well my first main tip about traveling to iceland would be to become very close friends with jackie of jacilyn m photography and have her come along with you, because to be honest, she planned this entire trip. when we arrived in Reykjavik i barely knew where iceland was on a world map let alone what was there to see around the island. she had things mapped out down to the grocery store, and without her, steph and i would have surely been eating … well, who knows. super grateful for all the time she spent researching and fitting everything into our short 6 day adventure. starting off the trip i knew nothing but the name of the capital city Reykjavik, but i did learn a thing or two while we were there so hope these tips help some of you planning future trips to this magical island!
accommodation: happy campers camper van!
we rented a camper van from Happy Campers after hearing how cold it would be and deciding against our original tenting idea. it. was. awesome. – being able to pull over on the side of the road and sleep and cook anywhere was perfect. the one thing we learned is to always get a van that accommodates an extra person to give you a little room, we had 3 of us in a 4 person van and it perfect. one tip: bring or rent extra blankets 😉
things to keep in mind:
-they aren’t joking when they say it’s FREEZING in iceland! even on the days (okay the DAY) that we saw the sun, it was still damp and windy and chilly to the bone. the first day we arrived the wind was crazy intense and i could barely sleep in fear our van was actually going to blow over. haha.
i brought my dad’s fur hat he wears in the winter when he’s working and it seriously made my whole trip better. get one!
-liquor stores are not easily found, so if you want happy hour on your iceland tour, get your liquor at the duty free when you fly into the airport. we totally dropped the ball on this and consequently had a great detox week!;)
-you might read somewhere that you can circle the whole island in a matter of hours but it’s not true… you can drive for hours and hours and still not see everything. we drove over 2,000 miles in 6 days and we all can’t wait to go back.
the north is flat and interesting (see photographs above) and it is where they filled beyond the wall in game-of-thrones, and then once you get to the south there is literally a waterfall around every corner. we would no word of a lie see hundreds and hundreds of amazing falls that we wanted to explore if we had more time. although the big touristy falls are beautiful, some of my favorites were the random paths off the the side of the road that we followed and had all to ourselves, so be sure to leave time to go explore!
vik was my favorite part of the island, and i can’t wait to go back and spend more time here. everything was so mystical and moody and it seemed like there was so much exploring to do! loved the black sand beach here too!
brook and austins wedding was in budir on the peninsula (if you haven’t seen it, click here:)) which was really beautiful and interesting country – it was like a different planet! i loved the roads and the mountains over here – such a cool part of the world!
**i would love to visit the west fjords next time i go, time just didn’t permit it this trip but it looks beautiful!
even though it was super busy with tourists, the skogafoss waterfall blew my mind with it’s size and power. standing infront of it with the cold mist blowing in my face was really recharging. don’t be scared of getting wet or cold!
kvernafoss is a less known waterfall and was definitely one of my favorite memories while we were there. we walked in at midnight and we were the only ones there, so magical!
walking into the abandoned seljavallalaug hotsprings pool back in the mountains built in the 1920’s – it seriously felt like we were in lord of the rings ‘rivendale’, looking out to all the cascading waterfalls. sureal really.
jokulsarlon lagoon – the color of the water here is not edited, it is so blue it will blow your mind and the iceburgs were so cool to see and make for some fun photographs! it can be cold and windy so dress accordingly!
the fjaorargljufur canyon was INSANE – in the middle of what looks like a field, boom there is the most epic canoyon i’ve ever seen with blue glacier water running down the middle of it. i even convinced my sister who is deathly afraid of heights to walk out there with me:)
and my absolute favorite waterfall we visited was gljufrafoss – most people climb up and view it from the top but we all put on our rubber boots (yes with these dresses:)) and walked up the stream to get inside of it and WOW… it was like a fairyland in there. these pictures were FREEZING to get but so worth it. what a magical moment.
packing must- haves:
- rubber boots!
- fur hat of some kind to block wind:)
- an inverter for your car rental to charge cameras and phones (we rented one from Happy Campers)
-multiple warm coats because you’re definitely going to get soaked a few times, especially standing by waterfalls:)
- OLD bathingsuits- the hotsprings are hard on your suits and the abandoned pool left black soot inbedded in the fabric:) not the place for your new favorite ‘kini 😉
- a BRIGHT jacket so it stands out in photographs! 😉
photography must haves:
- 85mm or 100mm for road photographs (something with some compression)
- 35mm f/1.4L (most of my photographs were shot with this lens along with the lee filters polarizer adapter and tripod for long-exposure shots)
- 8-15mm fisheye! so great when you’re in tight spots or close to waterfalls.
- a drone if you have one! i didn’t have mine in time but it would have been awesome!
again, a huge thanks to jackie who had most of these spots already picked out when we got there, it was so fun to get to experience these memories with her and my little sister steph – what a cool adventure:) already can’t wait to go back! so! hope this was helpful and happy planning!! if you have any questions leave them in the comments below and i will do my best to answer them!!