Alftavatn panorama

Fjallabak – ‘Behind the Mountains’

On this photo tour we focus on a fantastic nature reserve in the Icelandic highlands; Fjallabak (‚Behind the Mountains‘). Landmannalaugar in Fjallabak is a well known destination for landscape photographers, famous for it‘s multicoloured rhyolite mountains and volcanic landscape. The highlands of Fjallabak has so much more and is a favorite area for many Icelandic landscape photographers – but because it‘s remote and off the main roads, it‘s mostly un-tapped. There only rough mountain tracks with unbridged rivers and streams so it‘s inaccessible to normal cars and buses. We have the proper 4×4 super-truck to get the most exciting places. Among the features to photograph are black obsidian lava against geothermal steam vents, snow and green mossy mountains, reflections in a secluded mountain lakes and crater lakes, winding rivers and waterfalls so remote they don‘t have an official name. This is a photographic adventure and your chance to get a great collection of mountain landscape photographs that differ from the rest.

SuperJeeps in Hrafntinnusker

Hawk’s Super-Jeeps in Hrafntinnusker (‘Obsidian Skerry’) in central Fjallabak

Day 1: Arrival in Iceland
Transfer to Reykjavik is not included but you can either take the Flybus to Reykjavik or we can arrange for a private taxi transfer (40 min. drive)
Meals included: None but we will gladly recommend restaurants in Reykjavik
Accommodation: Hotel in Reykjavik

Day 2: Tour start; Reykjavik – Hekla & Red Falls
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.
Meals included: Breakfast + lunch pack + dinner
Accommodation: Hrauneyjar highland hotel

Sigalda canyon

Waterfalls in Sigalda Canyon on route to Landmannalaugar

Day 3: Fjallabak; Landmannalaugar & crater lakes.
From our hotel is only 35 km to Landmannalaugar where we will spend the day. Enroute 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.
Meals included: Breakfast + lunch pack + dinner
Accommodation: Hrauneyjar highland hotel

Green Canyon

Grænagil – ‘Green Canyon’ in Landmannalaugar

Day 4: 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.
Meals included: Breakfast + lunch pack + dinner
Accommodation: Hrauneyjar highland hotel

Veidivotn lakes

Patterns reflecting in one of the lakes at Veidivötn

Day 5: Repeat either Veidivotn or Landmannalaugar. Hrauneyjar.
Depending on weather, we will take another day at either Landmannalaugar or Veidivotn. Both destinations are so amazing that photographers will want more time in both locations. Repeating such complex locations where there is so much to photograph generally helps to get better images.
Meals included: Breakfast + lunch pack + dinner
Accommodation: Hrauneyjar highland hotel

Veidivotn red hills

Red lava hills by Veidivotn

Day 6: 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 receeding ice cap with geothermal steam vents and boiling mud pools underneath, melting the ice and forming ice caves. Around the fumeroles and hot springs grows neon green moss and algea. You therefore have an amazizng 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.
Meals included: Breakfast + lunch pack + dinner
Accommodation: Hrauneyjar highland hotel


Hrafntinnusker – ‘Obsidian Skerry’

Day 7: Alftavatn & Torfahlaup. Sunset at Seljalandsfoss. Hotel Fljotshlid
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 pyramyd 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 unfavorable the day before, we try again to photograph Seljalandsfoss at sunset.
Meals included: Breakfast + lunch pack + dinner
Accommodation: Hotel Fljotshlid


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 favorite 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.
Meals included: Breakfast + lunch pack + dinner
Accommodation: Hotel Fljotshlid


Waterfall in Markarfljot river in Fjallabak

Day 9: Hekla, approach from east, depart west and back to Reykjavik.
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. After spending the morning around Hekla we drive west towards Reykjavik where the tour ends in the afternoon.
Accommodation: Hotel in Reykjavik

Day 10: Departure
If your flight is in the afternoon, it’s ideal to enjoy a relaxing soak in the Blue Lagoon on your way to the airport (not incl.)
Note: You can easily extend your stay in Iceland and we will gladly help.

For more images please view my Fjallabak photo gallery

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