In the past few years, Iceland has become one of the hottest travel destinations.
With so many amazing photos being shared of Iceland on social media it is very easy to get inspired to travel to Iceland so I finally gave in and bought an airplane ticket to Iceland myself.
Bringing along my trusty Sony a5100 camera and a small backpack, I spent an epic week exploring some of Iceland’s most beautiful locations in a camper van rental. The trip planning was super easy as most of Iceland’s attractions are located along its main highway called the Ring Road, also known as Route 1, and don’t require much detouring off the Ring Road in order to visit them.
After spending a week traveling around this amazing island I wanted to share an easy photographic guide with some of my favorite locations for anyone planning a trip to Iceland themselves.
1. Seljalandsfoss Waterfall
Seljalandsfoss is one of the tallest and most popular waterfalls to see in southern Iceland and I suggest to make it the first stop along the Ring Road drive. With its grandness and beauty, it will just take your breath away! Visiting Seljalandsfoss is the perfect place to kickstart your road trip around Iceland if you’re driving the island counter clock-wise.
Seljalandsfoss waterfall is easily located just a few steps away from a parking lot and visitors can walk around and behind this beauty. But although the hike to this waterfall is super shot, it is also very slippery and muddy so make sure to bring a good pair of hiking shoes with you to Iceland. My favorite hiking shoes are these Vasque boots that are very comfortable and slip resistant.
The parking lot at Seljalandsfoss costs 700 Króna /$7 USD for the day
2. Gljúfrabúi Waterfall
The Gljúfrabúi waterfall is hidden in a cave just a few minutes walking distance from Seljalandsfoss. The cave has a wide opening where visitors can enter and explore it but if you do, make sure to wear a waterproof jacket and hiking shoes as you’ll get pretty soaked entering the cave.
Photographing Gljúfrabúi can be quite difficult because the mist from the waterfall will get everything wet within seconds. If you don’t want to get your camera wet, my tip is to bring a zoom lens and photograph the waterfall from outside the cave or bring some type of rain proof gear for your camera.
While I packed for my Iceland trip very light and brought along only a few pieces of clothing, I did bring along my favorite Northface yellow rain jacket. Not only it kept me warm and dry, but it also added a nice color pop to my photos.
3. Seljavallalaug Hot Pool
One of the most popular photographic locations in the Instagram travel world is the Seljavallalaug hot pool. Located in the wilderness, its iconic look is a hot pool surrounded by soaring mountains. But because this hot pool is very popular, you might end up sharing it with many other people. Get there early if you want to avoid the crowds! And the best part, this pool is completely free.
4. Skógafoss Waterfall
Who wouldn’t get excited to go up close to a waterfall to experience it’s grandness as it soars down a cliff? I sure do!
At the Skógafoss waterfall, visitors can hike around it, above it or walk up to it as close as they wish. The Skógafoss waterfall is very easy to access which makes it a highly popular travel stop along the Ring Road drive.
One of the coolest parts of this waterfall is the campsite located right next to it. Although I had a campervan rental on this trip that I could sleep in, for around $30 you can also set up a tent in the grass area right in front of the Skógafoss waterfall. What a better way to start the day than waking up to the sound of a waterfall?
5. Kirkjufjara Black Sand Beach
Most of Iceland’s beaches are filled with beautiful volcanic black sand. A popular beach in Iceland to observe this black sand is the Kirkjufjara beach. At this beach, visitors can check out the black beach from a viewpoint, hike around and even see the cute Icelandic puffins up close.
Kirkjufjara beach is a protected wilderness area which means that access to most places along this beach is restricted to preserve it. If you wish to photograph the cute puffins up close, you’ll want to bring a powerful zoom lens to get the best shot.
6. Scenic Green Lava Walk
A quick stop along the Ring Road is the Scenic Green Lava Walk. The Lava Walk is a viewpoint and a short hike through mossy lava rocks. Although it’s not exactly a “wow” spot like some of the waterfalls or iceberg lakes you will see along the drive, it’s a worthy stop to stretch out your legs and go for a quick walk.
7. Fjaðrárgljúfur Canyon
One of the most beautiful places to visit in Iceland is the Fjaðrárgljúfur canyon. This canyon is so breathtaking, it’s almost hard to describe in words.
The canyon consists of a short hike along steep cliff walls that are overgrown with green moss and a river running through it on the bottom. Hikers can choose to hike on top of the cliffs or also walk down through the river. The entrance here is free so make sure to set aside a few hours to fully enjoy this place.
8. Svartifoss Waterfall
With its basalt columns, Svartifoss waterfall is a must-see stop in the Skaftafell National Park. This was one of my favorite waterfalls because it reminded me of its twin version Abiqua Falls from my time living in Oregon. The landscape in Iceland is actually quite similar to Oregon and during my trip, I was able to spot 10 similar attractions in Iceland that looked just like Oregon.