Destination: Iceland: Itinerary and Info
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- Trip dates: July 14-25, 2021 (Twelve days and eleven nights)
- Size: Minimum 6, Maximum 8 (Very small group of photographers)
Summary: Capture the spectacular sights of Iceland beneath the Midnight Sun on this 12-day summer photography workshop. We will visit the iconic sites of the South Coast, the Eastfjords and the North, including Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon, Lake Mývatn, the far-flung Highlands and the newest picturesque fissure volcanoes in the Geldingadalur region (aerial photography of the active volcano optional).
Along the way we will encounter beautiful wildlife including puffins and sweet Icelandic horses. As we are guided to the hidden landscapes of Iceland with our cameras, we will discover spectacular places that are seldom visited.
Wednesday July 14 [D]: Arrival Day. After landing at Keflavík International Airport, you will take an airport transfer to your hotel in central Reykjavík. En route, you will pass the haunting volcanic landscapes of the Reykjanes Peninsula.
The group and photography guides will meet in the hotel lobby at 19:00 and we will go out as a group for a nice meal at a nearby restaurant. We‘ll happily get to know each other and go over the itinerary of the photography adventure awaiting us.
Thursday July 15 [B,L,D]: We will travel to the lovely highland oasis of Landmannalaugar. Landmannalaugar translates to “Pools of the People” due to its abundance of natural, geothermally heated hot pools.
With its hot springs and natural baths, its colourful rhyolite mountains, its spectacular rock formations, vast lava fields and lush vegetation, the area is one of the most popular and photogenic oases in the country.
We will continue to the Fjallabak reserve to shoot Iceland’s second-highest waterfall, Háifoss. This stunning feature drops 122 meters into a deep river gorge. We will also photograph the nearby waterfall, Granni, meaning “neighbour”.
Both of these waterfalls are part of the river Fossa, itself a tributary of the Þjórsá glacier river, the longest river in Iceland. If conditions are favourable, we‘ll also photograph a third waterfall on the river, Hjálparfoss.
Hjalparfoss is a two-stepped fall and framed with basalt formations, offering excellent contrasts to the whiteness of the water.
We‘ll be photographing its wonders on this day and travelling the ridge of Frostastaðaháls for a beautiful overlook of the area, including Frostastaðavatn lake. We‘ll then be shooting the many beautiful waterfalls of the Sigöldugljúfur canyon.
While not as well known as many of other Icelandic attractions, Sigöldugljúfur canyon is a marvel in its own right, sure to result in stunning photos. The contrast of the green moss, the water and the dark rock make for a particularly pleasing effect.
Night at the Highlands Hotel.
Friday July 16 [B,L,D]: We will be travelling along the visually stunning South Coast of Iceland. The first stop of the day is Seljalandsfoss waterfall, a narrow cascade that drops 63 meters into a glistening pool. Seljalandsfoss is the famous Icelandic waterfall that guests can walk behind, thus earning a fantastic new perspective for their photographs.
Nearby is the 40 m high “hidden waterfall” Gljúfrafoss (“Gorge dweller”)—another excellent photography spot! Its location hidden within an ancient sea cliff means that visitors often overlook Gljúfrafoss, but it is undoubtedly impressive in its own right.
We will then head on to the picturesque waterfall, Skógafoss. This waterfall can be photographed from the top, as there is a pathway leading right up to its lip. Skógafoss is also known to produce a double rainbow, only adding to the incredible aesthetic, and providing us with photographic opportunities.
Next, we‘ll head towards the southernmost part of the Icelandic mainland, the village Vík í Mýrdal and its famous beach, Reynisfjara. We will meet some puffins building their nests in rocky cliffs of Dyrhólaey. These adorable little birds nest here in the thousands and are surprisingly unafraid of people. They will allow you to get close enough to capture their charming faces and clumsy, endearing behaviour, making them a great wildlife subject.
We will spend the night at Vík í Mýrdal.
Saturday July 17 [B,L,D]: We will spend another day in the South Coast to explore more of its scenic places such as Vík, a beautiful, quiet village surrounded by nature, including seemingly endless stretches of purple lupine fields.
