Best Photography Locations and Epic Road Trip Adventures in Iceland

Iceland is huge and you probably aren’t going to be able to see all of the island in one trip. You can try your best though.

I spent one week road tripping across Iceland and did a ton of hikes, waterfalls, beaches, lagoons, and hot springs. I drove the entire Ring Road and made it to a couple Highland highlights. I started in Reykjavik and did the Ring Road counter-clockwise. Here are my favorite spots from the trip.

1. Exploring Landmannalugar, Mt Blahnukur Hike

Landmannalaugar is such a cool experience. It’s one of the most memorable places I visited in Iceland. If you only have enough time to divert off Ring Road once on your trip, I would highly recommend Landmann. The F road to get here (F208) is in pretty decent shape. There are only 2 river crossings at the very end of the road. They are doable but the crossings are only about a 5 minute walk from the Landmannaluagar campground. Many people opt to park before the river crossings and just carry their gear across the bridges. You can wait and watch other people cross the rivers to decide if you want to take the risk or not. We had a 4X4 camper van and crossed the 2 rivers without any trouble although it was nerve wrecking when the water started getting high.

The rainbow mountains you see on the Mt Blahnukur hike are out of this world. It feels like you’re walking through a mythical planet from a sci-fi movie. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing the whole time and didn’t want to leave. We woke up at sunrise and were the only people on the trail the entire 5 hours we were hiking and taking pictures.

Distance: 5.4 miles out and back (It’s a loop and you can do it all one way without turning around)

AllTrails Link: https://www.alltrails.com/trail/iceland/southern/blahnjukur-blahnukur-mountain?u=i

2. Hnausapollur aka Blahylur

If you need another reason to go to Landmannalaugar here you go. Hnausapollur is a short 3 min diversion from F208 to Landmannalaugar campground. You can drive right up to the lake. We parked and opted to do a hike up to the top of the rim overlooking the crater lake.

It took us about 25 minutes to get to the top of the rim. This pit stop is definitely worth it. Make sure to make time to stop here if you plan on going to Landmannalaugar.

Location: https://www.google.com/maps/place/Hnausapollur+(Bláhylur)+View+Point/@64.0554511,-19.0363475,17z/data=!4m6!3m5!1s0x48d131e7d132329d:0xad3a2093b9d696f5!8m2!3d64.0554511!4d-19.0337726!16s%2Fg%2F11n_gy24j_

3. Kvernufoss Waterfall

Kvernufoss was incredible. It’s very close to the infamous Skogafoss. It’s a short hike and the coolest part is that you can walk behind the waterfall and even right under the falls if you wanted to. This was the most fun and interactive waterfall we visited.

Distance: 1 mile round trip

AllTrails Link: https://www.alltrails.com/trail/iceland/southern/kvernufoss-waterfall?search=true&u=i

4. Detifoss Waterfall

Detifoss is one of the largest waterfalls in the world. It blew my mind. It has two different sides and both have epic views. The drive in between the East and West sides of Detifoss is an hour long so take that into account if you want to see both sides in one day.

Below is the view from the East Side of Detifoss.

West side hike distance: 2.3 miles round trip

AllTrails Link: https://www.alltrails.com/trail/iceland/northeastern/selfoss-and-dettifoss-east-side?u=i

These rocks are super slick so watch your step or just don’t risk it and stay up a little higher. I lost my footing a couple times and easily could’ve died.

Below is the view from the West side of Detifoss.

West side hike distance: 2.2 miles round trip

AllTrails Link: https://www.alltrails.com/trail/iceland/northeastern/dettifoss-and-selfoss?u=i

5. Reynisfjara Black Sand Beach

Reynisfjara Black Sand Beach is one of the mist dangerous beaches in the world when the waves are rough. People have died here due to what they call “sneaker waves”. Waves that come out of nowhere and sweep you out to sea. We went on a relatively calm day. It’s a relatively short walk to the “end of the beach” if you walk left from the parking lot. (Below id a video if you walk all the way left to some really cool rock formations.)

The beach is really cool and has a towering cliff wall which runs along the entirety of the beach. If you look up you can see myriad types of birds including puffins soaring above snd landing in their nests along the cliff. The beach gained popularity after it was filmed in Star Wars and Game of Thrones.

Distance: 0.8 Miles round trip

AllTrails Link: https://www.alltrails.com/trail/iceland/southern/reynisfjara-black-sand-beach?u=i

6. Hrunalaug Hot Spring

This was my favorite hot spring we visited in Iceland. We woke up before sunrise and made the 15 minute drive from our campground. We had the whole hot spring to ourselves the whole 2 hour we were there. This is on private property but the owner allows visitors and has a collection box for the small fee they charge you to enter. It’s all on the honor system. is just paid in USD.

The hot spring is surrounded by farmland and you can see rolling hills and grazing sheep from the hot spring.

