The Land of Fire and Ice has ample opportunities to take “that perfect shot”. Iceland offers unique photo opportunities for all skill levels, from beginners to pros. Capture stunning shots and enhance your photography skills in this remarkable destination. But are there any must-visit spots in Iceland for photography?
Absolutely! Whether you're a photographer seeking inspiration or simply in awe of stunning landscapes, we’ll be diving into the top 30 Iceland photography locations.
1: Budakirkja aka The Black Church of Budir, South Side of the Snæfellsnes Peninsula
When you get to this location, you will be forgiven for thinking that you’ve stepped onto a movie set. Located in a vast open lava field, this pitch-black church exudes an eerie and mysterious atmosphere, especially on cloudy days. It's also a prime spot for capturing Iceland's mesmerizing Northern Lights if you time your visit perfectly.
2: Strokkur, East of Reykjavik
At Strokkur the perfect shot feels like a game of Fastest Fingers First. Strokkur is the (very active) sister geyser that’s just a few meters from Geysir. It was the first geyser to be discovered, and the very reason why we now refer to these little water volcanoes as geysers in the first place. Taking a picture of one of the Stokkur eruptions is incredibly impressive, but you need to move fast not to miss it. You’ll also need to have some skill not to end up with a watery blur.
3: The Solheimasandur Plane Wreck, Near Vik
The haunting image of a plane wreck on a black sand beach makes for some of the best Iceland photos. And don’t worry; here you can click away without feeling any guilt over benefiting from a tragedy. This US plane simply had to do an emergency landing, and no one was killed or seriously injured.
The reason why it’s still “decomposing” on our shores is simply because the US abandoned it after deciding it was not worth salvaging. This is yet another site where one can also catch the Northern Lights under the right conditions.
4: Seljalandsfoss Waterfall, South Coast of Iceland
This is the place to go if you’re interested in Iceland landscape photography. Seljalandsfoss is one of our most impressive waterfalls here in Iceland. It’s a staggering 60 meters tall and not only does it afford you magnificent views on the trail walking up towards the falls, but this waterfall is also known as “the waterfall you walk behind”. This means that you can take panoramic landscape photos from behind a veil of water.
5: Kirkjufell Mountain, the North Coast of the Snæfellsnes Peninsula
This odd-looking cone-like mountain has been the subject of many a photograph. This is probably due to its weird look as well as the fact that it’s located so conveniently close to the city. That being said, since the site was used as a location on the series, Game of Thrones, Kirkjufell’s popularity has grown even more.
6: The Ice Caves of Vatnjajökull National Park, South East Iceland
Some of the most impressive images of Iceland are captured within the ice caves of Vatnjajökull National Park. These caverns of glossy bright blue walls and glistening stalactites hanging from the “ceiling” have a fairy-tale quality to them.
Photographers seeking to incorporate vibrant colors into their Iceland pictures should explore the ice caves. The translucent blue ice often contrasts with dark streaks of volcanic ash, creating a captivating frozen view. If these sound like the type of Iceland pictures that you are interested in, you’ll need to plan your trip for one of the winter months, since the ice caves are usually closed during the warmer months due to safety concerns.
7: Skogafoss Waterfall, Near Skogar
Where Seljalandsfoss Waterfall offers you sky-high Iceland photography opportunities, Skogafoss’s magic lies at ground level. Skogafoss is 60 meters high and 25 meters wide and is one of the few waterfalls that you can get up close and personal to.
In fact, you can get as close to the powerful mass of water plummeting to the ground as you safely can, which is the very reason why one can take such impressive photos here. One person standing on a floor of black pebbles with a wall of water dramatically dropping down behind him/her makes some of the best Iceland photos.
8: Reynisfjara Black Sand Beach, Near Vik
This location offers so many amazing Iceland picture opportunities that you’re likely to spend an entire day here. From dramatic hexagonal black basalt cliffs, and strange rock formations rising out of the sea to a black sand beach that stretches out for kilometers and the waves crashing on the shore – you can have your pic of interesting sights, colors, and textures here.
9: Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon, Southern Part of Vatnajökull National Park
The Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon is one of the best photography locations in Iceland. Especially if you go on one of the boat tours. Here you will find the Breidamerkurjökull Glacier, giant icebergs floating around, and sheets of ice that often carries a sun tanning seal or two. If your wildlife photography also extends to birds, you will find plenty of bird species here.
10: Thakgil Canyon, Near Vik
When you visit Pakgil it might feel like you’ve gone through a portal and entered the realm of the elves. This is also why it’s not surprising that legend claims that there are elves who have made Pakgil their home. Pakgil is not your normal canyon with a sandy floor, barren landscape, and steep cliffs.
