5 photography spots around Reykjavik that you have to check out!
Are you a keen photographer spending a few days in Reykjavik? Do you want to know of a few photography spots which will seriously help your photography in Reykjavik?
We all know Iceland for its immeasurable beauty offered by its mountains, glaciers, waterfalls… The list goes on! Let’s face it, it’s one of the most breathtaking countries in the world! But where are the best spots to check out for doing photography in Reykjavik?
When I first came to Iceland, I always thought that I had to go to the other side of the country if I wanted to take the best pictures. Boy, was I wrong, and not only that, I found that even in and around Reykjavik, there are plenty of amazing spots for photo shoots!
Whether it be landscape photography, nature photography, street photography or wildlife photography, you would be surprised that some of these places are easily accessible from Reykjavik.
It is not uncommon to see professional photographers touring the country year-round in search of the perfect shot. However, little is known about various spots in and around Reykjavik which will be sure to up your photography game and give you a unique outlook on Iceland.
You may be thinking of coming to Iceland for a long weekend, and maybe you don’t have the time to do the full tour of Iceland.
Well fear not photographers, you are not missing out because here are 5 of the best places you can take your camera to do some photography in Reykjavik in search of your perfect Icelandic shot!
Photography in Reykjavik quick overview:
- Abstract Photography at the crashed DC plane
- Street Photography in the old town of Reykjavik
- Landscape Photography in Rauðhólar
- Wildlife Photography with the wildlife Reykjavik tour, the puffin tour or the whale-watching tour
The Abandoned DC Plane on Sólheimasandur
This is the furthest place from Reykjavik on this list (around 2-hour drive from Reykjavik) but this is one of my personal favourite places to do photography (in the world) so I had to put in on the list!
Getting there can be quite tricky because there are no signposts for it and it cannot be seen from the road. The trick to getting there is to continue on the road past Skogafoss, you will eventually cross a river called Jökulsá and then you will see a little parking area. This is where you need to park.
The walk to the crashed plane can take up to one and a half hours but as long as you don’t mind a little walk across a desert of volcanic rock it is 100% worth it!
Once you reach the crashed plane, you will hardly believe your eyes. Just like a scene from a science fiction film, you suddenly start to feel like you’re on another planet so far from home.
The story goes back to 1973 when a United States Navy DC plane ran out of fuel and crashed on the deserted black beach near Sólheimasandur, on the south coast of Iceland.
Surrounded by endless fields of Lava rock, mountains in the distance and the Atlantic sea, it really is one of the most breath-taking places for photography in the world. Well worth a 2-hour drive if you ask me!
Personally, I find it great for abstract landscape photography and nature photography as it gives you the beauty of the barren landscape, with the plane giving a very unique element to add to your picture.
The amazing thing about this location is that it is very close to some other very cool places such as Skogafoss, Seljalandsfoss, and the secret hot spring of Seljavallalaug. The possibilities of making this a round trip of it are endless!
If you need more help on how to get there, do get in touch with us and we will be sure to give you all the information that you need!
Old Town Reykjavik
Sure, Iceland’s nature is absolutely beautiful, but Iceland is also rich in culture and history. What better place to experience that than old town Reykjavik?
In trying to develop my street photography in Reykjavik, I found incredible amounts of inspiration wondering through the old streets of Reykjavik.
The variety of people and the richness in the culture that you will come across is quite astonishing, and trying to immerse yourself in the true Reykjavik lifestyle will surely give you great street photography opportunities.
In order to get the most out of your photography in Reykjavik, I really recommend that you venture yourself in not only the main streets but also the little hidden streets and alleyways.
There are some fantastic spots around the city that will get you some great historical shots as well as unique street art. This may sound cheesy, but Reykjavik truly holds a very unique feeling and losing yourself in its streets will surely give you a sense of freedom and wonder like never before.
Once you’ve ventured deep down in the little streets of Reykjavik, I recommend going to the top of Hallgrimskirkja situated at the top of the beautiful historical street of skólavörðustígur. Once up there you will have a beautiful panorama of the city and great views on Esja.
In trying to develop your street photography in Reykjavik, there is a place, in particular, that may be able to give you some artistic inspiration. There is a superb retro photography shop and studio which sells and displays incredible pieces of work from Icelandic photographers, the shop is called Fótógrafí and is situated on skólavörðustígur.
Once you’ve finished losing yourself in the old streets of Reykjavik, what better way to finish it off than to go try out some of the best Icelandic beers with our very own Reykjavik Beer Tour!
Right on the outskirts of Reykjavik as you drive on Route 1, East of Reykjavik, you will see some quite unusual hills and rock formations. These are the hills of Rauðhólar. They are roughly 5000 years old and they are one of the best places in Reykjavik for landscapes and nature photography.
