Disney’s Frozen 2, the much anticipated sequel to the adventures of Elsa, Anna, Olaf, Kristoff and Sven is inspired by the magical landscapes of Iceland. Spouting geysers, glaciers, waterfalls, ice-caves and black-sand beaches not only serve as a scenic backdrop to the epic tale, the country also inspired key story elements, such as the stark difference between sisters Elsa and Anna.
During a research trip to Norway, Finland and Iceland, much of the vision for the film started to come together. “I think that trip not only inspired visuals in the world, but it did something else. Just immersing us 24 hours a day in that environment, our imaginations truly were piqued, and so a lot of story ideas developed during that trip as well,” says co-director Chris Buck. “Anna felt at home in Norway with its fairy tale settings, but Elsa felt strangely at home in the stark, mythic Iceland,” Buck explained.
According to Marc Smith, another key learning in Iceland was the unpredictability of nature. “When we saw the Seljalandsfoss waterfall, the weather turned from a few scattered clouds to a deluge of rain and hail in such a short time while we were there,” he says. “At Gljúfrabúi—a hidden waterfall—we had to remove our shoes and walk through an ice-cold stream of water to get to the waterfall. We could’ve been stepping on jagged rocks and not known it because our feet were so frozen. Unlike Elsa, the cold does bother me!”
But the majestic landscapes of Iceland are not only available for movie-making inspirations. Much of the landscapes that was brought to the big screen are easily accessible all around the country. Below you will find great examples of Arendelle-esque landscapes in Iceland for you to re-enact your own version of “Into the Unknown."
In one of the most thrilling scenes of the movie, Elsa tries to rein in her powers on a black sand beach, that is very much inspired by the black sand beaches of Iceland. Black sand beaches can be found all around the country. But be careful. Powerful undercurrents and rouge waves are known to cause danger to people when they venture too close to the shore.
Glaciers are a distinguishing feature of Icelandic landscapes and cover about 11% of the country. Vatnajökull Glacier is the largest glacier in Europe and stretches across large areas in South, East, and North Iceland. Smaller glaciers are accessible around the country. Glacial adventures are best experienced with a professional guide.
Ice caves are a by-product of glaciers. Standing under the deep blue ice roof of an ice cave is a unique experience. If you want to visit an ice cave, be sure to do so with an experienced guide, as conditions can change quickly.
Icelandic landscapes have been carved by winds and water for thousands of years, creating deep, beautiful canyons. Canyons are found all around the country.
Canyons and waterfalls go hand in hand. Some of Iceland’s most majestic waterfalls are easily reached and offer a breathtaking experience. Just be careful in icy situations. The water is quite cold.
Iceland is ideally located when it comes to spotting the northern lights. Witnessing them dance across the black sky is an extraordinary experience never to be forgotten. There is no single ideal location for sightings. It varies depending on weather conditions.
Reindeers live on the East Coast of Iceland. During summer, the dwell in the highlands, feeding of moss and herbs. In wither time they descend into the grasslands below in search of something to eat. They are quite common, but don’t expect to catch one in the wild. They are not very tame.
Iceland is literally made of volcanoes. 130 active and inactive volcanoes are found on the island, and some of them have been quite influential in forming the landscapes of Iceland.
Bubbling hot springs are quite common in Iceland, but spouting geysers are really only found in one place. Strokkur hot spring erupts every 10-15 minutes, blowing a column of hot water 20 meters into the air.
Most roads between A and B in Iceland will take you through a mountain pass of some sort. They can often form quite an impressive visual as the road ahead comes into view.