33 In Iceland/ Travel

Welcome to the Land of Fire and Ice

Iceland is often referred to as ‘The Land of Fire and Ice’ and I thought, oh, what a catchy nickname. Then, I went to Iceland and realized IT IS ‘The Land of Fire and Ice’. My mom and I spent eight days exploring the island as much as possible, squeezing in natural sites, hopping around town and getting awesome mother/daughter time. This is just a little introduction to our time in Iceland and a glance at what to expect from my upcoming posts about the land of fire and ice!

Why Visit Iceland in the Winter?

Our main goal was to see the Northern Lights. I had done all sorts of research on photographing them, downloaded apps to track them and felt really prepared. Unfortunately for us, it wasn’t in the cards for that to happen. At least, not in the way we expected. We were able to get a pretty awesome aurora borealis show from the airplane. Unfortunately, that meant no setting up my camera, no gorgeous landscapes underneath, but we were able to just sit and take in the moment (and snap some crummy iPhone photos). Plus, it allows for something to see next time!


There are less people traveling this time of year, as well. We weren’t stuck behind massive crowds at natural sites! Because it isn’t peak tourist season, prices are also a bit lower – which definitely helps out when visiting Iceland!

Where We Stayed:

I found Guesthouse Galtafell on Booking.com and I was very impressed with it. This was an Icelandic artists’ house, but has been turned into t guesthouse. They’ve separated it out into smaller rooms that feel more like apartments. Ours was the room under the stairs. It was equipped with a kitchenette and table, a living room, two bathrooms and two single beds! The best part was the location. It’s right in the heart of old town and the fabulous location meant that we walked everywhere in the city.

Just a Peek of What’s to Come:

Road tripping across the island

Black sand beaches off of cozy towns!

Hiking to (and on) a gorgeous glacier

Relaxation in the Blue Lagoon

Mountain beyond mountain beyond mountain – mountains around every turn!

Geysirs and other volcanic activity!

Steaming landscapes!

And seriously majestic waterfalls! 

The Land of Fire and Ice is one of my favorite countries thus far, for its natural beauty alone and I cannot wait to give you guys a more detailed tour of my experiences over the next couple of weeks!

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  • Reply
    February 15, 2017 at 8:17 am

    Lovely images.

  • Reply
    Joanna Maguire
    February 15, 2017 at 10:13 am

    Awesome photos! Only time I have ever seen the Northern Lights was out of a plane window too – utterly amazing it was, would love to see them from the ground sometime though 🙂

    • Reply
      Paige Wunder
      March 1, 2017 at 8:45 am

      You and me both! I would love to too. I do feel fortunate having seen them at all, as I’m sure you do too!

  • Reply
    Clazz - An Orcadian Abroad
    February 15, 2017 at 3:51 pm

    Beautiful photos! Even those northern lights ones, that’s such a cool experience to have! I love Iceland so much and reeeeally want to go back.

    • Reply
      Paige Wunder
      March 1, 2017 at 8:57 am

      Thank you so much! I’m already ready to go back myself!

  • Reply
    Patricia Steffy (@PLSteffy)
    February 15, 2017 at 4:24 pm

    Stunning landscape photos! Like you, I’ve wanted to photograph the Northern Lights for ages — I know it wasn’t how you planned to capture them, but at least you got to see them from the plane windows. I haven’t made it there yet, but I’m hopeful it will happen one of these days (even if Iceland in winter sounds a bit chillier than I’m usually hoping for). Also, Guesthouse Galtafell sounds perfect!

    • Reply
      Paige Wunder
      March 1, 2017 at 9:01 am

      Thank you! It’s true, I feel lucky to have seen them at all! We bought a really good coat and good boots, and with that it didn’t feel as cold as I was expecting!

  • Reply
    The Adventure Ahead
    February 15, 2017 at 9:24 pm

    Your landscape photography skills are seriously great. Iceland has always been high on our list of places to visit someday. Your Blue Lagoon image may have moved it up the list 🙂 Guesthouse Galtafell is a place we will certainly have to check out.

    • Reply
      Paige Wunder
      March 1, 2017 at 9:03 am

      Wow, thank you so much! It’s definitely worth a visit! I can’t wait to give it another go in the spring or summer. More than anything, just because I will feel much more comfortable driving in the summer. Definitely check out their space. Next time I want to rent a camper van!

  • Reply
    February 15, 2017 at 10:40 pm

    These are incredible!!

  • Reply
    Len Kagami
    February 15, 2017 at 10:59 pm

    “The Land of Fire and Ice”, a very catchy name indeed! Although your photos were shot by phone camera, they still look pretty amazing 🙂

    • Reply
      Paige Wunder
      March 1, 2017 at 9:05 am

      Thank you so much! I wish I had been able to see them from the ground, so I could’ve setup my DSLR and captured some cool shots of them. Still, it’s the moment and memory I have that counts, right?

