11 Day Photography Ring Tour of Iceland
This is a 11 day classic circle tour around Iceland, including all the major sights of interest along the ring road with the addition of Snæfellsnes peninsula, but at a slower pace, with more time each day to explore and to photograph.
- Golden Circle
- The South Shore
- Jökulsárlón Glacial Lagoon
- Dettifoss waterfall
- Lake Mývatn
- Snæfellsnes Peninsula
Day 1 – Arrival – Keflavík – Reykjavík
Arrival to Iceland.Meet and greet by your driver at arrivals.
Day 2 – Reykjavik – Snaefellsnes – Borgarnes
We will drive you through spectacular countryside with breath-taking mountain and coastal views. Stop at the charming coastal village of Arnarstapi, where you’ll have the chance to visit the natural Miðgjá rock arch, then the 19th-century Búðakirkja church.
For lunch, we’ll stop at the village of Hellnar (food and drink not included).
Next, we head into Snæfellsnes National Park, stopping at the 8,000-year-old Vatnshellir lava tube cave for a caving tour with a specialist caving guide. (The cave tour is included in your package price).Explore an incredible subterranean world with some scarcely believable natural lava formations, your guide will share some fascinating lava cave info with you.The caving tour is short and easy.
Snæfellsjökull Glacier. This is the glacier made famous by the novelist, Jules Verne. He chose this glacier for the entry point into the underworld when he wrote Journey to the Center of the Earth.
Onwards to the magnificent black pebble beach at Djúpalónssandur, framed by crazily shaped cliffs. You get time to explore the beach and even to try your hand at the ‘lifting stones’, the fisherman used to lift theseboulders to proclaim their strength.This coastline is very
beautiful but it can be treacherous, evidenced by the remains of the British Trawler, Epine, which was shipwrecked here.
On the way back to Reykjavík you are driven through legendary scenery, your next stop will be at Kirkjufell, many people say this is the most photographed Icelandic mountain.
Day 3 – Borgarnes – Vatnsnes (seals) – Hvitserk – Siglufordur – Dalvik
Beautiful scenery over Borgarfjordur can be seen from the top of the Grabrok crater. Mt. Grábrok can be ascended by a marked trail from the main Ring road no. Vatnsnes is an area of varied animal life, and it is here that we find the largest and most accessible seal sanctuary in Iceland, where the common seal (Phoca vitulina) can be seen at quite close range. Facilities for seal watching can also be found at Illugastaðir, Svalbarð and Ósar, but please note that the Hindisvík station has now closed.
The area offers a beautiful environment endowed with many pearls of nature such as Hvítserkur and Borgarvirki, as well as some famous historical trails and sites.
Hvítserkur: It is a 15m high monolith. The sea has through the ages creatively eroded the rock into a strange formation. Legend has that Hvítserkur was a troll caught by the sunrise while attempting to destroy the Christian monastery at Þingeyrar. The ring road round Vatnsnes is about 90 km and is mostly dirt/gravel road, passable all year round.
Siglufjörður is a town of about 1,300 people, located in North Iceland. It is the northernmost town of the mainland.
During the summer, it is the mountains, the lake and the black sandy shores which call to us, and there is a wide selection of walks and hikes in both mountain and valley to tempt the visitor. A few hours walking through the area’s rugged landscape gives one the chance to savour the peace and tranquillity which emanates from these natural elements.
Optional: The Síldarminjasafnið herring museum is the largest marine and industrial museum in Europe. It is housed in three widely differing premises where the visitor can become acquainted with the pursuit of the “silver darlings” and the processing of that valuable
commodity. Síldarminjasafnið received the European Museums Award, the Michletti Award, in 2004. The Folk Music Center is also to be found in Siglufjörður.
Day 4 – Dalvik – Akureyri – Godafoss – Myvatn
Akureyri, the capital of the north – the administrative, cultural and educational centre of North Iceland and one of the most beautiful Icelandic towns. In the downtown area you will find several cosy cafés, restaurants, shops, art galler ies and charming wooden houses. In
the town and its vicinity there are several interesting museum, such as folk museum, Nonni house, Industry museum, motorbike museum, aviation museum, to name but a few (http://www.visitakureyri.is/en/things-to- do/museums)! Sights not to be missed is Akureyri church; a walk through the northernmost botanical garden will surprise you with vivid colours and selection of plants you might not expect to find so close to the arctic circle.
Godafoss waterfall has long been known as one of the most beautiful sights to be seen in Iceland. Located right off the Ring Road no one should let this alluring beauty pass them by without a visit. The water of the river Skjálfandafljót falls from a height of 12 meters over a width of 30 meters.