The red/amber stone will surely catch your eye and inspire you to do some great shots. You can even climb them and see Reykjavik from a completely new perspective! It’s one of the most original places to do photography in Reykjavik.
If the beauty of Rauðhólar isn’t enough for you, the area is also home to beautiful pine woodlands, lakes and streams, so it’s not uncommon to see some locals walking their dogs, fishing, or even riding their Icelandic Ponies which are famous for their elegant and unique stride.
The amazing thing about this place is that it is accessible by bus. So, for all of you who are staying in Reykjavik without a car, this is the perfect place to go to if you want to experience the wild!
The bus is n.5 and starts from Hlemmur in downtown Reykjavik and you will want to stay on it for about 30 minutes and get off at Norðlingabraut/Kambavað. From there you can start to enjoy nature and sure enough, after 15 minutes of pleasant walking east, you will arrive at the breath-taking Rauðhólar. The buses are fairly regular from Norðlingabraut/Kambavað (twice every hour) meaning you can take your time without having to worry about what time you have to catch the bus!
Helgafell Mountain – Hafnarfjörður
Helgafell Mountain is situated 30 minutes’ drive away from Reykjavik’s town centre in the suburban town of Hafnarfjörður.
The mountain itself is perfect for any amateur of hiking or photographers who want to get some amazing mountaineer shots! Set on volcanic boulders, it is made of very fine sandstone and lava mound giving the mountain a unique look. Who knew you could get such wild photography in Reykjavik?
The views that you get on the short hike are astonishing and once you reach the top you will be able to gaze out into the vast wilderness, Flaxafói Bay, the Reykjanes Peninsula and of course beautiful views of Reykjavik and Hafnarfjörður.
Helgafell is very popular with the locals as it is a great place for mountain biking, dog walking and running. However, not many have discovered its potential for photography, which makes it a very unique and exciting place to be!
My personal experience with Helgafell was amazing, not only because of the mountain itself but also because of the surrounding natural area which leaves you speechless with its streams, hills and wildlife. It has also given me so much more opportunities to do original landscape photography in Reykjavik.
Far from being over-crowded, Helgafell is sure to give you a sense of freedom, and some beautiful landscape photography without having to worry about having people in the background.
The colour of the mountain is very unique, due to its composition, the fine black sand truly gives it a very mystical feel. However, you may also be lucky enough to explore it under the snow and actually get a feel of how the first settlers may have experienced Iceland in its harshest conditions! It is very easy to get there by car and rest assured, you do not need a 4×4 to get there. There is a parking lot at the start of the national park, and trails to follow to make sure you don’t get lost exploring!
Wildlife photography from Reykjavik!
As photographers, we know, that the holy grail of photography is to one day capture the wonders of wildlife in its natural habitat. Something purely magical happens inside us when natural moments are witnessed and captured. Reykjavik most definitely gives us these wonderful opportunities to live such an experience. Wildlife photography in Reykjavik is definitely possible and a must!
Iceland, although not known for its variety of wildlife, is home to some of the most amazing animals such as whales, dolphins and the ‘ beautiful bird’ often associated with Iceland which is the puffin!
Here at Wake Up Reykjavik, we have set up the perfect opportunity for any photographer to get up-close and personal with these animals (without disturbing them or their natural habitats of course!) with our whale, puffin and Reykjavik tour.
Experiences like this one will help you push the boundaries of your wildlife photography and give you the opportunity to capture such events as whales bursting out of the ocean, dolphins elegantly swimming in groups, or even witness the first few steps of a newly hatched puffin. Just writing about it brings back the magical moments that can be witnessed!
Not only that but being out at sea, in the bays surrounding Reykjavik, also gives you the opportunity to witness the capital and its coastlines in new and unique perspectives. The might of Esja looking down on our beautiful city, surrounded by wildlife, is truly a scene to be adored by anyone wanting one of the most memorable experiences of their lives.
Photography in Reykjavik: Final Words
We have now covered 5 spots that every photographer should check out whilst doing photography in Reykjavik!
This list was made from my personal experiences as a keen photographer.
Whilst being in Iceland, I have found that going to a variety of different places, truly expands the scope and variety of subjects that I can play around with and also, it makes me discover places that I have never heard of before, in the most magical way! Because isn’t that what photography is all about? Exploring, in the most creative and personal way?
I highly recommend that you go check out some of the tours on our website as they offer some truly amazing experiences for photography in Reykjavik. Whether you’re a photographer or a humble traveller, we are sure that some of them would make your stay in Iceland your most memorable experience yet!
Do let us know which ones you are most excited about and if you know of any secret locations which we should add to our next list of best places for doing photography in Reykjavik!
I look forward to seeing you in Iceland, photographers!
Your friend, and local photography guide,