Iceland cave tours

Exploring the Waterfalls of Iceland’s South Shore

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It seems like everyone I know has been vacationing in Iceland of late, and it’s made me extremely nostalgic for the eight days I spent there in 2007.

There’s so much I want to do along the South Shore in winter months like spectacular ice cave tours, but I was on my way to a reunion in Munich for Oktoberfest and found I could plan a week-long stopover in Iceland for free with IcelandAir so I wound up doing just that right smack in the middle of shoulder season (mid-September).

Via Couchsurfing, I met Icelander Hanna and her Aussie boyfriend James, who quite literally took me all over the country. They were just amazing people like that. Rather than paying up the wazoo—Iceland, man, is hard on the wallet—they gave me their own South Shore adventure, and it was totally free (though there are plenty of paid excursions I’ve added to my bucket list for my next visit now that I have a bit more money to spend on my travels!).

The waterfalls are everywhere in Iceland. Like, everywhere. I think we probably visited five in a 50-mile span. And they’re not just little trickles; these puppies, they gush.

It’s true, the weather in Iceland is often what you expect—drizzly, overcast, chilly—but we had a couple stunning days while I was there. I arrived, however, on September 15, which turns out to be the first day of winter, ha. So it was in the 30’s and 40’s most of my visit (which I did not come prepared for one bit). All the rain makes for a very plush countryside, though, and it made me just want to run and frolic through all the meadows (particularly since Iceland is so sparsely populated and often we were the only ones for miles—or kilometers, I suppose—around).

After all the South Shore waterfalls, we ventured further east, as the weather, fittingly, got more tempestuous, and hit up a glacier, Vatnajökull.

James and I then decided to hike up and over the glacier, because we’re smart like that (and two German tourists had just been lost in the same spot a couple weeks prior).

It was one of the many times in my life I feared I would not make it back alive. I did. And I can’t wait to go back.

  • April 3, 2009

    I spent a week in Iceland a couple of years ago and fell completely in love with everything about the country. Thanks for reminding me of that fabulous vacation on a rainy Friday afternoon.

  • April 3, 2009

    Iceland has been at the top of my places to visit list for a long time (maybe its my inner geologist). I tried to get my family to go there for vacation a few years back but, of course, I didn’t have any luck with that. All these photos just reaffirmed that I have to make it happen!

  • April 3, 2009

    I have about 9 out of 10 of those same pictures from my trip. We went in July and the weather was about the same then. We didn’t hike over the glacier, though. I got one foot stuck in the mud at the bottom and that was enough for me–I headed back to the car with my icy ankle and thoroughly muddy/wet sock.

  • April 3, 2009

    “Hit up a glacier”. I LOVE IT!

  • April 3, 2009

    I’ve always wanted to visit Iceland, ever since it appeared on The Amazing Race as one of the legs. Perhaps now that the economy is struggling in Iceland that makes it cheaper for tourists? Or is it more of the same (hard on the wallet)?

  • April 3, 2009

    I’ve actually wanted to go to Iceland ever since The Amazing Race. That show has inspired many a vacation, including Lithuania of all places.

  • April 3, 2009

    Wow, how cool. Rainbows, waterfalls and glaciers. Very nice.

  • April 4, 2009

    Given that their currency is now essentially worthless, Iceland may not be so hard on the wallet anymore. Good summer vacation idea. Sigh, if only I didn’t have so many bridesmaid obligations this summer 🙁

  • April 5, 2009

    I’m dying to go there, I hear it is gorgeous. My guy just had a layover there, it was only a 4 hour flight from Boston!

  • April 5, 2009

    How funny- I was just going to ask what kind of camera you used for these. They’re wonderful!!

  • April 5, 2009

    I have a friend who lived in Iceland as a child and I loved their photos.

    I love yours, too, of course 🙂

  • April 7, 2009

    I want to go to Iceland. I love that your photo Friday’s are so thorough.

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