WANT TO GO BACK NOW!

  6. August 7, 2017 / 7:48 pm

    Hi! Can you share the location of the cabin? We’re looking for something in the south (2 people) that’s more romantic (hot tub sounds lovely), that gives us day trip access to Vik, waterfalls, etc.

    • August 7, 2017 / 8:05 pm

      Hi Sam, it was this one – it was on a site with around 5 others, a couple of them are also on the site. We loved it, very secluded and perfect for trips to all the main sites in the Golden Circle and Vik. There is a minimum 3 night stay so we had 3 nights here and 3 in Reykjavik although I wish we had spent longer here and less time in the Capital. A car is a must, the roads are super easy to drive on even for us Brits who are used to driving on the other side of the road. It was a struggle to find in the dark but we loved staying here and highly recommend it. It’s very cosy and romantic and the hot tub was a great added bonus. It is right next to Geysir and we could have walked it easily, with Gulfoss a 5 minute drive away. If you have any questions about Iceland please just ask – it is one of the most amazing places we have ever been and hope to return in the summer ASAP!!! 🙂