Iceland's remote interior - Fjallabak, Trip Details
9-Day Photographic Adventure
This trip takes us from Reykjavik into the heart of the remote central highlands of Iceland - the Fjallabak nature reserve (behind the mountains).
Fjallabak is a spectacular highland wilderness area - a place of contrasts from vast black sand deserts to rhyolite covered mountains. It is a true wilderness, not so often photographed due to its accessibility, but highly worthy of any time spent there.
Getting to and from the trip
Iceland Air has regular flights from Keflavik.
Please arrive in Reykjavik no later than mid afternoon on the first day. We will have an introductory talk and dinner together in the evening.
9-day ItineraryIn this section I'll give you a break down of what we're doing each day, in terms of location. There's a further section down the page which deals with what to expect as a daily schedule.
Day 1 Arrival in Keflavik airport, transfer to Hotel in Reykjavik. You can take the Flybus to Reykjavik. (Meals included: None). Day 2 Reykjavik – Hekla & Red Falls. Afternoon/sunset at Sigalda-canyon. After breakfast we drive to Hekla volcano to photograph the black lava fields and desert volcanic landscape. The second location is Rauðfossar (Red Waterfalls). It‘s about 30-45 min. walk to the falls, slightly uphill but easy surface. Sunset photography session Sigalda canyon which has a series of waterfalls cascading into a blue river. Hrauneyjar Highland Hotel. (Meals included: Breakfast, Packed Lunch, Dinner). Day 3 Fjallabak; Landmannalaugar & crater lakes. From our hotel is only 35 km to Landmannalaugar where we will spend the day. En-route we stop at crater lakes Hnausapollur and Ljotipollur to photograph as well as at Lake Frostastadavatn. Landmannalaugar is a nature pearl in the interior highlands, located in a valley between colourful mountains at the dark edge of the rhyolite lava field Laugahraun. A visit to Landmannalaugar is a geological exploration where the hot and cold meet in a great array of colours and beauty. In Landmannalaugar we can walk to Grænagil (Green Canyon) and/or hike to Mt. Brennisteinsalda (Sulphur Wave) or simply photograph from the parking area and by the natural geothermal pool. Hrauneyjar Highland Hotel (Meals included: Breakfast, Packed Lunch, Dinner). Day 4 & 5 Veidivotn Crater Lakes. This day we spend in Veidivotn (Fishing Lakes) which are a series of crater lakes in a very volcanic area. Veidivotn is a great mix between black sand deserts, green mossy mountains, reflecting lakes and rough lava so it offers a great variety in landscape and scenery. A green oasis in a black sand desert is often our first stop and then we slowly explore the crater lakes by the mountain tracks. There are so many motives in a small area that there is very little driving time so you get a lot of time outdoors making images. Veidivotn is another nature gem virtually unknown to other than locals with 4×4‘s. Hrauneyjar Highland Hotel (Meals included: Breakfast, Packed Lunch, Dinner). Day 6 Fjallabak; Hrafntinnusker (Obsidian Skerry) and Reykjadalir (Smokey Valleys). This day we change hotels and relocate but use the day out in the field, photographing yet another great area. Hrafntinnusker means 'Obsidian Skerry‘ and as the name suggests it‘s black glassy rock, obsidian, rising above the wilderness. On the mountain side there is a receding ice cap with geothermal steam vents and boiling mud pools underneath, melting the ice and forming ice caves. Around the fumaroles and hot springs grows neon green moss and algae. You therefore have an amazing variety to photograph; from the grand scale landscape untouched by humans to the macro close ups of the geothermal areas. This is place is so remote that most 4×4‘s can‘t get there and the large tyres on our super-truck are needed. Tom Cruise flew in here on a helicopter when making the film Oblivion, just to see this. You won‘t find this in any guide book or in any tourist brochure but it‘s worth the trip. Next we visit Reykjadalir which means ‚Smokey Valleys‘ where we photograph the S-shaped canyons with the reddish clay against the green moss and geothermal steam. On our route to our hotel we drive south the mountain tracks, through the area we will spend the next day so you can see that the feast continues. We finish off the day with a sunset photography session at Seljalandsfoss waterfall. Hotel Fljótshlið. (Meals included: Breakfast, Packed Lunch, Dinner). Day 7 Alftavatn & Torfahlaup. Sunset at Seljalandsfoss. We drive back into the area we drove past the day before, to Alftavatn, a secluded mountain lake which has some great reflections on a calm day. We drive a secret track, which is actually partly in the lake, to a great view point; Torfahlaup. Steep pyramid shaped mountains above a steep canyon, a winding river and glaciers in the backdrop. On the way back, if we‘re lucky we get a unique view to Eyjafjallajokull, the famous volcano that erupted to memorably in 2010. If the weather was unfavourable the day before, we try again to photograph Seljalandsfoss at sunset. Hotel Fljótshlið. (Meals included: Breakfast, Packed Lunch, Dinner). Day 8 Sydra-Fjallabak, Mælifellssandur & Markarfljotsgljufur. This day we spend photographing the steep green mountains against the black sand desert in southern Fjallabak, a waterfall in Markarfljotsgljufur canyon and our favourite places we spotted together while exploring the area. At this time we have driven these mountain tracks a few times and you are getting familiar with it so we might use a part of this day capture what we missed the days before and to make stops upon request. Sunset at Seljalandsfoss. Hotel Fljótshlið. (Meals included: Breakfast, Packed Lunch, Dinner). Day 9 Hekla, approach from east, depart west and continue to Northern Lights Inn. The last day we use to get back to the beginning; Hekla volcano but this time we approach it from the east, through the newer lava fields and onto the Hekla-ridge. This route gives us a completely new and a rare angle to this second most active volcano in Iceland. We stop at Rauðaskál (Red Bowl) which is quite a red crater on the ridge, not far from the summit. Hotel Holt (Meals included: Breakfast, Packed Lunch, Dinner). Day 10 Departure after breakfast. * We may alter the tour itinerary due to weather and other unforeseen circumstances.
Daily Schedule OutlineEach day will have the following format:
We will shoot during the daylight hours, heading out after breakfast and staying out until we return for dinner in the evening.
8:00am - 9:00am
9:00am - 10:00pm
Traveling time to location.
10:00am - 6:00pm
Shooting time including packed lunch on location.
6:00 - 7:00pm
Travel back to Hotel.
7:30 - 8:30pm
Your own free time.
This landscape is stark, and suits being photographed during the day. For this reason, we will not be intending on photographing during sunrise or sunset, but if the weather forecast indicates a particularly beautiful day ahead of us, we will adjust the schedule to take advantage of the light.
Icelandic Guide & Super Clearance Vehicle
Due to the remoteness of the Fjallabak region & the challenges of the Icelandic weather, it's only possible to venture there in high-clearance super vehicles and with the aid of some professional help.
We will therefore be traveling in a modified high-clearance super vehicle with our own professional guide / driver. He is a former member of Iceland's Mountain Search & Rescue. He has assisted international networks such as National Geographic, CNN and CBS with shoots in Iceland, so you will be in good hands.
Travel InsuranceIt is a condition of booking any of our workshops/tours that you have comprehensive travel insurance to cover you for trip cancellation (by you), activities involved and destination. This cover should include repatriation costs, air ambulance and helicopter rescue.
We work with Travel Nomads, who offer insurance solutions to people in more than 140 countries across the world.
Should you decide not to purchase this insurance, you must provide us with details of your alternative insurance with or before your final payment.