Wild Photography Holidays - Photographic Adventure Travel: Iceland Interior – Hike & Photograph Landmannalaugar and Þórsmörk with James Rushforth

Hatfell, Iceland Interior

Iceland Interior – Hike & Photograph Landmannalaugar and Þórsmörk with James Rushforth

Highlights include…

  • Landmannalaugar’s rhyolite mountains
  • Canyons of Þórsmörk
  • Mælifell Volcano
  • Landmannahellir & Rauðufossar
  • Hólaskjól and Ófærufoss waterfalls
  • Þakgil Hiking
  • Rauðibotn Crater
  • Frostastaðavatn Lake & Strútur Crater
  • Hidden geothermal area at Hólmsárlón
  • Drive the F208 – Iceland’s most beautiful road
  • Háifoss and Granni waterfalls
  • Braided channels along the Tungnaá river
  • Rauðufossakvísl

Introduction

Iceland offers some of the best photography locations worldwide, none more so than within the vast interior of Iceland in the wild uninhabited regions known as the Highlands. Travelling into these areas is only possible during the summer months when the combination of hiking and basing ourselves in cosy Icelandic mountain accommodation allow the serious landscape photographer an unrivalled opportunity for some unique locations including some of the remotest and most beautiful waterfalls in the world. This photographic adventure is overall a unique and outstanding insight into lesser-known areas of Iceland. Your photographic guide James Rushforth, author of Photographing Iceland is ideally qualified to enable you to make the very best of your hiking exploration. We will be travelling in a specially modified 4×4 vehicle expertly driven by our Icelandic driver-guide. It should come as no surprise that the Laugavegur trail between Landmannalaugar and Þórsmörk has been nominated several times by National Geographic as a world-class location for hiking and photography. There will be options to opt-out of the hiking and to explore more locations close to our base or perhaps drive a little further afield with a driver, we can be very flexible on this.

Brief Itinerary

Day 1: Arrival in Reykjavík

Participants will be arriving on a variety of flights; Flybus tickets will be sent out in advance. The first night’s accommodation in a three-star Reykjavík city hotel is included. We will meet for introductions and briefing at 19:00 before heading out into the city for dinner.
Accommodation: Hotel Reykjavík (D)

Day 2: Drive to Þórsmörk

Our adventure starts after an early breakfast, as we follow the ring road south to Þórsmörk, stopping to explore Gluggafoss and Nauthúsagil Ravine on the way – two beautiful and seldom frequented waterfall locations. The drive is difficult, with no less than 15 rivers to ford, the F249 claiming more vehicles than any other road in Iceland. Fortunately, we will be travelling in a specially modified vehicle, the challenging approach making for some dramatic photo opportunities. The Volcano huts are perfectly situated for exploring the labyrinth of interlocking valleys, with a bar and restaurant on site.
Accommodation: Volcano Huts Þórsmörk (B,L,D)

Day 3 & 4: Exploring Þórsmörk

Tucked away between the Mýrdalsjökull, Tindfjallajökull and Eyjafjallajökull ice caps, the latter of which brought European air travel to a standstill during its 2010 eruption, Þórsmörk or ‘Thor’s forest’ offers some of the best day hiking in Iceland. Over the next two days, we will explore this intricate network of birch studded canyons, both on foot and using the vehicle. Walking is not compulsory and there are excellent views from our accommodation.
Accommodation: Volcano Huts Þórsmörk (B,L,D)

Day 5: Into the Southern Highlands

Leaving Þórsmörk we will make a quick stop at Vík í Mýrdal to resupply before entering the southern highlands proper. More challenging driving awaits with several large river crossings as we explore the area neighbouring Hólmsárlón lake, with several secret craters to explore. Continuing east across the Hólmsá, the volcanic landscape gives way to the lush greens surrounding Hólaskjól, with opportunities for some lovely local walking from our accommodation at the highland centre.
Accommodation: Hólaskjól Highland Centre (B,L,D)

Day 6: Hólaskjól to Landmannalaugar

Frequently cited as one of the most scenic drives in the world, our southern approach to Landmannalaugar along the F208 contains a wealth of photographic opportunities. The journey is bumpy with many river crossings but any discomfort is more than compensated for by the stunning vistas which unfold one after another. We will make a short diversion to the Eldgjá canyon before arriving at the Landmannalaugar camping grounds in the evening. After dinner, the natural hot pools located at the campsite provide the perfect place to relax after a day’s driving.
Accommodation: Landmannalaugar Huts (B,L,D)

Day 7 & 8: Landmannalaugar Hiking

Comprised of pure Rhyolite, the mountains of Landmannalaugar are justifiably world-famous and are undoubtedly one of the most dramatic landscape photography locations in the world. Due to a long cooling process, this slow-formed crystallised igneous rock gleams red, yellow, orange and brown when it catches the light. Add in purple, blue and green ash deposits from previous eruptions and you have an outstanding visual spectacle. Winding between the pyramid peaks lie a series of braided rivers, blue crater lakes and steaming hot springs that gave the area its name (bath of the land’s men).

As with Þakgil, there will be a choice of hiking options depending on the conditions and group ability. There is a lifetime’s worth of exploration to be done from the doorstep here. Thanks to the proximity of peaks such as Bláhnjúkur and Suðurnámur, it’s possible to make the most of the golden hours as well as taking advantage of any dramatic light throughout the day. Hiking is not obligatory and the views surrounding the campsite are stunning for anymore preferring a rest day.
Accommodation: Landmannalaugar Huts (B,L,D)

Day 9: Landmannalaugar Surroundings, Landmannahellir & Raudafoss

A short drive west along the F225, negotiating several more river crossings, leads to Landmannahellir and the Rauðufossar river. We will then make the 4 km hike to the source of the Rauðufossakvísl, where a beautiful series of waterfalls, pools and surreal red ferrous rock awaits. Despite its close proximity to Landmannalaugar, this area is very much off the beaten track and it’s easy to find solitude here.
Accommodation: Landmannalaugar Huts (B,L,D)

Day 10: Landmannalaugar to Reykjavík

The last day of the trip offers a fitting finale to the tour. On the drive back to Reykjavík we will stop at the volcanic crater lakes Ljótipollur and Hnausapollur, visit Háifoss and Granni, one of the highest and most beautiful waterfalls in Iceland, and finally stop at Gjáin, a beautiful green oasis immersed in the surrounding black desert. Once back in Reykjavík we check in to our city hotel before heading out for a final celebratory dinner together.
Accommodation: Hotel Reykjavík (B,L,D)

Day 11: Homeward Flights

WPH services finish after breakfast. Guests may transfer on this day to Iceland’s international airport for homeward flights. If you would like to stay at the hotel for an extra night, please enquire at the time of booking this holiday.
(B)

What’s Included

  • Accommodation
  • Food
  • Guide/driver
  • Airport transfers

What’s not Included

  • International flights
  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Anything not mentioned in the included list

Accommodation

We will stay two nights in a Reykjavík city hotel with private facilities. In the Highlands we will be staying in mountain huts with shared facilities (8 nights).