A unique Photo Tour and Workshop of the southwest and the south coast of Iceland with Michael Bailey and Tim Vollmer. Capture the Icelandic landscapes, shaped by volcanic activities and glacial ice.
Departure: 22 September – 3 October, 2014
Duration: 12 Days / 11 Nights
Minimum number of participants 8, maximum 12.
Day 1, 22 September, 2014: Arrival
Arrival at Keflavík Airport, where you‘ll be greeted by an Esja Travel representative. Transfer to your accommodation in Reykjavík.
Dinner and overnight in Reykjavík.
Day 2, 23 September, 2014: Reykjanes peninsula
The lava scarred Reykjanes peninsula lies on one of the world’s major plate boundaries, the Mid Atlantic Ridge. We will walk across a small footbridge between the two continents and see craters and an old lighthouse, Reykjanesviti.
We travel through lava fields to the Blue Lagoon for a relaxing dip in 38°C therapeutic geothermal water. The Blue Lagoon is surrounded by a moss-covered lava field dating back to 1226. After a refreshing bath in the lagoon, we continue to Reykjavík.
Dinner and overnight in Reykjavík.
Day 3, 24 September, 2014: Mountain Hengill geothermal area
The mountain Hengill geothermal area is one of the largest high-temperature fields in Iceland situated on an active volcanic ridge in Southwest Iceland. We visit Hellisheiði the geothermal power plant and surroundings. The area is situated on Hellisheiði heath just outside of Reykjavík. It is rugged, colourful and full of interesting spots to capture photos.
Dinner and overnight in Reykjavík
Day 4, 25 September, 2014: The Golden Circle: Hot Springs and Waterfalls
We head out of Reykjavík and make our first stop of the day near Nesjavellir geothermal power plant. Afterwards, we visit Þingvellir, Iceland’s first national park est. 1930. It is the site of the Viking Age parliament started in 930 AD and is located in a rift valley.
In the late morning, we visit Gullfoss waterfall and Geysir geothermal area. The waterfall is one of the most beautiful waterfalls in Iceland, and Geysir geothermal area is known for its spouting springs. Strokkur (the Butter churn) spouts every 3–8 minutes up to a height of 25 metres. We continue to the guesthouse in the highlands.
Dinner and overnight in a highland guesthouse.
Day 5, 26 September, 2014: Landmannalaugar
Landmannalaugar literally means people’s pools and is situated in the southern highlands close to the volcano Hekla. The name refers to the natural geothermal pools which travellers can bathe in. There are some unusual geological elements in the area such as multi-coloured rhyolite mountains and lava fields. The mountains display a wide spectrum of colours including pink, green, brown, yellow, purple, blue, black and white.
Dinner and overnight in a highland guesthouse.
Day 6, 27 September, 2014: Hekla mountain area – Þórsmörk valley -Vatnajökull National Park
Today we leave Landmannalaugar driving the main road along the Hekla volcano. A very active volcano for centuries, Mount Hekla is one of the most famous and “infamous” volcanoes in Iceland. It is thought that Hekla has had at least twenty eruptions since the settlement of Iceland. The biggest eruption was in 1104 when it erupted without warning ejecting millions of tonnes of tephra.
From the Hekla area our journey continues to Þórsmörk valley a nature reserve shielded on three sides by glaciers and mountains. The glacial melt-off forms rivers that have to be crossed on the way, which can change in a matter of hours from an innocent stream into a thunderous torrent. Once there we make a stop to enjoy the breath-taking scenery with its multitude of small gullies and valleys, clad with low birch-trees that create seemingly endless possibilities for the nature lover.
We will stay at a guesthouse south of Vatnajökull glacier an ideal choice for photographers who want to be near Jökulsárlón lagoon and the glacier in order to capture Iceland’s truly magical light that makes already extraordinary landscapes even more striking.
Dinner and overnight in near Vík village.
Day 7 – 8, 28 – 29 September, 2014: Vatnajökull glacier National Park
Vatnajökull glacier towers over this region and has immensely affected the landscape. We will visit many of Vatnajökull’s outlets and outwash areas and the Jökulsárlón lagoon, a famous glacial lagoon full of icebergs were we can take a short boat tour and sail among the huge icebergs, an unforgettable experience! The glacial scenery continues with a visit to the stunning Skaftafell, Iceland’s second largest national park were the landscape has been formed in thousands of years by different influences of fire and water (volcanic eruptions and the glaciers).
