As a wedding photographer, Iceland has been on my bucket list of places to travel for a long, long time. My spouse Bobby and I planned a 10 day trip along the Southern Coast and I'm still over the moon that I got to photograph Jennifer & Tyler's engagement session while we were there! We spent the eight days we had to ourselves seeing as much as possible along the Golden Circle and Southern Coast.
We enjoyed getting to visit all those high traffic tourist locations like Geysir, Gullfoss, Seljalandsfoss, and Reynisfjara because they are obviously stunning...but boy did those crowds get to me. The places that ended up really staying with me were the ones that allowed us to experience the landscape more privately and the ones that made us feel like we discovered something new.
One of my favorite experiences while we were there combined both of those things. We had plans to go on a specific trail, not realizing it was down an f-road. Since we didn't have a 4x4 vehicle, we pulled over at the next hike we saw instead. We walked down a gorgeous ravine, full of rowan trees, moss, & ferns, and found ourselves climbing up a couple small waterfalls with the help of ropes. It was magical enough finding this waterfall at the end of the hike, but being able to enjoy the whole experience completely alone made it incredible. I didn't take a ton of photos during this hike, but we set up the tripod once we made it to the final waterfall and got this image of the two of us snuggling and watching the falls. We ended up climbing up on top of the cliffs around the ravine, up to the mountain ridge, and then along it until we reached another waterfall and ravine. We spent four hours exploring and only ran into one other couple for a few minutes. We even made it back to the car before the storm rolled in.
I can say without a doubt that Iceland lives up to all the hype and more. It was one of the most beautiful landscapes I've ever experienced - it's right up there with Peru for me. If you are planning a trip of your own, please familiarize yourself with what you need to know before visiting the country as well as Leave No Trace guidelines for visiting anywhere. Specifically, in Iceland, you've got to be careful not to step on the moss since it can take decades or longer to regrow. With strong ocean currents, thirty active volcanoes, huge waterfalls, glacier lagoons, and geothermic hot springs you also need to make sure you are behaving in a way that protects yourself as well as the landscape.