For McCool Travel’s 136th travel profile, I am pleased to present Cacinda Maloney. Dr. Maloney—she is a licensed chiropractor in Arizona—made a decision long ...
These 8 great South Iceland photo destinations offer inspiring landscapes and incredible nature, perfect for amateur photographers and sightseers.
I was thrilled when I first learned that my family and I would be taking our annual vacation to Iceland. The weather suited me and it was the perfect mix of an urban lifestyle and breathtaking environment. As an amateur nature photographer, I followed many photographers on Instagram and had seen countless photos showcasing Iceland’s famous beauty. I was excited to improve my skill in the breathtaking landscapes with my own camera.
The trouble started upon our arrival. We had scheduled four days in Iceland as a part of the IcelandAir stopover program and soon discovered that cramming all of Iceland’s wonders into that time slot was very difficult. I was torn between wanting to see as many sights as possible and wanting to remain in a few photogenic places to practice my photography.
This article serves to help amateur photographers pick and choose which destinations to visit while in Iceland. In my opinion, these places are perfect for tourists and provide excellent opportunities for photographers.
Skógafoss, one of the most famous sights in Iceland, is located just two hours east of Reykjavik. This waterfall boasts not only a 200 foot vertical drop but also a variety of smaller features in the river above. Visitors are able to hike to the top of the falls and follow the Skógá river, seeing views of the ocean, nearby glacier Eyjafjallajökull, and many smaller waterfalls as the path continues. Skógafoss is perfect for practicing water shots as well as nearly every other type of landscape photography.
Hveragerði is a town known for the presence of geothermal hot springs. Nearby is the Reykjadalur Valley, a natural spring that serves as a superior (and free!) alternative to the famous Blue Lagoon. After hiking 3.5 kilometers inland on a gorgeous mountain path the trail ends at a hot spring perfect for relaxing after the hike. For this destination, be sure to pack a bathing suit and be ready for fantastic hilly landscapes, waterfalls, and lots of fun.
Vík is a small town located at the southern point of Iceland, a little over two hours’ drive from Reykjavík. Places like Reynisfjara Beach and Dyrhólaey cliffs have magnificent views; glaciers, mountains, beaches, volcanoes, lava columns, and the ocean can all be seen from the area. The town itself boasts picturesque churches and nearby waterfalls.
Fjaðrárgljúfur is famous not only for being impossible to pronounce but for a stunning landscape unlike anything else. At 3 hours east of Reykjavik, this destination is the furthest but is still worthwhile and is only 45 minutes past Vík. The canyon has a 2 km path along its upper edge but is also reachable through the chasm along the Fjaðrá river. If you are interested in shooting breathtaking landscapes Fjaðrárgljúfur is a necessary place to visit.
Reykjavík is the primary population center in Iceland; over 2/3 of Iceland lives in the city or in surrounding areas. For this reason, Reykjavík is filled with cultural and architectural wonders perfect for the urban photographer. Harpa Concert Hall, The Sun Voyager sculpture, and the streets of Reykjavík provide great opportunities for non-nature shots.
Seljalandsfoss is another well-known waterfall in Iceland and is located a mere hour and a half from Reykjavík. A series of three waterfalls can be reached by a short walk. The main waterfall is famous for a path that goes around and behind the falls, providing 360 views of the 200-foot drop. The third waterfall, Gljúfurárfoss ,is called the “secret waterfall” because of rocks that hide the 120-foot falls from sight. A cave below, as well as a rocky path above, create interesting angles for a mystical location.
7. Ring Road
The Ring Road itself was one of my favorite Iceland photo destinations because of the incredible variation of landscapes. Just by opening the window and shooting, I was treated to photos of mountains, waterfalls, lava fields, cliffs, clouds, flowers, and more. Be sure to keep your camera handy while driving between destinations so you don’t miss any opportunities.
Iceland is a fantastic place to practice taking pictures of animals. Icelandic horses are a symbol of Iceland and are beautiful subjects for photos. It is not very difficult to find Icelandic horses to photograph, but if you have trouble an excellent destination to visit is the Icelandic Horse Park Fákasel. This park is located five minutes from Hveragerði and 40 from Reykjavík. It has horse shows, barn tours, a stellar restaurant, and a variety of friendly animals that are very willing to be photographed.
These South Iceland photo destinations are all just a few short minutes from the Ring Road, and you can visit them all in 3 to 5 action-packed days. If you are an amateur photographer, searching for excellent Iceland photo destinations for both photo-lovers and sightseers, consider skipping the crowded Golden Circle and go south instead.