8 Great Iceland Photo Destinations

These 8 great South Iceland photo destinations offer inspiring landscapes and incredible nature, perfect for amateur photographers and sightseers.

A beautiful sunset at Vík, one of 8 great South Iceland photo destinations.
A beautiful sunset at Vík, one of our 8 great South Iceland photo destinations

 

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.

For information about things to do in Iceland, see 4 to 5 Day Southern Iceland Itinerary and Tips for Your Visit

 

8 Great Iceland Photo Destinations

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.

1. Skógafoss

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.

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Iceland photo destinations: rainbow seen from the top of Skógafoss
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Skógafoss waterfall: Iceland photo destinations
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Iceland photo destinations: Another smaller waterfall on the upper part of the Skógar river.

2. Hveragerði

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.

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Iceland photo destinations: Reykjadalur Valley
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Some of the steam spots along the Reykjadalur hike: Iceland photo destinations
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Iceland photo destinations: The acclaimed swimming stream at the end of the hike.

3. Vík

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.

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Iceland photo destinations: A church in Vík
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view of Reynisfjara beach eastward from Vík: Iceland photo destinations
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Iceland photo destinations: People on Dyrhólaey cliffs

4. Fjaðrárgljúfur

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.

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Iceland photo destinations: View of the Fjaðrárgljúfur canyon from the river.
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Iceland photo destinations: Hiking along the top of Fjaðrárgljúfur canyon
Iceland photo destinations Fjaðrárgljúfur
Iceland photo destinations: Fjaðrárgljúfur canyon

5. Reykjavík

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.

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Iceland photo destinations: The outer windows of Harpa Concert Hall
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Iceland photo destinations: People admiring Harpa Concert Hall
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Iceland photo destinations: The Sun Voyager sculpture

6. Seljalandsfoss

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.

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Iceland photography: Seljalandsfoss from the side path
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Seljalandsfoss waterfall: Iceland destinations for photos
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Iceland photography: Admiring Seljalandsfoss from the path behind the falls

 

7. Iceland’s 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.

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Iceland photography: A cliff on the Ring Road in southwest Iceland
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A waterfall near Vík: Iceland photos
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photographic Iceland: Ring Road in southwest Iceland

8. Icelandic Horse Park Fákasel

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.

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Icelandic horses at the horse park: great Iceland scenes
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Iceland photos: Sunset on a farm in Hvolsvöllur, a small town in southwest Iceland
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photography Iceland: A cat on the horse farm

These South Iceland photo destinations are all just a few short minutes from the Ring Road, and you can visit them all in three to five 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.

Article and photos by Katherine McCool, amateur photographer based in Virginia. See more of Katherine’s photos on Instagram, 500px, and Society6.

8 Great Iceland Photo Destinations was first published on McCool Travel on 11 August 2016.

These 8 great Iceland photo destinations offer inspiring landscapes and incredible nature perfect for amateur photographers and sightseers.

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22 thoughts on “8 Great Iceland Photo Destinations”

  1. Great photos! especially the one with the waterfall and Rainbow, we recently created a poster from one of our own Rainbow photos, only ours is differently formed. On our foto it’s formed by a high pressure water spray that wets our Dutch Tulips Fields.

    Reply
  2. Beautiful photos! I have a question about hiking the river bottom at fjadraraglufur. How deep was that water and how wet do you get? I’m looking for a destination wedding ceremony but don’t want to get in over my head so to speak ????. It looks like you were there with the Lupine in June, which is when we are going! Thanks!

    Reply
  3. Iceland is definitely a unique and interesting place. I’ve been there more than once and those waterfalls never get boring, not to mention seeing the northern lights for the first time 🙂
    It is a little expensive, but worth it, lots to see and definitely worth hiring a car or at least going on the Golden Circle tour.
    Feel free to check out my blog posts about my Iceland experiences at http://wanderswillnevercease.com/category/eu/is/

    Reply
  4. I was waiting for the Ring Road, above all, but those other photos are really awesome too! I really can’t wait to visit Iceland someday and can’t get enough of the photos coming from there. Please and thank you in advance on giving me more:)

    Reply

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