We will also explore the black sand beach of Reynisfjara. Reynisfjara was once voted one of the most beautiful non-tropical beaches in the world and it is an eerie and spectacular place. The endless stretches of black sands are haunting, the power of the Atlantic ocean dramatic, and the surrounding geology fascinating.
Photographing the beach while illuminated by the Midnight Sun is particularly effective as the twilight allows for a great variety of color in the landscape, lending it an otherworldly feel. With its dramatic scenery, this beach is a photographer‘s dream. We’ll have the black sands and pebbles of the beach, the basalt column pyramid of Gardar and the impressive Reynisdrangar sea stacks, protruding towards the sky from the wild North Atlantic Ocean. Particularly of note are the Reynisdrangar sea-stacks, which rise tall from the surface of the sea, said to be ancient trolls petrified by the rising sun.
Night at Vík í Mýrdal.
Sunday July 18 [B,L,D]: Vatnajokull National Park. We’ll head eastwards, crossing the wide black sand desert of Sólheimasandur on our journey to the nature reserve Skaftafell, just a small part of the vast Vatnajökull National Park. This area is a scenic wonder, complete with lush vegetation of lava and moss-covered fields, beautiful waterfalls and staggering panoramas.
Further east, you’ll be photographing the fantastic beauty of Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon, otherwise known as “The Crown Jewel of Iceland”. The pool has earned its name thanks to its ethereal aesthetic and tranquil atmosphere.
Enormous icebergs break away from Breiðamerkurjökull glacier, dropping onto the lagoon’s still surface, a mirror’s edge broken only by the surfacing nose of a resident seal. The icebergs make their journey from the lagoon to the nearby Diamond Beach, where many wash up against the jet black sand, creating awe-inspiring visuals
Night in the Skaftafell area.
Monday July 19 [B,L,D]: Vatnajokull National Park. This will be our final day in Iceland’s southeast, and we will use it to return to to photograph specific sites more in depth. This will likely include Jökulsárlón and the Diamond Beach, as the opportunities here are so numerous and unique.
Night in the Skaftafell area.
Tuesday July 20 [B,L,D]: Vestrahorn Mountain & Eastfjords. We will leave the south-east of Iceland, and head North. This journey will take us through the little-travelled, breathtaking Eastfjords, where we will stop for many photo opportunities to capture its beautiful seascapes, its peaceful villages, and its abundant wildlife. Seabirds, seals and even reindeer can all be found in this region.
Early in the day, you’ll visit the mighty peaks of Mount Vestrahorn as you make your way to the east. Jagged, barren and grey, it is one of the few mountains of Gabbro rock in Iceland and stands out dramatically because of it. It can be pictured against the surrounding black sands, over dunes, or with epic seascapes, so you will spend a chunk of your day travelling around the Stokksnes Peninsula, finding the perfect spot to capture it from.
Later in the day, we will head into the magical Eastfjords, where you will have some time to explore the splendid coastlines, black beaches and stunning mountains.
Night at Egilsstaðir.
Wednesday July 21 [B,L,D]: Mývatn Region. We will leave the south-east of Iceland, and head North. The drive will be rather long, but the surrounding scenery will be ever-changing and impressive, and our destination, Lake Mývatn, is well worth the hours on the road.
The Mývatn region has a wealth of incredible sites for us to photograph beneath the Midnight Sun; there are geothermal areas, geological wonders, notorious volcanoes and beautiful stretches of water.
Night in Mývatn Region.
Thursday July 22 [B,L,D]: Mývatn Region. This day will be spent exploring all of the wonders that the Mývatn region has to offer in more depth.
The lake itself is both serene and unusual; basalt pillars rise tall from its waters, and you never need to look far before you discover a new geological subject to shoot, making for some unique landscape photographs. Wildlife photographers will also be pleasantly surprised, as dozens of bird species frequent the lake in summer.
Pseudo-craters and lava fields dot the landscape, as do impressive structures of lava, none greater than those at the Dimmuborgir fortress. This dramatic site was used in the HBO Series Game of Thrones.
