Travel Guides

Vik | Adventure Destination Guide

A visit to the southern most village in Iceland should be on everyone's bucket list

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.

Photo: Jack Clayton

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.

Photo: Jack Clayton

Where To Stay

Cards on the table time. Iceland is definitely not the cheapest place in the world when it comes to food, drink, and accommodation. That being said, there are some very good, affordable by Icelandic standards, hostel-type options in Vik; see Vik HI Hostel and The Barn, where you can get a bed and buffet breakfast for around £50 a night.

Eating and Drinking

Being such a small place, there’s not a million options to choose from. Luckily for you though, with tasty, tasty, beer and burgers so good they’ll bring a tear to your eye, there’s the Smiðjan Brugghús. This trendy brewery pub, which opened in April 2018, serves a mouthwatering selection of craft beers and caters for vegetarians and vegans alike (as well as the meat eaters, of course). If you’ve had a long, tiring, day in the Icelandic outdoors then you’ll definitely dig this establishment’s vibe.

Check out our other adventure travel destinations for 2020.

This destination guide was brought to you in association with outdoor fashion retailer Blackleaf.

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