A Photographer’s Guide to Iceland
Navigating Iceland for the first time can be both exciting and daunting at the same time. We all see the ridiculous photographs people post, but how do you navigate to all those spots? Where do you start? Should you travel the entire ring road? We answer all of those questions in this one of a kind guide to Iceland as presented by photographers who frequent the island, or better know as the “Land of Fire & Ice.”
*We do not receive money from the companies/locations listed - these are literally our favorites*
The Perfect Week in Iceland | Southern Region | Location Links
If you are only concerned with the location links, this section is for you! If you’d like all the specific location details, scroll down a bit.
Day 1: Blue Lagoon
DAY 2: Reykjadalur | Gullfoss | Geysir | Silfra | Friðheimar
Day 3: Seljalandsfoss | Skógafoss | Dyrhólaey | Hálsanefshellir
Day 4: Jökulsárlón | Svínafellsjökull | Fjaðrárgljúfur
Day 5: Hallgrimskirkja | Gló | 66° North
Day 6: Bíó Paradís | Snaps Bistro
Are you interested in hiring a wedding photographer that has experience shooting in Iceland? If so, please fill out our form and we can bring you a set of options based on your budget, date, and vision :)
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If you’d prefer, we do offer a more specialized approach that allows us to match you with your one-of-a-kind photographer. You can send us some information in our inquiry form including your budget, hours of coverage, date, location, and vision. The more information you can provide us, the better we can assist you with creating the perfect fit for your big day. Our wedding photographers are in high demand and book dates rather quickly, so this approach allows us check their availability as well. The majority of our photographers start around $2,000 for wedding photography coverage.
The Perfect Week in Iceland | Southern Region
If you have more than 7 days to explore Iceland, we highly recommend driving the entire ring road (road that travels the entire outer perimeter of Iceland). Be sure to spend some time in Akureyri if you do so. Most people don’t have that much time, which is why we’re starting off with a perfect week exploring the Southern Region of Iceland.
We’ll kick the guide off with a wedding film that hits almost all the locations listed in this guide.
Day 1: The Blue Lagoon
Most of us hop off a plane early in the morning. Overnight flights save on money, but they sure leave you drained. This is why we’d recommend your first stop at the Blue Lagoon. It’s only a 15 minute drive from Keflavik (KEF) International Airport (were you will arrive). Everyone has heard of this incredible place and it’s a must visit. After all, it’s considered by National Geographic as one the 25 “wonders of the world.”
The Blue Lagoon sits in an other-worldly volcanic landscape with geothermal hot springs keeping you nice and toasty. Lather your face with silica mud (it’s free) and just relax. You can grab a massage or sit in the Lava Restaurant in just your robe and slippers. It seems taboo, but you can’t beat feeling like a bum while chowing down on langoustine soup, cured arctic char, and lamb fillet (they have some dope vegetarian options as well). What will it cost? Depending on the season, around $90 - $120 USD per person. We highly recommend making a reservation, getting there at the earliest time possible to maximize your time spent in the lagoon.
The Blue Lagoon offers two hotel options, the cheaper Silica Hotel (roughly $600 USD/night) and the Retreat Hotel (roughly $1,300 USD/night). Both include entrance to the Blue Lagoon, Silica Lagoon, and complimentary breakfast. The Retreat Hotel is set apart by incredible views of the volcanic landscape, entrance to the spa, skin care amenities, guided group hikes, yoga sessions, and valet parking among other inclusions.
A cheaper alternative is to traveling 40 minutes north to the capital city of Reykjavik which offers many hotel and airbnb options.
DAY 2: The Golden Circle
Time to hit up another natural hot spring. If you’re into hiking, head to the Reykjadalur Hot Spring. Be warned, this isn’t an easy hike. There are a lot of elevation changes, and if you are a good hiker, it will take you a solid 45 minutes to 1 hour. The trek is worth the reward though as you get to soak in a thermal river. There are multiple pools that vary in temperature…the farther you go up, the hotter they get.
An alternative option for you non-hikers is to head north to Gullfoss and Geysir. You’ll hit Geysir first which erupts every 10 minutes. Gullfoss is a rather large, and very powerful waterfall that is fed by glacial waters.
