Northern Lights photography holiday in Iceland, coast & ice

“A full-on workshop taking in the southeast and western regions of Iceland for a variety of landscapes - and with 9 nights, you'll increase your chance of aurora sightings.”


Snæfellsnes Peninsula | Snæfellsjökull glacier | Kirkjufell Mountain | Fishing Villages | Lava fields | Sea arches and sea stacks | Volcanic craters and lakes | Skógafoss and Seljalandsfoss waterfalls | Vatnajökull glacier | Northern Lights | Ice caves (February and March) | Sunrise and sunset shoots

Description of Northern Lights photography holiday in Iceland, coast & ice

Iceland is a fantastic destination for any photographer, and this Northern Lights photography holiday celebrates its coast and ice. Iceland has some of the most accessible wild coastal and ice landscapes in the world and it’s also a great location for photographing the aurora borealis. This 10-day photography workshop, run by people who live in Iceland and know all the locations intimately, takes you to some of the best photography spots on the island.

We concentrate on two key area, each with extraordinary scenery and landscapes. The trip kicks off in the beautiful Snæfellsnes Peninsula, West Iceland. The coastal scenery here is wild, with black beaches, sea stacks, fjords and unusual shaped mountains such as Kirkjufell which rises elegantly from the bay in Grundarfjörður. The North Atlantic coast is never far away. We will stay in Hotel Búðir, located right on a scenic coastal estuary. It’s a really elegant hotel with a great atmosphere and a restaurant renowned for its exquisite cuisine. The facilities in the hotel are perfect for reviewing and working on our images.

Next, we move on to the glaciated wilderness of southeast Iceland. Here we find some of the most spectacular ice and glacial phenomena in Europe, as well as dramatic mountain scenery, Skaftafell National Park, several glacial lagoons, black beaches festooned with sparkling ice, the famous Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon and magnificent views of Iceland’s highest mountain Hvannadalshnjúkur. Our main base is just ten minutes drive from the Jökulsárlón.
This photography workshop is longer than our other Iceland trips, so it’s perfect for those photographers who want to really get to know the country and capture a diverse mix of subjects. We will experience sunrise and sunsets in well chosen spots and of course there will be lots of chances to capture the aurora borealis – a magical experience with or without a camera.

Photography tuition is included and this holiday suits all levels of photographers. There will be some walking every day, occasionally on uneven terrain, although this will normally be on paths or tracks. Hotel accommodation is included, providing a comfortable base where you can relax or wander in the surrounding landscape in your own time, work on images, receive post-processing tuition and enjoy viewing sessions of each others’ work. There is a maximum group size of 12 people, and all meals, transfers and transport are included.

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Our top tip:
Be sure your travel insurance covers the value of your camera and lenses for peace of mind when travelling.
Trip type:
Small group tour.
Activity level:
9 nights in comfortable hotels in coastal and rural settings.
Solo travellers welcome, no single supplement.
Accommodation, transfers, transport inc. internal flight, all meals, photography tutor, listed activities.

Responsible tourism

Northern Lights photography holiday in Iceland, coast & ice

Carbon reduction

Your holiday will help support local people and conservation. We must also reduce CO2. Learn about the CO2 emissions of this holiday and how to reduce them.


We encourage you to travel responsibly and to consider the following guidelines:
- When out in wild places we encourage you to keep erosion to a minimum, keep to footpaths and avoid stepping on or picking native flora, Iceland is especially fragile environmentally and the country is currently embarking of many projects such as tree planting to reduce erosion.
- We encourage you to use water sparingly and to avoid buying plastic bottles of water; use your own metal or heavy-duty plastic bottle such as Nalgene to refill with water from a safe source as recommended. In Iceland water should never be bought from a shop as most water sources are exceptionally pure.
- River water could also be drinking water, do not contaminate water supplies by washing in it. Any washing products should be phosphate free.
- Respect local customs religion and traditions.
- Carry out some research about Iceland and being able to speak a few words of Icelandic is always appreciated.
- Don’t take photographs of local people and places of religious significance without permission.
- Keep promises! Send copies of photos to local people if this is what you have said you will do.
- Read the labels and buy local products such as food and souvenirs so that money directly benefits the community.
- Minimize pollution, and carry out all litter. Iceland has one of the lowest levels of environmental pollution in the world and it is good to keep it this way.

Wherever possible we work electronically, we are totally web based and our paper use is minimal. We work from a home based office reducing car travel to a minimum. Our preferred mode of getting around to locations is by foot thus reducing pollution, environmental noise and damage to what is often an especially delicate ecosystem.

We support the Environment Agency of Iceland through passing on information about its policy and encouraging people to join their volunteer scheme. Our company is currently setting up an itinerary for UK schools expeditions to visit Iceland to participate in the project.

We recommend that you visit our links page where you will find comprehensive information on travel, health, environmental concerns, preparing for your holiday, local cultures and how to support local projects.


Iceland has been hit hard by their bankruptcy/crisis of October 2008. More than ever communities are having to return to their roots and rely on traditional ways of making a living. Tourism, fishing, farming and local crafts such as knitting are seen as a viable and sustainable way of helping to restore economic stability to the country and also giving a sense of dignity to Icelanders.

In particular communities away from the central hub of Reykjavik are relying on visitors to boost their economy. Since way before the current crisis we have been supporting these less visited areas and we are rewarded with a very personal service, quieter locations, fresher home-grown produce and insight into the lives and folklore of local people. Now it is cheaper for us to visit Iceland as we get an excellent exchange rate. We always ensure that participants on our holidays get the opportunity to see and purchase local products.

These local providers appreciate our on going commitment to their livelihoods.

All of our service suppliers are informed of our responsible travel policy which is clearly visible on our website Local food can be obtained easily in Iceland, for example fish, lamb, dairy products, vegetables grown in geo-thermally heated green houses. Each day we buy local produce for our picnic lunches to be eaten on location and our accommodations pride themselves in introducing us to local Icelandic fare for both breakfast and dinner.

On this South coast trip we always take time to visit and support the Skógar Folk Museum. The museum was founded in 1949 on the initiative of Þórður Tómasson born in 1921 at Vallnatún under the Vestur-Eyjafjöll mountains in south Iceland at an early age Þórður developed an interest in Icelandic culture and particularly its conservation, he still works daily in the museum. Now covering a large site the museum offers a rare insight into the cultural, architectural, agricultural and geographical development of Iceland. In the small shop attached to the museum participants are invited to purchase locally made handicrafts, jewellery, outdoor-clothing, woollen goods and books.
Both of our hotels in Snæfellsness are small and family run. In the Grundarfjörður hotel there is a very special emphasis upon involving the community in our activities. We often eat at a small fish soup 'shack' down on the beach in preference to the rather more up-market restaurant that is available: we know that the fish will be freshly caught that day by local fishermen.
Our main base in South East Iceland is still a working farm but has now been developed to include good standard accommodation and a restaurant whose mene includes mainly farm products such as lamb, yogurts, jams, fish and homemade bread.

19 Reviews of Northern Lights photography holiday in Iceland, coast & ice

5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed on 15 Feb 2019 by

great trip, well organised. memories for life Read full review

Reviewed on 05 Nov 2018 by

Excellent. Our 'Tutor' James Rushworth was exceptional. His ability to place us in the right place at the right time, his knowledge of Iceland and things Icelandic, his photography skills and ability to pass on that knowledge were superb. Read full review

Reviewed on 27 Aug 2018 by

Excellent. I saw a lot of Iceland and had plenty of time and opportunity to take photographs. James was an excellent photography tutor and guide and provided lots of expert guidance, useful suggestions and encouragement. Read full review

Reviewed on 10 Mar 2018 by

We were lucky on day one to shoot the Northern Lights. We never saw them again. The Ice Beach was an amazing experience but the waterfalls and scenery generally was amazing. We were lucky enough to have received a large dumping of fresh snow which made the country spectacular. Read full review

Reviewed on 05 Mar 2018 by

We were lucky enough to get a magnificent aurora display over Kirkjufell on evening 2. That probably stands out from all of the other awe-inspiring places we went to. Read full review

Reviewed on 26 Feb 2018 by

I loved the wildness of Iceland. The weather we encountered the week I was in Iceland was raw. It snowed most of the week and sometimes the road was closed. The weather allowed us to see Iceland with few tourist around. It was great! Read full review

Reviewed on 22 Feb 2018 by

Being expected to step out of a nice warm vehicle into a blizzard and minus 10 degrees with windchill, and expected to take photographs!! Having said that the weather cleared and revealed a magic landscape of frozen waterfalls and snow covered mountain and landscape. Brilliant! Photographing the northern lights was a real highlight-one clear night in thirteen! Read full review

Reviewed on 15 Nov 2017 by

It was one of the best holidays that I've ever experienced. The itinerary was well structured and organised. The tutor and tour leader were humorous which added so much fun in the entire trip. Read full review

Reviewed on 28 Oct 2017 by

The most memorable moment was seeing the Aurora Borealis and getting up close to a glacier! Seeing the Aurora Borealis and getting up close to a glacier! Read full review

Reviewed on 03 Oct 2017 by

As it was a photographic holiday, the valuable tuition and the amazing places we were taken more than met expectations. The care taken by the leaders was very impressive. Read full review

Reviewed on 30 Oct 2016 by

It was terrific. From start to end, Iceland Northern Lights, Coast and Ice workshop was impeccably researched, planned and executed with a rich, full and unique itinerary. Read full review

Reviewed on 28 Oct 2016 by opened up a place to me that I only had an inkling about and revealed raw, spectacular other-worldly beauty. Humbling that such beauty still exists in the world... Read full review

Reviewed on 09 Mar 2016 by

Fantastic - the tutors were excellent, patient, helpful and very professional. I learnt a lot but realise that I still have a lot to learn Read full review

Reviewed on 11 Nov 2016 by

Lots of memories from the holiday it is difficult to pick one out in particular same great destinations...Quite a busy and enjoyable agenda...Really good holiday which was thoroughly enjoyable. Read full review

Reviewed on 28 Apr 2014 by

What was the most memorable part of the holiday? - Everything!...Excellent! Read full review

Reviewed on 03 Apr 2014 by

Fabulous, never to be forgotten...the excitement of 'getting' the Northern Lights was really great. Read full review

Reviewed on 28 Sep 2013 by

I think everyone who went on this trip would return in the future given the chance. I will certainly be back next year. Overall a great holiday and learning experience. Read full review

Reviewed on 26 Sep 2013 by

The holiday exceeded my expectations by a country mile. Martin and Geraldine are two of the loveliest people I have ever met and their knowledge and genuine passion for photography really left an impression. As it was my first photography workshop I was concerned it might not be for me; now my concern is how anyone else will be able to live up to what this operator has to offer, after a truly amazing 10 days. Read full review

Reviewed on 08 Oct 2013 by

My first photography holiday so I cannot compare but as a trip it was great with the added benefit of learning so much and seeing so much and enjoying the entire experience. Read full review

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