OUR HONEYMOON - ICELAND - APRIL 2019
FINALLY getting around to blogging this! I wouldn’t usually blog personal things but not only is Iceland a photography dream, I also thought it might help other people planning a trip!
Iceland was a no brainer for us when it came to our honeymoon. I’m not a big traveller, I’m much more of a home bird, and if I do go away I like to come home after 2 weeks, max! I also wasn’t built for hot temperatures! I love a bit of sun but I’m one of those weirdos who goes on holiday and can’t wait to land in rainy Manchester at the end of it. Not to mention what a fussy eater I am! Thanks, IBS. Aidan, however, has travelling in his blood. Lucky for me, he went around the world twice and visited a whole bunch of places I definitely wouldn’t be keen on before we met. Good times for me! So because I’m a fussy traveller and he likes to go places he’s never been before, Iceland ticked all the boxes. We also didn’t just want to restrict ourselves to the tourist trap of the Golden Circle, so we decided to drive around the entire country over 10 days, missing out the West Fjords.
Winter was melting into Spring during our trip. I mean right in front of our eyes. When we arrived at our first (incredible) Airbnb in Mosfellsbær, we could barely get to it for the snow. By the time we left 2 days later, it was almost completely gone! We did some hella snow trekking in certain other places, though!
I wont spend ages describing the entire trip in great detail, I’ll let the photos speak for themselves (and as it was our honeymoon I couldn’t resist a few mini portrait shoots!). I’ve also included a map above, roughly outlining our route and all the places we stopped or stayed (the numbered locations are the places we stayed for between 1 and 3 nights) but I’ve included some of our top tips at the bottom of this post in case you’re thinking about going…
This was also the first time I’d used the Sony A7iii and I absolutely fell in love on this trip. I’ll always love Canon (these were taken on a mix of both the A7iii and 5Div) but I swapped out my entire wedding kit as soon as I got home and haven’t looked back. Everything on the Sony was taken with the Sony Zeiss 35 2.8 and everything on the Canon with the 24mm 2.8.
1. Get the hell out of the Golden Circle. Without a doubt see all the incredible sights it has to offer at the start or end of your trip, but there’s so much more Iceland to be experienced beyond that.
2. We thought the Blue Lagoon was nothing but a tourist filled leisure centre. We were totes disappointed with it. BUT. We did have horrendous cold, windy weather when we were there. We did this at the very end of the trip so luckily, we’d already been to the incredible Mývatn hot springs in the north. There are loads more hot springs dotted around if you decide to explore further.
3. Keep an eye on the aurora forecast. We got incredibly lucky and had 3 perfectly clear night skies during our stay in Akureyri in the north. The aurora photo above was taken at 1am, we drove to one of the recommended dark sky spots. I could not feel my hands, it took about 10 attempts to get the stars in focus, to get the composition right etc. It was incredible to see but NOT FUN photography wise!! So if you plan on attempting it in winter, take snacks, hot water bottles and extra batteries!
4. Vik in the south is pretty boring. We stayed in a hotel called Hotel Kria. There really isn’t much to do or see besides the black sand beach and the church. But beyond that, the glaciers and Diamond Beach are absolutely mega.
5. Be prepared for some long ass drives between the south and the north, and pray to the weather gods for good weather, because without the views around every corner, you’ll be bored AF. Side note: hire a 4 wheel drive unless you’re going in Summer. We hired from Blue Car Rental at the airport, they were excellent. We made one stop for one night between the two, in small town nestled in the mountains called Seyðisfjörður. I mean you literally have to drive over a mountain to get to it. Which is all fun and games until you get BACK over the mountain and your airbnb host calls you to say you left your walking boots. 4 trips over the mountain overall! But it’s an absolutely BEAUTIFUL place. Again we struck lucky with the weather and woke up to blazing sunshine (image with the yellow house). It was like a ghost town when we were there but would be full of life in the summer.
6. One of our favourite things was the Hverir geothermal area in the north. There’s a random shower in the middle of nowhere. But of course the whole place STIIIIIIINKS! Be prepared for some eggy air!
7. Keep an eye out for random art instalments as you drive around the ring road. Very cool! (See the red chair above)
8. Just keep stopping. If you see something cool, stop! Which happens mega often. Stop in random villages, stop to look at views, stop to take photos.
9. Friðheimar tomato farm. Oh my god. Just go and see for yourself. Be sure to have lunch there.
I’ll add to this list when I think of other things. Hope it’s been helpful! Oh also, a really helpful source is Jeannie at Iceland With a View. She’s an American who moved there with her husband in 2015 after falling in love with the country on her honeymoon. She offers loads of tips and tricks and some discounts for car hire etc.