The 10 best Iceland Photography Locations
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- Kirkjufell Mountain, Snæfellsnes Peninsula
- Thórsmörk Valley, South Iceland
- Vestrahorn, Stokksnes Peninsula
- Kerlingarfjöll, Icelandic Highlands
- Goðafoss, North Iceland
- The Ice Caves of Vatnajökull Glacier
- Reynisfjara Black Sand Beach, South Iceland
- Abandoned DC Plane Wreck on Solheimasandur Beach
- Diamond Beach and Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon, South Iceland
- Landmannalaugar, Highlands of Iceland
There’s no arguing about it – in the past decade, Iceland photography has taken over our social media feeds. Spectacular images of brooding mountains, fantasy-like landscapes, and picturesque waterfalls have prompted thousands of travelers to visit the country in search of their own. The spectacular nature on show makes it easy to capture some stunning shots, and the ever-changing light and weather conditions always make for some dramatic backdrops.
Whether you’re a budding hobby photographer or an old pro, Iceland is now a photographer’s pilgrimage destination. These are the best Iceland photography locations you need to visit in your upcoming trip.
In This Article:
- Kirkjufell Mountain
- Thórsmörk Valley
- Vestrahorn Mountain
- The Ice Caves of Vatnajökull Glacier
- Reynisfjara Black Sand Beach
- Abandoned DC Plane Wreck
- Glacier Beach and Jökulsárlón
Kirkjufell Mountain, Snæfellsnes Peninsula
By far one of the most photographed locations in all of Iceland is the mountain Kirkjufell. And it’s easy to see why. Getting the right angle at this spectacular mountain frames a pair of waterfalls, a lake, and the arrow-headed mountain itself. Postcards, calendars, Instagram posts, and tourism brochures all love this mountain, so you’ve likely already seen it. For photographers keen for the best Iceland photos, this is a must-see.
Getting there from Reykjavik is easy – the challenge is taking a photo without any people in it. During the brighter summer months, we recommend going late or early (like midnight or 3–4 am to have the location to yourself. At the height of summer, this is also when the sunset will be creating some fantastic lighting conditions. During winter, it’s also accessible and makes for a fantastic subject to shoot the northern lights – if they appear.
Thórsmörk Valley, South Iceland
Those lucky enough to journey into the hard-to-get-to Thórsmörk (hint: Campers can’t get there; you need to take the bus!) are rewarded with a photographer’s paradise. This epic valley is filled with black sand cut with glacial rivers, lush canyons of green moss and grey basalt, epic mountains, and a moody birch forest. Everywhere you turn is another fantastic shot, and it’s another of Iceland’s essential photography locations.
Thórsmörk above all is a hiking destination and scaling the mountains in the area provides photographers with an endless number of panoramas to shoot. For an extra special treat, hiking over the Fimmvörðurháls Pass into Thórsmörk provides you with bird’s eye views of the gorgeous valley, as well as plenty of volcanic features along the way.
Wondering if you can still hike the Fimmvörðurháls Pass with a campervan? Hiking Fimmvörðuháls With a Campervan.
Vestrahorn, Stokksnes Peninsula
Another instantly recognizable Iceland photo location is Vestrahorn mountain on the Stokksnes Peninsula. This dramatic mountain is marooned on the southeast corner of the island, and one of the most popular areas for Iceland landscape photography. Rising from a sweep of black sand, jagged peaks jut off in several directions. Made from iron and magnesium-rich minerals, the dark greys of the mountain contrast with the black sand beach in front of it, along with bright green tufts of grass and the often-moody ocean. On an overcast day, it feels like you’re on another planet.
For ring road travelers, this is a must-see stop. If you’ve got less time in the country and are looking to drive back and forth along the south coast, this is a good spot to turn around (you can spend the night in nearby Höfn). It is important to note that this mountain is on private land and the owner charge entry. Make sure to stop by the café beforehand to pay your dues, and you’ll be free to roam about taking photos to your heart's content.
Kerlingarfjöll, Icelandic Highlands
A destination deep in the Highlands, Kerlingarfjöll is a gorgeous mountainous area filled with geothermal energy, sparse landscapes, bright hot springs, and rust-coloured mountains. Steam billows out of valleys, with mountain trails leading you through the area in one of the country’s most exciting hiking destinations for Iceland landscape photography. The contrast of the mountains with the steam (and sometimes snow) makes for some excellent shooting conditions.
