Extreme 13 Day Photography Workshop in the Highlands of Iceland
Join award-winning landscape photographers from Iceland on this 13-day Extreme Iceland Highlands Photography Workshop, and capture the country's South Coast, Highlands and Northern vistas.
This ultimate itinerary explores prime locations for landscape photographers, such as the ice beach, the glacier lagoon and majestic waterfalls like Goðafoss. It also welcomes you to incredible landscapes of Highlands which can only be accessed during the summer.
You will be travelling in a modified 4 x 4 vehicle to reach the great wilderness of Highlands safely. All your accommodation will be in hotels and guesthouses with private bathrooms.
This is a great opportunity to photograph both the landmarks on and off-beaten tracks of Iceland while learning new techniques to take your photography skills to a higher level.
Capture the beauty of the incredible Highlands and more. See the daily itinerary below and check availability by choosing a date.
Day 1 - Arrival to Reykjavik
After landing at Keflavík International Airport, you'll take the FlyBus to your hotel in central Reykjavík. Your guides will meet up with you in the lobby at 19:00 and you'll go out for a nice meal at a nearby restaurant, where you‘ll get to know each other and go over the itinerary of the photography adventure awaiting you. You‘ll spend the night at your Reykjavik hotel.
Day 2 - Seljalandsfoss, Skógafoss, Vík and Reynisfjara
On this day, you‘ll travel the South Coast of Iceland, to visit amazing waterfalls and one of Iceland‘s most spectacular beaches.
Seljalandsfoss is a narrow waterfall that drops from 63 meters high and is one that you can actually walk behind. Nearby is the 40 m high 'hidden waterfall' Gljúfrabúi, which you'll also be photographing. Its location means that it is often overlooked but it is certainly impressive in its own right and one you can get quite close to.
You will then head on to the waterfall Skógafoss, one of the higher falls in Iceland, as well as one of its most beautiful. This waterfall can be photographed from the top, as there is a pathway leading up. Skógafoss is also known to produce a double rainbow.
Next, you‘ll head towards the southernmost part of the Icelandic mainland, the village Vík and its famous beach, Reynisfjara. With its dramatic scenery, this beach is a photographer‘s dream. You‘ll have the black sands and pebbles, the basalt column pyramid of Garðar and the impressive Reynisdrangar sea stacks protruding towards the sky from the wild North Atlantic Ocean. There is also a charming lighthouse not far off, at the Dyrhólaey promontory.
Photographing the beach by the rays of the midnight sun is particularly great, as the twilight gives off a great variety in colours and lends an otherworldly feel to the area. Your night will then be spent at Vík.
Day 3 - Svínafellsjokull and Jökúlsárlon
On this day you‘ll head eastwards and visit the natural reserve Skaftafell, part of the vast Vatnajökull National Park. Skaftafell is a lovely place with lush vegetation and beautiful waterfalls, most famously Svartifoss, with its black basalt columns and wonderful contrasts.
Further east you‘ll also be photographing the amazing beauty of Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon. The lagoon is riddled with glistening icebergs of various shapes and sizes that have broken from Breiðamerkurjökull glacier. Further icebergs can be found on the adjacent black sand beach.
You might also photograph some of the many birds that nest in the area. You will then stay overnight in the area of Skaftafell.
Day 4 - South Fjallabak
On this day you‘ll be travelling north of Mýrdalsjökull glacier, taking the South Fjallabak highland route. This is a volcanic area of dark sands and moss-covered lava, with colourful mountains, mostly rhyolite ones.
You‘ll be focusing on two mountains, Öldufell, situated above a green valley with many lovely waterfalls, and the singular Mælifell, a roughly 800 m high volcanic tuff cone, rising like a green pyramid from the dark desert that surrounds it. Another waterfall awaits, the beautiful Axlárfoss in the river Holmsá. Framed with more basalt columns, it‘s a great sight with photogenic contrasts.
You‘ll then finish up for the day by enjoying an overlook of the immense volcanic canyon Eldgja. Stretching from the Mýrdalsjökull glacier to the Gjatindur peak, it is over 40 km long, 600 m at its widest and 270 m deep. It was created in a massive eruption around the year 900 and its lava field covers around 700 km squared.
Afterwards, you‘ll head for the nearby guesthouse, where you will spend the night.
Day 5 - Eldgja and the Veiðivötn area
On this day you‘ll be taking a hike to further explore the unique Eldgjá canyon. On your way, you‘ll stop to photograph a beautiful waterfall called Ófærufoss, which falls in two cascades from the North-Ófæra river. You'll then be photographing the crater lakes of Bláhylur and Ljótipollur, both situated in the highland lake area of Veiðivötn.
Your night will then be spent at a hotel in the highlands.
Day 6 - Landmannalaugar
On this day you'll start out visiting the lovely highland oasis of Landmannalaugar. With its hot springs and natural baths, its colourful rhyolite mountains, its spectacular rock formations, vast lava fields and lush vegetation, the area is one of the most popular and photogenic places in the country.
You‘ll be photographing its wonders and travelling the ridge of Frostastaðaháls for a nice overlook of the area, including Frostastaðavatn lake. You'll then be shooting the many beautiful waterfalls of the Sigöldugljúfur canyon. While not as well known as many of the other Icelandic attractions, they are true marvels, and sure to result in stunning photos. The contrast of the green moss, the water and the dark rocks make for a particularly pleasing effect.
On this day you‘ll also have the option of bathing in the Landmannalaugar natural baths.
Day 7 - Veiðivötn and Haifoss
On this day you'll return to Veiðivötn and further explore and photograph the area‘s many beautiful highland lakes, its craters and lava. You'll then travel west of the Fjallabak reserve to photograph Háifoss waterfall, Iceland‘s third-highest falls, dropping from 122 meters into a deep river gorge, and its neighbouring falls, Granni. The features are in the river Fossá, itself a tributary of the Þjórsá glacier river, the longest river in Iceland.
If conditions are favourable you‘ll also photograph a third waterfall in the river, Hjalpárfoss. This is a two-stepped falls and framed with basalt formations, offering a good photogenic contrast to the whiteness of the water. After photographing these spectacular falls, you'll retire for the night.
Day 8 - Sprengisandur to Goðafoss
On this day, you'll be taking a drive through the Sprengisandur highland plateau, which links the north and the south. This was a major route in former times, and three glaciers may be spotted on your way, Hófsjökull, Tungnafellsjökull and Vatnajökull.
The route also has strong links to folklore and outlaws were said to have resided in the area, Fjalla-Eyvindur being the most famous.
After travelling the route, you'll be photographing three fascinating waterfalls; Aldeyjarfoss, Hrafnabjargafoss and Goðafoss, all located in the mighty glacier river Skjálfandafljót. At the 20 m high Aldeyjarfoss you‘ll have a nice contrast between massive black basalt columns and the whiteness of the water. Hrafnabjargafoss similarly offers a magnificent sight.
Lastly, Goðafoss is the most famous of the three, named 'the waterfall of the Gods'. Beauty-wise, the name certainly fits, and legend has it that when an old chieftain and lawspeaker had to settle a religious strife between Christians and pagans around the year 1000, he declared Christianity the official custom by symbolically throwing the icons of the old Nordic gods into the water here.
Your night will be spent in the area of Lake Mývatn.
Day 9 - North Iceland
On this day you'll explore the amazing scenery of Lake Mývatn, one of the most popular attractions in Iceland. In the lake are many small islands, some of them pseudo-craters. Other interesting rock formations are found in the area, and it is rich in both flora and wildlife.
Mývatn is further famous for its natural baths. As with Landmannalaugar, bathing here is optional but not included in the tour fee.
Today, you'll also be photographing the stunning waterfalls of the mighty glacial river Jökulsá á Fjöllum, the most famous of which is Europe's most powerful waterfall, the thunderous Dettifoss. The others, while lower, are still a feast for the eye and for your camera.
After this, you will photograph geothermal areas, volcanoes and craters. This includes the Námafjall geothermal area, east of Mývatn, where you‘ll find boiling mudpots and solfataras. While a highly photogenic area, it does give off a lot of hot steam, as well as a strong sulphur smell, so please take caution.
After photographing on this day, you plan to spend the night again in the Mývatn area.
Day 10 - Skagafjörður
On this day you‘ll head toward the Skagafjörður district. This area is well known for its great singers, history and horse culture.
The Icelandic horse is a small, sturdy, sure-footed and noble animal, known to be good-tempered and famous for its five gaits. Special respect must be taken for the horses; please don't use the flash, and approach them with the care and gentleness they deserve.
As you photograph the turf buildings, you'll get an opportunity to explore one of the country's oldest churches. Inside are some nice baroque wooden roof trims, a rare style in such buildings. An old turf wall lies around the church and its graveyard blends very nicely into the mountainous landscape.
Finally, you'll be shooting pictures of the scenic Reykjáfoss waterfall in Svartá river. It is the largest and most impressive falls in the area, great for photography. You'll then spend the night at a guesthouse in Skagafjörður.
Day 11 - South through the Highlands
On this day you‘ll be photographing the impressive and colourful rhyolite mountain range Kerlingarfjöll and the nearby geothermal area of Hveravellir, one of the largest geothermal areas in Iceland.
Here you‘ll find hot springs, smoking fumaroles and multi-coloured sinters, and there‘s even a geothermal hot pool nearby to bathe in. You'll also photograph another waterfall, Gygjarfoss.
Accommodation for the night will be in the Kerlingarfjöll area.
Day 12 - Gullfoss and Geysir
On your final day of photographing, you'll be taking more time to take pictures of the colourful Kerlingarfjöll area. You will then head southwards towards two of the three essential attractions that make up the famous Golden Circle sightseeing route.
First up is the magnificent Gullfoss. It is one of the most beautiful and photogenic of all waterfalls in Iceland, falling thunderously from a drop of 32 meters into a narrow gorge, in the Hvíta glacier river. Here you may be able to feel the spray of the water on your face.
The other Golden Circle attraction you'll be exploring is the famous Geysir geothermal area. Geysir itself seldom erupts anymore but its neighbour, Strokkur spouts hot water as high as 20 meters every 5 minutes. There is also nice forestry in the area, an old and fragile natural pool and a charming old wooden church. In its diversity and beauty, Geysir is a lovely place to take some stunning photos.
Slightly further southward, you'll be photographing the beautiful Bruárfoss waterfall. This waterfall is really made up of numerous small ones that fall together into an icy blue gap. It is seen as a kind of a hidden wonder, as it’s not immediately visible from the road, but once you‘re there it‘s a real marvel to capture.
Afterwards, you'll head back to Reykjavik. You'll have final dinner together and say your goodbyes.
Day 13 - Departure
Today you will join the FlyBus to Keflavík Airport and leave Iceland.
What to bring
Good to know
This tour is led by award-winning instructors:
7-19 August 2021
10-22 July 2022
Please note that the tour is always dependent on weather, as the Icelandic weather can indeed be highly unpredictable.