Featured Image: Chris Ried
When people say “Iceland is like an alien planet,” they’re often referring to Vík í Mýrdal and its surrounding area. A remote seafront village, with a population of just 318, it’s a place that sits in the shadow of the extremely Lord of the Rings sounding Mýrdalsjökull glacier. Home to strange but true black pebble beaches and extraterrestrial-looking basalt columns (as well as loads of other cool stuff), it’s our belief that no visit to this incredible country is complete without a few days spent exploring this epic little spot on the southern coast.
How To Get There
Unsurprisingly, Vik doesn’t have a massive great airport and / or train terminal so if you want to go there you’ll probably have to drive there in a hire car. Keflavik International Airport, Iceland’s man airport, has a number of hire car options to choose from so you can, if you want, fly in, pick up a car, and drive straight there. It’s a 225km drive one way, and will take you about three hours without stops. This being Iceland of course, there’s plenty of awesome landmarks to see en-route including some of the finest waterfalls you will ever look upon (big shoutout to Skógafoss and Seljalandsfoss).
If you’re basing yourself in Reykjavik, there’s also more south coast day tour operators in business here than you can shake a viking spear at. They’ll get you to Vik and are great way of seeing all the sights in one go. That being said, we’d recommend the hire car option over this as you can take your time, go at your own pace, and will feel less like a turbo tourist.
Things To Do In Vik
Sort of touched upon this already but basically there’s just lots, and lots, and lots of really nice natural stuff to look at in and around Vik. Reynisfjara beach, for example, is worth the cost of the flight, hire car, and overnight accommodation alone. Be sure to bring your camera because you’ll want to take more photos walking up and down this thing than you’ll know what to do with.
Dyrhólaey (aka “The Arch with the Hole,” aka “Cape Portland”) is a small promontory (Google it, it’ll be your word of the day), and one that’s well worth your time. The winds can get really strong up here so be sure to hold onto small children, and lightweight old people – or watch them fly away on the breeze, it’s up to you. Speaking of flying, lovers of winged animals will relish the opportunity to observe the puffins that call this place home. Wannabe wildlife photographers, in particular, will be in their absolute element.
“There’s just lots, and lots, and lots of really nice natural stuff to look at in and around Vik”
The Solheimasandur Plane Wreck, which you’ll almost certainly recognise from Instagram, is a 20-minute drive from Vik. It’s a big walk from the road (there is a pay-to-ride off-road bus service that runs back and forth regularly), but it’s well worth the effort. If you can get the plane alone, or get clever with your angles, it’ll hit you with some solid social media gold. The wreck, if you’re interested in your history, was a United States Navy DC plane and came down on the beach in 1973 when it ran out of fuel. Fortunately, everyone survived – meaning you don’t have to feel guilty about doing bits for the ‘gram around it.
If you choose to visit Vik between September and mid-April, when the nights are at their longest and darkest, nature might just serve you up a spectacular Northern Lights sighting. There are no guarantees, of course, but it’s worth thinking about the timings of your Iceland trip if witnessing this phenomenon firsthand is on your bucket list.