Northwest Iceland - Northern Lights, Wild Beaches and Fjords
- Remote landscapes
- Wild beaches
- Spectacular lava fields
- Ferry to Westfjords
- Rauðasandur beach
- Sea arches & sea stacks
- Boat trip to see Orcas (optional)
- Abandoned houses
- Búðir Hotel
- Látrabjarg Hotel
- Snæfellsjökull glacier
- Icelandic horses
- Black sand beaches
- Volcanic craters and lakes
- Iconic Kirkjufell mountain
- Remote aurora locations
One of Iceland’s best kept secrets is undoubtedly the country’s northwest corner, most usually known as the Westfjords. Isolation has preserved this area as a relatively unspoiled wilderness. Largely uninhabited and not easy to get to, especially in winter, Iceland’s Westfjords are packed with superb and atmospheric locations, a must for any photographer who is serious about the Icelandic landscape. Wild Photography Holidays have recently returned from their first trip with an intrepid group of returning guests, all keen to check out the potential of this ‘out there’ location. Read what participant and photographer Steve Lewis had to say about our adventure
Highlights include three nights at the beautifully located and iconic Búðir Hotel on the south coast of the Snæfellsnes peninsula. This lovely hotel is located in a mysterious lava field amidst gorgeous coastal scenery with great views of the surrounding snow capped mountains including Snæfellsjökull. Whilst staying here our guests do not have to venture far for some great photographic locations. In the North Westfjords our warm and welcoming hotel opens up in the winter just for our group. The hotel is situated almost at the very western tip of Europe, indeed a wild, unique and beautiful part of Iceland. Returning by ferry from the Westfjords, we have a night in Grundarfjörður on the north coast of Snæfellsnes peninsula, maybe we are lucky enough to witness a brilliant aurora over iconic mountain Kirkjufell on this our last night in the field! Our last day will be spent exploring the special locations around this area, for example the magnificent Berserkjahraun or some fabulous ‘secret’ beach locations that we have up our sleeves.
Canadian photographer Albert Normandin travelled with our March 2016 group. Read the story of his experiences here
For full details please download the trip description PDF
Day 1: Arrive Reykjavík
Arrival and transfer to our Reykjavík Hotel. Meeting for introductions and a trip briefing before heading out to town for dinner.
Day 2–4: Snæfellsnes
Leaving the city behind we take a scenic route to Snæfellsnes. Our journeys are frequently punctuated by photography stops depending on the prevailing light and weather. Our coastal hotel is beautifully situated for all our locations. Once we have settled into our hotel we will begin to explore the area. Sparkling fjords, dramatic volcanic peaks, sheer sea cliffs, sweeping golden beaches, interesting rock architecture including sea arches and vast lava flows all contribute to make the fascinating landscape of the Snæfellsnes Peninsula. The area is crowned by the glistening ice cap Snæfellsjökull, immortalised in Jules Verne’s Journey to the Centre of the Earth.
Day 5–8: the Westfjords
After a morning photographing around Búðir we head north to Stykkishólmur for the ferry that takes us across to Brjánslækur in the far North West. The ferry takes around two and a half hours with a chance of spotting Whales and Dolphins en route. There are generally few people on board, just local people going to see families or truck drivers who carry supplies to these remote NW towns and villages. Once on land we drive through spectacular coastal scenery and a high mountain pass before making our way on a little used road to our very comfortable coastal Hotel Látrabjarg. This is our home for the next four nights. Whilst we are here there are a variety of locations depending on the light and the weather.
Day 9: Ferry to Stykkishólmur
This afternoon we make the return journey to by road and ferry to Stykkishólmur. From here it is a short road journey to Grundarfjörður. We spend the night here in a small family run hotel close to the waterfront. Just five minutes from the hotel is Kirkjufellsfoss (waterfall) and Kirkjufell. If the aurora show this is a very fine location for those iconic shots!
Day 10: Locations en route to Reykjavik
After sunrise and breakfast we will begin the journey back to Reykjavík. En route we have several good locations given good light and weather. We expect to be back in the city for the early evening where we will enjoy a celebratory dinner in a restaurant close to our hotel
Day 11: Transfer to the Airport
Today participants can choose to leave on any flight as the Flybys transfers are timed to connect to all flights.
Below is an overview for our locations in no particular order during the three days we are based in Snæfellsnes.
The seaward slopes are particularly worthy of attention, with ropes of lava winding their way downhill. Weather permitting we travel to the snow line for some unusual close-up images.
The cliffs around the Snæfellsnes coastline are precipitous, majestic and very attractive with a huge variety of differing and interesting rock formations, that are easy to access for some great images.
Snæfellsnes has black sand beaches of volcanic origin this generally gives some really unusual images. One fine example is the black beach of Djúpalónssandur with its strange lava formations, including Gatklettur, a rock with a hole giving unusual vistas through to a tranquil turquoise lagoon.
Sea Stacks and Arches
There are a variety of stacks and arches around the peninsula providing fine dramatic photographic subjects
Green Moss Lava Fields
These are vast and cover huge areas below the glacier, they are interesting to photograph alone or as fine foreground for other subjects.
The chameleon shape of this mountain is well known to all Icelandic landscape photographers. It provides striking images both at sunrise and sunset; it’s also amazing to see the northern lights swirling high above its rocky ridges.
Situated between Grundarfjörður and Stykkishólmur this dramatic lava field flowed some 3,000 to 4,000 years ago and is young enough to retain all kinds of convoluted shapes, with fascinating colour and textural contrasts in the rocks and thick mosses.
Locations in the Westfjords
Ólafsviti Lighthouse and Beach
This is an excellent location just 15 minutes from the hotel. It is suitable for both for day and night time photography. A single farm sits alone by a wild beach with a scenically placed lighthouse. Across the ocean are endless headlands of typical North West mountain ridges. At night we return here for Aurora photography.
Possibly the most iconic beach in the North West. During the summer there are some visitors to this vast expanse of red sand flats. In winter we will be alone. A high and atmospheric mountain pass must be crossed before we are rewarded with a magnificent vista. Sheer cliffs and mountains stretch to the most westerly tip of Europe. The sea changes from turquoise to slate grey reflecting the prevailing weather conditions. There is also a lovely waterfall, a tiny church and two isolated farms.
This is the coastal area right by our hotel. A long beach flanked by mountains and silvery freshwater inlets that meander down the U-shaped flat valley to the sea.
This is the name given to the long fjord where we are based. A road goes all the way around the fjord giving us access to lots of different locations by the fjord. The actual town of Patreksfjörður, the largest in the area had 561 inhabitants according to the 2013 census. It is a working fishing town and it is interesting to photograph the fishing industry here.
The whole area is rich in sites where we find abandoned houses, farms, vehicles and boats and even an odd plane or two. There is even an abandoned airport!
- 10 hotel nights
- All meals
- 2 x ferry
- Photographic tuition
What’s Not Included
- International flights
- Alcoholic beverages
- Snacks and beverages other than with meals
- Travel insurance
- Whale boat
Complete Itinerary and Full Details
This page is only a brief summary. A complete itinerary and more details can be found in our trip description PDF
It is important that you read this full day-to-day description and further information for this holiday before making your booking.