Wild Photography Holidays - Photographic Adventure Travel: Iceland in Winter – East Fjords, Aurora and Blue Ice Tour

Aurora over Vestrahorn

Iceland in Winter – East Fjords, Aurora and Blue Ice Tour

Highlights include…

  • Glacial lagoons and icebergs
  • Remote wild locations
  • Vestrahorn and Stokksnes
  • Fjords of East Iceland
  • Frozen waterfalls
  • Aurora Borealis
  • Abandoned farmhouses
  • Long haired Icelandic sheep
  • Icelandic horses in snowy landscapes
  • Dramatic coastal mountains
  • Black ice-strewn beaches
  • Vatnajökull Europe’s largest glacier
  • Lovely well-located accommodation

Introduction

Our new winter photographic tour combines an exploration of some of Iceland’s little visited locations in Iceland’s eastern fjords with some of the iconic southern gems that are quite rightly famous. We start out with a flight from Reykjavík over the vast Vatnajökull Glacier to East Iceland where we will meet all participants at Egilsstaðir airport. The Eastern fjords are a relatively undiscovered, they are particularly magnificent in the wintertime. In total we spend four nights amidst the dramatic snow covered basalt mountains that drop abruptly down into the eastern fjords.

Our first accommodation is Seyðisfjörður, the ‘artists’ village’ where we will stay amongst the colourful wooden houses the iconic feature of this village. From this location we will photograph frozen waterfalls, black sand beaches, abandoned farmhouses set against a back drop of snow covered rocky peaks. The low winter light on the fjord is ever shifting and occasionally snow storms will pass through allowing us the create some exciting ‘blizzard’ enhanced images. Moving further north over a high mountain pass we spend two nights in the tiny picturesque village of Bakkagerði, delightfully located looking out over the bay where Harlequin Ducks winter. The village is a fabulous spot for the aurora as it faces into the vast northern sky.

Travelling south along the edge of the eastern fjords we spend a whole day with lots of varied stops en route for photography. We arrive early evening at our accommodation on the south East tip of Iceland close to the world class location Vestrahorn on the Stokksnes Peninsula, a wonderful place to photograph the aurora over the striking rocky spires with reflections in the wet black sand. Our last base is on the southern coast of Iceland just ten minutes drive from the Glacier Lagoon and the Diamond Beach. The Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon and its glacial surroundings are a dream location for photographers due to the sheer diversity of subjects.

Who is this Tour Suitable For

This tour would be perfect for photographers new to Iceland as a photographic venue or indeed photographers who have travelled to Iceland previously to more known locations and wish to explore some off-the-beaten-track locations together with some of the classic south east locations. Maybe some folks just have a need to get back to Iceland, we understand this only too well! This tour can easily be combined with our North Iceland photography tour which runs directly before this. Our tutors are happy to work with photographers who wish to develop their iPhone skills, our gallery indicates images that were taken with iPhones. The tuition generally will be suitable for photographers at all levels although we do recommend that participants familiarise themselves with the settings of their own cameras before joining us.

Brief Itinerary

For full details please download the trip description PDF

Day 1: Arrive in Reykjavik

There will be an included Flybus transfer from the international airport to our first night hotel in Reykjavík. The hotel is included in the price of the holiday although dinner will not be. Our photographic guides and tutors will meet you for the first time on Day 2 at Egilsstaðir Airport.
Reykjavík City Hotel

Days 2,3: To Seyðisfjörður the Artists’ Village

This morning there will be an included group taxi transfer from the hotel to Reykjavik’s domestic airport in time to catch the 7:30 am flight to Egilsstaðir, this is one of East Iceland’s larger towns with a population of around only 23,000 people. We will be waiting to transfer you to our accommodation. It is approximately a fifty minutes drive to the village of Seyðisfjörður. We will have a brief introductory meeting and maybe a coffee at the airport before heading over to Seyðisfjörður. On route we will stop high above the village at a sunrise viewpoint down the valley to the Fjord below. The film ’Secret Life of Walter Mitty’ has a famous scene where Ben Stiller longboards through lovely wild landscape down the mountain road right into the village, this is that place although in its winter attire the vistas are more dramatic. The small town’s centre is known for its many original early 19th-century timber houses and the picturesque setting around the lagoon. Our accommodation is authentic and beautifully renovated. Locations around Seyðisfjörður include a variety of lovely and accessible frozen waterfalls, sheer sided snow covered basalt peaks dropping down to the fjord, abandoned farmhouses, and ‘sheep-houses’. The residents, Icelandic long haired sheep roam along the edge of the fjord. We will stay here for 2 nights.
Aldan Hotel Seyðisfjörður (B,L,D)