BUT….if you’re a diver, scratch both previous suggestions and dive Silfra. You’ll scuba dive a chasm created by the rift between the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates. The clear water is drinkable as it’s been filtered for almost a century, fed by the Langjökull glacier. You can snorkel the chasm as well. The water is fed by a glacier, so it consistently 35° Fahrenheit (1° Celsius). When diving, your face numbs out and your fingers and toes get a little cold. Your body stays warm because you’ll dive in a dry suit. It’s worth the experience just to say you’ve “done it.”
Be sure to grab a late lunch or early dinner at our favorite place to eat in all of Iceland, Friðheimar. This 10,000+ square feet greenhouse is only open between 12 pm - 4 pm. They grow tomatoes year-round and serve some pretty amazing tomato soup with fresh bread. This is the perfect stop, especially if you just finished diving in glacial water :)
Stay one night in the Golden Circle area as there are many hotel options. To save money, stay at a guesthouse with a shared bathroom.
Day 3: Waterfalls & Black sand beaches
You’ll actually drive a good chunk of the south coast on day 3, starting from the Golden Circle, driving along the south coast, and ending at Fosshotel Núpar. Stay here for nights 3 & 4. There are cheaper options, but at Fosshotel, you don’t have to share bathrooms AND they include an amazing breakfast with unlimited “good” coffee. We stayed at different hotels/guesthouses in the area, and were kicking ourselves for not paying a little extra to stay at a Fosshotel. Thankfully, we learned about it from one of our couples that eloped. It makes for great getting ready place for wedding photos as well as a great launching point for your wedding day.
Your first stop will be Seljalandsfoss;
This fall “foss” isn’t as big or as impressive as nearby Skógafoss, but you can actually walk behind it, and if you do, you will most definitely get wet :) Bring a poncho. There’s a canyon waterfall just a short walk north (less than a 1/2 mile) as well.
In between the two mighty waterfalls is one of the oldest geothermal swimming pools in Iceland, Seljavallalaug;
Built in 1923, this protected swimming pool is tucked between green mountain scenerary adjacent to a river fed by the Eyjafajallajokull Glacier.
Head east another 20 minutes and you arrive at Skógafoss,
Skógafoss is our favorite waterfall in all of Iceland. It’s just down-right majestic. On sunny days, you will see a well-defined rainbow forming over the falls. Just sit back and take it in or hike up to the platform to see it from above.
A 30 minute drive east takes you to one of the best views in Iceland, Dyrhólaey. You hit gravel and switchbacks up to an overlook lighthouse. There are overlook points both east (towards Reynisfjara Beach) and west (our favorite view - see below)
Next, you’ll head into Vik stopping at the Hálsanefshellir Cave. This is where you’ll see the basalt columns that formed as a result of basaltic lava being cooled over an extended period of time.
Day 4: Glaciers, Lagoons and River CanyonS
Day 4 starts by heading to the glacial lagoon at Jökulsárlón.
We actually camped on the shore of Jökulsárlón which was probably the best memory (and sleepless night). Take your hand and slap your thigh twice. That’s the sound you hear most of the night, but why? Sea lions playing all night long. Wild camping is allowed in Iceland, so we made the most of it :)
Jökulsárlón will be the farthest east you will trek with our guide. Get there early to beat the crowds. On your way back west, take the road to Svínafellsjökull Glacier where a short/easy hike will produce some incredible glacier views.
Fjaðrárgljúfur canyon is another breathtaking view with an easy hike.
Days 5-7: Reykjavik
You’ll head back to Reykjavik on Day 5, so feel free to stop by any of the locations you saw on the way if you want a little more time to observe their wonder. We usually plan the epic locations based on sunrise and sunset times.
Reykjavik is the thriving metropolis of Iceland (population approx. 123,000). Don’t let that fool you though as it’s one of the coolest cities we’ve ever explored. Settle into your airbnb or fosshotel and spend at least a couple of nights here. Laugavegur Street has everything you need; shoppping, eating, coffee, and people watching. We recommend grabbing an airbnb or hotel close to Laugavegur Street so that everything is in walking distance.
Here are links to our favorite shops, sights, and eats in Reykjavik;
Other Locations…should time allow (Click the Picture for Google Map location)
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