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Southern Peninsula: Everything You Need to Know

Southern Peninsula: Everything You Need to Know

Subject: Planning to visit the Southern Peninsula in the upcoming trip for Iceland. Check our special blog for the places to visit and the best restaurant in the Southern Peninsula.


The Southern Peninsula region of Iceland, also known as the Reykjanes peninsula, is located in the southwest corner of the country. It is home to Keflavik International Airport, which functions as the main entry point for tourists. The Reykjanes region is minute compared to the other expansive regions of Iceland but offers a great number of attractions. The key settlements in the southern peninsula include Garður, Grindavík, Sandgerði, Reykjanesbær, and Vogar. Large expanses of this coastal and inland Reykjanes landscape is covered by lava fields, mud pools, craters, and very interesting rock formations. All the towns and villages of Reykjanes have their own culture and history, much of which revolves around fishing. The coastal areas thrive on the abundant supply of fish from the nearby fishing grounds.

Reykjanes has a rich past that dates back to the earliest years of human settlement in Iceland. It has witnessed invaders, has many signs of Viking life, and has also witnessed the fury of nature. Ingolfur Arnarson, the very first settler of Iceland, had entered the country through the Olfusa River in Reykjanes. Hence, the peninsula is considered as one of the most significant regions of Iceland. The entirety of the Reykjanes peninsula should be explored to avoid missing out on any key attractions. Every corner of the region is adorned with geological wonders that will leave you awestruck. The Mid-Atlantic Ridge that divides the North American and Eurasian plates run through the Reykjanes.




The top places to see in Reykjanes include -

Básendar - Básendar is an old fishing village situated on the western coast of the Southern Peninsula region of Iceland. It was once an important trading post controlled by the Danish. A catastrophic tidal flood in 1799 ruined brought Básendar to ruins. This flood, which was the most dangerous in Icelandic history, led to the village being abandoned. Today, it is a spot visited by many tourists is situated at a short distance from Sandgerði town. Visit this place to see an example of what a devastating impact the forces of nature can leave. 

The Blue Lagoon - The Blue Lagoon is a famous geothermal pool situated near Grindavík, in the Reykjanes region. It is one of the most widely visited attractions and brings in countless tourists every year. The milky waters of this man-made lagoon are rich in silica, algae, salt, and several other minerals. The water that feeds this lagoon originates from the Svartsengi power station nearby. This is a great place to visit if you want to take a rejuvenating hot bath in the company of your loved ones. As you take a dip, look around and see the stunning natural beauty of Reykjanes surrounding the lagoon. There is evidence that the waters of this lagoon have healing powers.

Gunnuhver geothermal area - Gunnuhver is an active geothermal area on the west coast of the Southern Peninsula region. It is characterized by the presence of various steam vents, mud pools, and a distinctively colorful surface. Gunnuhver has an interesting legend associated with it and is regarded as the home of the ghost Gudrun. It is said that the spirit of Gudrun remains trapped in the springs here for more than 400 years. The place bears a mysterious appearance and an ambiance that appeals to people of all ages. Make sure to visit the largest mud pool of Iceland at Gunnuhver, which stretches for 20 meters.


Brimketill - Brimketill is a naturally carved pond situated on the western fringes of Grindavi?k town. It has a unique location right by the coast, and a magnificently round shape that almost looks man-made. The legend associated with this stunning natural pond is that of Oddny?, a giantess who use to reside within it. Brimketill is one of the most popular destinations in the Reykjanes peninsula for those who want to experience the rugged nature of southwest Iceland. It is recommended that you tread with caution while approaching the pool’s surroundings. Find the observation deck to get amazing views against the backdrop of the sea. 

Krýsuvíkurleið - Krýsuvíkurleið refers to a Reykjanes Peninsula area that is known for its breathtakingly beautiful surroundings. Here, you can arrive at the shores of a majestic lake named Kleifarvatn. The Krýsuvíkurleið area has some awe-inspiring volcanic rock formations and several key points of visible geothermal activity. The nearby Krýsuvík area has many hot springs, several beautiful lakes, and craters. Make sure to visit Grænavatn Lake which has a fantastic green color due to algae. The Krýsuvíkurleið area is a place where you can get some stunning natural photographs. The area has been shaped into its current state by many earthquakes and heavy volcanic activity. 


Reykjanesfólkvangur Reserve - The Reykjanesfólkvangur Reserve in southwest Iceland is a natural reserve with a massive area of 300 square kilometers. Situated at a short distance from the capital Reykjavik, the reserve is a great place to observe the impact of the Reykjanes ridge volcanoes. You can find impressive lava formations, a mineral lake with named Kleifarvatn with hot springs, several black sand beaches, and expansive bird cliffs. The Reykjanesfólkvangur Reserve also gives you access to the Krýsuvík geothermal activity zone, which is a place of great beauty and natural wonder. Follow the walking trails and you will come across some of the most interesting landscapes in Iceland. Visit the Reykjanesfólkvangur Reserve during the summer for a great experience.


Sandvik and the Bridge Between Two Continents - Sandvik is situated at the southwestern corner of the Southern Peninsula region in Iceland. It is a popular Iceland tourism location and home the iconic Bridge Between Two Continents. Sandvik which stands for sandy beach, is a black sand beach where you can find a world of peace. The beach has considerable scenic beauty with the presence of rock formations. The beach here is composed of mostly volcanic rock particles and there are several geothermal areas right by the beach. Crossing the Bridge Between Two Continents is also a popular tourist activity. The famous bridge stands over the ridge that separates the North American and Eurasian continental plates. It is the only location where the Mid-Atlantic Ridge can be seen passing on land. Sandvik is an hour away from Reykjavik and options for guided tours are available for the location.

Kleifarvatn - Kleifarvatn is the largest lake situated in the Reykjanes Peninsula region of Iceland. It has an area of 10 square kilometers and surrounded by volcanic landscapes on all sides. This spectacularly beautiful lake exists over a fissure of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge that runs through the peninsula. It is fed by groundwater and has a depth close to 100 meters. Kleifarvatn is a must-visit location if you are in Reykjanes as its pristine beauty will surely appeal to your senses. Get ready to go click-happy as you will capture some fantastic shots here. Look out for the huge worm-shaped monster that resides in the waters of Kleifarvatn. 

Selatangar - Selatangar is an amazing beach location in Reykjanes for those travelers that are seeking the perfect blend of history and natural beauty. It was once an important fishing location and continued to be so till 1890. Perhaps the most remarkable remnants of this area are the old houses and other buildings from centuries ago. Selatangar is thought of as a haunted place and has a somewhat dark past. You can explore the age-old architecture of the buildings here, much of which has remained supposedly untouched to date. The area surrounding the beach consists of lava fields and low-lying mountains. Visit Selatangar for a short day trip for the best experience.

The Southern Peninsula of Iceland has pleasant weather throughout the year. You can plan to visit Iceland anytime and create amazing memories on guided tours of Reykjanes. The chances of excessive snow and ice derailing your travel itinerary are quite slim. However, many tourists prefer to visit this area during the summer months. Going around the coast and exploring the diverse lava pools and hot springs can be the best ways to spend your time in Reykjanes.


Author: (Abhi Chauhan)
Date: 02/12/2019