The Land of Fire and Ice is known for its interesting landscapes and contrasting terrain – a result of the push and pull between these two extreme forces. Another interesting characteristic of the island’s fiery vs. icy side is the incredible rock formations that can be found all across Iceland. One of these is the impressive Hvitserkur.
In this article, we give you the lowdown on Hvitserkur, how it came to be, and exactly what makes it so impressive. We’ll tell you exactly where it is, how to get there, and if you should consider adding any other interesting stops in the area to your trip itinerary. So, without further ado, let’s dive into the incredible Hvitserkur Rock Formation.
What Makes Hvitserkur So Special?
Hvitserkur is much more than just a rock in Iceland. This 15-meter tall Basalt rock formation is a favorite spot amongst photographers for a variety of reasons. The name hints at the first; Hvitserkur translates to ‘White Shirt’, referencing the bird droppings that cover the rock. This is because Hvitserkur is a favorite nesting place for a wide array of birdlife, making it just as popular amongst bird watchers.
Another reason why Hvitserkur is such a popular photo opp lies in its folklore. Hvitserkur Rock Formation is also referred to as “the troll of North-west Iceland”. It is said that Hvitserkur was once a famous troll from the peninsula. This troll was so annoyed and enraged by the bells from Pingeyraklaustur Convent that it became deadset on ripping them off.
So deadest, in fact, that it didn’t even notice the sun slowly rising – a death sentence for any troll. As the rays started touching the troll, it immediately turned into stone and the Hvitserkur Rock Formation we know today.
How was Hvitserkur Formed?
It might be hard to believe looking at it now, but Hvitserkur was once part of a volcanic plug. What we see today is the end result of millennia of erosion by weather elements and the ocean, making Hvitserkur a testament to the power of nature.
Where is Hvitserkur in Iceland?
Hvitserkur can be found about 50 meters offshore from Hunafloi Bay on the Vatsnes Peninsula in North-west Iceland. It’s just a 30-minute drive from the popular Ring Road road trip route, making it the ideal stop along the way.
How to Get to Hvitserkur
Although you will find plenty of tour operators and guides on the island that will offer Hvitserkur as a tour destination, our preferred method of travel is via your own transport, allowing you to make a proper road trip out of it. Reaching Hvitserkur from the direction of Reykjavík is pretty easy; just get on the Ring Road and then turn off onto Road 711 till you reach the parking area.
Other Things to Do & See at Hvitserkur & Surrounds
Hvitserkur is an absolute hot spot for things to do and see. Here are a few things you can consider adding to your trip itinerary:
The Icelandic Seal Centre in Hvammstangi
The historical Suluvellir Farm
Is Visiting Hvitserkur Worth it?
Absolutely. If not for watching birds, or taking epic photographs, then at least for settling the endless debate; what does Hvitserkur actually look like? Some say an elephant, others say a dinosaur, but, ironically, very few can actually see the troll that it’s supposed to be.
With this nagging question waiting to be answered and the rest of the exciting things to see and do in the area, we highly recommend that you rent a campervan in Reykjavik and do a Ring Road road trip to properly explore Hvitserkur and its surroundings.