Sunset at Jokulsarlon, Iceland

A Magical Paradise Called Iceland

Introduction

Sunset at Jokulsarlon, Iceland

I don’t even remember why I wanted to go to Iceland in the first place (I wanted to go even before I picked up photography). To be honest I think Iceland caught my attention simply because I wanted to go somewhere different. Fast forward 10 years, I finally went ahead and googled this random rock in the middle of the Atlantic…. For so long the only thing I’ve heard about Iceland was that it was expensive (and indeed it was), but when I saw pictures of this place I knew Iceland was my next destination.

I had intended to visit Iceland on my own since my wife wasn’t all that interested (plus she couldn’t take time off from work).  I had just picked up photography as a more serious hobby and naturally I planned to spend more time in different locations for photography sake, thus I was completely OK with embarking on the trip alone.  I don’t know how but I guess one thing led to another and I ended up treating my mom to this trip (in a way to thank her, and something different for her as well)… I am glad I did.

Like any amateur photographer/poor traveler with plenty of time on their hands, I spent tons of time doing 3 things: 1) I went on Flickr to see if there are any cool photo ideas, 2) Tripadvisor to ask for advice regarding my trip plans, and 3) try to save some money with car rental/accommodations.

Itinerary

Overview of Iceland 10-day adventure

Overview of Iceland 10-day adventure

 

Conclusion

As I write this trip report almost 2 years after visiting Iceland, fond memories flood into my mind even though we were faced with some truly awful weather. However I believe that through those rough weather conditions I was able to actually relate to Icelanders and their culture. I learned to appreciate not only the beauty of nature, but also the intensity of which it can present.  This was essentially the point in my life where I officially caught the travel bug and really fell in love with photography…  Looking back there were many things that I could’ve done differently and more efficiently, but nonetheless I enjoyed the trip, the memories, and everything else tremendously.  On the flight to Iceland I learned that half of the country still believed in elves and trolls (ridiculous right?).  After my trip I’ve concluded that Icelanders might not be wrong after all…  Iceland is indeed a magical paradise.

26 replies
  1. Mary Gierth says:

    Enjoyed your report and photos. My husband wants to visit Iceland so we are thinking of summer 2016. Any recommendations on when to go? Mary

    Reply
    • Kelvin says:

      Hi Mary,

      The peak seasons are obviously June-Aug since you will basically have 24 hour daylight and flowers are in bloom… however it is also the peak season and you will have to secure hotels/B&Bs months in advance (you can’t just wing it like I did). And of course you won’t be able to see northern lights… May and September are shoulder seasons but you are also risking a higher chance of rain (even more so than summer time). It really depends on what you want to see.

      Reply
  2. Erin Eurkin says:

    Enjoyed your trip report … we will be in Iceland end of September/beginning of October of this year … looking forward to the trip. We’ll be prepared for bad weather and keep our hopes up for good weather 😉

    Reply
    • Kelvin says:

      Hi Erin,
      Thank you for visiting my blog! Just remember to have fun in your trip… If you run into some rain (which you most likely will).. just remember to enjoy the scenery and experiences! (despite heavy rain/wind trying to “ruin” your trip). Happy Travels!

      Reply
  3. rllit says:

    Love your report. We will be going to Iceland the end of September. It is a four day stopover on our way to Copenhagen. You mentioned that you
    picked up groceries/supplies from the supermarket when you arrived. Did you have a cooler along with you? I always like to pack a cooler when traveling but wondered if they sell bagged ice as we do in the states? Crazy question I know! Just a very minor detail in my planning!

    Reply
    • Kelvin says:

      hi rllit thanks for your kind words,

      In September it is often cold enough to not require a cooler to be honest. In terms of groceries it is nice to grab some basic supplies
      but since there are supermarkets in even medium sized cities you won’t need to stock up (I am assuming you will be around the south only since you only have 4 days).