Not far from the lake, you will find the steaming geothermal areas of the Námaskarð Pass. Here you will have the chance to capture churning mud pools, seething fumaroles and colorful contrasts in the earth. There are also many incredible waterfalls in the surrounding area, such as the historic Goðafoss and the tumultuous Dettifoss, the most powerful falls in all of Europe.
Night in Mývatn Region.
Friday July 23 [B,L,D]: Transfer to Reykjavik. We will leave Mývatn after an early shoot and slowly make our way back to our hotel in Reykjavík, arriving in Reykjavik around 4PM. This is a six hour drive, but we will make many photography stops along the way.
In the afternoon and evening following dinner (meeting our guide at 7PM for dinner at the hotel) we will explore Reykjavik on foot with our cameras. Reykjavik has a fascinating culture, a long history, and unique architecture, well worth photographing.
Saturday July 24 [B,L,D]: Volcano + Golden Circle + Reykjavik. On this day, we will have the chance for an unforgettable aerial adventure experience that takes you over Iceland’s volcanic landscape, so you can photograph the multiple volcanic fissures and its hot flowing lava. An interesting note about the Geldingadalur eruption – particularly to those fascinated by geology and volcanism – is the qualities of the lava that is emerging from it. According to early data, this is the oldest lava that has emerged in Iceland for 7,000 years. This can be attributed to the deep magma chamber beneath it, usually only found at the bottom of ocean rifts. The total duration of the helicopter tour is 45-60 minutes, with a 15 minute landing on the eruption sites. However we may have the option to stay and shoot in the site and take the bus back to Reykjavik. Please take note that the volcano tour and optional helicopter tour is weather dependent.
You will have enough time to rest and after the final group dinner, the fun doesn’t stop as you will be taken to the Golden Circle and enjoy the last twilight as you photograph the magnificent Gullfoss, “The Golden Waterfall“. Undoubtedly, this is a fall that lives up to its name; it is one of the most beautiful and photogenic waterfalls in Iceland, falling 32 meters thunderously into a narrow gorge from the Hvita glacier river.
The other Golden Circle attraction we‘ll be exploring is the famous Geysir geothermal area. Of course, the geyser you’ll be interested in is Strokkur, spouting its hot water as high as 15-20 meters every 5 minutes. Other notable hot springs are Litli-Strokkur and Smidur. To the north, you‘ll find colourful fumaroles, and southwards are boiling mud pots.
Sunday, July 25 [B]: This is the end of the tour. Some of us will transfer to Keflavík Airport to return home, and others may choose to stay in Iceland for a little longer.
Codes: B=Breakfast; L=Lunch; D=Dinner
All photos credit: Iurie Belegurschi / Iceland Photo Tours. Used with permission and appreciation!
Costs, Inclusions, Exclusions, and Policies
Cost and payment schedule: $8,995 per person. Single supplement is $1,100. Optional helicopter photography of the volcano is $1,250 additional per person. $1,000 deposit required for reservation, with balance due May 15, 2021.
Inclusions: Logistics by Iceland Photo Tours; Local Photo Guide Throughout; Photographic mentoring with Harold Davis; Comfortable private transportation; 11 nights accommodations with private bath; all meals as indicated (including one drink with dinner).
Exclusions: Airfare to and from Iceland; beverages beyond what is indicated; gratuities; expenses of a personal nature; airport transfer bus (about $30 to your hotel in Reykjavik).
Policies: The possibility of visiting all locations, including the volcano, depend upon weather and other local conditions, and cannot be guaranteed.
We aim for complete compliance with Covid-19 policies. Click here for current Covid-19 policies in Iceland.
As of April 6, 2021, Iceland is open to vaccinated travelers without quarantine. Proof of vaccination is required.
If this trip is cancelled due to Covid-19 or any other circumstance beyond our control, we will endeavor to refund as much as possible.
Please purchase trip insurance, and make sure that it covers any medical expenses you may incur.
Photography can be inherently dangerous, and by coming on this trip you agree to hold Harold Davis, Harold Davis Art & Photography Inc, and our suppliers harmless regarding these dangers.