I’ll start this post with a no make-up / iceberg selfie. Something you should know about me, I’m all or nothing when it comes to make-up … I either have a full face or go fully feral. When traveling, I’m 95% of the time no make-up … Ain’t nobody got time for that.
After sharing my Norway posts, I wanted to try and get my Iceland trips on my blog because my obsessive brain couldn’t handle posting my new Iceland photos and them all being in the wrong order. I’ve visited twice in Winter and stayed for New Year’s Eve, then came back in the Summer and drove 2000 miles around the perimeter of the island.
I mulled over this for a few weeks and concluded that blogging about each thing we had done across our three trips there would take about 16 posts and be super photo heavy … There was just no way. Instead I decided I would pick my all time favourite moments from all our time in Iceland and share them. In no time at all I’ll be on my way back there for the fourth time to get married; The amazing times we’ve spent in this stunning country are a big part of why it’s the perfect place for us to wed.
Skógafoss and Seljalandsfoss are two stunning waterfalls just off route 1. I’ve seen them in Summer and Winter but they looked their most beautiful in a particularly snowy Winter where they were frozen and lined with icicles. The polar night sunrise illuminated the sky in pinks, blues and purples, which made the whole landscape look other worldly.
In the East of Iceland is a glacier lagoon, Jokulsarlon, where icebergs from the glacier tongue fall off into the lagoon making it look like a bonsai Antartica. This is one of my favourite places in the world, the colours and landscape are unreal.
In Iceland, you can wear your sunglasses at night. This photo was taken at 11pm in Myvatn nature baths, a geothermal spa in the North which is a lot quieter than the Blue Lagoon.
When I stayed in a cabin in Þingvellir national park, I spent evenings in the hot tub looking up at the stars with cold cans of Diet Coke.
One of the most famous things to do in Iceland is the Blue Lagoon so it obviously gets a mention, but it’s worth noting there are lots of natural hot springs and less popular spas which are quieter, cheaper and more interesting. With that said, I love the Blue Lagoon anyway, being immersed in hot water and chilling is one of my favourite pastimes so there’s room in my life for geothermal things of all shapes and sizes.
There’s a bar in the middle and being a skincare nut, I love paddling over to the face masks and stocking up in their shop. Oh and they sell slush puppies, need I say more?
If you drive anywhere in Iceland you’ll get used to these yellow posts, they show where the road is in snow and on our road trip around the island I must have seen thousands of them. When I stayed there at Christmas the snow was quite deep so we could only see the tips sticking out.
On my 27th birthday I went whale watching in the West of Iceland and spotted a humpback whale breaching! I jumped as I didn’t expect it so didn’t get a great shot but it was awesome to see. We also spotted A pod of Orca and on the way home we were followed all the way by dolphins swimming under and around the boat.
In the South East there’s a tiny little town called Vik, well known for it’s beautiful black sand beach and basalt columns. We watched the sun go down here during the polar night, which illuminated the sky amazing purple colours.
I took a RIB boat trip around the glacier lagoon and we got a close up view of the glacier and even spotted a seal.
At Sólheimasandur there’s a plane wreck -where no one died thankfully- which I really wanted to find. Sadly the road has been closed by the owner of the land as people were not respecting the area which obviously isn’t cool, but I feel lucky to have seen it whilst we could.
Solheimajokull glacier is stunning but sadly retreating each year. We hiked over it in the Winter on a clear day, looking in it’s ice caves and stopping to admire the view from the top.
We took this photo whilst waiting to go inside a volcano -it’s the only magma chamber in the world which didn’t collapse after eruption so you can travel 300ft down to the floor inside it- on a mountain 200m above sea level where there was a full on blizzard. The snow was coming horizontally and the wind was rocking the car. It was our first day in Iceland for our Summer road trip and naively I had never expected weather like that!
During our summer trip we experience the Arctic phenomenon Midnight Sun for the first time. I watched the sun set at midnight on my birthday in a small village in the West, it was amazing. I assumed that all hotels would have super strength black out blinds but I was wrong … Some hotels didn’t even have curtains! Thankfully I brought a sleep mask as even though the sun sets at midnight, it never truly gets dark.
Having driven all around the island and spent a lot of time in the South, I wanted to check out the highlands. The roads are closed in Winter and even in Summer they’re only accessible really by superjeep. We traveled to Laugavegur by superjeep which was just as well because we had to pass rivers and snow deeper than a car. When we arrived, we explored the volcanic landscape for a while then jumped in a natural hot spring which was heavenly. Probably the most peaceful place I’ve ever been, I need one of these in my garden to destress!
Last Christmas I was lucky enough to see orca whales swimming in the sea, with their infants.
We knew there were record breaking numbers of midges in lake Myvatn but nothing could have prepared me for what we saw. It looked and sounded like heavy rain as we drove through. Our car was literally plastered in midges!
Geothermal areas are how I imagine it is on Mars. We visited a massive area in the North and despite the smell of sulphur being so strong, I found myself hiding in the steam stream to avoid the midges.
The Silfra fissure runs between the North American and the Eurasian Tectonic Plates, making it possible to snorkel between two continents. The visibility reaches 100m making it some of the clearest water in the world and due to the interesting volcanic geology, bright green algae grows there in the Summer. We snorkelled here in Winter and the water at 2 degrees was actually warmer than the outside, our drysuits were freezing as we left the water, it was a weird experience!
Geysir is one of the most frequented tourist sights but also one of my favourites. I’m fascinated by the geothermal stuff and I could spend ages here watching the geysers erupt like a kid.
The glacier lagoon flows out to the sea and the icebergs travel with it, washing up on the beach which contrasted against the black sand looks incredible.
It was so hard to pick a limited number of photos, I have so many fond memories in Iceland and we’re about to make more. All my favourite photos from each trip are up on my Exposure page though – www.amy.photos– if you fancy a look.
I hope you’ll excuse me if things are a little quiet on the blog and my social media this month. There’s a lot to do but I’ll be back soon <3