This canyon has plenty of water running through it with lush green vegetation which includes a bright-green moss that covers everything from the ground up to the top of the mountain cliffs.
11: Thorsmork aka The Valley of Thor, the South Highlands
Porsmork is a mountain ridge close to Eyjafjallajökull Volcano. Here you will need to work for the photography rewards this site has to offer. Even though you’ll find plenty of photo opps in the area, it is only when you hike to a few of the extraordinary vantage points that you get to see (and take a couple of snaps) of the expansive views across the Icelandic landscape.
12: Hraunfossar Waterfall, Borgarfjördur in West Iceland
This site actually has numerous waterfalls, and definitely not the type that you envision. Instead of water from a river or lake gushing over a cliff edge, these waterfalls seem like they originate straight from the cliff face. This is due to multiple streams flowing through a porous lava field. When you visit the site during autumn, the waterfalls along with the multicolored vegetation surrounding them make some of the best images of Iceland.
13: The Sun Voyager Statue, Reykjavik
The Sun Voyager is a sculpture that is found on the Reykjavik waterfront. Except for the fact that it’s an impressive piece and makes for equally impressive photos with the ocean stretching out from behind it, the structure of the installation itself causes interesting shadows on and around it. We recommend that you visit during sunrise or sunset for some of the best Iceland photos.
14: The Blue Lagoon, Near Grindavik in the Reykjanes Peninsula
The Blue Lagoon is probably one of the most popular and well-known hot springs here in Iceland. This is because of its unique aesthetic of bright blue water against its rocky edges, and when visiting during the colder months you’ll get a nice steamy effect coming from the water as well. The Blue Lagoon has actually been featured in a myriad of movies, so between videography and photography, this location is definitely a winner.
15: The Icelandic Horses, All Across the Island
If you don’t know yet, the island boasts its own breed of horse that’s (quite unimaginatively) called the Icelandic Horse. But as bland as the name might seem, the breed is incredibly impressive. These horses have a pony-like stature and can perform an extra gait called the tölt. They are also known for their friendly nature and sport a thick, fluffy coat during the colder months. Such unique horses make unique subjects for unique pictures of Iceland.
16: The Skeidara Bridge Monument, Svinafell
This location offers similar photo opportunities to the Sun Voyager, but its backstory makes for extra powerful images. The Skeidara Bridge Monument may look like just a striking art installation, but these twisted chunks of metal serve as a reminder of just how powerful nature can be. When the Vatnajökull Volcano exploded in 1996, the eruption caused a major glacial flood.
It absolutely devastated certain areas of the island, including parts of the Ring Road. The Skeidara Bridge was the longest bridge in Iceland at the time and was washed away along with the rest of the affected Ring Road. The twisted metal used in The Skeidara Bridge Monument is some of the remnants of the actual Skeidara Bridge.
17: Svartifoss Waterfall, Skaftafell in Vatnajökull National Park
This is one of the waterfalls in Iceland that’s known for its unique aesthetic. Svartifoss Waterfall is not very tall compared to its counterparts all across the island, clocking in at just 20 meters.
But what makes this waterfall so special is the hexagonal black basalt column backdrop that almost seems to want to wrap itself around the falls and strangely reminds one of a church organ. Svartifoss has acted as a muse for many an artist here on the island, so perhaps it will inspire your Iceland photography as well.
18: Hallgrimskirkja, Reykjavik
Remember how we said that Svartifoss served as an inspiration to many? Well, take a look at Hallgrimskirkja and see if anything looks familiar to you. Hallgrimskirkja is one of our most famous architectural works and many visitors flock to see and admire it. Not only does Hallgrimskirkja make a great photography subject, but you can actually go up to the tower, where you’re met with spectacular views.
19: Diamond Beach, South Coast of Iceland
Diamond Beach can be found next to the Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon and makes for excellent photos (especially if you like playing with light). Diamond Beach is a black sand beach where thousands of pieces of ice wash ashore. These pieces of ice glisten like diamonds in the sun when the sun shines on them, hence the name. You can just imagine why we think some of the best Iceland photos get taken at this location.
20: Svinafellsjökull Glacier, Skaftafell in Vatnajökull National Park
Svinafellsjökull is probably the easiest glacier to get close to if you don’t want to pay for a boat tour at Jokulsarlon. All it takes is a 3-kilometer drive on the dirt road that leads to the parking lot, then it’s just a short 5-minute walk ‘till you reach the glacier lying in the water like a giant ice mountain having a quick swim.
