South West Iceland Highlights
Iceland earns its place as the number one destination for geography school trips. The awe-inspiring scenery, geological wonders and volcanic activity make it the ideal location for students to fall in love with geography for life. Check out our Iceland itinerary to see how you could squeeze some of the highlights below into one incredible trip.
One of the most popular areas to visit in Iceland is the South West region, to find out more about the North and East visit our North and East Iceland Highlights.
It is nearly impossible to create a shortlist of our favourite things to do in Iceland, as we find new activities and places to explore every day. For more information about the popular South West region talk to our travel specialists who will be able to tailor an itinerary to exactly what you want to see and do.
Where to visit...
Our top 10 activities in South West Iceland
1. Walk on a glacier
Would you like to explore a glacier? And we mean really explore a glacier?
This trip takes you on an exploration of the frozen glacier tongue of Solheimajokull on the Myrdalsjokull ice field.
A wonderland of ice sculptures, ridges and deep crevasses await your discovery. An experienced glacier guide will teach your group how to use basic ice equipment, crampons and ice axes.
2. Watch whales breach the surface of the sea
The nutrient-rich coastal waters off Reykjavik offer some excellent opportunities for spotting cetaceans – in fact there is over an 80% chance!
During the trip you could spot white beaked dolphins, minke whales, and occasionally other species such as humpback whale and orca along with puffins, fulmars, gannets and kittiwakes.
3. Delve into a lava tube
Enter through a narrow cave to a world of fascinating colours and lava formations.
These caverns are created when surface lava hardens but fluid lava continues to flow in tubes underneath.
In addition, see stalactites and other unique rock formations. Be prepared for an adventure as the terrain underfoot is uneven and the ceiling height constantly changes in this organic structure.
There are a few different lava tube experiences to choose from, ask your travel specialist for our activities brochure for more details.
4. Swim, soak and splash in a geothermal lagoon
The famous Blue Lagoon is located amidst a field of black basalt lava and the powder-blue mineral rich waters have many beneficial properties.
For those wanting to escape the crowds, the “Secret Lagoon” natural hot springs are located in the small village of Fludir on the Golden Circle route. It is one of the oldest swimming pools in Iceland and has maintained its traditional characteristics and ethereal atmosphere.
You can also enjoy an authentic Icelandic experience by bathing at the Krauma geothermal baths and spa located nearby the Deildartunguhver hot springs.
There are also local geothermal pools all around Iceland, speak to your travel specialist to include swimming in your itinerary.
5. Bring your volcano studies to life
We have so many exciting activities for geographers wanting to understand more about Iceland’s volcanic history. One of our favorites is the Lava Centre, an interactive exhibit detailing some of Iceland’s most infamous eruptions.
Students can also witness the effects of the Eyjafjallajokull 2010 eruption over the flood plain by Thorsmork. Explore this volcanic area in a Monster Truck to see the most obvious visible effects of the eruption – those caused by flooding.
Visit the valley glacier (Gigjokull) where the flood filled in the pro-glacial lagoon that had formed as the glacier retreated over several decades.
6. Walk between continents at the Mid Atlantic Ridge in Thingvellir
Visit the rift valley at Thingvellir, where the divergent North American and Eurasian tectonic plates can be found, pulling apart at an average rate of 2.5cm per year – it is also where Iceland’s national assembly, the Althing, was set up in 930AD.
Look out for ropey lava as you then make your way across the landscape, passing many fissures.
Thingvellir is one of three sites that make up the Golden Circle, Iceland’s most visited area. It was also the site of Iceland’s first parliament so holds a great deal of historic significance.
7. Feel the spray of one of the many Icelandic waterfalls
Iceland has so many waterfalls that will take your breath away – no trip is complete without hearing the roar of icy water from at least one of the memorable waterfalls across the island.
Visit Seljalandsfoss, a narrow plunge waterfall where the water plummets over a former sea cliff, far enough away from the bedrock to allow you to walk behind it.
In contrast, the waterfall at Skogar is a broad, block waterfall that thunders 60m over a cliff edge.
In the Golden Circle you will find the two-tiered waterfall, Gullfoss, one of Iceland’s most beautiful waterfalls which flows from a glacier into a rift valley.
8. Study the dramatic coastlines at Dyrholaey
Wander on the black sand beach and dunes at Vik, the most southerly point of Iceland.
See the incredible hexagonal basalt columns and impressive cliffs of Reynishverfi.
The coastline at Dyrholaey has a variety of features including Iceland’s answer to Durdle Door – an immense natural rock arch. If the roads are open, visit the lighthouse perched on the headland and perhaps spot puffins.
9. Explore the city of Reykjavik
Reykjavik is a small capital city but a vibrant one.
As you stroll through the streets you’ll notice a burgeoning foodie culture, avant-garde fashions and geothermal swimming pools.
Visit the Hallgrumskirkja, one of the most famous landmarks in Europe’s most northerly capital.
This Lutheran church, which was built to resemble basalt lava flow, is visible all over the city and its viewing deck offers spectacular photo opportunities from a 75 metre height.
10. Admire the magic of the Northern Lights
We can’t guarantee that you will be lucky enough to witness the Northern Lights on your trip to Iceland but if you are fortunate it will be the icing on the cake of a fantastic trip.
Travel when the nights are darker (September – Mid April) for your optimum chance.
Ready to start your journey? Our friendly team will be happy to provide you with a quote based on your group size and budget, get started today!