Days 4,5: Bakkagerði

This morning after breakfast we head further north to our first photographic location on a dramatic snowy pass close to the imposing Dyrfjöll Mountains. Shifting light over these vast coastal mountains will provide an ever-changing landscape for photographers. Dropping dramatically downwards towards the sea we eventually arrive in Bakkagerði our base for the next two nights. This is one of Iceland’s most attractive coastal villages although during the winter months visitors will be few. We stay in beautifully positioned accommodation that has some lovely hot tubs overlooking the bay. Our photographic locations are diverse. There are many unusually shaped mountains providing a superb back drop to our landscapes, rafts of Harlequin duck often float close to the shore and an interesting ice choked estuary winds its way to the open sea. We will also be able wander around the harbour, small fishing vessels often land bring in good catches of fish, especially Cod. Bakkagerði is stronghold of elves and the ‘Hidden People’, the ‘Elf’ mountain Álfabjörg in the village provides a great all round viewpoint.
Blábjörg Spa Guest House (B,L,D)

Day 6: Coastal Fjord Drive to Vestrahorn

Today we travel south along the edge of the eastern fjords. Our day will be productive with lots of varied stops en route for photography. We will arrive early evening at our accommodation on the southeast tip of Iceland close to the world class location of Vestrahorn on the Stokksnes Peninsula. The dramatic peaks of this spiky mountain rise directly from a wild beach of black sand filled with undulating sand dunes and coastal vegetation providing a stark contrast to the snow covered peaks. This is a wonderful place to photograph the aurora arching over the striking rocky spires with colourful reflections in the wet black sand. This location is also a great spot to photograph the Milky Way.
Höfn Hotel (B,L,D)

Days 7,8: To the Glacier Lagoon & Diamond Beach

Following a sunrise shoot of Vestrahorn and breakfast we drive for around one hour to our last base on the southern coast of Iceland just ten minutes from the Glacier Lagoon and Diamond Beach, in both we can get up really close to the ice. The Jökulsárlón lagoon and its glacial surroundings are a dream locations for photographers due to the sheer diversity of subjects. Here we find some of the most spectacular ice and glacial phenomena in Europe. There is remarkable mountain scenery, Skaftafell National Park, several glacial lagoons, black beaches festooned with sparkling sea washed ice, the famous Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon and magnificent views of Iceland’s highest mountain Hvannadalshnjúkur. We will spend 2 days exploring this unique landscape where large chunks of ice are constantly breaking off the glacier filling the lagoon with an ever changing landscape of unusually shaped floating icebergs of subtle colours and one of the world’s most impressive locations for aurora photography. The lagoon is well suited to abstract landscape photography, whilst the ice on the beach offers great potential for both intimate and big-sky landscapes. There will be an optional opportunity to photograph in an ice cave.
Hotel Gerði (B,L,D)

Day 9: South Coast Locations en Route to Reykjavik

Today we drive back to Reykjavík with opportunities to photograph as we travel west along the south coast. Our locations en route include the classic waterfalls Skógafoss & Seljalandsfoss plus the infamous sea stacks from the township of Vík. We will arrive back in Reykjavík early evening in time to head out to town for a final celebratory meal together.
Reykjavík City Hotel (B,L,D)

Day 10: Homeward Flights

This morning there will be an included Flybus transfer to the international airport for homeward flights.
(B)

What’s Included

  • 7 nights accommodation with private rooms and bathroom
  • 2 nights accommodation with private rooms and shared bathrooms
  • Flight Reykjavík-Egilsstaðir
  • Transfer to domestic airport on Day 2
  • Transfers to/from the international airport on Days 1&10
  • All meals except one dinner on Day 1

What’s Not Included

  • International flights
  • Travel Insurance
  • Beverage and snacks between meals
  • Optional ice cave visit
  • Alcohol
  • Anything not mentioned above

Accommodation

We will be using a variety of accommodation. In Reykjavík we will stay in a 3 star hotel close to the city centre. In the country we will stay in scenically located family run hotels with the exception of Vestrahorn where we stay in a comfortable hotel just outside Höfn. The price is based on single rooms. Double or twin rooms are available for friends and couples who wish to share.

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.