Getting to Kerlingarfjöll with a campervan is tricky, thanks to its location in the Highlands. You’ll need to rent one of our 4X4 campers in Iceland, all of them built specifically for the rough tracks in central Iceland and the river crossings. Otherwise, there’s a bus that runs in the summer, or you could join a tour to the area.
Goðafoss, North Iceland
Next up on this Iceland photo tour is Goðafoss in North Iceland. Translating to ‘Waterfall of the Gods’, Goðafoss has to be one of the prettiest waterfalls in Iceland and one of the best to take photos of. Cascading over grey basalt in a crescent moon shape, it’s easy to capture the whole waterfall from several different angles, and long exposures turn out wonderfully with the flow of the water or the northern lights above.
Goðafoss is located about halfway between Akureyri and Lake Myvatn and is right off the ring road (you can’t miss it). It makes for an easy stop for campervan travelers and is a highlight of any ring road trip, passion photographer or not.
The Ice Caves of Vatnajökull Glacier
No list about Iceland photography locations would be complete without mentioning the ice caves of Vatnajökull Glacier. The biggest glacier in Iceland is an impressive destination, with powerful volcanoes beneath the ice the reason behind why this area of Iceland is home to such spectacular landscapes. But it’s the ice caves that make for extra special photos in this region.
Shooting inside the ice caves can be tricky, and a bit like catching the northern lights. A tripod is handy, although any of the latest smartphones will also do well in the conditions. Getting into the ice caves must be done with a guide on a tour. There are meeting points at the Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon and Skaftafell. The ice caves are only stable enough to visit in the winter – for more information about campervan travel in Iceland during winter, we’ve got a range of articles to help.
Reynisfjara Black Sand Beach, South Iceland
A very worthy addition to this list of Iceland photography locations is the popular Reynisfjara Black Sand Beach. You’ll likely have seen pictures of this dramatic and moody sweep of sand along the south coast, with a wall of basalt columns rising from the black sand. Add in craggy cliffs above, wheeling birds, twisted sea caves, and the crumbling sea stacks out in the teeming ocean, and you’ve got one of the most dramatic locations for Iceland photography.
Reynisfjara is an easily accessible photo location in Iceland, very close to Vik. This is one of the busiest tourist destinations along the south coast, so the beach is quite crowded during the day. Our tip is to camp nearby (Skogafoss or inside Vik itself), wake up early, and head to the beach to catch the sunrise – you’ll be there alongside other photographers. If you need to know more about black sand beaches in Iceland, we have the extensive article All about Black Sand Beaches in Iceland
Abandoned DC Plane Wreck on Solheimasandur Beach
Another one of Iceland’s famous photography locations is the abandoned DC plane wreck, located on the black sand beach called Solheimasandur. This plane wreckage sits atop a desolate stretch of black sand, with the sharp wind and nearby sounds of the tide the only thing nearby. The rusting and twisted metal makes for a fantastic subject to shoot, with photos giving off a very post-apocalyptic vibe.
The plane wreck is on the black sand beach on the south coast, a little way before you reach Reynisfjara. To get there, you’ll see a parking lot directly on the ring road. From here, you’ll have to make the trek out to the plane, which takes around 45 minutes to 1 hour one way. Make sure that you’re dressed appropriately.
Diamond Beach and Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon, South Iceland
One of the classic stops on the Icelandic Ring Road is Diamond Beach and the Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon. The lagoon itself is an amazing sight, a large expanse of water with large chunks of glaciers floating around. There are seals in the water, and a myriad of bright blues, whites, and streaks of black ash encased in the ice.
On the other side of Route 1 is yet another black sand beach. The lagoon drains out to the ocean, where the tide washes the glaciers back up onto the shore. The large chunks of ice become stranded on the sand, slowly melting away into peculiar shapes like a natural sculpture garden. With the burning sunsets in summer, it’s another spectacular spot for Iceland photography.
Landmannalaugar, Highlands of Iceland
The final Iceland destination for photographers on this list is the spectacular Landmannalaugar. This is another popular spot in the highlands, a region home to the country’s most incredible natural landscapes. The scenery here is among the best, with an obsidian-black lava field and windswept rhyolite mountains. The rhyolite in the rock comes out in a dizzying display of colors, with shades of red, green, blue, and yellow shining through in photos.
Landmannalaugar is another of the country’s best-hiking destinations, with plenty of trails to keep campers entertained for 2–3 days. At the campsite, there’s also a large hot spring for long soaks after a day of hiking. Getting to Landmannalaugar also requires a 4x4 campervan.
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