Last month, I finally visited Iceland. Iceland wasn’t the impossible budget destination people made it out to be. The locals were warm and welcoming, took me around, and showed me their homes. They were incredibly hospitable, and I made a lot of Icelandic friends on my trip.
And, while locals make any destination better, what blew my mind was the magnificence of the natural landscape. It’s bewitching. You find yourself in a spellbound daze as you move from place to place, your eyes overloaded by all you’re seeing. “How could such a tiny place have such a diverse and beautiful landscape?” you think to yourself as your jaw hurts from being open too much.
Over the course of 11 days, I wanted to scream from joy everywhere I went. The land is desolate, sparsely populated, and silent. That was the one thing I noticed — just how silent Iceland is. There are no distractions, and I think that helps you form a deep connection with nature. You begin to feel its rhythm.
Today, I want to share 30 pictures from my trip in hopes of inspiring you to visit this country. I’m not the world’s best photographer, but it’s hard to take a bad picture in Iceland.
Sulfur pools at Hverir near Lake Myvatn in the north of Iceland. Very otherwordly.
The northern lights lighting the sky up green. This is my favorite picture of them.
Runoff from the geothermal plant near Myvatn.
Somewhere along the Ring Road that circles the country.
Reykjavik and its colorful houses.
Jökulsárlón ice lagoon in the southeast of Iceland. This ice flow is only a couple of decades old and one of the most popular attractions in the area. I enjoyed just sitting down and listening to the ice blocks crash into each other on their way out to sea.
Fjords on the eastern seaboard that could rival Norway.
Selfoss. Foss means waterfall in Icelandic, and you’ll find a lot of waterfalls throughout the country.
UFO cloud. The truth is out there.
Gigantic sulfur pools at Geysir. Geysir the geyser doesn’t erupt anymore, but the spot is still popular on the famous Golden Circle tourist trail outside Reykjavik.
Jökulsárlón ice lagoon in the southeast of Iceland.
Mordor… I mean, some beautiful landscape on the way to Myvatn in the north.
The color contrast in this photo blows my mind.
Gulfoss! Part of the Golden Circle, this is one of the biggest waterfalls in Iceland. It was a really crappy day when I was there.
Looking onto the fjords.
Beautiful clouds above the harsh sea on the eastern end of Iceland.
The road is long in Iceland but it always takes you where you want to go.
More northern lights. You can never get tired of these.
Dettifoss. This waterfall is located in the north near Selfoss and supposed to be the most powerful waterfall in Europe.
Icelandic horses playing around. (Look at that long, flowing hair! I wish I had hair like that!)
On a rainy day driving through southern Iceland, we came across these gigantic mountains covered in clouds. The photo doesn’t do the majesty justice but I still like it.
The backside of Seljalandsfoss. Out of all the pictures I took, this one is my favorite. I love the intermix of light, water, blue sky, and green here.
A moss-covered lava field in southern Iceland.
Iceland is the land of rainbows, and I was lucky enough to find the end of one. (No pot of gold though. It must have been on the other end!)
Front side of Seljalandsfoss (rainbow included).
Little pools and lava rocks near Settifoss.
If you’re a Game of Thrones fan, you might recognize this cave as where Jon and Ygritte consummate their relationship. The water in the cave is warm enough to swim in and used to be a public pool.
Another sulfur pool is Hverir. I like the contrast between the blue water and red earth.
Myvatn Nature Baths. Quieter and less expensive than the famous Blue Lagoon outside Reykjavik. I relaxed here by myself for over an hour.
Northern lights. This was from early in the night when they were just starting to come out. No less beautiful.
I only managed to see a fraction of Iceland during my 11-day trip, but my visit lived up to my high expectations. No photo or movie I saw did it justice. It was even better in person, and I hope these photos inspire you to move Iceland up on your bucket list.