Vik, Iceland: the Perfect Daytrip from Reykjavik

Iceland is amazing. In fact, otherworldly is often the most appropriate word to describe it.  The capital, Reykjavik, is a fabulous city and great place to base yourself but the country has so much to offer within such close proximity. Once you’ve explored the Golden Triangle, snowmobiled on a glacier and eaten all the whale you can stomach, it’s time to get out of the city and see what else is out there. The town of Vik, Iceland is just a 2.5 hour drive south-east from Reykjavik but will feel a world away. The distance is close enough that you don’t even need to stay over. Pack up a car with some snacks, set out in the morning and spend the day exploring the Icelandic countryside. If you really want things to get interesting, I suggest renting a four-wheel drive vehicle.

You will pass hundreds and hundreds of these little guys.

You will pass hundreds and hundreds of these little guys

Vik Myrdal 

Vik is the southern most village in Iceland and sits on the ring road that encircles the country just like pretty much every other village. The bustling village is the largest for 40 miles in all directions and boasts a population of nearly 300 people! Yes, really. The town is situated on a series of small rolling green hills that lead down to the water’s edge and an endless, beautiful black sand beach that’s regarded as one of the most beautifully pristine on earth. As beautiful as the beach is, it can also be extremely creepy. Not only will you likely have the entire beach to yourself, but the surrounding topography is just plain eerie. Then there’s the that creepy thing sticking up out of the ocean that looks like a decrepit old hand. What?

My brother snapping some photos on Vik;s stunning black sand beach.

My brother snapping some photos on Vik;s stunning black sand beach

The tiny church on a hill that marks the beginning of the town of Vik

The tiny church on a hill that marks the beginning of the town of Vik

The ocean crashes over the black sand beach of Vik.

The ocean crashes over the black sand beach of Vik

Reynisdrangar

It’s hard to even describe what Reynisdrangar is exactly. Off the coast of Vik there are these creepy basalt sea stacks that kinda look like fingers reaching up from the sea, or an old ship. In fact, the legend says that they were formed by trolls dragging a three-masted ship to its demise. Seeing the formations from Vik is incredibly creepy.

Reynisdiangur as seen from Vik.

Reynisdiangur as seen from Vik

I take a jump in front of Vik's Reynisdiangur

I take a jump in front of Vik’s Reynisdiangur

Reynisfjara

If you are looking at “Reynisfjara” and wondering how to pronounce it, it unfortunately sounds kind of like “anus vagina”. Like I said, unfortunate. Anyway, just a couple of miles down the road from the middle of Vik, Reynisfjara is a beautiful black pebble beach on which sits the basalt columns of Reynisfjall mountain. It’s another alien experience where the rock formations don’t even look natural. The massive basalt “cave” with crashing waves is the highlight. You’ll feel like you’re exploring something that was man made but in reality, the sea has been carving out this cave since time immemorial. From the cave you can just make out the Dyrholaey natural arch off in the distance.

My friends and I perched on the edge of the giant basalt cave at Reynisfjara with the ocean crashing nearby.

My friends and I perched on the edge of the giant basalt cave at Reynisfjara with the ocean crashing nearby

The unusual texture of basalt at Reynisfjara

Waves crashing into the basalt cave at Reynisfjara

The unusual texture of basalt at Reynisfjara

The unusual texture of basalt at Reynisfjara

Dyrholaey

A few miles further from Vik you’ll find Dyrholaey. From the lighthouse at Dyrholaey you can enjoy the perfect view of the natural arch for which the area is famous. This is a spectacular place to perch yourself and not just humans feel this way, in the summertime this is a massive puffin reserve. Although the view from the lighthouse is spectacular, you can also walk out onto the arch itself which is pretty cool and not very difficult. The arch is a wonderful reminder of the power of mother nature carving out new landscape with every crash of the waves.

The natural arch at  Dyrholaey at twilight

The natural arch at Dyrholaey at twilight

While You’re There…

As great as Vik is, the drive from Reykjavik is just as great. When you see a waterfall in the distance off the main road, go and explore. Put the four-wheel-drive to use, drive through streams and around glaciers. Nobody is around but as long as you remember how to get back to the main road, it’s worth going off road to see what you find. Be sure to stop for dinner on the way back to Reykjavik at the Hotel Ranga which sits between Hella and Hvolsvollur. If you really want to find something unusual, try to find the grave of Bobby Fischer on your way home. You can find it in the fenced in front yard of a small church just outside the town of Selfoss. The chess master was buried here one night in secret by his friends without the permission of the church. Visiting the grave may be the creepiest way to end your day-trip to Vik.

Like I said, a four-wheel-drive is a good idea. If you have one, ignore these signs.

Like I said, a four-wheel-drive is a good idea. If you have one, ignore these signs

My cousin petting a random horse that we passed on our drive.

My cousin petting a random horse that we passed on our drive. He was as friendly as he is beautiful!

The grave of chess master Bobby Fischer sits outside the town of Selfoss in the front yard of a tiny church and is super creepy

The grave of chess grandmaster Bobby Fischer sits outside the town of Selfoss in the front yard of a tiny church. It is SUPER creepy.

Like it? Share it!
Share on Facebook0Tweet about this on TwitterShare on StumbleUpon0Buffer this pageEmail this to someonePin on Pinterest198

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Comments are closed.

Google+