3 In Europe/ Iceland/ Photo Diary/ Roadtrip

20 Photos That Will Make You Want To Explore Iceland ASAP

From abandoned ships to incredible waterfalls, Iceland has something for everyone. Check out the top 20 photos to inspire your next trip to Iceland.

The secret is out, Iceland has quickly become one of the top destinations for many seasoned as well as first-time travelers. Rated high for safety, its rough landscape entices many to explore its Mars-like scenery. Whether you decide to stick to the Ring Road or venture off the beaten path and onto the dirt roads of the Westfjords, you’re sure to find yourself slamming the brakes on more than one occasion to take photos (just make sure to find a safe spot to pull over.)

Here are 20 photos depicting what I found to be the best of Iceland on our two-week road trip that you can save for inspiration the next time you think of spending any of your future travel savings on a big, unnecessary purchase. From hairpin turns in the road, to abandoned ships, to an overwhelming amount of natural beauty in the span of an hour’s drive from the capital, there is certainly something for everyone.

Route 1

1. Along The Ring Road

Though we did not have enough time to take on the entire Ring Road, we stuck to Rt 1 on our way down to southern Iceland and encountered some of the more iconic beauty of the island. I found it incredible how many of the homes/farms were nestled in close to the base of the mountains, the sheer height of them must be a dizzying view during morning coffee for whoever lives in them.

From abandoned ships to incredible waterfalls, Iceland has something for everyone. Check out the top 20 photos to inspire your next trip to Iceland.

2. Making friends along the way

Cows, sheep, and horses are among the top three most-spotted animals in Iceland,  (outside of puffins we apparently missed the season for them by a few weeks, so I can’t say much on that..) For the most part, they seem to roam freely, especially the sheep. It was always hilarious to see tiny specks of fluff on the side of a mountain, making you wonder how (or why) they got all the way up there.

From abandoned ships to incredible waterfalls, Iceland has something for everyone. Check out the top 20 photos to inspire your next trip to Iceland.

3. Seljalandsfoss waterfall

The notorious waterfall one can easily walk behind, was absolutely stunning to stand in close proximity to. Just watching the sheets of water fall endlessly and feeling the amount of power it created by blowing rain back into your face, was a pretty humbling moment. As with any of the main attractions in Iceland, you’ll want to get to this one early in order to beat the rush of people.

20 Inspiring Photos Of Iceland That Will Have You Packing Your Suitcase ASAP

4. Lava Fields

Nature can sometimes have a pretty interesting way of reclaiming the earth, and these lava fields are no exception. Iceland’s landscape has been largely shaped by volcanic as well as glacial activity, but that doesn’t stop moss from growing in the most unexpected of places. Driving along Route 1, the lush greenery stretches on in certain places for as far as you can see in southern Iceland.

The moss-covered lava fields along the Ring road in Iceland create some of the most unique landscapes on Earth. I had a hard time (at the time of writing this) finding any set rules for exploring the lava fields, but do keep in mind certain types of moss can take hundreds of years to form. And heavy hiking boots leave massive scars in the landscape. Tread lightly (if at all.)

 

Southern Iceland

5. Fjadrargljufur Canyon

As the sun was fading in the sky, we arrived at Fjadrargljufur Canyon in time to see some pretty aggressive erosion of the land from glaciers created over thousands of years. A lot of the more narrow formations (including this one with the winding pathway,) were closed to foot traffic as a lot of these slivers of rock are becoming more popular with brave travelers to walk out on. It still didn’t stop us from admiring from afar.

From abandoned ships to incredible waterfalls, Iceland has something for everyone. Check out the top 20 photos to inspire your next trip to Iceland.

6. Room with a view

Many of hostels we chose to stay at in Iceland had quite the view right from the lobby. Vik hostel in southern Iceland was no exception. Reasonably priced and staffed with knowledgable Icelanders.

Make sure to stay in one of Iceland's many hostels, they are affordable and can sometimes offer a better view than most hotels.

7. Vik Beach

I found the town of Vik to be pretty unimpressive, but the black sand beach definitely made my list for the best of Iceland. Definitely a spot to visit early in the morning; we found a handful of people already here with their tripods around 8 am.

The black sand beaches are truly a sight to behold in Southern Iceland's Vik beach. Get there for sunrise to beat the crowd, this place gets crowded.

 8. Basalt colums

Check these bad boys out; the hexagonal columns on Vik beach formed from cooling lava and create a stair-like formations that are a hot-spot for quintessential Icelandic photoshoots. Smaller versions as well as caves sporting the same bizarre columns can be found all down the beach.

Aside from the black sand, Vik beach also has some beautiful basalt columns that were formed by lava rock from thousands of years ago into hexagonal stair-like formations.

 

Westfjords

9. Let’s talk about these roads..

Ever wonder why one of the first things people warn about is to not stop randomly on the roads in Iceland? Here is your answer. Many of the roads in the north-western part of Iceland are unlit, dirt roads so be ready to be jostled around a bit when driving through.

20 Photos That Will Make You Want To Explore Iceland ASAP - Best Of Iceland

10. The best view in Iceland?

We found that in the Westfjords there’s plenty of abandoned little places like this. With views like these, it makes you wonder why this would have ever been left behind.

