Updated: Oct 19, 2022
As a landscape photographer, I've had the chance to travel and photograph many amazing places all over the world. Most of the places I visited are wonderful, and ranking is a really difficult thing to do. But I am still going to try to share with you my 5 best landscape photography locations. This was definitely not an easy choice as each location has its own spirit, vibe and memories associated to it.
Those who know me already will already know that I am in love with mountains, but I also love deserts, seaside, woodlands, etc. Therefore, you can expect to see some of these in my ranking. Please also note that it's not because these places are ranked from 1 to 5 that there are any of them any less interesting than others. They all have their magic and are all worthwhile visiting.
To get to these places, make sure to have your skill set ready to bring home some amazing clichés. In case you want to improve, do not hesitate to take a look at my other article about the 12 tips to improve your travel and landscape photography
Alright, let's not wait any longer, here are my favorite places to photograph as a landscape photographer.
#5 - Lofoten in Winter - White Paradise
The archipelago of the Lofoten was one of my first solo photography trips. It brought some happiness and beauty at a difficult period of my life, and therefore, holds a special place not only in my eyes but also in my heart.
If you're looking for the famous aurora borealis, endless sunset and sunrise lights, reflecting beaches surrounded by snow covered mountains, iconic photography spots and dramatic atmosphere, this is the place to go during winter time in Europe. From February till April, aurora borealis will be visible while the daylight starts increasing enough to enjoy your day, and the snow will be present giving space to some magical atmospheres. Surprisingly, the Island can switch from no snow to fully snow covered in one day, so you might just be able to shoot the same places in various conditions in a short period of time. Given the small size of the archipelago, a stay of about a week is enough to explore it all, with some time to return to some spots if you wish. Expect some bad to very bad days with storm in winter times, where photography will be hardly doable due to strong winds and pouring snow or rain.
#4 - Iceland - Another Planet
This one had to be part of the top 5, and I am pretty sure that it would part of many landscape photographer’s top 5. I was there in 2021 as the pandemic restrictions started to ease, and this was the go-to place in Europe. It was an amazing experience as I did the 4 days Laugavegur trek that brought me to some of the most remote part of the Iceland. It doesn’t rank higher because the place is so well known and organized that some of the magic is withdrawn even before reaching it. But don’t get me wrong, the place remains a gem, and that’s why it’s in my top 5 favorite landscape places.
This little place in Northern Europe is just a heaven for photographers. No matter where you direct your look, you will be amazed by its extraordinary beauty. This is a pretty big Island, dense and diversified in terms of landscapes with volcanoes, glacier, black sand beaches, waterfalls and so on.
The place is best visited during summer, as it reveals its beautiful colors, reliefs and abundant waterfalls. There are two possibilities when visiting it. Either doing the so-called Golden Circle that would bring you around the Island and doesn’t require a specific car, or going through the highlands that requires a 4x4 by law. No matter what your choice is, this will be a wonderful experience as you’ll never see anything like this anywhere else in the world
#3 - Bolivia - Nature Diversity
We’re now entering in my top 3 and this was so hard to choose which place did I prefer as they are all very distinct.
The Bolivian Altiplano and the desert of Atacama are just separated by a border (Bolivia and Chile) therefore I had to put them together, although my experience of the two places were really different.
These places are out of this world, crossing moonlike places to volcanic areas while seeing deserts, geysers, lakes with thousands of flamingos, pastel like salars and amazing wildlife. I would need an entire article to describe the beauty of these places, but I can assure you that it is a photographer's paradise. I also found that these places weren’t the easiest to photograph, as these were mostly wide vistas with far away reliefs that would fit perfectly for panoramic photography or telephoto lens. I was nonetheless extremely glad to be there, as it made me rethink how to take my photograph. Just make sure to carry your telephoto.
You can pretty much go anytime during the year to enjoy the places. My favorite would the rainy season from December to March, which releases some great dramatic atmospheres, but the dry period will force you to play with color combinations as blue skies will be the norm. Between Bolivia and Chile, the experience was widely different. The Bolivian tour consisted in an all-inclusive expedition in 4x4 of 3 to 5 days in completely remote areas sleeping at 4'000m+ altitude while the various salars, lakes and geysers from Chile needed to be visited on your own or with early departing tours and returning in the evening. In Chile, most of the parks were inaccessible before sunrise or sunset, making it difficult to get the best lights for photography. Nonetheless, the beauty of the places compensated for the lack of perfect light.
#2 - Namibia - The Thousand Deserts
This place is getting more and more popular, and there's a good reason for that. This country feels totally surreal. From safaris to desert passing through canyons and an abandoned village, you'll have it all. I placed it 2nd in my rank because this place is something truly unseen and much less accessible than other popular places in Europe. I had the luck to go there in 2021 during the pandemic, making it amazing as it felt really empty. I was travelling there by myself and enjoyed every bit of it.
The whole photography experience is truly wonderful, as most of the time you're in remote areas by yourself in front of incredible scenery. Using a telephoto lense is a great choice as it helps to provide some creative images with dune and making sure you can capture the wild fauna. Do not forget your wide angle as it might come handy in some places.
Nowadays, you can go anytime in Namibia and enjoy the country. The rainy period from December through April might be a little riskier as you might face some rain. The experience must however be incredible, with some incredible lights at sunrise and sunset. Crossing the country in a 4x4 with a rooftop tent and barbecuing on locally set campsites just topped it all and was another huge part of the adventure. That's a place that remains in my heart and for which I am likely to offer a workshop anytime soon to share my experience, so stay tuned.
In case you want to know more about the country, do not hesitate to take a look at my article on the best photography spots in Namibia.
#1 - Patagonia - Magical Atmosphere
My top 1 place to photograph in the world is Patagonia. The first time I went to Patagonia was in 2017 for the W trek in Torres del Paine national park. Back then, I wasn't seriously into photography, but I loved it there, and I always promised to myself to return there again. My dream became true, I went there in 2022 during my year off in Latin America. This is part of the reason why this is my first choice. The other one being the special atmosphere and forces that the place has. I could stay for 2 hours at the same spot and feel like everything was new at each look. This feeling is invaluable to me.
This time around, however, I combined it with the Argentinian Patagonia. I visited El Calafate where I could admire the Perito Merino, one of the largest glacier in the world and the iconic Fitz Roy in El Chalten. I then took the opportunity to get to Chile where I rented a car to spend 5 days in Torres del Paine National Park, visiting the outer zone of the park, where the best views of Paine Grande are.
It's an incredible place for landscape photography and using a wide angle, mid-range and a telephoto lenses will cover all your needs. Get there from September to April for the best weather and experience. May might be an option depending on the year. I went there in May and had mostly great weather. Beware that in the Argentinian Patagonia many hotels, restaurants and shops close as of 1st of May, requiring more organization. Patagonia is a place I could live in despite its emptiness as the atmosphere, the people and the peacefulness of the landscape is just so special.
I am guessing that these are my feelings for now. To be honest with you, If I am being asked the same question in 2 years from now, my thought might be totally different. But these places will all remain for sure amazing spots for all landscape photographers.
I hope that this inspires you, and I would be glad to hear what your top 5 is, in the comment section below.
About the Author
I am Rémi Bergougnoux, a French travel and landscape photographer currently based in Zurich, Switzerland. My most influential destinations include Latin America, where I spent about a year, Namibia, Iceland, Lofoten and certainly many others.
Aside from photography, hiking, cooking, enjoying good wines and socializing are my main hobbies.