Back in October, I had the chance to escape to Iceland (it’s been a hectic couple of months of shooting since, so I’m glad to finally be sharing some shots!) I was excited to explore a more nature based trip and take in the colours, textures, vast landscapes, hot springs and of course waterfalls, that make up Iceland.
Iceland is a land of full of extremes; the moment you fly into Keflavik, Iceland’s main airport, you know you’re in for an adventure. This was my first trip so far north and oh man it was beautiful. Iceland is an unpredictable destination that requires some planning, although you also need to stay flexible.
This article is designed as a visual guide to the regions, with a few helpful tips to finish off.
Reykjavik, the northernmost capital in the world, is colourful and eclectic. I checked in at the popular Kex Hostel for a couple of nights, a fun spot to stay (and also didn’t break the bank compared to hotels). Industrial styled, they had decent coffee that you can refill and delicious Icelandic buffet breakfast (bit of a treat before the road trip).
The city is pretty small so it doesn’t take long to walk around and check it out, rug up because that wind chill factor really hits! My favourite things in Reykjavik were of course seeing Hallgrimskirkja, the view across Reykjavik from the tower and wandering the colourful little streets. For the small population, it was a bit over-touristy for my liking, so I was happy to stock up on food and get going on the road trip.
Planning where to go and what to see in Iceland, to be honest, is pretty overwhelming. What’s going to be ‘worth it’ and what’s going to be over-run with buses of tourists? Depending on the experiences you’re after, I’m just going to say, you don’t need to go to every main waterfall – time could be better spent in the more random and isolated parts.
Our original plan was to drive the entire Golden Circle (also called the Ring Road) with the inclusion of the West Fjords, although the day before we arrived heavy rain closed a 10km stretch on the Ring Road in the East, making it impassable for the couple of weeks we were there. After a bit of rearranging with Air BNB hosts, we started in West Iceland, the West Fjords, North Iceland and double backed to see the South.
Make sure you book a 4-wheel drive, you’re going to need it, especially in the West Fjords.
Places that took my breath away:
- Snæfellsjökull National Park.
- Hraunfossar and Barnafoss waterfalls.
- Dydnjandi waterfall.
- Tjöruhúsið seafood restaurant in Ísafjörður – incredible dining experience, with the freshest fish and cozy atmosphere.
- Myvatn volcanic lake & region – stunning location, mudpots, lava formations, volcanic craters – would spend more time here.
- Dettifoss waterfall.
- Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon – incredibly beautiful yet bittersweet to see it rapidly disappearing due to climate change. Please do what you can to minimise your footprint, every bit counts.
- Pack a thermos, coffee is overpriced and not so tasty.
- Be prepared for the unexpected.
- There are times you’ll be rained out.
- Have coins for toilets at major sites.
- Skip the Blue Lagoon and head to Myvatn Nature Baths.
- Don’t just do the Golden Circle, head out to the West Fjords – you might even see an arctic fox or two!
- Pat all the horses.
Stay warm and happy travelling!