Distance: Less than 0.25 miles from the parking lot

Location: https://www.google.com/maps/place/Hrunalaug/@64.1326672,-20.3827286,13z/data=!4m10!1m2!2m1!1shrunalaug+hot+spring!3m6!1s0x48d695f34ca88a77:0x250cf83ab822cda1!8m2!3d64.1326672!4d-20.306511!15sChRocnVuYWxhdWcgaG90IHNwcmluZ1oWIhRocnVuYWxhdWcgaG90IHNwcmluZ5IBCmhvdF9zcHJpbmfgAQA!16s%2Fg%2F11c564fh1k

7. Glymur Waterfall

This place looks like something straight out of the movie Avatar. It’s only 1 hour outside if Reykjavik so even if you only have a few days in Iceland you could fit this into your schedule. The hike is fairly easy. You start going through some woods, cross a bridge over the river, and then start the hike along the river up to the breathtaking Glymur Waterfall. Once you reach the waterfall, you can choose to continue the hike and cross the ice cold glacial river above the waterfall or you can hike back down the way you came. The glacial river crossing was SO cold but was honestly one of the most fun parts of the hike.

Distance: 4.1 miles round trip

AllTrails Link: https://www.alltrails.com/trail/iceland/capital/glymur-waterfall-trail?search=true&u=i

8. Skogafoss Waterfall

Skogafoss might be the most well known waterfall in Iceland. It’s massive, easily accessible, and you can actually get fairly close to the base of this cascading behemoth. If you travel to Iceland, this waterfall is a must. It’s only a little over a 2 hour drive from Iceland’s capital, Reykjavik.

Make sure to bring a rain jacket, a change of clothes, and a towel. Because you will most likely get soaked. The hike to the bottom of the waterfall is less than half a mile one way. We didn’t hike to the top of Skogafoss but you can do that as well.

Distance to Bottom of waterfall: Less than half a mile one way

Distance to Top of waterfall: 4.2 miles round trip

AllTrails Link: https://www.alltrails.com/trail/iceland/southern/skogafoss-waterfall–3?search=true&u=i

9. Blue Lagoon

Blue Lagoon in a little touristy but is an Icelandic classic. There are a few different packages they offer. We opted for the “Comfort” package and didn’t think we missed out on anything by not going with a more expensive option. We reserved the 0800 am slot to beat the crowds and it worked for the most part. I’d recommend going as early as possible as it’s only a 40 minute drive from Reykjavik and tour buses start dropping of throngs of people as the day progresses.

Blue Lagoon is known for their silica mud masks so we had to try it. I’d say about an hour and a half to two hours is plenty of time here. Blue Lagoon is really cool but if you only have time for one lagoon/ spa experience I would choose the nest one on the list below (Sky Lagoon).

Website: https://www.bluelagoon.com

10. Sky Lagoon

We did Sky Lagoon the same day as Blue Lagoon because we wanted to try both. We opted for the second most expensive package Sky Lagoon offers which is the “Date Night” package which was $212. It came wit private changing rooms, the Seven Step Ritual (which the video above covers), 2 complimentary drinks at their swim up bar, and a drink and tasting board at Sky Lagoon’s restaurant.

I’d recommend booking as late as possible to get in sunset.

Website: https://www.skylagoon.com

11. Puffin Hunting at Dyrholaey

A 2.5 hour drive from Reykjavik along the East coast you’ll find the cliffs of Dryholaey. You can drive right up to a parking lot overlooking the ocean and the walk to these cliffs takes only a little over 5 minutes. There a bunch of nesting puffins. all along the cliffs. You can see them swarm all over and can see them as close as 10 feet away feeding their babies.

12. Svinafellsjokull Glacier

If you’re doing the complete loop around Ring Road, Svinefallsjokull Glacier is definitely worth the stop. It’s enormous and really cool to see but I think the best way to capture the glacier is via drone.

Distance: 0.8 miles round trip

AllTrails Link: https://www.alltrails.com/trail/iceland/eastern/svinafellsjokull?u=i

13. Vestrahorn aka Stokksnes

Vestrahorn is beautiful but unfortunately when we were there the weather was absolutely treacherous. The wind is insane here and a thick fog covered the Vestrahorn peaks for 90% of the time. The wind was blowing so hard it blew our van door open and dented it. The rain, fog, and wind didn’t allow for a great photo op here and I actually ended up crashing my drone as you can see below.

Even though the weather was horrible and I crashed my drone the Viking Cafe is very cozy and serves some delicious pastries and coffee so we warmed up and dried off before moving on. You will have to stop at the Viking Cafe to purchase tickets to access the road to Vestrahorn although you could opt to hike instead of driving in. I recommend driving. The tickets are 900 ISK per person aka a little under $7 USD. You can also pay to camp and take showers at the Viking Cafe.

Distance: The full loop is 4 miles and will take you along the black sand beaches, a viking village replica, and right up to the base of Vestrahorn.

Location: https://www.google.com/maps/place/Viking+Café/@64.2549681,-14.9959195,17z/data=!3m1!4b1!4m9!3m8!1s0x48cfaa14e74910f3:0x2df23832cf682478!5m2!4m1!1i2!8m2!3d64.2549681!4d-14.9933446!16s%2Fg%2F1q6jbg7f9?entry=ttu