Southern Iceland is one of the most beautiful, photogenic places we have ever travelled to!
Here are our top recommendations for where to take the most beautiful snaps.
Click on any of the pictures in this blog to link to our Instagram posts.
1. The Sun Voyager
This iconic sculpture can be found on the waterfront of Iceland's capital city, Reykjaviks, close to the Harpa concert hall. While it may look like a Viking longboat, this culpture is actually supposed to evoke " a dream boat and an ode to the sun. "
Steely and stoic against a grey sky, or gorgeously glowing in the sunset, this artwork makes for some really beautiful photos!
2. Þingvellir National Park
Part of the Golden Circle, this stunning National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage site for its geological, archaeological and cultural significance.
Set within a sunken valley between two tectonic plates, the landscape is rocky and dramatic, providing some perfect "classic Iceland" scenery.
Down in the middle of the valley is a tiny quaint church which makes a nice contrast to the bleak surroundings.
3. Kerið Volcanic Crater
Located about 25 miles from Þingvellir is Kerið, a vibrant red rock volcanic crater with an amazing aquamarine blue lake at the bottom.
You can walk all the way around the rim and also descend some steps to the water. The colours here are really striking against the stark landscape and the blue water is otherwordly!
4. Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon
Blue icebergs float in a mirror perfect glacial lagoon, with a black sand shoreline. Park in one of the earlier car parks before crossing the bridge and climb over the banks to reach the water, where the lagoon will be much much quieter than in the main car park. The icebergs are more spread out here as well which looks more serene than the jumbled masses down by the bridge.
This must see spot is about 5 hours drive from Reykjavik, so your best bet would be to break your journey in the tiny seaside village of Vik overnight.
5. Diamond Beach
Right over the road from Jökulsárlón is a long stretch of black sand where icebergs are swept out of the lagoon and into the sea. The smaller ones end up scattered along the beach and in the setting sun they truly sparkle like diamonds.
The beach can get busy, but it is very long and the icebergs are all along it, so if you walk far enough you can get a shot with minimal people in the background.
6. Loftsalahellir cave
This beautiful and unique cave is in a hills down a side road to the Dyrhólaey peninsula, just minutes away from Reynisfjara Beach.
If you climb the hillside and look out at the landscape, the left hand wall of the cave entrance looks like a face. We thought it looked like Alfred Hitchcock!
Look out for fulmars (sea birds) nesting in the cave, they have been known to throw up on intruders if they feel threatened!!
Nearby amongst the tuff grass is an abandoned red farm building which also makes a cool backdrop for photos.
You can also climb a smaller hill next to the farm building to look out over the water, where there are beautiful reflections of the landscape opposite.
This massive thundering waterfall can get very busy, so you might need to photoshop out the crowds if they're too intrusive in your shot - you're unlikely to ever have this popular landmark to yourself.
If you go right up close to the waterfall prepare to get wet - it throws out a huge amount of spray!
You can also climb to the very top of the falls to an overlook.
8. Reynisfjara Black Sand Beach
This famous volcanic beach reminded us of Guinness - dark dark sand topped with thick white sea foam!
The most popular part of this area is the amazing wall of basalt rock columns at one end, perfect for climbing and sitting on. You might have to do some clever cropping if you get there at a busy time!
A word of warning - be extra cautious if you're close to the sea - this beach is famous for its dangerous "creeper waves" which can come from no where and sweep unsuspecting tourists into the water. Don't turn your back on the sea!
Another famous and popular waterfall on the South Coast - this tall thin cascade plunges over a cliff into a pool at the bottom. In warmer months you can walk behind the falls which makes for a really great shot looking back out over the flat landscape.
If you follow the river along a little way past the falls and then look back, the waterfall is beautifully reflected.
10. The Blue Lagoon
This heavenly hot spring spa is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Iceland. You can see countless shots of metallic blue water, billowing steam and white face masks - and it really does look like that in real life!
We would recommend booking the earliest slot of the day, 8am, to have the place pretty much to yourself for a couple of hours as the sun comes up. Even when it gets busier, the lagoon is big enough the you can take a photo without crowds behind you, and the steam helps to blur the background out as well.
Other ideas for shots:
These small, stocky, sweet faced animals can often be seen grazing in fields by the side of the road. They have such beautiful long soft manes!
The open road
Hiring a car and driving around Iceland is the best way to explore the incredible landscapes. Often the long straight road disappears off into the distance towards beautiful glaciers or mountains, which makes for a really great shot.
The roads are usually pretty quiet but do keep an eye out for traffic!
Wear bright colours!
Icelandic landscapes can be very dark/ monochrome tones - black rocks and sand, brown grass and mountains, and white snow. Wearing a brightly coloured coat can really help you pop against the background and add a striking splash of colour to the shot. We loved our red Antarctic coats for this exact reason! We'd also recommend bringing a few different hats, for some variety in your photos if you're always wearing the same coat.
Enjoy our other Iceland blogs: