Halllló!! It’s been too long, but I can’t even begin to explain how relieved I am to be writing on here. I logged onto my site just a couple of weeks ago and found everything deleted-all of the pictures, posts, and memories from the past 5 (omg how has it been that long) years that I’ve had this blog up was completely gone. Lots of stress and disappointment later, I finally figured out how to restore everything and PHEW. Thank. Tha. LAWDD!
Now I can sure with you this magical post that has been itching to be released into the world. FINALLY!
Just a couple of months ago, my family and I headed to Iceland for our annual family vacation. Growing up in Southern California, none of us were prepared to brace the coldness and tundra that is Iceland. But these views, are seriously out of this world-it literally feels like an alien world. Despite the horrible weather that we had to put up with, Iceland has some of the most insanely beautiful views, and I’ve rounded up some of my favorite views (aka all of the views) from our trip.
1. Diamond Beach
Hands down, my absolute favorite view. Jaw-dropping view is not an exaggeration-I think I just sat in awe of how gorgeous the glaciers were, washed up on the black sandy shores looking like a field of diamonds.
A huge shoutout to these water-resistant Ahnu’s for keeping my feet warm and dry throughout the trip!
A very proud photography moment. The sun came out for a brief 15 minutes, and after spending 7 days with minimal sunlight, you begin to have a whole new appreciation for those brief moments when the rays peek out from behind the clouds.
2. Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon
Right next to Diamond Beach is the beautiful lagoon filled with massive chunks of glaciers.
This beautiful 60-metre high waterfall is one of the biggest waterfalls in Iceland. Justin Bieber will show you. If you didn’t get that reference, look up his music video “I’ll Show You” for some major eye candy.
Pro-tip for photographing Icelandic waterfalls (and just waterfalls in general): keep your camera safe!! Bring plastic bags, make sure your lens is covered…you’ll find that there’s mist everywhere and it’s very easy for your camera to get wet. I learned this the hard way…*tears*
My sweet sweet sissypoo.
There’s also a short hike to to the top of the falls that you can take, with quite a flight of stairs.
This is probably one of the most well-known photographed waterfalls in Iceland, because there’s a small cave near the base of the falls where you can get a very unique shot of these falls.
5. Svartifoss, Skaftafell National Park
Definitely one of the most unique waterfalls with the basalt columns lined up all around the waterfall. This one requires a longer hike, but it’s a relatively easy hike.
6. Gullfoss National Park
I’m not proud of this picture, but for how windy it was, this was as best as I could get. As soon as we stepped out of the car, we were literally slammed by huge gusts of wind that it was actually pretty difficult for us to enjoy anything. We could hardly even walk in a straight line because we would get blown sideways by the wind! Regardless, this is one of the most iconic waterfalls in Iceland, and if you get lucky during the winter, the canyons are topped with snow.
7. Blue Lagoon
The best place to relax after your long flight, or for your last day in Iceland, which is what we did. Blue Lagoon is a geothermal spa that’s filled with minerals like sulfur and silica. Think biggest jacuzzi ever.
8. Strokkur Geyser
Ahh. The (infamous) Strokkur Geyser. This was the last picture I managed to capture on my DSLR before it broke from all the continual water damage it was receiving throughout this trip. Watching it explode is quite the event-eruption takes place about every 6-10 minutes!
9. Black Sand Beach, Vík
This was a completely unexpected yet absolutely gorgeous view. On our way home, I decided to pull over to the side of a gas station and was rewarded with one of the most beautiful glimpses of the early sunset. During winter, there’s only 4 hours of sunlight, with sunrise starting around 11 AM and sunset at 3 PM. However, since Iceland is so close to the Earth’s poles, the sun never really comes all the way up and is always lying on the horizon. When I saw the clouds turning a slight orange-pink, I immediately ran out of my car, grabbed my phone and managed to capture the last couple of minutes of precious sunlight.
10. Falljökull Glacier
Many travel itineraries for traveling to Iceland in winter include hiking in ice caves, which is what we had originally planned. However, with all of the climate change, Icelandic winters have been exceptionally warm-and this year was actually one of the warmest winters that Iceland has ever had. We were told that the ice caves were partially melted and unsafe for visitors to enter, so they offered us a glacier hiking package instead as compensation.
Hiking on a glacier was a very surreal experience-simply put, there’s nothing quite like it and it’s the most humbling feeling to look around you and see the long stretch of mountains and ice in every direction.
Thank you for the adventures and memories ♥
We still managed to crawl inside a smaller ice cave. LOOK at these ice stairs-it’s literally straight out of a Queen Elsa scene.
You definitely won’t miss this, as this is the center of Iceland. The majority of Iceland’s population resides here, and this is where you’ll find all the hustle and bustle. Well, as much hustle and bustle that Iceland gets. Iceland is a very slow, laid-back country and it’s so peaceful and safe, you’ll see people park their kids in strollers right outside grocery stores or cafes while they go in to get their drinks or do their shopping.
A unique piece of art near the center of town-the Solfar sculpture!
Hallgrimskirkja is an old church that’s also one of the top things to see if you’re in Reykjavík. You can also get to the top of the building, where you’ll see a skyline of the city.
Harpa Concert Hall! There was a local farmer’s market inside when we went to visit, so we got to sample various Icelandic foods, from smoked fish to different assortments of chocolate, breads and homemade dips.
Iceland has some of the most beautiful places I’ve ever seen in my entire life, but there’s nothing more beautiful than being able to enjoy it with the people you love most. Thankful for another wonderful bonding experience I get to share with my family. Until next time!