      Reply
  4. Randy says:

    My husband, 23 year old daughter and I will be in Iceland July 7 – July 21. Most every night I look at Trip Advisor’s Iceland Forum. I can’t tell you how much I enjoyed and appreciated your trip report and
    pictures. I can hardly wait to get there! Thanks again, Randy

    Reply
    • Randy says:

      I showed my husband your blog earlier this evening. He thoroughly enjoyed it, as well. He was just reading a book in the living room and couldn’t believe how uncanny it was that there was a sentence in the book that referred to Brennivin, an Icelandic Schnapps. Pretty crazy

      Reply
  5. lualpache says:

    How did you get such amazing Northern Lights in September? I was in Iceland in October, and managed to see faint Northern Lights at Dyrholaey/Vik- the beach there is stunning. We were lucky with the weather as it was sunny, so we could see the Northern Lights.

    If you return to Iceland, you could take a special 4×4 to the top of an ice cap. I took one to the top of Myrdalsjokull, underneath which is the
    volcano Katla (due to erupt). The views were superb, and on a clear day, it can be a good photo opportunity.

    Your photos are amazing.

    Reply
    • Kelvin says:

      Thanks for your kind words!

      I did a lot of research prior to going to Iceland regarding aurora borealis and it really boils down to luck because you need to have a relatively clear night + strong aurora activity. I checked the aurora forecast for the duration of my trip (http://en.vedur.is/weather/for…, and because we did not commit ourselves to a specific location we could “chase” good weather.

      I will definitely return to Iceland and hopefully this time I could see Myvatn 😛 Happy Travels!

      Reply
  6. Leslie_S says:

    Thanks for sharing your trip with us It was a great report and the pictures are amazing. Sorry you had so much rain but it sounds like you put it into perspective nicely –being able to experience nature as Icelanders do.

    Reply
  7. Guest says:

    What wonderful photography! I’m inspired to visit Iceland one day and see the beauty for myself. I enjoyed all the detail you’ve put in your
    entries, you have quite a way with words. Thanks for sharing your trip with us!

    Reply
  8. Guest says:

    Thank you for writing this! I felt like I was traveling along with you. I have been curious about Iceland and found this blog – your pictures
    are stunning. What a special experience to share with your mom. The Northern Lights sound amazing!!!

    Reply
  9. tailsock says:

    Iceland really isn’t my cup of tea but your trip report and photos are fantastic. like you photography is a big deal in my travels and I can see why you picked the tranquil beauty of this place. some places looked totally undiscovered by man. The Northern Lights looked magic

    Reply
  10. tedgale says:

    ‘ve already had an ecstatic response from a shutterbug friend, a
    Director General in the federal government’s Northern Program

    Reply
  11. tedgale says:

    Your photographs are simply breathtaking.

    I worked for many years at Fisheries and Oceans in Ottawa, so I have many Canadian friends who have traveled to Iceland for fisheries and scientific exchanges.

    I’ve copied the link to share with others.

    Reply
  12. Guest says:

    We, too, were in Iceland last September – for about 10 days starting September 9th. Part of our trip may have overlapped with yours because I recognize some of the weather (in particular an incredibly windy 1 1/2 days around Vik and Jokulsarlon – the first storm of the season they told us, as well as the snow around Akureyri). Thank you for all the lovely pictures – I wish that mine had turned out as well. However, we have lots of wonderful memories of this stunningly beautiful country and hope to return some day. (What a lovely idea to take your mother with you!

    Reply
  13. robbas says:

    We saw most of everything you did and some on our trip, but I do appreciate camera skill, nice composition, exposure and sharpness on your photos, even with crappy weather… God I want to go back to Iceland but so many places in the world I want to see and only so much time… I have a direct flight all the way from Florida, so tempting…

    Reply
  14. btgm says:

    That was a great report. Very adventurous!

    I enjoyed it as I am trying to figure out what to do with my daughter
    (15) who has suddenly decided she wants to go to Iceland this July. I’m
    waiting for her summer schedule to get set before making definite plans.

    For some reason, Iceland seems very hard to plan for me, so I’m hoping
    people write a lot of trip reports before then!

    Reply
  15. northice says:

    Excellent trip report and the photos are amazing. The images from Vik
    Beach and Grjótagjá are my favorites! Cheers

    Reply

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