Northern Lights, Glaciers, and Black Sand Beaches in Iceland

Thanks to the freedom of a rental car, we were able to travel along Iceland's southern coast at our own pace toward the Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon, where we hoped to see the Northern Lights. Driving ourselves also allowed us to pull over anytime we wanted to take a closer look at something, and there were plenty of things that captured our attention. While Google Maps will tell you the drive should take under five hours, it took us over nine hours door-to-door since we stopped so often to take in the sights. The first big vista as we entered Suðurland was breathtaking, and it was the first place Mike flew his DJI Mavic drone in Iceland. He shot some stunning video on this trip! Check his post later in the week for tips on taking your own terrific photos and videos in Iceland, including capturing the elusive Northern Lights.

Iceland Day Trip: The Golden Circle

Perhaps the most well-known tourist excursion in Iceland is the Golden Circle, a route that takes visitors from Reykjavík to the Haukadalur geysers, the famous Gullfoss or "Golden Falls," and the Þingvellir national park, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Driving in Iceland: You vs. All of the Things

For our trip to Iceland, we wanted to get outside Reykjavík and explore the countryside, so we rented a car from Cars Iceland for six days for $563 USD. While this seems expensive, it is considerably cheaper than taking tour bus excursions for two or three people per outing.

Counting Króna in Iceland

Króna is the currency of Iceland, and it has a pretty good exchange rate with the U.S. dollar, roughly 100 króna to 1 dollar. To calculate prices, you just shift the decimal two places to the left; for example, if something is 1,000 króna, it's about $10. It's a little shocking at first to hear a clerk tell you, "That will be four thousand three hundred ninety-three, please," when you're buying a t-shirt. And then it's shocking all over again when you realize that t-shirt just cost you $44.

Hello from Iceland!

We're currently in Iceland, home of black sand beaches, icy glacier lagoons, breathtaking Northern Lights ... and staggering prices. The small island country is a photographer's paradise and offers a wide variety of terrain that is all within drivable distance (weather permitting). We got a terrific package deal for a weeklong visit through Gate 1 Travel. It cost us just $869 per person for round-trip airfare from New York to Reykjavík and seven days at the Skuggi Hotel, and we brought Ben with us for a spring break adventure.