Dinner and overnight at in the vicinity of Vatnajökull glacier.
Day 9, 30 September, 2014: Hoffell valley
ATV tour from Hoffell farm into the nearby valley.
Hoffell farm is about 19 kilometres from Höfn and is surrounded by spectacular nature which displays in great adversity, from a huge flat open space to steep mountains, or from an ice cold glacier water to applied geothermal heat.
Day 10, 1 October, 2014: South Coast to Reykjavík
Today we head back to Reykjavík. Our first stop will be at the Kirkjubæjarklaustur village, which became well known in Iceland during the Lakagígar volcanic eruption in 1783 were a huge lava flow streamed from the 25 km / 15 mi. long row of craters in what became known as the “Skaftá Fires”. This is believed to have been one of the greatest lava flows in a single eruption in the history of the world.
The spectacle and easily accessible Fjarðárgljúfur canyon is our next destination before driving further towards the west through the Vík village. Near Vík we’ll find the Reynisdrangar and the black sand coast line at Reynisfjara. According to legend the Reynisdrangar needles were formed when two trolls were trying to drag a three-masted ship to land. When daylight broke they turned to stone. The needles can be seen clearly from the village of Vík and are 66 m / 216 ft. above sea level at their highest.
Next stop is Dyrhólaey bird cliff which is a 120 m / 394 ft. high promontory, not far from Vík and is the southernmost part of the country. From the top you have a great photographic view of the glaciers and the black coast line.
After Dyrhólaey we drive to Skógafoss which is one of the most beautiful waterfalls in the country with a width of 25 m / 82 ft. and a drop of 60 m / 197 ft.. Due to the amount of spray the waterfall consistently produces a single or double rainbow which is normally visible on sunny days.
The last stop on our way is Seljalandsfoss, another spectacular waterfall, also well-known and very picturesque. You can walk behind this waterfall and get a different photo angle.
Arrival in Reykjavík in the early evening. Dinner and overnight in Reykjavík.
Day 11, 2 October, 2014: Borgarfjörður
The area is characterized by forests and rocky islands, or bluffs, that rise from the vast, flat wetlands, as well as lava fields covered with moss and boundless stretches of Betula bushes, the largest of its kind in Iceland. Various trout and salmon rivers and many beautiful waterfalls are framed by unique nature. In the peaceful highlands of Borgarfjörður you can find Langjökull glacier, Kaldidalur and Arnarvatnsheiði, the most hidden treasure of the area, where you can discover many lakes full of trout.
We will drive to Borganes, the setting for most of the Icelandic sagas. The area‘s landscape, nature and culture reflect this heritage and bring history to life. Then we’ll drive up to Húsafell, a unique natural area covered with forest and closed to the glacier Langjökull. We will stop at Hraunfossar Lava falls a beautiful and unusual natural phenomenon. Clear, cold springs of subterranean water seep through the lava that runs in falls and rapids into the Hvítá River.
We continue to Deildartunguhver hot spring. The spring can be seen from miles around as it blows steam up into the air from the constant bubbling of hot water rising to the surface. Deildartunguhver is used to provide hot water for the region, and to supply local agriculture.
We head back in Reykjavík in the afternoon and have dinner at one of the fine restaurants.
Day 12, 3 October, 2014: Departure
Transfer to Keflavík airport in time for your departure.
- 11 nights incl. breakfast, in rooms with private facilities.
- Full board from dinner on day one to breakfast on day twelve.
- Private bus during the tour.
- Boat tour on Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon.
- ATV/Quad Bike Tour, 2 people per bike.
- Two experienced photo guides (Martin Bailey/Tim Vollmer).
- PDF Guidebook on your tour (delivered shortly after booking).
- Lodging tax.
International airfares – available upon request from Esja Travel, entrance fee to the Blue Lagoon, optional tours, drinks, tips and anything that is not mentioned in the itinerary.
Martin Bailey is British born though now a Japanese citizen, based in Tokyo. He’s a professional wildlife and nature photographer, with over 20 years of photography experience, and he runs popular tours and workshops in Japan, Africa, Antarctica, the US, Canada and the UK, as well as Iceland!
Also a Craft & Vision author, a Gura Gear Pro and X-Rite Coloratti member, Martin has also taught at the renowned Brooks Institute in Santa Barbara.
Languages: English and Japanese.