  • Reply
    Cori Carl
    February 16, 2017 at 6:12 am

    I loved Iceland and keep looking for an excuse to go back! It’s amazing how when the weather is dark it looks like some incredible dystopian landscape, but as soon as the sun is out it’s the most beautiful place. I’m not used to driving, so driving along the windy roads took a little getting used to, but I loved it.

    • Reply
      Paige Wunder
      March 1, 2017 at 9:06 am

      That’s so very true! It would definitely take a little time. I drive quite a bit and it was a little scary, mostly because of all the ice, sleet and lack of street lights at night.

  • Reply
    KT Mac
    February 16, 2017 at 8:13 am

    I’m going to Iceland soon and I just spent some time living through your post and photos! Looks like you had an amazing time!

    • Reply
      Paige Wunder
      March 1, 2017 at 9:07 am

      I’m so confident that you will love it! I definitely enjoyed my time there.

  • Reply
    February 16, 2017 at 8:45 am

    Girl, there is a look of a travel blogger to you! I have never ever seen you take a bad picture and you in the Blue Lagoon is such a money shot! I had to hold my breath in for how gorgeous that misty mountain photo came out! Holy smokes! Can’t wait for the posts to come! 😀

    • Reply
      Paige Wunder
      March 1, 2017 at 9:09 am

      Izzy, your compliments are always a major boost for my self confidence! Thanks, love! I take a million awful photos, but that’s the reason I LOVE digital cameras! Haha! I’m excited to get some landscape posts going. I want to go back in the spring or summer with Matt and rent a camper van!

  • Reply
    *Nina Zara* (@Safari_junkie_)
    February 16, 2017 at 12:14 pm

    At least you saw the northern lights from the plane. I am saving Iceland for summer time, despite fabulous photos here, am afraid it would be too cold for me:)

    • Reply
      Paige Wunder
      March 1, 2017 at 9:10 am

      So true! You would actually be surprised. It wasn’t that cold if you’re properly equipped. I spent the money on an amazing coat and really good boots and I wasn’t too cold. I was really worried about that myself.

  • Reply
    Sarah Kim
    February 16, 2017 at 4:25 pm

    That’s so cool you saw the aurora borealis from the plane! Your photos are beautiful. I love the one of the black sand beach. Thanks for sharing!

    • Reply
      Paige Wunder
      March 1, 2017 at 9:13 am

      It was very cool! Thank you! That’s one of my favorite photos from the trip!

  • Reply
    TalesOfABackpacker🌍 (@clairesturz)
    February 16, 2017 at 11:17 pm

    Travelling in the off season is a great tip; I’ve heard Iceland is pretty expensive as they have to import everything – so every little helps! Glad you still had chance to swim in the blue lagoon, that water is incredible!!

    • Reply
      Paige Wunder
      March 1, 2017 at 9:14 am

      It definitely does, we did the same thing when we went to Hawaii – rent a place with a kitchenette. The water really is fantastic!

  • Reply
    Sandy N Vyjay
    February 17, 2017 at 12:00 am

    We too love to travel in the off season to places. The places assume a different charm of their own. Iceland is a real white wonderland and the landscapes simply stunning. Hope to get there some day.

    • Reply
      Paige Wunder
      March 1, 2017 at 4:25 pm

      It’s so true. The ration between locals and tourists is totally different. I think you’d enjoy it very much!

  • Reply
    February 17, 2017 at 7:25 am

    Love your photos. I just got back from Iceland for my second winter visit a couple weeks ago. Iceland quickly became my favorite country this year after exploring more of the country and visiting glacier lagoon and diamond beach. There is so much magic to be seen on this small island. <3

    • Reply
      Paige Wunder
      March 1, 2017 at 4:26 pm

      You’re absolutely right! We tried to visit glacier lagoon, but I got a little overwhelmed driving in the snow, sleet and ice that hit once I got to Vik.

  • Reply
    February 19, 2017 at 6:05 pm

    Love your photos! Yes, offseason is my favorite time to visit places to get a more intimate experience. I’m jealous you were able to leave the city a little more than I did. I for sure want to return to see everything I missed before!

    • Reply
      Paige Wunder
      March 1, 2017 at 4:41 pm

      Thank you so much! I got to see some, but I wish I could’ve seen more! Those roads did stress me out a bit if it was dark and snowing. Ha!

  • Reply
    matteu312 'Jamaicantotheworld.com'
    October 22, 2017 at 8:42 pm

    Read the first few lines of this and felt sad (not too sad haha) for you. My first trip to Iceland was for the very same reason and it was back in 2014 so not sure about apps (i dont even remember if i had a proper smartphone) but def did all the websites and research. Crazily the northern lights came out every single day for us and one of the days was spectactular. sadly my research on photographing them obviously wasnt comprehended so i didnt get any shot worthy of what i saw so there is dissapointment i couldnt capture it properly as well! your pics capture iceland nicely tho!

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