Most Happy Campers stop at least for a brief time in Vik i Myrdal (or just Vik). A village in South Iceland is a popular rest stop before driving further or turning back (if your trip is short and you only have time to explore the South coast). It might look small but do not be fooled by its size – you will be pleasantly surprised by how much it has to offer. In this blog post, I will share some fantastic locations in the area, things to do in Vik, and where you can camp overnight.
Let’s start with some great locations to visit in and nearby Vik.
One of the most stunning (and the most dangerous) places in Iceland – Reynisfjara black sand beach is one of the top destinations on the South Coast. Enjoy the basalt column cliffs on the shore and the black volcanic sand along the coastline. Upon arrival, you will notice many signs warning you to stay away from the water due to very dangerous sneaker waves. Do not underestimate the danger of this beach. Unfortunately, a number of tourists have lost their lives by being pulled deeper into the ocean. Please be cautious, especially if you are traveling with kids.
Hálsanefshellir Cave is a huge sea cave located at the beach close to Vik. The cave is exceptional because of the octagonal basalt pillars at the cave entrance. It has a very unique landscape that you don’t want to miss when you visit Reynisfjara. However, we strongly advise against entering the cave – not only is there a danger of rocks falling from the ceiling, if you do not time it right, you are also risking getting trapped inside by the tides.
One of the most famous sceneries of Iceland is three rock formations just offshore Vik. Well, these are not rock formations! These are the Icelandic celebrities. Yup, you are looking at the famous trolls of Reynisdrangar! According to the folklore, a couple of trolls saw a ship in the sea and decided to bring it into the bay. However, I guess they forgot about the short summer nights in Iceland because before they reached the coast, the sun came up, and the trolls turned into the stone where they stand to this day.
The picturesque Church of Vik sits on top of a hill in the center of the village. It is a great spot to enjoy breathtaking ocean views and the surrounding area. If you are lucky enough to visit in early summer, the sea of purple lupines around the church will make it even more beautiful.
A local guide once explained to me why the church was built so high above the town. You see, Vik is neighbor to Katla – one of the largest (and still active) volcanoes in Iceland. If it decides to erupt, the flash floods from the melting glacier could wipe out the whole town. However, they believe that the church could be the only building to survive. This theory was never put to the test because they built the church in 1929, and the last time Katla unleashed its force was in 1918.
A short drive outside Vik, a giant rock formation is known as the cape of Hjörleifur (Hjörleifshöfði). It is a great spot to walk around, and if you climb to the top of it – you will enjoy some stunning views of Myrdalsjökull glacier, Katla volcano, and a black beach. On the south side of the cape, you will find Hjörleifsföfdi cave. You might’ve seen it on social media because it is more commonly known as the Yoda Cave, thanks to a peculiar entrance frame reminiscent of a beloved Star Wars character.
Vik area is part of a Katla UNESCO Global Geopark. Katla Geopark covers most of the South and South-East parts of Iceland. It’s enormous and full of wonders, created by thousands of years of volcano eruptions, melting glaciers, and wind erosion. The few places I have mentioned here are just the tip of the iceberg. Visit Katla Geopark’s official website to learn more about the geology and history of the area. Some points of interest are deep in the Highlands, and you might need a 4×4 camper or book a tour to get there, but there’s plenty along the coastline as well.
The two most popular activities in Vik are filling up your gas tank and stocking up on groceries. The gas stations and Kronan grocery store are right on the main street. However, there are many more things to do if you have time.
It is no secret that Iceland is a hiker’s paradise, and everywhere you go, you will find stunning hiking paths. Vik is no exception. You can find and choose a trail that fits your fitness level and how much time you have. Check out hiking trail maps online or stop by the local tourist info center (located in Víkurbraut 28).
View this post on Instagram A post shared by Skool Beans Cafe Bus Iceland (@skool_beans)
A post shared by Skool Beans Cafe Bus Iceland (@skool_beans)
For my fellow coffee lovers – Skool Beans is a must-visit place. A bright yellow school bus is home to a micro coffee roaster and tea lab, and the people who run this place are caffeine magicians. So, make sure to treat yourself to probably the best cup of coffee in Iceland.
Feeling hungry? Why not warm yourself up with a nice bowl of soup and maybe a sandwich at the Soup Company. A small family-run cafe offers tasty soups, paninis, freshly baked bread, and desserts.
If you are like me and find volcanoes fascinating, consider checking out the Icelandic Lava Show. They offer the only safe way to experience lava up close. It is a fun and interactive educational experience for the whole family. Bonus: they are our friends, and Happy Campers get a discount on tickets.
Vik has something for everyone, and for the more adventurous campers, our friends at Zipline and True Adventure have a special offer if you want to spice up your Iceland experience and see Vik from high above on a zipline or by paragliding (or both!).
Bathing culture is a big part of Icelandic identity and even the smallest towns usually have great local pools, often with some amazing views. I can not think of a better way to the long day of driving and exploring than by relaxing in a hot tub and a nice sauna.
I hope I convinced you that it is worth spending some time in Vik. If you are looking for campsites where to spend the night, here are your options.
We’ve mentioned Vik in a previous blog post as one of the best affordable campsites in Iceland. It is conveniently located at the heart of the Vik, only 1 km from the center of the village. They have all services you could need while camping – toilets, showers, WiFi, laundry machines, and more.
The campsite is open from 1st of June – 31 October.
Address: Suðurvegur 5, 870 Vík
Not far from Vik there is the spectacular Thakgil campsite. It is one of our favorite spots in the whole country. We wrote about it extensively in a dedicated blog post. The road to the Thakgil campsite is not an F-Road, so you do not need a 4×4 campervan. However, it is a rather rough gravel road, so if you decide to go down it – proceed with caution.
The campsite is open from 1st of June – 15 September.
Location: Kerlingadalur (end of road 214)
Hopefully, you can see that Vik has a lot to offer: fun activities, good food, and beautiful nature that you can explore by hiking.
South Iceland. Browse our blog for more ideas of places to visit in South Iceland. With limited time, it’s important that travelers research and plan their attraction visits carefully. Read More
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