I recently flew over the Atlantic ocean to venture across Iceland with my wonderful mom. Just a mother and her daughter, exploring one of the most breathtaking and diverse landscapes one could imagine in one country. Our journey consisted of almost 2,000 miles of travel across the land, sometimes covered in enormous glaciers and other times leading through naturally carved canyons to beautiful waterfalls. All of which was led by our trusted and loyal friend, “Garmi” our self named GPS that saved us on multiple occasions from being on Iceland’s missing person list. Over 7 days, I managed to capture the beauty of the land through not only my lens, but my heart and mind.
We stayed in an Airbnb in Reykjavik, Iceland’s capital, which is populated by a whopping 200,000 Icelandics. If that figure alone does not speak to how small of a city it is, compare that to the 1.5 million-plus in the city of brotherly love. The city looks and feels more like a quaint town stacked with colored blocked homes engulfed by never-ending snow-capped mountains. Cozy, coffee cafes and homely, hole in the wall pubs were scattered all amongst every corner of this small city. Of course, two essentials to get us through a seven-day road trip in a foreign country.
Our adventures began every morning at 9:00am and ended at 9:30pm, which is if you can imagine, when the sun began to set! We hopped in our 4×4 off-roader and headed to our first destination, Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon. Iceland’s coolest travel attraction (no pun intended) where blue, white, turquoise and black streaked icebergs shift and creak about in somewhat of an icy dance. The mystical lagoon is absolutely enormous and truly brought out my winter princess spirit!
Fun fact: Batman Begins and several episodes of Game of Thrones were filmed here.
It was also pretty amazing to see a few friendly creatures of the sea peeping their heads out of the water to say “Hey there, Elsa! Do you want to build a snowman?”
Fjaðrárgljúfur, a magnificently massive canyon that has sheer walls, and is somewhat serpentine and narrow.
Skógafoss by far was my favorite waterfall! I stood aside watching the powerful, pounding sound of the water as it hits the ground. As I was capturing the lay of the land, I found an adventurous Icelandic couple getting wedding photographs who used this dramatic backdrop for a stunning wedding photos.
Given a touch of Icelandic luck, I found a beautiful, tiny rainbow through the mist, along the side of the waterfall. It was at that moment I noticed two friends, whom I met earlier in the week, standing next to me, capturing the same photos of the magical rainbow below the waterfall. I truly love when serendipity sneaks its way into my path =)
*It is to be known that one of the first Viking settlers buried a treasure in the cave behind the waterfall.
Our travel continued, and Garmi lead us to Seljalandsfoss, which is one of the best known waterfalls in Iceland. Aside from the natural beauty of the waterfall, the cool thing about Seljalandsfoss is that you can meander along the slippery, muddy path behind the waterfall for a truly unique perspective!
My next favorite waterfall we discovered one of Iceland’s largest, Glymur.
On our last day traveling across a country which holds some of the world’s most raw and earthly features, we decided to end the trip at Seljavallalaug to swim in a man made hotspring. I particularly wanted to make sure this spot was included in our travels being that it is gem in Southern Iceland, nestled in a narrow valley.