Day 5 – Lake Myvatn
From desolate craters to bubbling mud pools and geothermal caves, the area around Lake Mývatn is a microcosm of all the natural wonders that Iceland has to offer. Rare birds abound, and the North ́s answer to the Blue Lagoon is a great place to soak up the view. But wherever you go, take time to enjoy the lake itself. With gnarled lava fields on the one side, and lush pastures on the other, it’s a beautiful area to spend time, with a wide range of places to explore. A decidedly lunar looking location, with scorched yellow
earth and sulfuric acid melting the ground into bubbling mud, Hveraströnd Sulfur Springs are one of the most popular sites to visit in the area. Referred to by various names, it lies at the foot of Námafjall (Mine Mountain), is accessed via Námaskarð (Mine Pass), but is actually called Hverir (Hot Springs) or Hveraströnd (Hot Springs Beach). To the North of Hveraströnd you can find the Krafla Caldera, an expansive cauldron shaped area where the Krafla Fires occurred in the 1970s. At the end of the road is Víti Maar (The Crater Of Hell), with it ́s opaque teal green lake. Or if you park in the car park before it, and take a short walk, you will find Leirhnjúkur, an incredible active lava field, with amazingly diverse rock formations and sulfur fields similar to Hveraströnd.
A short distance uphill from the lake is the North ́s version of the Blue Lagoon, Mývatn Nature Baths. A great place to soothe your aching limbs after hiking around the lava fields, the baths here are easily one of Iceland ́s finest geothermal pools. Arguably better than it ́s big brother in the south, the Mývatn Nature Baths feel less touristy, let you take pints of beer into the pool with you, and has magnificent views down the mountain, across the lake itself.
Dimmuborgir Lava Formation – Twisted towers of coagulated rock breach the earth’s surface to form a lava field full of giant pillars and arches to scramble around. These dramatic structures never fail to impress and aren’t known to exist anywhere else in the world
on dry land. The café here also stocks the local bread, a molasses concoction baked in geothermal vents, called Hverabrauð.
Höfði Lakeside Walk
Opposite Dimmuborgir, walking through a refreshingly green and forested area leads to a series of viewpoints, each offering different lakeside vistas and sights of the picturesque lava formations submerged within the lake itself. Skútustaðagígar Pseudo-Craters To the southwest, take a lengthier walk around the ‘pseudo-craters’. Small, easily accessible craters covered in grass, they make for a pleasant lakeside walking on a summer ́s afternoon.
Grjótagjá & Stóragjá Caves, There are two caves close to Reykjahlíð. The water that fills the caves is brightly blue and utterly clear, the air inside is warmed up by the heat of the water and the whole setting is otherworldly. The immense, charred black crater of Hverfjall looms as a constant presence across the east side of the lake. If wandering around the edge of a massive volcanic black hole sounds like your cup of tea, then this is definitely the place to do it.
Day 6 – Myvatn – Husavik – Asbyrgi – Dettifoss – Egilsstadir – Faskrudsfjordur
The main town of the Diamond Circle and of all northeastern Iceland, Húsavík is the location of the first settlement on the island and counts now about 2.300 inhabitants, squeezed in the tiny plot of land between Húsavíkurfjall, Húsavík mountain, in the back, and the waters of the Arctic Sea, in the front. The picturesque harbor is and has ever been the heart of the town. For decades the major industry has been fishing and fish processing. Now, although several fishing boats still make waves in this sea, Húsavík is renowned for being the whale- watching Capital of Iceland and one of the best spots in the world.
Ásbyrgi, a gigantic, anomalous, horseshoe-shaped rock formation, Ásbyrgi stands guard next to the northern entrance to the 35km Jokulsa Canyon. With geological wonders such as Hljoðaklettar and Dettifoss inside, the Jokulsa Canyon forms one of the most admired walking destinations in the country. The name Dettifoss could be loosely translated as ‘The Collapsing Waterfall’. Officially holding the title of the most powerful waterfall in Europe, an average of 96,500 gallons of water crosses its bow every single second. Such is its force, the mist from the falls are visible from several miles away. Straggling a 100 metre wide abyss, Dettifoss plummets 45 metres to the craggy shores below. To put this into perspective, this is about the height of the Statue of Liberty, so, pretty damn high. Dettifoss was recently featured in the opening scene of Ridley Scott’s 2012 Aliens prequel, Prometheus. There was also a piece named after it by the Icelandic composer, Jón Leifs.
Eastfjords: Between the slick black sands of the south-east coast, and the magnificent mountains of the east fjords this is a truly unique area . During the last ice age, the fjords were carved into the lava that was pre- existing which was then again altered by new eruptions that happened underneath the ice caps covering the area. The Eastfjords are a home to great waterfalls, lava caves, great history, museums, charming villages, amazing wildlife and hiking trails.
