Ashley Ward Photography
Lifestyle and landscape photographer.
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Iceland. Where to start?
They say it’s the land of fire and ice, and let me tell you, it is. In a single day, we saw glaciers and lava fields. It is a country that you literally have no idea what you will see next. It is a volcano? Icebergs? Barron land? A waterfall?
To give you the layout of our trip, myself, my boyfriend, and our two friends went this past June in the Icelandic “summer” (a loosely used term as far as temperature is concerned), when the sun is out for almost 24 hours each day. We started in the capital, Reykjavik, and did the whole Ring Road around the country in a tiny little Nissan hatchback.
We did so much on this trip, and there is no way I can fit in all in one blog post, so I’ll give you the highlight reel.
When we arrived (technically in Keflavik), it was only the wee hours of the morning. We were exhausted. None of us had slept much on our overnight flight that had two very unhappy babies on board. We drove into the capital and, after getting some much needed coffee and wandering the streets of the tiny city like zombies, we set off for a relaxing afternoon at the Secret Lagoon. A lesser known, less crowded, and much less expensive alternative to the Blue Lagoon. It is definitely the way to go.
In the next few days, we set off to start our exciting journey around the island, beginning in the south with the golden circle. This was absolutely incredible. There is so much to see in such a short distance. If you have never been to Iceland and have a short stop-over there, do this. Do it, do it all, and soak in all of the incredible diversity this small piece of Iceland has to offer. Be warned, though: this only gives you a small taste of the country. It’s just the appetizer. You will want more.
Diamond Beach and Jökulsárlón (the Glacier Lagoon) have to be two of the coolest (pun intended) things we saw on this trip. The Glacier Lagoon’s name really describes it well. It is a lagoon that sits on the tip of the finger of a glacier. Now, here is the kicker: IT IS FILLED WITH ICEBERGS!
It was so mesmerizing. We literally just looked at its beauty for 2 hours. Just looked. We even got to see one flip. So cool. Not to mention, the two friends we travelled with GOT ENGAGED while we were there. Way cooler.
Appropriately enough, Diamond Beach, just across the road, gets its name because of the smaller icebergs get caught on shore on their way out to sea. As you look at the beach, it looks like there are diamonds shimmering on top of the black sand.
We were able to stay in Airbnbs the whole time, and two of them were horse farms.
So amazing. Such beautiful creatures.
Fact: If an Icelandic horse leaves Iceland, it can never come back. We were told that because of the limited amount of usable land on the Iceland, horses regularly come into contact with each other, and if a new disease was introduced, it could spread rapidly and wipe out most of the population on the entire island.
We were able to go on a horse ride at our second horse farm (which was also located at the base of the beautiful mountain Kirkjufell and, we were told, next to a penitentiary).
The last thing I’ll touch on for this post are the waterfalls. You can’t talk about Iceland without talking about waterfalls. They are everywhere. Big ones, small ones, tall ones, skinny ones, wide ones. So many. At the beginning of the trip, we pointed out every single one that we spotted off the side of the road. By the end, we gave up. We just couldn’t keep up with them all. I mean look at these:
What. In. The. Actual. Heck.
I could go on forever about this trip, but I’ll stop here. If you have any questions about the details of our trip, feel free to ask!
For now, I’ll leave you with some tips for going to Iceland from what I’ve learned: