Stokksnes Peninsula – Every Photographer’s Dream

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Even though Iceland’s population is quite less, the volume of tourists that the country receives every year does more than just making up for the lack of human presence on the island. Popular for its camera-worthy landscapes, Iceland’s top destinations are seldom silent enough for some high-level professional photography. While most parts of Iceland are laden with tourists all-year-round, some hidden gems are still unexplored and make the perfect spot for top-notch nature photography sessions. Every photographer’s dream, Stokksnes peninsula offers some out-of-the-world untouched sites and awe-inspiring landscape that no camera owner can resist. This south-eastern beauty houses one of the most beautiful and picturesque mountains peaks in the country along with beautiful black sand beaches lined with small patches of vegetation in the middle. Stokksnes is majorly a headland in Iceland which means that there are many cliffs on the edge into which the waters from the sea on the west crashes with full power and velocity.

lupine fields in front of Stokksnes and Vestrahorn

Vestrahorn Mountain

Probably the most special and popular attraction of the area, Vestrahorn mountains will be one of the most beautiful things you will ever get to lay your eyes upon. Vestrahorn is located on privately owned land and is one of the most photographed mountains in Iceland. Since this place is not much of a ‘touristy’ spot as compared to other attractions in Iceland, photographers get a good amount of time and space to line up their cameras and shots. The mountain is about 454 meters tall and is majorly made up of gabbro and granophyre rocks – granite rocks which contain ingrown quartz crystals and feldspar (the mineral that makes up almost 60% of earth’s crust).

The name Vestrahorn translates to ‘west horn’ which is why this mountain is a part of the group of three mountain ranges in the east known as “The Horny Mountains”. The other 2 mountains included in this exclusive group are Eystrahorn and Brunnhorn (also known as the batman Mountain). Vestrahorn peak also has been the star of a Bollywood movie – ‘Dilwale’. It served as the backdrop in one of the songs from the movie. The shot in the movie has resulted in a considerable hike in the enthusiasts wanting to photograph the mountain. This is why there is a small entry fee to access the mountain site and to use the road leading up to it now. This makes it one of the only 2 natural sites in Iceland where admission fee is applicable. The other one is  Kerið crater on the Golden Circle Route.

Stokksnes black sand beach and Vestrahorn mountain in south east Iceland

Stokksnes Black Sand Beach

What makes this black sand beach so special is the reflection of Vestrahorn mountain in the lagoon at the foot of the mountain filled with seawater and the several chucks of grass in the middle of the waves of black sand. The beach is the perfect place to photograph the beautiful mountain featuring a black and white gradient shade. Not far from the beach you will find an abandoned Viking colony which can make a great subject for some period photography. All-in-all, Stokksnes beach is the center of many natural sites on the peninsula and can be seen as the perfect spot to shoot some portfolio worthy snaps in peace.

How to Get There?

Visiting Stokksnes peninsula is not a single day’s job but you can try to cover the ground in one day if you are on a time crunch and do not want to stay the day somewhere around the place. We recommend that you take at least 2 – 3 days to explore all the locations that will be on your way from Reykjavik to Stokksnes. Stokksnes is also the perfect stop on your self driving trip around Iceland.  It is a 6-hour drive from Reykjavik to Stokksnes. There is a turnoff leading to the beach right before the tunnel that leads to the ring road arrives. About three kilometers further on this road lies the parking lot of your destination and the Viking café where you can get some finely brewed coffee and pay the admission fee to the farmer who is the owner of the land and the café.

Map of Stokksnes

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