Royce Howland and Tim Vollmer will lead a small group on a Photography Tour to exceptional locations around Southwest Iceland, from the Snæfellsnes peninsula to Skaftafell in Vatnajökull national park. As a member of this group, you will experience some of the best photography opportunities found anywhere. Royce and Tim will discuss any aspect of photography with those who would like extra input.
Departure: 15 – 26 June, 2014
Duration: 12 Days / 11 Nights
Minimum number of participants 6, maximum 10.
Day 1, 15 June, 2014: Arrival
Pick up at Keflavík airport and transfer to the accommodation for the next three nights in Reykjavík.
Day 2, 16 June, 2014: City Centre & Icelandic Art
We will visit the Einar Jónsson sculpture museum and the National Gallery downtown Reykjavík.
Opposite the sculpture museum is Hallgrímskirkja church, presiding majestically over the capital area. The church is considered to be a landmark of Reykjavík city.
We explore the downtown area walking from the church down to the Lake Tjörnin and to the National Gallery.
The National Gallery is the national art museum with the main emphasis of the collection 19th and 20th century Icelandic art, but international art is featured as well.
The last stop of the day is at the Hólavallagarður cemetery, only a short walk away from Lake Tjörnin.
Day 3, 17 June, 2014: Borgarfjörður – Hraunfossar and Barnafossar Waterfalls – Húsafell
Today we explore the Borgarfjörður area, located in West Iceland.
On our drive through the area we stop by the Hraunfossar waterfalls (e. “Lava Falls”), which are a beautiful and unusual natural phenomena. Clear, cold springs of subterranean water seep through the lava and run in falls and rapids into the Hvítá River.
The nearby picturesque Barnafoss waterfall (e. “Children's Falls”) takes its name from two children, who disappeared many, many years ago from a nearby farm. There was a rock arch over the waterfall and the children are believed to have fallen off it into the river. Their grieving mother destroyed the arch and put a curse on the falls that nobody would ever be able to cross the river on such a rock arch and live, so don't even try.
Furthermore we visit Húsafell, a unique natural area covered with bushes, close to the glacier Langjökull glacier.
On our way to Snæfellsnes we stop at Gerðuberg, which is a unique belt of basalt columns, massive and spectacular, and a farm of the same name situated below them.
After exploring this beautiful area we head north to our accommodation on the Snæfellsnes peninsula, where we spend the next three nights.
Day 4, 18 June, 2014: Snæfellsjökull Glacier & Snæfellsnes National Park
The Snæfellsnes peninsula is about 90 km / 55mi long and well known for its diverse landscape and magical beauty with the Snæfellsjökull glacier towering over the Snæfellsnes National Park at the far end.
It is believed that Snæfellsjökull is one of seven main energy centre of the earth and here was the setting for the famous work of Jules Verne, Journey to the Centre of the Earth.
Range of mountains, black and light sand beaches, craters, lava fields, fjords, fishing villages, geothermal areas, mineral springs and cliffs with rich birdlife make Snæfellsnes one of the most diverse areas in Iceland.
Places of interest will be decided with the instructors beforehand and below you’ll find the options:
- Búðir’s history stretches back far. Long before a luxury hotel was built here; it was a trading centre from the 17th century. Búðir church and Búðahraun lava field has a romantic air about them and the view to the glacier and to the ocean is magnificent.
- Sönghellir (“Singing cave”) located southeast of the Snæfellsjökull Glacier is known for its echoes and old inscriptions on the walls.
Arnastapi fishing village on the coast south of the glacier was an important trading post in the past and now there is good anchorage for small boats. Here are rugged shore cliffs and abundant bird life. A very interesting old path follows the coastline through a lava field, where you can see old embarkation places of fishermen and lots of birds (Kittiwake, the Arctic tern and the Fulmar).
Hellnar fishing village was for centuries one of the largest fishing villages in the area, located just beneath the Snæfellsjökull ice cap. The hiking path from Arnastapi to Hellnar (1 hour) along the coast line and the lively bird cliffs can be recommended. End the hike at the very small and cosy restaurant Fjöruhúsið (seashore house), where you can get coffee and delicious soup.
Bárðarlaug at Hellnar is a crater pool and said to have been the bathing pool of the Bárður Snæfellsás, the main character in the Icelandic saga, dating from the latter part of the thirteenth century.
Djúpalónssandur is a beautiful pebbled beach, with a series of rocks of mysterious form emerging from the ocean.
Lóndrangar bird cliffs are uniquely-formed remnants of ancient basalt volcanic dikes sticking out from the sea. Lóndrangar and the hill Svalþúfa are the remains of a crater which has been eroded to its present form by the sea.
Saxhóll crater is easy to climb. There is a great view over the area from the top.