20 Photos That Will Make You Want To Explore Iceland ASAP - Best Of Iceland

11. Dynjandi waterfall

Can you find me in the image? If you haven’t been able to tell, Iceland is the land of some pretty impressive waterfalls. This one, also known as Fjallfoss, can be a bit of a hike to get up to. Every step of the way (yes, even from the parking lot) offers amazing views.

20 Photos That Will Make You Want To Explore Iceland ASAP - Best Of Iceland

12. Látrabjarg Cliffs

Named the highest bird cliffs in Europe, these are definitely worth a stop along the way if you plan on visiting the Westfjords of Iceland. Hoping seeing some puffins? Make sure to visit in the summer.

20 Photos That Will Make You Want To Explore Iceland ASAP - Best Of Iceland

13. Hunting for puffins

Although we missed the puffin season by a few weeks, we found the views to be worth it. Would you dare to go this close?

The dizzying view from one of Europe's tallest bird cliffs. From abandoned ships to incredible waterfalls, Iceland has something for everyone. Check out the top 20 photos to inspire your next trip to Iceland.

14. Abandoned Ship

Looking for abandoned homes, planes, and even boats outside of the infamous plane on Sólheimasandur? Head to the Westfjords. Because the road is now closed to the 1973 US Navy DC plane crash it’s about a 2 mile trek to reach. Pressed for time that day, we unfortunately did not get to check that off on our list. Instead, found this ship as amazing and this big guy is easily accessible by car. We only encountered one other person quickly drive up and away while we were here.

From abandoned ships to incredible waterfalls, Iceland has something for everyone. Check out the top 20 photos to inspire your next trip to Iceland.

15. Land of rainbows

Sorry Hawaii, Iceland is most certainly the land of rainbows. On our drive back to Reykjavík,  I had never seen so many rainbows in such a short span of time. Within two hours, we spotted a couple dozen along the way. So whether it was just one very persistent rainbow, or a multitude, the drive became one of my favorites.

From abandoned ships to incredible waterfalls, Iceland has something for everyone. Check out the top 20 photos to inspire your next trip to Iceland.

 

Reykjavík

16. Harpa Music Hall

Heading back to Reykjavík, we wandered around town and into the Harpa Music Hall. Free to explore, it’s a great place to take a break and read a book.  The double-layered panels of glass (inspired by the basalt columns) reflected all sorts of patterns into the walls.  The mirrored ceilings also make for an interesting view when looking up.

Harpa music hall in Iceland. From abandoned ships to incredible waterfalls, Iceland has something for everyone. Check out the top 20 photos to inspire your next trip to Iceland.

17. Reykjavik’s Street art

Iceland’s capital definitely has some pretty stunning street art.  Typically the artists are commissioned by the building owners or organizations, and have certainly created some beautiful pieces in the process.

Reykjavik's colorful street art. From abandoned ships to incredible waterfalls, Iceland has something for everyone. Check out the top 20 photos to inspire your next trip to Iceland.

18. A hostel/restaurant/bar/music venue?

You read that right. The KEX Hostel boasts some amazing cuisine, live music every night, and is a great place to meet locals as well as other travelers. A slightly more expensive stay than some hostels, and has some bizarre charges (two words: sheet rentals) but it was so very worth it.

Check out KEX hostel the next time you're in Reykjavik, it boasts some amazing cuisine, live music every night, and is a pretty great place to rest your head for a night in Iceland.

19. Waterfront views

Another upside of the KEX hostel was its proximity to the water, making it a pretty easy walk down to the harbor to watch the boats go by. Paired with some beautiful Icelandic scenery in the background, it’s a great way to spend a lazy afternoon.

From abandoned ships to incredible waterfalls, Iceland has something for everyone. Check out the top 20 photos to inspire your next trip to Iceland.

20. Northern Lights in the capital?

How could I go to Iceland without seeing some Northern Lights? After spending nearly two weeks trekking around in the rain in some of the more remote locations hoping to get some nightscapes, we ended up with nothing. Ironically, we finally saw a glimpse of this phenomenon on one of our last days in Reykjavík. Go figure.

You can see the Northern lights from Reykjavik?? From abandoned ships to incredible waterfalls, Iceland has something for everyone. Check out the top 20 photos to inspire your next trip to Iceland.

 

So that’s the best of Iceland (in my opinion at least!) all in one place. Out of all those photos, which one did you find yourself wanting to pack up and explore the beauty of Iceland?

Do you have any questions about the island itself? I’ll be putting together a guide and would love to answer any questions you may have. Let me know in the comments below!

 

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3 Comments

  • Reply
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    November 23, 2016 at 10:02 am

    […] scenic landscape did the first time I visited. It was breathtaking, and a large contrast to some of Iceland’s hauntingly desolate landscape we had become accustomed to. Even the sheep were different. The textured fur really gave the […]

  • Reply
    Janie
    April 21, 2017 at 6:46 pm

    Your photos are stunning!! Seems like you had a great time. Great post!

  • Reply
    Therie
    May 29, 2017 at 9:44 am

    These are the most beautiful photos of Iceland’s landscapes that I’ve ever seen! So good!

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