Iceland in Pictures: 16 Beautiful Places to Photograph
Iceland is the land of fire and ice, and it is one of the most naturally beautiful countries in the world, which makes it a prime location for photography. From the glaciers and waterfalls to the geysers, hot springs, and lava fields, the texture and colors for pictures are unmatched.
What is even better is that Iceland is a small country, so it is easy to plan a photography trip starting in the capital of Reykjavik and driving the Ring Road either north or south into the countryside.
Before you head to Iceland to photograph be sure to pack extra batteries for your camera, as the cold temperatures in some locations, like glaciers, can zap the battery life quickly. You will also want to pack rain gear and camera protection from the mist near geysers and lagoons.
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1. Blue Lagoon
The Blue Lagoon, located just outside Reykjavik, is possibly one of the most photographed spots in Iceland. The naturally blue geothermal waters are where you will find visitors soaking and relaxing, with the mist rising, adding to the mysterious imagery.
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2. Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon
The Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon is one of the most spectacular sites in Iceland, located on the southeast coast near Vatnajokull National Park. Take a zodiac boat trip through the lagoon, as the 1,000-year-old icebergs move around you. Capture the blue hue of the ice and images of the Arctic skua flying overhead, or the occasional seal in the water.
3. Northern Lights
Iceland's northern location makes it one of the best places in the world to see the Northern Lights. Long, dark, clear nights and many remote areas, like those near Mount Kirkjufell and the Jokulsarlon glacier lagoon make it possible to capture the swirling, stunning green and blue colors of the aurora borealis.
4. Skogafoss Waterfall
There are rushing natural waterfalls throughout Iceland, but the Skogafoss waterfall is in a league of its own. A towering cliff shaded in green moss is the launch point for the cascading water crashing into the pool below. The mist rising out of the pool gives photographers so many creative opportunities, especially with a glowing sky at sunrise.
5. Icelandic Countryside
Traditional Icelandic culture is easy to find in the countryside, where there are turf-top homes on sprawling green landscapes. Areas like the Skogar village on the southern coast are known for these quaint and charming homes. You are also likely to see roaming sheep and Icelandic horses grazing in the fields.
6. Hallgrimskirkja Church
One of the most iconic symbols of Iceland is the Hallgrimskirkja Lutheran Church in Reykjavik. It is one of the largest structures in the country, with a majestic presence, especially with the colorful backdrop of the sky in the early mornings or late afternoons.
7. Eldhraun Lava Field
The Eldhraun lava field, with its bumpy, moss-covered landscape looks like it could be on another planet. Space crews have used the lava field to train for moonwalks because of the unusual texture. The volcanic landscape is the result of the largest lava flow in the world, which happened in the late 1700s. The Eldhraun lava field landscape is especially colorful at sunrise.
8. Ring Road
The 828-mile Ring Road, which runs around the island, is the main road for transportation, but it is also spectacular to use as the subject in photographs. Every turn offers a new backdrop, from rolling green countryside to snow-topped mountains and the ocean. Since there is very little traffic on Route 1, it is easy to stop and capture creative shots.
9. Skaftafell National Park
The Skaftafell National Park in southern Iceland is the gateway to some of Iceland's most impressive landscapes, like waterfalls and the Skaftafellsjokull glacier. On the ground, you are likely to find fields of delicate purple lupine flowers, and in the sky you will see the Kristinartindar mountains in the distance.
The Husavik fishing village on the northern coast is a picturesque image of Icelandic culture. The colorful homes and quaint village with fishing boats anchored in the harbor create a peaceful scene, especially during the golden hour before sunset.
11. Godafoss Waterfall
The massive Godafoss waterfall in northern Iceland is translated to mean "waterfall of the gods." It was named in the 9th-century by Norwegian settlers. The expansive waterfall is more than 98 feet wide and 39 feet high.
12. Strokkur Geyser
Take your wet gear to photograph the Strokkur geyser because you are likely to get wet or at least feel the mist spraying off the towering water erupting out of the ground. The geyser eruptions occur approximately every 10 minutes, with a water tower spraying as high as 20 meters into the air.
For a picturesque view of Iceland's geothermal valley, finding a high spot at the Leirhnjukur volcano in northern Iceland will reveal a blend of colors and landscape detail that is unmatched. There is an artful combination of lakes, mountains, hot springs, and lava fields. The shallow geothermal Lake Myvatn is stunning for photos, and it is a popular place for bird-watching, so you are likely to capture some gyrfalcons in the area.
14. Vestrahorn at Stokksnes
There is no shortage of dramatic scenic views in Iceland, so if contrast is important to you then head to the southeast side of the island to capture Vestrahorn on the Stokksnes peninsula. The black-sand beaches surround the jagged cliffs that protrude from the lagoon, with peaks that stretch 454 meters into the air.
One of the best places to photograph in Iceland is the capital of Reykjavik, with an assortment of colorful homes that almost look like toys. The natural backdrop of the mountains and ocean water combined with the urban edge of local shops and modern architecture of the Harpa concert hall creates an image that sums up the scene of Reykjavik.
For the best views above the city take the elevator up in the Hallgrimskirkja Lutheran Church, where you can capture photos from the open-air windows on the viewing platform.
16. Reynisdrangar Cliffs
The unusual formations known as the Reynisdrangar cliffs in southern Iceland are a stunning sight along the coast of the Atlantic Ocean. The three basalt sea stacks are near the village of Vik, with waves crashing around them, before the ocean water makes its way onto the black-sand beach.