21: Dettifoss Waterfall, Vatnajökull National Park
The mere fact that Dettifoss is officially the most powerful waterfall in Europe should tell you what type of Iceland pictures you can look forward to at this location. But it’s not just the brute force and the amount of water that gushes over the cliffs that make Dettifoss a breathtaking sight – Dettifoss is 45 meters high and a staggering 100 meters wide!
22: Whales, All Across the Island, but Especially Husavik
If you fancy yourself a bit of a wildlife photographer, you’ll get really excited about the chance to take a few pics of these gentle giants of the ocean. For the best whale photos, we recommend that you go on one of the whale tours. You’ll find plenty in Reykjavik, but we recommend that you go to Husavik (known as the whale capital of Iceland).
On a boat tour, you’ll be able to get up close and personal to the whales who might be cruising peacefully alongside the boat, have some lift their head out of the water to take a curious peek, or, if you’re lucky, breach. If this is something you want on your Iceland photography itinerary, we recommend that you plan a trip between April and September when all sorts of migratory whale species also make the Icelandic coast their home.
23: Stampahraun Lava Field, Southern Peninsula
This expanse of volcanic terrain is any photographer’s dream. With its textured and uneven surfaces, and with steam being released at various spots, you can choose between taking incredible landscape photos or angling the camera to capture something a little bit more abstract.
24: Fjörukrain the Viking Village, Hafnarfjördur
This is when you’re in the mood for one of those fun photoshoots. Fjörukrain is an authentic Viking Village that includes Vikings and an authentic Viking feast that you can join. This is probably the closest you’ll get to actually time traveling back to the Viking era, and makes for a few interesting photo opps.
25: Landmannalaugar, Southern Highlands
It is not an easy journey to get to Landmannalaugar, but you won’t regret it. It is a mountainous region that offers breathtaking views, but it’s especially during sunrise and sunset when the shadows and light play with the contours of the hills, that the landscape starts looking like a massive sandpit where a giant ran its fingers through.
26: The Puffins, the Latrabjarg Cliffs in the Westfjords
Puffins are penguin-like birds with bright-colored beaks that make the island their home each year from May to August. These guys are lovingly referred to as the “clowns of the sea” due to their odd appearance.
If you visit the island later in the breeding season, you’ll not only be able to capture these much-loved and funny-looking birds, but you’ll need to be careful not to keel over due to a cuteness overload as the little Pufflings (yes, that’s actually what the babies are called) waddle all over the island.
27: Godafoss Waterfall, Near Akureyri in North Iceland
It might feel like this is the 1000th waterfall we’re listing in this article, but we have over 10,000 here on the island, and we can assure you that the ones we list here all have very different and unique qualities to them. Godafoss translates to ‘waterfall of the gods’.
And while many believe the name is due to the legend that a chieftain through all his Norse god idols into the falls as a symbol of Iceland’s conversion to the Christian faith, we tend to believe that it’s the beauty of the falls that can only be described as heavenly. Godafoss is 12 meters high and 30 meters wide and forms a semicircle as the water plummets into a bright blue pool below.
28: Sky Lagoon, Kopavogur
Sky Lagoon is another famous hot spring hotspot. And just like the Blue Lagoon, it also offers a unique aesthetic with unique photo opps. You see, Sky Lagoon got its name from the eagle’s eye view it gives over the Atlantic and the capital city from the edge of its infinity pools. This makes for great photos where it almost seems like the pool’s edge is where the world ends. You can also take amazing landscape photos from the edge of the pool.
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29: Dynjandi Waterfall, the Westfjords
This is definitely one of our favorite waterfalls when it comes to Iceland photography. That’s because Dynjandi is a multi-tier waterfall that resembles a wedding cake, especially when the frothing white water looks like the “cake” has been covered in icing. This is one of the must-visit Iceland photography locations simply because it’s so incredibly unique.
30: The Hvitserkur Sea Stack, Vatsnes Peninsula
This is another rock formation found here on the island. But it’s not just another unusual stack of rocks; this rock formation looks like a strange creature standing in or drinking from the ocean. The mere fact that different angles can make the formation have a completely different appearance gives ample opportunity to play around and come up with a few interesting shots.
Iceland Photography; Capturing All the Land of Fire and Ice Has to Offer
As you can see, the opportunities that an Iceland photography trip brings are quite unique. Not only can you explore and capture interesting places, but the diversity just one trip to the island will bring to your portfolio is staggering.
From action wildlife photography and architectural images to pictures depicting contrasting landscapes and portraits of interesting people. Are you excited yet? Well, what are you waiting for? Book that trip, rent a car in Reykjavik, and get this Iceland photography road trip started!