Day 5, 19 June, 2014: Kirkjufell – Bjarnarhöfn – Stykkishólmur fishing village
Today we spend the day at the northern side of the Snæfellsnes peninsula, where we have several options to choose from:
Stykkishólmur fishing village is beautifully-situated on the northern side of the Snæfellsnes peninsula, with beautiful and well-preserved old houses in the town centre.
Mount Drápuhlíðarfjall is beautifully colourful. It is composed of sulphur, basalt, jasper, rhyolite and lignite. It’s located on the north coast of the peninsula, near the fishing village Stykkishólmur.
At Bjarnarhöfn farm, we can visit an Interesting museum dedicated to shark catching in Iceland throughout the centuries and where we can taste the fermented shark produced on the farm.
Mount Kirkjufell is a well-known landmark of the Grundarfjörður fjord area for Grundarfjörður and by many believed to be the most beautiful mountain in Iceland.
Furthermore we have the option to take a Nature Watching Tour by boat from the harbour of Grundarfjörður. On this ocean adventure we’ll be taken on a
beautiful oak fishing vessel to a nearby island where puffins can be found in abundance along with numerous other seabirds. We might be lucky enough to see whales and seals on the tour.
Day 6, 20 June, 2014: Kaldidalur valley – Þingvellir National Park – Geysers – Gullfoss Waterfall
From Snæfellsnes to the Golden Circle the route lies through Borgarfjörður and Kaldidalur valley (e. “Cold valley”), which is a highland road leading along the glacier Langjökull taking us to the national park and UNESCO World Heritage Site Þingvellir.
Þingvellir is a remarkable geological site, and the most historic place on the island, where the world's oldest democratic parliament was founded in 930. The area is part of a fissure zone running through Iceland, being situated on the tectonic plate boundaries of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. The area is a magnificent showcase with all its faults and fissures and beautiful mountains surrounding it.
From Þingvellir we drive to the Geysir region, where we see the world famous geysers. The famous Geysir, now inactive rests beside the very active hot spring Strokkur, which sprouts high water columns up to 30 meters / 98 ft. into the air.
Just a few minutes’ drive from the geyser area we’ll find the Gullfoss waterfall (e. “Golden falls”), one of the most impressive waterfalls in Europe.
From here our route lies through the Þjórsárdalur valley to our accommodation on the edge of the highlands.
Day 7, 21 June. 2014: The Highlands & 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 travellers can bathe in.
There are some unusual geological elements in the area such as multi-coloured rhyolite mountains and lava fields. The area displays a wide spectrum of colours, including pink, green, brown, yellow, purple, blue, black and white.
Day 8, 22 June, 2014: Fjallabak nyrðri – Behind the Mountains
Today we leave Landmannalaugar and make our way to our guesthouse in Southeast Iceland. We will travel on the highland route Fjallabak nyrðri, which literarily means the northern road behind the mountains. Among the sights along the way is Eldgjá canyon (e “Fire canyon”), the largest volcanic canyon in the world, 40 km / 24 mi. long, 270 m / 885 ft. deep and 600 m / 656 yds. wide at its greatest. The magnificent Ófærufoss waterfall is within the canyon.
Arriving at the South Coast we drive towards the east to our accommodation in the area below Vatnajökull glacier.
Day 9 - 10, 23 - 24 June, 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 as well as the famous Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon. The lagoon is full of icebergs and short boat tours are offered among the huge icebergs, truly an unforgettable experience!
The glacial scenery continues with a visit to the stunning Skaftafell area within Europe’s largest national park, Vatnajökull National Park. Here the landscape has been formed in thousands of years by different influences of fire and water (volcanic eruptions and the glaciers).
We walk up to the Svartifoss waterfall (e. “Black waterfall”), which is surrounded by lava columns, arranged in a hexagonal pattern. These majestic columns create a vertical wall which Svartifoss falls down on is a sight truly bewitching.
We will also visit Höfn fishing village and the nearby area, where we have good view of the beautiful and picturesque Mount Vestrahorn.
Day 11, 25 June, 2014: Kirkjubæjarklaustur – Vík – Reynisfjara - Skógafoss - Seljalandsfoss
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.
Day 12, 26 June, 2014: Departure
Transfer from the accommodation in Reykjavík to Keflavík airport.
Price per person sharing a double room USD 6,725
Single supplement USD 800
- 11 nights including breakfast, there of 4 nights in rooms with shared facilities and 9 with private facilities.
- Full board from dinner on day one to breakfast on day twelve.
- Airport transfers.
- Private bus from day one to day thirteen.
- Professional photo-guides/instructors (Royce Howland and Tim Vollmer).
- Meeting facilities in the evening.
- Highland facility fees.
International airfares – available upon request from Esja Travel, optional tours, drinks, tips and anything that is not mentioned in the itinerary.