I have been thinking a lot about my travels through beautiful Iceland this week, so I decided to share 26 of my most favourite photos from my numerous trips to Iceland. If this doesn’t put the land of Fire and Ice on your bucket list, I don’t know what will!
These naturally formed pools of bubbling mud are located not too far from Lake Myvatn. Smelling of sulphur and hot enough to boil, these mud pits are not the place for a hot spring swim, but they are undeniably beautiful.
2. Ásbyrgi Canyon
This amazing canyon, part of the lesser known Diamond Circle is the perfect spot for a bit of solitude. This is one of the few places which isn’t yet overrun by tourists in Iceland. Bonus fact: The horseshoe shape of the canyon is said to be a result of Odin’s hoof coming into contact with Earth.
Another amazing stop along the Diamond Circle, Goðafoss translates to the waterfall of the Gods, to find out why, click here. There are more waterfalls in Iceland than you can poke a stick at, but this is easily one of the most beautiful. Arrive as early in the morning as possible to have this place all to yourself.
4. Holuhraun I
It may look I am holding a handful of black sand (which is not uncommon in Iceland) but I am actually holding a handful of fresh lava!
And to anyone wondering, yes, that is a Harry Potter tattoo on my wrist! #always
5. Askja and Viti
This is a beautiful and pristine part of the Icelandic highlands, but getting there is no joke. You will need serious off-roading expertise and the ability to handle a 4WD like a pro. Park rangers have to rescue cars several times per year for inexperienced drivers who have gotten themselves stuck. If you still want to visit but aren’t fond of driving, contact Saga Travel to organise an off road adventure.
6. Holuhraun II
I had to include a second picture from Holuhraun, I just had to. Swimming in the geothermal hot rivers running through fresh lava was something I will never forget. In air, the mercury dropped to below zero, but the water stayed nice and toasty. Plus, because it is hard to get to, you can pretty much guarantee that you’ll have the run of the place.
7. The Icelandic Highlands, about three hours from Lake Myvatn
This was taken en route to Holuhraun, and I love how it captures the solitude of the place. There was volcanoes (not erupting at the time) to the right, and what looked like an endless field of black sand in front of me.
8. Reykjavik I
This was shot from the top of Hallgrimskirka church (see below) on a sunny september day. Reykjavik is the capital of Iceland, and by far the most populated city in this tiny country. Reykjavik is bright, vibrant and has much more to explore than you would expect from such a small city. Definitely make sure to spend at least 2-3 days here exploring all of its quirks and hidden nooks.
9. Reykjavik II
Hallgrimskirkja church is eccentric to say the least. The church is most beautiful from the outside, is strangely minimalist on the inside, and the view from the top is utterly gorgeous.
10. Skogafoss I
This is quite possibly the most photographed waterfall in all of Iceland, but that’s for good reason, I mean, just look at it! Try to get here early in the morning, as the big tour buses will be swarming the place by 10am.
11. Skogafoss II
Here’s another shameless shot of Skogafoss. Rainbows and waterfalls, such an amazing combo!
12. Vatnajökull Glacier
This is the first look I ever got at Vatnajökull glacier. This glacier is melting rapidly, which is a worry (global warming) but has resulted in the creation of a glacial lagoon, also known as…
…Jökulsárlón! This glacial lagoon is a relatively new feature of Iceland, because y’know, Iceland wasn’t pretty enough already. There are boat tours out onto the lagoon, but views from the shore are just as beautiful (if not more). Make sure you bring sunglasses as the glare off the water on a sunny day can be borderline blinding.
14. Thrihnukagigur Volcano I
When volcanoes erupt, magma usually fills the chamber and as it cools, the volcano sort of becomes sealed, looking more like a hill that the concave volcano shape one imagines. However, Thrihnukagigur volcano did not fill, after it erupted it stayed hollow, which makes it a bit of a geological marvel. There aren’t many places in the world where one can actually venture inside a volcano, but in Iceland you can! Click here for more details.
15. Thrihnukagigur Volcano II
So how do you actually do the descent? In one of those old school german window washing lift thingys (the technical terminology). The several minute descent is nothing short of glorious, just make sure you aren’t too afraid of heights and that you don’t watch the horror film The Descent in the days leading up to your visit!
16. Strokkur Geysir
Easily my favourite spot on the Golden Circle! Strokkur is the biggest (regularly erupting) geysir in this area, and her 7 minutely-ish eruptions are a sight to behold.
17. Geysir Area
If you can tear yourself away from the beautiful Strokkur, you will find an area full of small geysirs and more bubbling geothermal pits. This area is most beautiful in the winter months at the later part of the afternoon when the sun is close to setting.
18. Langjökull Glacier
This is one of my favourite travel pictures of all time. Shot on Langjökull glacier during a dog sledding trip, I went to say hello to one of the beautiful Greenlandic huskies pulling my sled, and somehow managed to capture the split second before I received a big slobbery doggo kiss. Huskies are my favourite breed of dog, and a dog sledding trip is an amazing way to get up close and personal with some truly glorious floofs.
19. The Blue Lagoon
The Blue Lagoon is the most visited tourist destination in Iceland, but it is for good reason. Located a stones throw from Keflavik international airport, there is no reason to not make a stop here! The water is a perfectly pastel shade of blue, the water is warm, the drinks (Skyr smoothies especially) are delish and you’ll feel like you are floating around on another planet. Don’t miss this one.
20. Reykjavik III
Another one shot from the top of Hallgrimskirkja. This one was shot in the middle of winter on the cloudy day. The quality of the picture is poor, but I still love it. The colours, the cars, the clouds. It makes me want to return to Iceland immediately.
21. Phallological Museum
Yep you read that right. The Iceland Phallological Museum is a museum dedicated to the, er, male anatomy. Boasting a truly ridiculous number of specimens from elk to human, this is the perfect place to spend 45 minutes in giggle fits. Be sure to check out the sperm whale specimen (pictured here) it is longer than I am tall!
22. The Northern Lights
The appeal of viewing the Aurora is one of Icelands biggest drawcards. The best time to visit is during the Autumn and Winter months. Autumn is generally less cloudy and winter generally brings darker skies. However, the aurora can be a shy mistress, so to spot her you will need patience, warm clothes and potentially several nights of trying, however, the waiting and watching will be worth it.
23. Sólheimajökull Glacier
Visit at sunrise. Just do it.
24. Silfra Fissure
Snorkelling through this fissure was the reason I ventured to Iceland for the very first time. Located in Þingvellir National Park, the Silfra fissure is where the North American and Eurasian continental plates meet. You can snorkel between them and even touch two continents at once! Not only that, but the water is the most incredible shade of blue. Don’t let a fear of cold water put you off, your drysuit will keep you toasty warm. Plus, if you visit on a truly freezing day like I did, getting into the 2 degree water will actually feel warm.
25. Langjökull Glacier
Look at the doggos run! Dog sledding is simply an awe-inspiring experience. The feel of the wind in your hair, snow dusting across your face and the smell of fresh ice is like nothing else in the world.
26. Reykjanes Peninsula
For dramatic craggy cliffs, black sand beaches and weather so appalling that other travellers give it a miss, this is a must visit area! Someone wise once said, ‘there is no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing’, so wear waterproof gear and you will have a ball of a time.
So, have I made you want to visit Iceland yet? Or have you visited any of the places on this list? Tell me in the comments, lets get talking about incredible Iceland!