The Best Photography Locations in Southern Iceland
There’s simply no denying the otherworldly, visually-breathtaking aesthetic of the icy reaches of Southern Iceland. Home to some of the most stunning views on Earth, the sublime landscapes offer so many unimaginably unique views that dozens of our favourite Hollywood science-fiction alien worlds have been inspired by and even filmed here!
For beginner and expert photographers alike, traveling in Iceland provides an opportunity to capture some truly mind-boggling natural locations on camera. Here are the best photography locations in Southern Iceland!
The Best Photo Locations in Southern Iceland
Hallgrímskirkja Church in Reykjavik
Designed to mirror the basalt lava flows of the Icelandic landscape, Hallgrímskirkja Church is a spectacular, must-see piece of architecture that is the perfect introduction to some of the dramatic sights you’re likely to come across on your journey.
Standing at 73m high, the top of the tower is the ideal place to get some incredible city views if you’re not afraid of heights. Tilt shift photography can be fun at this height — giving the illusion that Reykjavik below is miniaturised!
The Golden Circle
Easily achievable within a day, the Golden Circle is a 300km route that will take you past some of Southwest Iceland’s most famed natural locations, each one just as spectacular as the last and all, without a doubt, perfect places to add to your photo collection.
Be sure to explore Thingvellir National Park, where you can photograph Iceland’s largest lake (Lake Thingvallavatn) and where you can get some smouldering shots of Gjábakkahellir — one of Iceland’s most fascinating lava tubes. Another site you don’t want to miss is the Geysir Geothermal Area, within the Haukadalur Valley where you can capture the steaming vents in action if you’re quick enough!
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The Blue Lagoon
It’s no mystery why the Blue Lagoon is Iceland’s most popular attraction. The luminescent, lava heated waters of the lagoon stay at a toasty, bath-like temperature all year round and the people who make the journey to bathe in these mineral rich waters come home with some amazing photographs!
Easily accessible from the Ring Road, Seljalandsfoss Waterfall’s secret, when it comes to incredible photos, is hidden behind it! The water cascading off an ancient sea cliff into a pool below is impressive from the front, but when you walk behind it you get to admire the majesty of the Icelandic plains through the mist of the water and get the photo of a lifetime.
Keep in mind that you and your camera will likely get wet, so be sure to bring a poncho and camera rain sleeve!
Also known as the “Dweller in the Gorge”, Gljúfrabúi plunges right through the hole in the ceiling of a covered gorge, for the most part hiding the cascade and keeping this location a relatively unexplored gem. The mystical falls are the perfect place to take ground-to-sky pictures with a wide lens so you can get the waterfall in frame as well as the backdrop of the precipice with the sky behind it.
Sólheimasandur Airplane Wreck
Starkly contrasting the natural with the artificial, the Sólheimasandur Airplane Wreck is one of the most iconic Icelandic photo destinations due to its haunting beauty and wild history. The 40-year old aircraft has begun to be reclaimed by nature, making it an epic spot to photograph. For an out-of-this-world shot, try and coordinate your visit with a Northern Lights appearance!
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Possibly one of the most beautiful waterfalls in Iceland, Skogafoss Waterfall is one of those places where you nearly forget to take your camera out because you’re too busy marvelling at what you see. Standing proud at 60m high, the best view of the falls involves a 527m climb that is well worth the effort. On a sunny day, the mist from the falls forms rainbows against the cliffs — making for impossibly magical photos.
Reynisfjara Black Sand Beach
This volcanic beach gives rise to some truly spectacular basalt columns, lava formations and endless cliffs and caves. This rugged and wild stretch of coast is an absolute dream to photograph both in the early morning and at sunset when the light accentuates the jagged volcanic formations. Similar to much of Southern Iceland, Reynisfjara really does make you feel like you’ve stepped onto another planet.
At the risk of never being able to pronounce it correctly, a visit to Fjadrargljufur Canyon is more than worth the effort. A mere few hours from Reykjavik, the imposing canyon has the appearance from above of a jagged tear in the Earth, reminding us of Iceland’s tumultuous and ever changing landscape.
If you’re not into aerial shots, then take a walk through the canyon itself. The gently winding river and towering rock faces are perfect for daytime photography.
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Skaftafell National Park
A small region of the larger Vatnajökull National Park, Skaftafell is home to a hugely diverse range of geological and natural features that promises variety in every single photo. From the woodlands in the valley of Morsárdalur, you’ll be able to capture the quiet but powerful beauty of the faraway snow peaks of the Öræfajökull Volcano, the highest peak in Iceland. Remember to be ready for a hike or two if you want the best shots!
Famed for its enormous and beautifully regal icebergs, Jökulsárlón (also known as Glacier Lagoon) is a glacial lagoon that could easily be mistaken for Antarctica. The black sand beach peppered with shocking white icebergs makes for the perfect location to play with monochrome photography.
Getting the ideal nature photo can be difficult with other tourists around, so try to arrive early in the morning if you want an isolated wilderness shot.
A stone’s (or ice-cube’s!) throwaway is Diamond Beach, one of the most breathtakingly photogenic beaches in Iceland. Huge chunks of smooth, dazzlingly blue ice are deposited on the beach and with the changing tidal waters, you never quite know what the layout of the beach is going to be until you get there. Appropriately named for their brilliance, the chunks of ice are almost perfectly transparent, making for some mesmerizing close-up photos.
A short detour from the Ring Road, the Dyrholaey Peninsula is a coastal photographer’s dream. Low tides create perfectly still reflective waters that you can use to capture surrealist images of the beautiful headland mirrored in the beach. A must-see at sunrise or sunset!