6 months ago
Iceland is the land of magical and mysterious landscapes. From lava rocks to black-sand beaches and dramatic landscapes, it is the perfect stopover on your way to Europe. For Instagrammers, Iceland is a photographer’s dream. Get your hashtags ready, as here come the top 20 spots for your Instagram feed. All these spots are within a day’s road trip from Reykjavik.
Located near the town of Grundarfjörður, Kirkjufell is the most photographed mountain in Iceland. Instagrammers can spend an entire day and night here. Depending on the weather conditions, the views can change every minute. At one point it can be clear, while 5 minutes later it looks like it’s far in the distance. And you never know when the sun will come out. And if that’s not enough, this is one of Iceland’s many wonders for viewing the northern lights. Most northern lights tours from Reykjavik don’t go this far, so if your dream is to see the northern lights around a mountain, consider spending 1-2 nights in one of the many towns or villages nearby.
Driving north from Reyjkavik for about one hour starts a beautiful drive with different landscapes every minute. The landscapes can go on for hours, and Instagrammers can make unlimited photo stops. And if that’s not enough, wait until you venture on dirt roads and see mountains covered by clouds, with the fog levels changing almost every minute!
The Blue Lagoon
Everyone has heard of this famous wonder of Iceland. The lava surrounding the Blue Lagoon is 800 years old, and the blue color of the water owes to the way that silica reflects sunlight. The average temperature is 38C or 100F. The best time to go is when the sun rises or sets, which varies depending on time of year. Sunrises and sunsets make for some beautiful instaworthy shots.
Djupivogur Street in Hanfir
Located just 20 minutes away from the Blue Lagoon, Hanfir is a small fishing village with only around 100 inhabitants. It's nice to get a glimpse of the local and small Icelandic villages, with no sign of tourists anywhere. The church at Hafnir, dating back to the 14th century, is a good photo spot.
Þingvellir (pronounced Thingvellir)
Located along the Golden Circle, Þingvellir is where you can walk between two continents. The black rocks show how Iceland is divided by the Mid-Atlantic Rift. One side is the North American tectonic plate, and the other side is the Eurasian place. Iceland is the only place to see and photograph the rift above sea level, with the edges of both plates visible.
A popular stop along the Golden Circle, the Geysir (known as the Great Geysir), is an active hot spring area with mut pits exploding 100 feet into the air every few minutes. Keep your cameras ready, and if you miss the start of the explosion, no worries. Simply wait a few minutes. And don't forget to film it for your Instagram stories, as the best memories come when you see the explosion happening.
Located directly across from the Geysir, Gullfoss is one of the most admired waterfalls in Iceland. While the waterfall can be viewed in one shot, it’s best to walk further and capture the falls up-close. You can feel the 140 cubic meters of water surging down the waterfall every second!
This lake has two maar type explosion craters, around 6000 years old, both lake-filled. Although there are not many activities at this lake, it is a nice photo stop which not many travelers to Iceland are aware of. The location of the lake is along the highway to most other attractions, so it's an easy 10-20 minute photo stop.
Krýsuvík Geothermal Area
In the middle of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge is the photogenic geothermal area of Krysuvik. A boardwalk takes visitors through the geothermal fields and a spectacular view awaits hikers on top of the massive steaming vent after a short and easy hike. The banks around the springs are colored green, yellow and red.
The Cliffs at Krysuvikurberg
The long span of cliffs at Krysuvikurberg are a wonderful place for bird-watching. And the dramatic cliffs rising from the water make for beautiful insta worthy shots. If you're lucky, you might be able to watch and/or feed the birds in the summer months.
Horses in the countryside
Driving through Iceland, you will see lots of farms. There are 80,000 Icelandic horses living in Iceland, so you will most likely see them somewhere along the road. When a car stops on the side of the road, the small, often pony-sized horses will come to tourists and show love. There's never a dull moment taking photos with horses in Iceland.
Known as the eye, this eye-poppic lake is surrounded by red volcanic rock. While most crater lakes form as a result of an explosion, this lake luckily didn’t form like that. Ensure to walk all around the lake, as the view changes every 5 minutes as you keep circling around. And for even more insta worthy shots, descend to the bottom to admire the crater from the bottom.
Located about 2 hours from Reyjkavik along Route 1, this waterfall is the first stop to many sights in southern Iceland. The waterfall drops 60 meters and is part of the Seljalands River. Instagrammers can spend hours here. As the wind passes, it can sometimes be as strong as to push the waterfall in the direction of the wind, bringing unique photos. And the most unique view is when you walk into the cliff to see the waterfall from behind.
Located next door to Seljalandsfoss, this waterfall is a different experience. From the outside, you can see only a small line. To view the entire waterfall, Instagrammers must venture through the river by using the rocks as footsteps. It’s definitely worth the adventure. Bring a poncho or jacket, as you will definitely get wet.
Skogafoss is one of the biggest and most beautiful waterfalls in Iceland. This is another spot where Instagrammers can spend an hour, as rainbows are very common, and can change dramatically within a matter of minutes. Instagrammers can also use the rocks on the river as footsteps in order to view the rainbow and waterfall from different angles. For even more shots, climb the stairs to the top of the waterfall and see the river as it approaches the waterfall.
Selheimassandur Plane Wreck
A straight 7-km hike off the highway will bring travelers to an abandoned US Navy Plane which ran out of fuel and crashed at this exact spot, yet no one was killed. Instagrammers can take pictures not only of the plane, but also walk inside the plane to see the damage that was done. There is beauty to be photographed even along the hike, as the mountains of southern Iceland can be seen.
Black Sand Beach
Just outside the town of Vik lies Reynisfjara Beach, a world-famous black-sand beach. Other than seeing and walking on a black sand beach, Instagrammers can also find rock formations that formed the cliff above it. Do not get too close to the water, as the waves are very strong and some of them can reach quite far onto the beach.
A 10-minute uphill drive from the Black Sand Beach leads to spectacular views towards the sea. Formerly an island of volcanic origin, Dyrholaey is the southernmost point on mainland Iceland. Instagrammers can feel how “the hills are alive” while seeing spectacular views of the Black Sand Beach leading towards the mountains in the distance.
Laufskalavarda (lava fields)
Driving further east from Vik, the landscape becomes desert-like. Laufskalavarda is a lava ridge surrounded by stone cairns. The stones were piled up to make a cairn, which would bring travelers good fortune on the journey. It looks even nicer during sunset.
This ancient, massive river canyon is a photographer’s dream. It’s also a hidden gem of Iceland, which is worth visiting. For Instagrammers who want to do more than photograph the canyon, there is the option to descend 100 meters and hike the glacial waters at the bottom of the canyon.
Iceland is a country of extreme geological contrasts. Its dramatic landscapes include volcanoes, geysers, hot springs, lava fields, and much more. Instagrammers can never get enough of this country, where the landscapes change constantly and new photo opportunities await. Known as the “land of fire and ice”, it is a destination that will keep you coming back over and over for the many landscapes.