Day 7 – Faskrudsfjordur – Hofn – Jokulsalon – Skaftafell
Austurland, East Iceland is a wonderful place for the geology enthusiast. Everywhere from the undulating, green, soft valleys to the steep fjords, you are reminded of how the Earth became. The steep mountainsides in the Fjords are formed of thousands upon thousands of basaltic lava layers as wonderfully displayed in Breiðdalur and the Súlur mountain peaks. Often these are highlighted by bright red intermediary layers of ancient soil, most beautifully visible at Hengifoss and the neighbouring Strútsfoss. The ancient volcanoes have been eroded by the Ice age glaciers, thus displaying the myriad of dikes and other intrusions cutting like veins through the lavas and strata. The coast is fascinating in its variability, where the black sand meets the sunlit yellow and pink cliffs of the ancient, eroded, volcanoes in areas such as Þerribjörg and the Víknasloðir by Borgarfjörður Eystri.
The East boasts of a brilliant birdlife, most migrant birds arrive here, and vagrant species from mainland Europe are common guests, especially in and around Djúpivogur. Fljótsdalshéraðs coast is the home of world’s largest breeding colony of arctic skua, as well as common looms, great skuas, geese, swans and waders. The fjords are full of eider ducks and a great colony of gannets lives on the island of Skrúður. In the highlands, the wilderness around Snæfell, the Eyjabakkar and Vesturöræfi are home to the pink-footed goose and at Borgarfjörður and Skálanes.
Day 8 – Skaftafell – Vik – Seljlandsfoss – Skogarfoss – Hveragerdi
The drive to Skaftafell national park goes across the sands of glacier rivers.
At Skaftafell – the green oasis surrounded by glacial outlets and sands of glacial rivers you have a chance for short hikes:
You can take a walk to Svartifoss waterfall; another trail takes you to the glacial moraine of the Skaftafelsjökull glacier.
You will find detailed infromation about hiking trails and duration at the Skaftafell Visitor Centre. At Skaftafell it is also the best point to view Mt Hvannadalshnjúkur – highest point of Iceland at 2110 metres elevation.
Drive west along the ring road. Highlights along the way:
– Views of Sólheimajökull and Eyjafjallajökull glaciers. You can drive to the glacier parking lot and walk to the glacier moraine. Also possibility for a guided glacier hike on Sólheimajökull
– Dyrholaey promontory is the southernmost point of Iceland. From the lighthouse at the top of the cliffs the view stretch over endless black sands and glacier coverred mountains. Please, observe that early in summer access to Dyrhólaey may be limited to protect the nesting birds.
– Reynisfjara black sand beach (caution when on the beach: sea currents are very strong in this area and at irregular intervals sea wave may reach further up the shore than expected. Observe the signs on the spot!). Continue through the village of Vik with view of the Reynisdrangar stacks in the ocean just a short distance from the beach.
– A few km further along the way you will reach the impressive Skógafoss waterfall. From the top of the waterfall you can walk a bit further up the river and you will find several other small waterfalls and rapids in beautiful landscape.
Seljalandsfoss, a unique waterfall in the river Seljalandsá, about 30 km west from Skógar. It is 60 meters high with a foot path behind it at the bottom of the cliff, but with a thin cascade. It is the only known waterfall of its kind, where it is possible to walk behind it. The waterfall is very picturesque and therefore its photo can be found in many books and calendars.
Only a few kilometers away from the south shores of Iceland, lies the village of Skógar along the Southern Ring Road. It is a popular summer-resort centre surrounded by unusual scenic beauty. The breath-taking view of Skógafoss waterfall and scenic surroundings and the snow-capped heights of two towering glaciers are Skógar’s major summer attractions.
Day 9 – Hveragerdi – Geysir – Gullfoss – Thingvellir – Reykjavik
– Þingvellir (Thingvellir) national park you can either choose the north exit to ring road no.1 (via Mosfellsbær) and then continue along road no.36; The other option is going directly east out of Reykjavik onto the ring road no. 1, by road no 431/435 towards the Nesjavellir geothermal area at the foot of Mt. Hengill, continue north along the western side of Lake Þingvallavatn which will bring you to rd.36 and into the Thingvellir national park. Þingvellir is the site of the first parliament, founded in 930 and was designated a UNESCO World Heritage site for its cultural value. The Lake with its surroundings presents also a place of great geological interest.
Continuing around the lake turn off to rd. 365 that will bring you to Lake Laugarvatn taking you on to the Geysir geothermal area with abundance of hot springs. The main attraction of the area is the geyser Strokkur which spouts a coloumn of water into the air regularly every 5-10 minutes. Only 15-km further along the road you will find the Gullfoss waterfall (the Golden Falls) which drops in two cascades deep into the gorge of Hvítá glacial river.
Day 10 – Reykjavik
Day at leisure in the capital.
Day 11 – Departure day
Drive to Keflavík airport in time for check in for your international flight.
If your flight departs late afternoon, then you have the possibility to add an optional whale watching boat tour in the morning, drive around the Reykjanes peninsula or visit the Blue Lagoon before getting to the airport.
Dates & prices
From May to September
Included in the package price:
- 10 days transportation service
- 10 days professional guide
- 10 nights accommodation in double/twin rooms with private facilities, breakfast included
- Service and VAT
Not included in the package price:
- Optional tours
- Admissions fees
- Meals other than breakfast