Business & Government Mar 25, 2014

Road Trip Around Iceland

In recent years Iceland has become almost as popular with filmmakers as it is with tourists. As we’ve mentioned before, Iceland’s varied landscape and tax incentives lure Hollywood filmmakers and television producers to the country. Robert Hull, a freelance writer and editor for The Guardian, documented his trip to visit the country’s popular filming locations.

Hull began his road trip in Höfn with plans to travel to the scenic town of Vík, by way of the glacial lagoon of Jökulsárlón. This journey took him down ring road, which is the only way to see the entire country and provides access to Iceland’s cities, towns, and beautiful natural sites. As Hull drove west, he passed filming locations of The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. These staggering Icelandic landscapes stood in for Afghanistan and the Himalayas in the film. Next, Hull traveled to Jökulsárlón to see it’s many blue icebergs. This location is most known for its appearance in the James Bond film, Die Another Day. The crystal-like ice fragments that scatter the shore, paired with the mountainous background, made the car chase scene in the movie unforgettable.

In speaking with Thor Kjartansson, a film location manager in Iceland, Hull discovered the large role that accessibility plays when choosing filming locations. “We can get crews to remote places like we did in Oblivion,” he says. “But a lot of the other locations are just off ring road. There are also plenty of activities you can do while you’re there. You can pick up a snowmobile tour that takes in the waterfall of Skógafoss or go glacial hiking and there are boat tours at Jökulsárlón.” Therefore, Iceland’s appeal to filmmakers lies in it’s beautiful landscape as well as how easily accessible its various, versatile locations are.

Hull goes on to chronicle many other stops on his road trip. He mentions the awe that struck him as he visited Skógafoss, which can be seen in Thor: The Dark World. Hull also visited Dyrhólaey, Iceland’s most southerly point. There, under a narrow cliff, is a 115m-high arch of black rock. The new “flood epic” Noah features Dyrhólaey and the nearby sea stacks of Reynisdrangar, which can be seen off the coast.

Lastly, Hull could not consider his trip complete without visiting the epic film locations of Game of Thrones. He mentions that the tour bus’s drive itself was breathtaking, as it took them “on a captivating incline with views of mountains and craters and then to the spectacular Goðafoss (waterfall of the gods), a location you’ll see in the show’s fourth season (which premieres on April 6th).” Hull mentions that the powerful waterfall evoked a sense of wonder and awe.

At the end of the tour, Hull visited the geothermal pools at the Mývatn Nature Baths. As he relaxed in the hot waters, he reflected on the benefits that the increased tourism would have for Iceland and what that could mean for the country in the future.

Click here to read the full article by The Guardian.